Young guns

Menino touting Boston’s gun-violence “best practices”
By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  October 27, 2008

This past Wednesday at the Capital Hill Hilton in Washington, DC, mayors from across the country were scheduled to sit down to a special session and learn how to combat youth gun violence. The guest speaker: Boston’s own Mayor Thomas Menino.

An interesting choice. Shootings in Boston increased 28 percent last year, according to Boston Police Department statistics, and shootings in the first three weeks of this year were up a whopping 275 percent over the same period in 2005. Nearly 30 percent of last year’s murder victims were teenagers, three times the national average. Since the start of 2004, 32 teenagers have been shot to death in Boston — the same number as the previous five years combined.

Nevertheless, Menino is one of two mayors scheduled to make remarks on “best practices and next steps” in combatting youth gun violence at this week’s US Conference of Mayors annual winter meeting. If you think Menino is an odd choice, consider the other speaker: Douglas Palmer of Trenton, New Jersey — where homicides increased 72 percent last year to a record high. Of those 31 murders, 23 were by gunshot in public, according to reports.

Menino has long been a strong national voice on issues of gun control, but he has kept mum about this speech — aware, perhaps, that many Bostonians have been critical of his recent handling of the issue. Menino’s press office would not confirm the scheduled DC appearance as of press time Tuesday night, or provide a copy or description of the mayor’s prepared remarks. (Nor would they confirm reports from a Phoenix connection in DC that Menino has scheduled a dinner reception afterward at Legal Seafood — natch.) 

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