Update from Rep. John Velis

I want to begin today by expressing condolences, this time to the family and friends of Frederick Kupec of Westfield. I hope the community can come together to support the residents of Family Lane and those who were affected by this past week’s fire.
Last Thursday, we lost four Marines due to an attack on a Navy recruiting office, a gun free zone. We lost a sailor one week ago today due to injuries sustained from that attack. Perhaps that number would be lower if these service men had been armed, perhaps not. Many people are suggesting that these “gun free” zones make the public in these areas sitting ducks. On the other hand, there are those who want to create more of these gun free zones. Overall, it’s a topic that keeps coming up, and I think it’s time to address it.
This week, I filed legislation that would create a commission to review current laws and policies in place regarding Gun Free zones in the Commonwealth. The commission would hold meetings and public hearings across the state to obtain information, and would produce a report to the Legislature with their findings. After an incident like the one in Chatanooga, TN, and the subsequent speculation around gun free zones, it’s important that we evaluate our current laws regarding these areas. In a time when militant groups such as ISIS are encouraging attacks on members of the military, we need to take an objective look at whether we may actually be harming more people by not allowing our service members- the ones who swore to protect us- to protect themselves, and each other. It’s important to seek out the facts of the situation, and have an informed conversation.
Another hot topic in the state right now is the 2024 Olympic Games. On Thursday night, two Boston media outlets hosted a debate that paired the head of the Boston 2024 Committee and a member of the US Olympics Committee together against a leader from No Boston 2024 and Andrew Zimbalist, an economics professor from Smith College and major critic of the games coming to Boston. The debate did not provide any new information, just a forum for the two opposing groups to debate. The biggest news comes from Boston 2024’s promise to release more information about the proposal they submitted, including figures on funding and expenditures.
Lately, there have been a lot of reports that claim Boston 2024, the committee in charge of creating a proposal for the games, is not being open with the public about the bid. The group is in charge of creating a proposal to submit to the International Olympics Committee. Until now, we have only heard bits and pieces about the proposal. The games would be walkable, the facilities would be converted other uses after, etc. One of the biggest claims that has been tossed around is that there will be no public funds used to host the games. This is quite a claim to make, and depending on what information is released, we will have a better idea of whether or not this is true.
Please feel free to let me know your thoughts about Boston hosting the Olympic Games, or any other topic. You can contact me at [email protected] or stop by my office at 52 Court Street.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not the staff, editor, or publisher of this publication.

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