Other cracks in the system appear periodically, including the underreporting of mentally ill patients. Patients involuntarily committed for mental illness at public hospitals are entered into the system, but not those at private facilities. A serious audit would likely find more flaws.
Nevertheless, Massachusetts makes it quite difficult to own handguns legally, compared with other states. Unfortunately, states with a different ethos and much laxer attitude, such as neighboring New Hampshire, seriously undermine Bay State gun-control efforts by facilitating the flow of weapons that are illegal in Massachusetts but are legal elsewhere.
That is why frustrated Boston mayor Thomas Menino is working so hard on a national, multistate approach to control handguns and the violence they bring. Although we have been often critical of the results, we applaud Menino’s efforts to try to stem the flow of guns onto Boston’s streets. Governor Deval Patrick and the legislature should provide the funds necessary to fill the holes in Massachusetts’s defense perimeter against handguns.
Saying no to “abstinence”
Governor Patrick has returned Massachusetts to the 21st century with his move to cancel a Romney-administration pet project that used Bush-administration funds to promote abstinence-only sex education in public schools. In an age when sexually transmitted diseases are common and the threat of HIV-AIDS is very real, the idea of using tactics that would be better suited to the fictional sitcom village of Mayberry, USA, is a form of short-sightedness so irresponsible as to be reckless. Teaching children, teenagers, and young adults about what might politely be called the “facts of life” helps spare them from confronting the facts of disease and death.
: The Editorial Page
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