Mass-ive resistance to 2A rights

Massachusetts Democrats will have complete control of state government in just a few weeks, and incoming governor Maura Healey has already indicated that more gun control laws are coming. On today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, Gun Owners Action League executive director Jim Wallace joins the show to talk about the impending infringements on the civil rights of residents and what Second Amendment organizations are doing to push back.

One potential gun law on the horizon: a scheme to limit how many firearms anyone can purchase within a year. Wallace recently took part in a point/counterpoint op-ed at the Boston Globe on that very topic, with VPC fellow and Healey croney Gary Klein advocating for a gun rationing scheme.

One other form of regulation that is consistent with both the recent Supreme Court decision and with legitimate concerns about public safety is a restriction on the number of firearms that can be bought each year with a single gun license. Such a law — which could easily be implemented by tweaking the Commonwealth’s presale license check and registration process — would help stop people from quickly building vast arsenals of weapons to hoard or to sell over a short interval.

Nobody should have to live next door to someone who maintains an arsenal of dangerous weapons. Nor should local police have to take the risk inherent in visiting a home where dozens of guns are stored. It is time for Massachusetts to join other states — including California, New Jersey, and Maryland — that reasonably limit the number of guns that can be bought over a short period of time. No one needs more than one or two guns for effective self-defense.

If you notice, Klein’s argument is less about how many firearms a gun owner should be able to purchase in a “short amount of time,” and more about setting limits on how many firearms any particular gun owner can own at all. Klein says that no one should have to live near someone with an “arsenal” of dangerous weapons, which implies that any gun-rationing law he’d like to see in place wouldn’t stop at the number of firearms an individual can purchase, but would also place limits on how many guns someone can possess at any given time.

Wallace, as you might imagine, thinks Klein’s argument is deeply flawed and downright dangerous.

For the record, there already are laws and regulations in place that allow the government to track multiple gun sales. Any licensed retailer who sells more than one handgun to a person within five business days is required to report those sales to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. This allows the bureau to investigate whether multiple sales are connected to criminal activity.
The Commonwealth has very strong gun theft and trafficking laws on the books, most of which I helped write. Even the unlawful transaction of a single firearm is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Ten or more is a potential life sentence. To date, I have not heard of these laws being used.
With all of this in place, where is the evidence that points to lawful gun owners being connected to criminal activity?
The basic premise of crime control through harsh gun control laws in Massachusetts has been a failure of epic proportions. That record was demonstrated in a report the Gun Owners Action League issued in 2018 and updated in 2022, drawing upon state and federal crime data. The 2020 update found that since the passage of the state Gun Control Act of 1998, gun-related homicides have increased 111 percent: from 63 in 1998 to 133 in 2020.
The 2018 report shows that in 2017, Massachusetts — per 100,000 people — was arguably the most violent state in the Northeast. Notably Maine, which has much less strict gun laws than Massachusetts, was the least violent state in the country.
Wallace says it’s time for the Commonwealth to “do away with its grand experiment on guns” and focus on violent criminals instead, but as he shared on today’s Cam & Co, Democrats don’t seem interested in following his advice.
Instead, Wallace and GOAL members are prepping for an onslaught of anti-2A legislation aimed squarely at the civil rights of Massachusetts residents, from new “gun-free zones” to more restrictive gun and magazine bans than the current laws that are already in place. And while GOAL will undoubtably be involved in court challenges to any new anti-civil rights legislation, Wallace rightfully points out that in a state so dominated by Democratic ideology, gun owners have to fight in the court of public opinion as well; engaging their opponents not only on the constitutionality of these restrictions, but the very premise that their making the state a safer place. As GOAL recently pointed out, as the number of legal gun owners in Massachusetts has declined since the passage of the Gun Control Act of 1998, gun-involved murders have more than doubled. The state has the highest violent crime of any in the New England region; far worse, for instance, than the Constitutional Carry states of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
If facts alone were enough to defeat the anti-rights agenda of Massachusetts Democrats then the state’s gun owners would be in great shape. As it stands, the changes to culture that Wallace envisions will be the work of a generation, but the legal actions to come will hopefully at least place the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment on solid footing amidst the continued assaults by the state’s anti-gun and anti-civil rights political leaders.