WBUR

Mass. Gun Laws Don’t Prevent Weapons Stockpiling

BOSTON — In June, police found 36 firearms and 8,000 rounds of ammunition when they entered the apartment of a man known as a recluse. This apartment was not in Aurora, Colo., where James Holmes is being held for killing 12 people at a Batman movie. This weapons cache was found in Brookline, just blocks from three public schools.

The discovery of the weapons and how police responded is a case study of how gun laws in Massachusetts differ from most of the rest of the country.

The Case Of Richard Becker

Relatives of Richard Becker hadn’t heard from him in a month. They were worried, so they asked police in Brookline to check on him to see if he was OK. Becker lives alone in a small apartment building he owns.

Richard Becker allegedly had 36 firearms, including an UZI, an AK-47 and a Colt assault weapon popularly used by the U.S. military.

Police visited Becker and saw that he was OK, but they were later told by Becker’s cousin he might have a gun. They followed up and found Becker used to have licenses for 18 guns, but all the permits had expired. He also had two warrants out for his arrest for missing jury duty. Police arrested Becker and searched his apartment, where they found an arsenal.

Becker allegedly had 36 firearms, including an UZI, an AK-47 and a Colt assault weapon popularly used by the U.S. military. None of them were currently licensed and the assault weapons are banned in Massachusetts. Police also said they found a crate of ammunition with more than 8,000 rounds in it — 2,000 more rounds than Holmes allegedly had. Becker’s court-appointed lawyer refused to comment.

Mass. Gun Laws Among Toughest In The U.S.

Massachusetts has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation, and the state has the lowest firearm death rate. But gun control advocates say it’s still too easy to get guns and a licensed gun owner can own as many as they want.

John Rosenthal, with Stop Handgun Violence, said, ”We just make it harder for criminals to get guns and we’ve proven that gun laws work.

“The system worked in a sense if they were able to detect that this guy for one reason or another didn’t re-license and therefore that was a red flag, and you know, maybe a massacre was averted as a result of good law enforcement,” he said.

But not renewing your gun permit is a civil offense, said Jim Wallace, head of the Gun Owners’ Action League. Wallace said often cities and towns drag their feet with license renewal.

Are Mass. Gun Laws Effective?

“I think it’s a great example of what a failure the gun laws are in Massachusetts and the licensing system is,” Wallace said. “We certainly don’t agree with the system, period. But let’s say in this case, not knowing him, maybe this person had some harm in mind to somebody, well, if he had some expired license why did he have his guns? That’s the whole system they are not watching.”

Wallace adds that since the state enacted tougher gun laws in 1998, gun ownership has fallen by 85 percent. Yet gun crimes have increased dramatically. And about once a year, someone is arrested with a stockpile of illegal weapons in Massachusetts.

Nancy Robinson, executive director of Citizens for Safety, wonders where the guns come from.

“It’s such a critical question, because it’s going to lead to the kinds of changes in the law we need and actions we can take to cut off guns to criminals,” Robinson said.

Robinson said the illegal gun pipeline runs across the borders to Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. In those states, you can buy an AK-47 for about $350 at a gun show. There isn’t a criminal background check requirement. Since 2004, when Congress allowed the assault weapons ban to expire, it’s legal in many states to buy the high-powered firearm.

In Massachusetts, gun owners are licensed by their local police departments. That allowed Brookline to know Becker might have 18 guns with expired licenses and get a warrant to search his apartment. In most states, law enforcement doesn’t know who owns guns because registration isn’t required. But many say gun registration doesn’t protect anyone.

“As far as the firearms laws protecting the good people of Brookline in this case, protecting them from what?” said Massachusetts attorney Keith Langer, who specializes in firearms cases. “In what way, shape, manner or form was he manifesting a threat to anybody, including himself?”

Last week, Becker was released on $5,000 bail and put under house arrest with a GPS monitor. He’s allowed one visit to his elderly father at a nearby nursing home. He’s unemployed and can only leave his house for errands. He has no record of mental health problems. But Becker’s father told police that utilities to the house had been shut off. And Becker owes hundreds of thousands of dollars in back property taxes on the three-unit apartment building. His next court date is in September.

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  • Akilez Castillo

    It’s a stupid law.

    I wonder why Dorchester has a lot of drive by shooting. It hasn’t stop and still going on

  • alan mudd

    “the assault weapons are banned in Massachusetts.”
    I heard that quote on NPR this morning and I had to respond. This is flat out WRONG. As long as the weapons are semiautomatic rather than fully automatic and are equipped either with 10 round magazines or “pre-ban” high capacity magazines, they are legal to own in Massachusetts with a MA firearms permit. I’d be glad to take Monica Brady-Meyerov to any Massachusetts gun store and show her the huge variety of insanely lethal weapons that any properly licensed citizen of this state is free to purchase. You can buy cheap AK-47s made in Eastern Europe as well as any number of AR15-type weapons, virtually identical to the gun used by James Holmes.

