There's An Anti-Gun Witch Hunt Underway In Massachusetts

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Massachusetts still has a surprisingly large number of firearm manufacturers in the state, considering the anti-gun attitudes that have pervaded politics for decades. The Democrats in control of the state may be anti-gun, but they’re also pro-taxes, and the firearms industry pays its fair share.

The Democrats currently in control of the statehouse are apparently willing to drive the centuries-old firearms industry out of the state and into the waiting arms of states like West Virginia, which just passed a bill offering all kinds of tax breaks for gun and ammo companies. While the state already forbids residents from possessing anything the state defines as an “assault weapon,” anti-gun lawmakers are now demanding that gunmakers be banned from producing any “assault weapon” as well.

“This is not a partisan issue, not an effort to put anyone out of business,” said Stop Handgun Violence John Rosenthal. “This is simply an effort to be consistent. If it’s illegal to own and sell assault weapons in Massachusetts, why is it OK for Massachusetts companies to make them, ship them elsewhere to cause mayhem across the country?”

“This bill is an acknowledgment that some of safe protections in Massachusetts due to our own common sense gun-ownership laws, that we want to extend some of those protections to people who live in other states across the country,” said Rep. Majorie Decker.

Springfield-based gunmaker Smith and Wesson reportedly sold 600,000 guns and accessories last quarter, which is more than double its sale from over a year ago.

This isn’t necessarily going to put any companies out of business, but it’s going to cause some Massachusetts residents to lose their jobs. I’m guessing the discussions have already begun at most firearms manufacturers in the state; where do we move and how quickly and seamlessly can we do it? While West Virginia will certainly woo Smith & Wesson and others, states like New Hampshire, Tennessee, South Carolina, Texas, and less likely candidates like South Dakota and Montana are also going to line up to draw in any and all gun companies and their good paying jobs. This bill may very well stop “assault weapons” from being made in the state, but at the expense of every manufacturer fleeing to greener pastures and taking their tax revenue with them.

John Rosenthal’s right about one thing. The state’s laws should be consistent, which is why the Massachusetts Assault Weapons Ban, (which was re-interpreted by Attorney General Maura Healey a few years ago to include many more guns than those included in the ban approved by lawmakers) should be repealed in its entirety. It’s a slap in the face of Massachusetts residents to be unable to legally possess the most commonly-owned centerfire rifle in the United States. Massachusetts is the same state that criminalized the possession of a stun gun without a license, for crying out loud.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of people who live in Massachusetts who will wholeheartedly approve of this anti-gun and anti-business legislation. In fact, the anti-gun witch hunt is taking place at the local level in Newton, Massachusetts, where a new gun shop has opened and residents are trying to do everything they can to drive them out of town.

“This is a densely populated community with young children and families that live around here so we don’t think it’s safe to put a gun shop here,” neighbor Adele Jasperse told WBZ-TV.

“There’s a lot of children in this area and also it’s a residential area directly behind us,” said realtor Cynthia Lanciloti.

“For me, it’s certainly more about safety,” said Alexandra Wolf, who started a Facebook group to stop the store. “Where there are gun stores there are going to be areas around them that have more gun violence, there is data out there that shows about you know what happens in proximity to gun stores. More guns, you have more gun violence.”

Even most of the city councilors were unaware that a gun shop was opening.

“I see the fear in my kids. My 13-year-old said to me, ‘Don’t let them open a gun shop. Someone is going to buy a gun and come shoot up my school,” said Ward 2 City Councilor Emily Norton.

There’s a marijuana dispensary that’s literally next door, but none of these people seem to be bothered about the possibility of their offspring picking up a contact high, even though it’s far more likely to happen than them ever encountering a gun sold at the gun shop. This is completely irrational behavior driven by fear, and it’s ugly to see mass hoplophobia in action like this. They don’t seem to realize or care that their definition of safety requires violating the civil rights of others, and they’re on a quest to rid their world of guns as zealously as the Puritans pursued their witches in Salem.

The mayor says the city’s exploring all of their options to rezone the property and kick the gun store owner out of the space, even though there was no problem until the gun prohibitionists discovered the shop’s existence and the space was legally occupied. If these people don’t want a gun store in town, I’m sure they’re fine with watching gun manufacturers leave the state as well.

Massachusetts is clearly no longer the place where patriots once zealously guarded their powder and arms against government encroachment, though there are plenty of Second Amendment supporters in the state… at least until lawmakers pass a bill that forces them to leave as well (and yes, I’m well aware that a large number of you have already made the exodus and have moved across the border to New Hampshire).

Jul 31, 2021 8:30 AM ET