- Office of the Attorney General
- Office of the Attorney General
Media Contact for AG Campbell Launches Gun Violence Prevention Unit, Names Christine Doktor As Director And Ryan Mingo As Deputy Director
Sabrina Zafar , Deputy Press Secretary
BOSTON — Amidst a growing epidemic of gun violence, Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell today announced Christine Doktor as Director and Ryan Mingo as Deputy Director of the office’s new Gun Violence Prevention Unit (GVPU). The GVPU is tasked with enforcing the Commonwealth’s gun and consumer protection laws, working to ensure that Massachusetts has the strongest, most comprehensive commonsense firearm laws in the country, supporting the defense of commonsense gun laws from legal challenge and supporting law enforcement and community-based gun violence prevention work to help reduce gun deaths and shootings across the Commonwealth.
Though the Commonwealth has the lowest rate of gun violence in the nation, in an average year, 255 people die and 557 are wounded by guns in Massachusetts. The violence in Massachusetts disproportionately impacts Black youth who are more than 8 times as likely to die by gun violence than their white peers.
“As senseless acts of gun violence continue to terrorize and harm children, families, and communities in Massachusetts and across the country, we must step up and ensure that each one of us has the right to live free from gun violence. Our Gun Violence Prevention Unit will lead the way in holding accountable bad actors in the gun industry and others who violate our gun laws, while respecting the rights of responsible gun owners,” said AG Campbell. “I am incredibly proud to deliver on my promise to create this Unit and to name Christine and Ryan to lead those efforts. I am confident that their passion and expertise will allow Massachusetts to lead the nation on gun safety and gun violence prevention.”
Recognizing the direct connection between public health and public safety, the Unit will seek to support both community-based and law enforcement violence prevention efforts by providing training and technical assistance on gun law compliance and exploring potential grant programs to bolster community violence prevention and support survivors and their families.
The GVPU will leverage existing tools of the AG’s Office such as civil and criminal enforcement, legislative advocacy, and community engagement to bolster gun violence prevention measures and protect the public. The Unit will enforce the state’s nation-leading commonsense gun laws, and will seek to hold bad actors accountable for misleading marketing practices as well as prosecuting illegal trafficking and straw sales that enable bad actors in the gun industry to profit from gun violence and harm in our communities.
Prior to being named Director of the AGO’s Gun Violence Prevention Unit, Christine Doktor served as the Managing Attorney for Everytown Law —the largest and most experienced team of litigators in the nation dedicated to advancing gun safety in the courts and through the civil and criminal justice systems. Christine graduated with honors from Columbia Law School and started her career as a civil litigator at the law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. Christine also has extensive experience in public interest law and with women’s and human rights matters. She was born and raised in Massachusetts and will be based in the AGO’s Springfield Regional Office.
“I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to serve as Director of AG Campbell’s Gun Violence Prevention Unit. The unit’s mission is deeply critical during the current climate of increased gun violence and nationwide attacks on gun safety laws,” said Christine Doktor, Director of the AG’s Gun Violence Prevention Unit, “Despite having some of the strongest gun safety laws in the country and the lowest rate of gun violence in America, over 800 adults and children are shot and wounded or killed in Massachusetts on average each year. As the Director of the new GVPU, I am eager to continue my work in this field, leverage my expertise, and implement AG Campbell’s commitment to the life-saving work of reducing gun deaths and shootings here in my home-state.”
Ryan Mingo, Deputy Director of the GVPU, previously served as an Assistant District Attorney and Chief of the Major Felony Bureau at the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office. While serving the District Attorney’s Office, Ryan prosecuted a wide range of criminal matters with a focus on serious violent and gang-related offenses. He also worked extensively on leading, researching, and providing training related to both criminal prosecution and criminal justice reform.
“I am thankful to AG Campbell for appointing me as Deputy Director of the AG’s Gun Violence Prevention Unit,” said Ryan Mingo, Deputy Director of the AG’s Gun Violence Prevention Unit, “I look forward to working with Christine to lead the AGO’s gun-related work and ensure Massachusetts has the strongest, most comprehensive firearm laws in the country.”
