A major gun control advocacy group is endorsing Governor Charlie Baker for re-election.
The political arm of Everytown for Gun Safety, which calls itself the largest gun violence prevention organization in the United States, gave the Republican the nod in his race against Democrat Jay Gonzalez on Wednesday.
Baker’s support put two pieces of gun control legislation into law this year: one banning bump stocks and another that gives courts the authority to strip weapons from people who have been identified by their families as a danger to themselves or others.
“Everytown is proud to endorse Governor Baker, who understands that gun safety is not a right-or-left issue — it’s a life-or-death issue,” said organization president John Feinblatt. “Thanks to Governor Baker’s leadership, the people of Massachusetts are safer — and their state continues to be a national leader on gun violence prevention.”
In 2016, Massachusetts had the lowest age-adjusted firearm mortality rate of any state, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Gonzalez, for his part, backs implementing new gun control measures such as banning the manufacture of assault weapons in Massachusetts. His campaign did not have an immediate comment on the Everytown endorsement.
Baker supports the state’s assault weapons ban and backs the reinstatement of the federal ban on such guns, positions he held during his successful 2014 run for the Corner Office.
But in a 2013 TV interview, he expressed skepticism about such restrictions, saying he would like to see “evidence” that a federal assault weapons ban “would make a difference.”
Baker was asked about the exchange in a June WBUR interview and his evolution on the issue.
“The evidence is overwhelming in support of it, which is why I support it,” he said. “Look, I think it’s perfectly fine for somebody to change their mind based on data. In fact, I wish a lot more people in public life would do that.”
Former New York City mayor and current billionaire Michael Bloomberg helped found Everytown for Gun Safety. In 2014, he gave his nod to Baker.