ATTORNEY GENERAL ANDREA CAMPBELL has tapped a rural litigator who previously worked for a gun control advocacy group to head up a new unit aimed at reducing gun violence.
Christine Doktor most recently worked as managing attorney at Everytown Law, the litigation arm of a nonprofit that seeks tighter restrictions on guns.
Doktor is a Western Massachusetts native who also owns a 100-acre sheep farm. She unsuccessfully ran in 2018 for state representative in a district located between Amherst and North Adams.
Doktor started as an intern at the New York Civil Liberties Union in 2005 before moving to Weil, Gotshal and Manges LLP. She worked at the New York law firm for six years before returning to Western Massachusetts to provide civil legal help to underserved and low-income people, in addition to nonprofit groups, under the company name Hilltown Legal Services. For the last four years, she has worked for Everytown Law.
In her new role, she’ll be based out of the attorney general’s regional outpost in Springfield.
The gun violence prevention unit within the attorney general’s office, one of four Campbell pledged to create during her 2022 campaign for the office, will be tasked with enforcing state gun laws, and targeting illegal trafficking, straw sales, and firearms assembled off the internet or constructed through 3-D printers, also known as “ghost guns.”
“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,” Doktor said.
Since starting in January, Campbell has sought to defend the state’s handgun regulations and assault weapons ban in federal court and pushed for credit card companies to use specific codes for gun sales in order to detect suspicious purchases.
Doktor’s 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,” Campbell said in a statement Thursday.
Campbell set up an elder justice unit in August, focused on elder abuse. A reproductive justice unit, which seeks to protect access to abortion, followed in October. The last promised unit, which as yet remains unestablished, is for police accountability.
A search for the director of the police accountability unit is underway, according to Campbell’s office. The unit, once staffed, is expected to look at systemic abuse patterns and practices in policing, in contrast to the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission, which was created under a 2020 police reform law and is tasked with looking into individual police officers.