The sweeping gun control bill approved by an overwhelming number of Massachusetts House Democrats earlier this month contains dozens of new regulations, restrictions, and criminal statutes; almost all of them aimed at legal gun owners in the state. That myopic focus on the hundreds of thousands of responsible gun owners instead of violent, repeat offenders, is one reason why the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association is still opposed to H 4139 despite Democrats’ attempts to woo them by supposedly exempting them from the legislation.
As the Gun Owners Action League recently pointed out, those exemptions aren’t as broad as supports of H 4139 claimed them to be, but that alone doesn’t account for the continued opposition by law enforcement. The legislation imposes a host of new administrative requirements on law enforcement, again aimed at legal gun owners, which chiefs reasonably believe will hurt their ability to proactively go after violent offenders as well as engaging in prevention efforts directed at those most at-risk of committing violent crimes, including juveniles like the teen recently busted with a gun in Boston.
A teenager who was already out on bail for another alleged crime now faces several felony charges after police say he fired a gun at someone he was supposed to meet in Burlington earlier this month. Part of the description the victim gave to investigators was the shooter wore a GPS-monitoring bracelet.
Police were able to trace down the alleged shooter to a teen who has an open case in Bristol County, authorities said.
Earlier this week police in Boston arrested the 16-year-old after they caught him in a car with a loaded pistol and drugs. He’s currently facing a variety of charges in Middlesex and Suffolk County, including armed assault to murder, attempted assault and battery with a firearm, possessing a firearm without an FID card, and possessing a “large capacity feeding device”.
Sadly, because he’s a juvenile he’s almost certain to be let loose once again, perhaps with another ankle monitor that will supposedly keep track of his location.
This catch-and-release system is putting repeat offenders back on the street time and again, and as we know, it’s that small group of prolific criminals who are responsible for an outsized portion of violent crime, with one study reporting that just 1% of the population commits 63% of violent offenses.
H 4139 does nothing to address this problem. Instead, it views lawful gun ownership itself as the biggest driver of crime.
While most Democrats won’t say so publicly, it’s an open secret that H 4139 is meant to reduce the number of legal gun owners in the state. The live-fire training mandate alone is going to be impossible for many existing and would-be gun owners to comply with given the few publicly accessible ranges in Massachusetts, and while some currently lawful gun owners may end up choosing to risk breaking the law in order to continue exercising their Second Amendment rights, others will almost certainly give up those rights rather than risk a felony charge.
That’s the ideal outcome for the prohibitionists behind H 4139, whose theory is that by curtailing the lawful exercise of a civil right, and there’ll be a trickle-down effect on criminals. Never mind that that hypothesis has already been proven false by decades of experience in cities like Washington, D.C. and Chicago, which had much higher homicide rates when they banned handguns than in the years after, as well as entire nations like Mexico, where cartels have nearly unlimited firepower and law-abiding citizens are permitted to possess a small caliber handgun or rifle only if they’re approved to purchase one at the country’s sole gun store.
Massachusetts House Democrats are ignoring those lessons from history (and current events), and their Senate counterparts are probably going to do the same when they unveil their own gun control legislation later this year. While they’re cracking down on the exercise of a fundamental civil right, repeat offenders like the teen above will continue getting second, third, and umpteen more chances even when they’re arrested and charged with serious crimes while out on bail for prior offenses.