    • PaulD

      There’s a bit more to it than that.  A properly licensed person in MA can own an AR15, AK47 or other similar guns as long as that gun does not have a folding or collapsible stock, does not have a bayonet lug (you know, because mass bayonetings are a worry) and does not have a flash hider (a muzzle device that decreased the visible flash from powder burning as the bullet leaves the barrel).  

      Further, this article perpetuates the “gun show loophole” which is factually incorrect.  The loophole isn’t about gun shows it’s about private sales.  Most gun sales at gun shows are from federally licensed gun dealers and those dealers absolutely do background checks at the shows. 

      In most states, no background check is done when a private gun sale occurs and that is not the case in MA.  Guns can’t be sold to non-licensed people in MA via private or dealer sales and all people with gun licenses in MA have had extensive background checks.

  • Citizen

    Owning guns is not a crime in itself. Individual guns are not licensed and owning more than one is it a crime either. Having thousands of rounds of ammunition is not a crime, nor an indication that the person who has that much is going to commit mass murder. Like anything, there are those who cannot be trusted with guns, and making more laws isn’t going to stop gun violence. It takes thousands of dollars to “amass an arsenal”, not just $350 for an AK47 at a gun show. Do the math… Average $600 per gun, $21,600… $0.30 per round, $2,400. That’s at least a $24,000 collection. The point? The guy had some money, even if guns were illegal, he would have the means to buy some. Drugs are illegal last time I checked, I can probably go buy some down the street in less than 1 hour. Try enforcing the law in this state, rather than trying to make more laws every time there is a news headline. Let’s not make another new law that turns law-abiding citizens into instant criminals simply by possession of something they already own.

    • jimmind

      I agree in the abstract with your first three sentences.  However, in the case of Mr. Becker, we have a situation where I think that the system (not just the gun laws – but also the wellness check provisions) worked.  This fellow was known to be distraught since losing his mother, apparently not handling his father’s poor condition well, moving toward a tax foreclosure as he or his father were either not able or willing to pay the taxes on their building, all while sitting on a cache of guns in his urban apartment.  It is not difficult to envision a situation in which foreclosure day came and a fellow who might have have little else to lose decided that he wasn’t going out alive and was taking as many people as he could with him. 

      As I say, we didn’t get to that day and are unlikely to do so because the system worked (wellness check to discover the situation, gun laws to confiscate guns which he was no longer licensed to keep).

  • Citizen

    Let’s remember also that the MA AWB only bans the sale of new “assault weapons”. Any weapon in existance befoe the ban is still legal to own, buy, sell or trade. The only difference is supply and demand, so the price goes up. Any licensed person can go to a gun shop and buy a brand-new gun that is exactly the same as a “pre-ban” gun, just with a few less “evil features”. But guess what, an AR15 made yesterday can fire the exact same “high powered” bullet that an AR15 made 20 years ago can fire. Like I said in the other post, if you have money, you can buy guns. So what is the MA AWB? Discrimination against poor people! People who live in less affluent neighborhoods! Those are usually minorities, right? That’s discrimination! Where is the outrage? Minorities are being des ruminated against buying guns because they can’t afford the high prices caused by the unconstitutional MA AWB!

  • PaulD

    What exactly is the point of this article?  It’s quite a leap, and fairly offensive to legal gun owners, to link simple ownership of guns to what a mad man in CO did.  

    It should also be noted that the man in Brookline was once properly licensed in the state of MA to own all those weapons.  Further, the license he had was likely a “lifetime FID”.  In this case though, the MA legislature changed the meaning of “lifetime” after the FID was issued and never notified anyone.  Before 1998, gun owners in MA had to apply for a license to own guns and that license was supposed to be “lifetime”.  In 1998, the legislature changed that and made all gun owners reapply every 6 years.  

    It would be great if WBUR did a story on what it’s actually like to get a gun license in MA and how that gun license is subject to any whim the local chief of police may have.  I won’t hold my breath for this though.

  • tomdmeyer

    To second Citizen, the line  ”They followed up and found Becker used to have licenses for 18 guns, but all the permits had expired” makes no sense as written.  Much like cars, firearms are registered — here are the forms – while individuals have licenses and permits to use them.  From other media reports, it sounds like Myerov meant that Becker’s license had expired.

    It’s also worth noting — in addition to the fact that there’s not a shred of evidence to suggest that Becket had any violent intent — that the only reason police knew about the firearms was because a family member mentioned them (a part of the story left more than a little vague).  Gun laws accomplished absolutely nothing in this case.