Since taking office, AG Campbell has continuously led state and national efforts to uphold common sense gun laws and gun violence protection.
The GVPU will continue the AGO’s advocacy for common sense gun legislation, including pushing for the passage of S.1560 An Act Relative to Silencers filed by Senator Michael Moore (Worcester) and co-sponsored by AG Campbell earlier this year. If passed, the bill would strengthen current state law prohibiting the purchase, possession, and use of silencers by amending the definition of “silencer” to mirror the definition in federal law. The GVPU will also promote legislative solutions to tackle other critical gun safety issues, like the proliferation of ghost guns, background check loopholes, the increasing prevalence of assault weapons, and other practical means to reduce gun violence in Massachusetts communities.
At the start of her administration, AG Campbell joined a multistate coalition in support of a New York law banning guns in places of worship, filed federal briefs to defend Massachusetts’ Handgun Safety Regulations and Assault Weapons Ban from legal challenges, co-led a multistate coalition urging credit card companies to use merchant codes for gun sales, which would allow financial institutions to better detect and report suspicious activities related to the purchase of firearms and ammunition at standalone gun retail stores. Under the leadership of AG Campbell, Massachusetts also led multistate efforts to urge the federal First Circuit Court to recognize that federal gun laws do not shield gun manufacturers and dealers from liability for wrongdoing under state laws.
Earlier this spring, AG Campbell joined multiple multistate federal briefs defending nationwide gun violence prevention measures and led a separate multistate coalition in supporting Rhode Island’s legal restrictions on large-capacity magazines. More recently, this past summer, AG Campbell joined a multistate coalition urging the U.S. Supreme Court to prohibit individuals with restraining orders from accessing guns and co-led a multistate amicus brief in support of Delaware’s commonsense gun laws and restrictions on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines.
Statements of Support:
Eric Tirschwell, Executive Director of Everytown Law:
“State laws are only as strong as their implementation and enforcement and Massachusetts’ new Gun Violence Prevention Unit will ensure that the Bay State remains a national leader in gun violence prevention. We are thrilled that Attorney General Campbell tapped our former colleague Christine Doktor to help lead this new office. Christine is an exceptional lawyer and a strong leader who, for over four years, was an essential member of Everytown’s litigation team. We are confident Christine will ensure the Gun Violence Prevention Unit will become an effective and critical tool in preventing gun violence across Massachusetts.”
John Rosenthal, Founder and Chair of Stop Handgun Violence:
“I applaud AG Campbell for her courageous leadership and continued innovative initiatives like the new Gun Violence Protection Unit. It will absolutely help reduce preventable gun violence and its associated endless grief for victims and their families in the Commonwealth. Massachusetts is the national leader for gun violence prevention. We’ve reduced the rate of gun deaths in the Commonwealth by 40 percent since 1994 and urban Massachusetts continually has the lowest gun death rate in the United States. Although we have the most effective gun laws and first in the nation gun industry consumer protection regulations, there is still far too much preventable gun violence. The AG’s new GVPU will help prevent senseless gun violence, help law enforcement prevent and solve gun crimes, help Communities and families and will continue to make Massachusetts the safest state in the nation with respect to gun violence.”
Deborah Wornum, a survivor of gun violence and volunteer with the Massachusetts Chapter of Moms Demand Action:
“In establishing this unit, Massachusetts renews its commitment to combating gun violence on all fronts. As communities across our Commonwealth continue to grapple with the devastating impacts of gun violence, it is vital for leaders at all levels to come together and work on life-saving policies. We thank Attorney General Campbell for her commitment to fighting gun violence and look forward to working with Christine Doktor and Ryan Mingo for the safety of all Bay Staters.”
Alexa Grayson, a volunteer leader with Northeastern University Students Demand Action:
“It’s critical that our leaders make sure our nation-leading gun laws are enforced and implemented, and Massachusetts’ new Gun Violence Prevention Unit is exactly what we need to spearhead that work and ensure our strong gun laws are working. The launch of this unit shows that our Attorney General’s office is doing everything it can to save lives, as guns are the leading cause of death for my generation. It’s because of gun-sense champions like Attorney General Campbell that we’re able to fight for a better, safer future that’s free from gun violence.”