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New ad campaign urges women not to buy or hold firearms for men who can’t legally own them

Kim Odom summoned the words of her slain 13-year-old son, Steven, as part of the launch Tuesday of a mass transit advertising campaign asking women to refuse to buy or hold firearms for men who cannot buy or possess them legally.

“In his peace journal, I found that my son was concerned about the violence that was happening in his community,” said Odom, whose son was fatally shot near his family’s Dorchester home in 2007.

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“These are some of his words: ‘It’s a shame that someone gets shot and killed every day,’ ” she said.

Odom appeared at the Orange Line’s Ruggles Station in Roxbury for a press conference with law enforcement and City Hall officials to unveil an advertising campaign sponsored by Operation LIPSTICK, a program of the group Citizens for Safety. LIPSTICK stands for Ladies Involved in Putting a Stop To Inner-City Killing. It fights gun trafficking.

Members of the group, who call themselves “lipstick ladies,” organized the campaign that will appear throughout the MBTA system for several months. The effort includes 600 signs that feature a woman with her hands cuffed behind her back and the words: “His Crime Your Time. Holding His Gun Can Land You In Jail.”

The MBTA provided the $1,800 to pay for the signs and donated the advertising space, according to Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan.

The LIPSTICK campaign is the latest effort to combat gun violence in Boston and is being called the first attempt in the United States to alert women to the legal and social consequences they could face for stashing the weapons.

“When you hold a gun, when you hide a gun, you, too, are contributing to the harm and ultimate death of another person,” Odom said.

Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said authorities are concerned by recent incidents in which women have been found holding a firearm that law enforcement officials believe belongs to a male associate. “It’s alarming,” he said. “That hasn’t been the case in years past.”

Suffolk prosecutors provided details about the cases of five women facing prosecution after authorities allege they were caught with illegal firearms. In three cases, female defendants are charged alongside male associates, the district attorney’s office said.

Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley described a case of a woman charged with a firearms offense, although authorities believe the weapon belonged to a male codefendant.

“We have little doubt that the gun was his and the criminal enterprise was his,” Conley said. “But she’s facing prison time for possession of a high-
capacity firearm.”

Tina Chery — president and chief executive of the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute, a Dorchester nonprofit dedicated to educating young people and the community about the value of peace and assisting survivors of homicide victims — urged women to refuse to purchase or carry a firearm for a man who is barred from legally having a weapon. The institute is named for Chery’s 15-year-old son, who was killed in 1993. “It is OK to say no when the man who claims he loves you asks you to carry, to hide, or to buy a gun,” Chery said. “We are not going to do it because that gun could take another human life.”

Laura Crimaldi can be reached at laura.crimaldi@globe.com or on Twitter @lauracrimaldi.
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