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May 26, 2013

Convicted Felon: Hey, Making It Harder For Law-Abiding Citizens To Get Guns Would Be Awesome

Via our friends at This Ain't Hell comes this head-scratcher.

The Daily Beast posts an article written by a convicted felon to influence the gun control debate. The NRA Is Wrong: The Myth of Illegal Guns is written by Matthew Parker who by his own admission has been convicted of crimes ranging from “counterfeiting to felony-shoplifting to possession of narcotics and drug paraphernalia”. He claims that because Adam Lanza, didn’t know his way around the underworld, he couldn’t have bought a gun illegally;
My point is that purchasing firearms illegally should be an ordeal, and that effective background checks would be the first step in making it so. But what’s also pertinent is that Lanza was not a shady character with a long criminal history, and so would have had no experience moving in illicit circles. Background checks may have forced him to do so—to risk being arrested, robbed, or even killed in some dark alley for the substantial sum he’d have needed in order to buy a gun illegally.

You want to know what happens when you make law-abiding citizens jump through ridiculous bureaucratic hoops to buy guns? This chart of Massachusetts' gun-related homicides says it all:

Since 1998, gun-related homicides in Massachusetts have doubled. This occurred during a period when gun-related homicide rates were in a significant downtrend nationally.

Why did Massachusetts buck this trend? Because right when other states were making concealed carry easier, Massachusetts went in the opposite direction and enacted one of the most restrictive gun control laws in the country.

In 1998, Massachusetts passed what was hailed as the toughest gun-control legislation in the country. Among other stringencies, it banned semiautomatic "assault" weapons, imposed strict new licensing rules, prohibited anyone convicted of a violent crime or drug trafficking from ever carrying or owning a gun, and enacted severe penalties for storing guns unlocked.

"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."

It didn't.

The 1998 legislation did cut down, quite sharply, on the legal use of guns in Massachusetts. Within four years, the number of active gun licenses in the state had plummeted. "There were nearly 1.5 million active gun licenses in Massachusetts in 1998," the AP reported. "In June [2002], that number was down to just 200,000." 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."

But the law that was so tough on law-abiding gun owners had quite a different impact on criminals.

This happens every single time. A gun control law (that, by definition, only affects those who aren't disposed to commit crimes) is passed -> increased probability of running into an unarmed victim makes crime go up -> politicians argue for tighter gun control -> repeat.

So, as Jonn at TAH observed, there's a pretty obvious reason that a four-time loser felon would want gun control. It's a workplace safety regulation for him.


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posted by Andy at 05:00 PM

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