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

A new mass transit advertising campaign unveiled today targets women who are asked to buy or hold firearms for men who can’t buy or possess them legally.

The ad campaign, which will be featured throughout the MBTA system, is the latest effort to combat gun violence in Boston and is being called the first attempt in the United States to use mass transit to alert women to the legal and social consequences they could face for stashing the weapons.

Police Commissioner William Evans said authorities are concerned by recent incidents in which women have been found holding a firearm that law enforcement believes belongs to a male associate.

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“It’s alarming,” he said during a news conference at the Orange Line’s Ruggles Station. “That hasn’t been the case in years past.”

The ad campaign was assembled by an advocacy group that calls itself Operation LIPSTICK.

Ruth Rollins (left) and Kim Odom of LIPSTICK
Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Lipstick is an acronym that stands for Ladies Involved in Putting a Stop To Inner City Killing.

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley, and family members of several high-profile victims of gun violence attended the news conference announcing the campaign.

Nancy Robinson, of the antiviolence group Citizens For Safety, said that an academic study of gun sales in California found that firearms purchased by women were twice as likely to end up on the street.

Members of the group said they wanted women to realize that they could face serious legal problems — or potentially put a gun on the street that might be used to inflict death — if they buy or stash firearms for someone else.

There will be 600 posters displayed throughout the MBTA promoting the campaign for several months, Robinson said.