In 1998 the Massachusetts legislature enacted Chapter 180, a gun control law requiring residents to acquire a Firearms ID card before owning any weapon. “Weapon” being defined as anything as or more potent than pepper spray. The FID card application cost $25. There was a pre-existing law requiring a “license to carry.”
That cost for the FID was raised in 2003 to $100. Some time after that, the permit fee for chemical sprays was reduced back to $25, but firearms permits remained at $100.
If the intent of the Gun Control Act of 1998 was to discourage the sport of hunting and competitive target shooting and to disarm Massachusetts citizens, it must be considered a howling success. In 10 years since its passage, the number of licensed gun owners has decreased from 1,500,000 to 220,000, an 85 percent drop, according to figures provided by the by the House Post Audit and Oversight Committee.
Of course, supporters of the law made claims like:
“Fewer firearms on the street makes life safer for everyone,” said Robert F. Crowley, Quincy’s police chief. “The average citizen who has a gun 24-7 I don’t believe has the experience, knowledge, and training to know when and if they should use a firearm.”
“Today, Massachusetts leads the way in cracking down on gun violence,” said Republican Governor Paul Cellucci as he signed the bill into law. “It will save lives and help fight crime in our communities.” Scott Harshbarger, the state’s Democratic attorney general, agreed: “This vote is a victory for common sense and for the protection of our children and our neighborhoods.” One of the state’s leading anti-gun activists, John Rosenthal of Stop Handgun Violence, joined the applause. “The new gun law,” he predicted, “will certainly prevent future gun violence and countless grief.”
The author of the law, state Senator Cheryl Jacques, was pleased that the Bay State’s stiff new restrictions had made it possible to “weed out the clutter.”
Nice to know that the majority of legal gun owners were considered “the clutter.”
But the reality?
If the intent was to reduce crime, then that law must be considered a miserable failure. Based on incidents per 100,000, gun-related homicides are up 68 percent, assault related gun injuries up 72 percent, assault related hospital discharges up 160 percent, gun assault Emergency Dept visits up 222 percent and gun assault outpatient observations up 538 percent. Keep in mind that these increases occurred when there were 1,280,000 fewer licensed gun owners in the state.
Since 1998, gun crime in Massachusetts has gotten worse, not better. In 2011, Massachusetts recorded 122 murders committed with firearms, the Globe reported this month — “a striking increase from the 65 in 1998.” Other crimes rose too. Between 1998 and 2011, robbery with firearms climbed 20.7 percent. Aggravated assaults jumped 26.7 percent.
Don’t hold your breath waiting for gun-control activists to admit they were wrong.
We know better than that. The philosophy cannot be wrong!
But now there’s better news:
The number of legal gun owners in Massachusetts is growing. The 22News I-Team obtained and analyzed state data showing how many people have a license to carry from 2009 to September 2015.
378,642 people or one in every 14 adults has a gun license in Massachusetts. Up from 227,612 in 2010. A 66% increase.
Still a far cry from 1.5 million, but things are finally moving in the right direction again.
As always, the stated intent of “gun control” laws is to increase public safety, but the result of these laws is to disarm the general public, and public safety suffers. After all, the mantra of The Other Side™ is that “the number of guns” in circulation is “the problem.” Therefore “the solution” must be to reduce that number to a level indistinguishable from zero.
Never forget that.