In March, House Speaker Robert DeLeo established an advisory group to study ways to strengthen the state’s gun laws. That group, led by Northeastern University researcher and associate dean Jack McDevitt, has met regularly in recent months and said Friday it will submit its recommendations by year’s end.
“We took a comprehensive look” at ways to reduce gun violence, McDevitt said.
He said the panel, which included law enforcement officials, educators, and clinicians, met with a variety of groups and surveyed research about gun use.
McDevitt said the group would seek to prevent disturbed individuals from obtaining weapons without discouraging them from seeking treatment. Studies have not shown a link between mental illness and increased use of firearms, he noted.
Massachusetts, he said, has low gun ownership rates and a far lower gun homicide rate than most of the rest of the country. Still, there were 122 gun homicides in this state in 2011, McDevitt said.
“That number is way too high,” he said. “Our comparison shouldn’t be with other states, but with other industrialized nations” with lower rates.