  • Citizen

    For those who would say, “This isn’t the wild west anymore. Times have changed.” I agree with you. Back then people needed guns to help ensure there freedom and safety from ruthless thugs, roaving bands of evil-doers and sparsely populated areas where law enforcement was lacking. Today, we only need worry about corruption in political office, military and law enforcement, as well as ruthless thugs in drug gangs and roaving evil-doers that will torture and kill our families in the middle of the night. Yes, we can say that most in political office, law enforcement and military are good and honorable. But, unfortunately, we have to face the reality that those same institutions are inflitrated by criminaals at every level. The news headlines are everywhere about polititians on the take, police brutality and military criminal acts. Our Founding Fathers wanted to make sure we the people would always be able to protect ourselves from the evil getting out of control, so they wrote the Second Ammendment. As George Washington once said, “Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence. The church, the plow, the prairie wagon and citizen’s firearms are indelibly related. From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security, and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable. Every corner of this land knows firearms, and more than 99 99/100 percent of them by their silence indicate they are in safe and sane hands. The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good. When firearms go, all goes— we need them every hour.”

  • Mikeginns

    What happens when these permits expire? Shouldn’t someone or some entity follow up on these expired licenses/permits to take away the weapons or work to make sure a new permit is granted.  Here is where a pyschological evaluation could come in handy.

  • Mitchrx7

    Get educated and write this story again! This thing is full of ignorance. Shame on NPR. 

  • Bobstucco1

    The comment “Massachusetts has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation, and the state has the lowest firearm death rate” is untrue. According to the CDC, based on data from 2005-2009, the state with the lowest death rate due to homicide by firearms is New Hampshire, not Massachusetts. NH has a death rate due to homicide by firearms of 0.6 per 100,000 as opposed to MA where the rate is 1.7 per 100,000.

  • Info

    Hmmm. You can effectively deny people their right to vote, because of virtually non-existent “voter fraud” and people cheer. But talk about more sensible regulation of weapons designed specifically to kill a large number of people in a very short period of time, and a torrent of impassioned s0phistry is soon to follow. Makes perfect sense.

  • matty1234

    “Wallace adds that since the state enacted tougher gun laws in 1998, gun ownership has fallen by 85 percent. Yet gun crimes have increased dramatically. And about once a year, someone is arrested with a stockpile of illegal weapons in Massachusetts.”
    It would be great if Wallace was more specific on these “gun crimes”.  Are these gun crimes committed by people with criminal records, people without a gun license, etc.?  Are they committed with guns that are illegal, acquired illegally, without permit, unregistered, etc?  It seems to me the legal ownership has gone down but the illegal ownership and use has increased.
    Also notice the word “illegal” when describing the stockpile they find once a year.  They should tell both sides of the story because the licensed gun owner with no criminal background that purchases legal guns through legal channels seems to be roped into the criminals with illegal, unregistered weapons acquired through illegal channels.   That is the same as saying the average licensed driver should be further restricted because of the few unlicensed drivers caught driving a stolen car under the influence each year.
    We need tougher laws against crimes committed with guns, illegal or unregistered guns, selling guns illegally, etc.  Don’t punish the greater majority because of the crimes of the few minority.

  • burguest

    I just find Ms. Brady-Myerov’s choice of words (as a journalist) interesting.    The use
    of the word “stockpile” is not unintentional for a person whose job is words.    Of course
    nobody can never truly know someone’s real intent (as is clearly the case with Becker in this article).

    However the use of the word “stockpile” has a connotation, I would think if you did a
    survey, of saving up for a day when you will use it for purpose X.   Most times the word
    stockpile is used in conjunction with guns it has a negative connotation.

    However where Ms. Brady-Myerov uses the word “stockpile”, in a majority of cases of MA gun owners  is a hard earned and treasured (many hours researching, testing and deciding to spend those hard earned dollars) collection that can be used for numerous legal purposes like rile and pistol leagues, hunting, target practice, personal and home defense and creating family heirlooms.

    Its sad to see the alarmist words used by purported objective journalists to broad brush and connotate mal-intent to a not only treasured national past time but a constitutional right which was originally intended to protect each and every American from corrupt institutions that stepped on individual liberties which were then subsequently paid for, for us, in the blood of our ancestors.   

    We all love the 4th of July parades but forget the actual price paid for our liberties and are watching them slip away by simplistic assessments such as Brady-Myerov’s article.

  • Brian Dube

    “The system worked in a sense if they were able to detect that this guy for one reason or another didn’t re-license and therefore that was a red flag, and you know, maybe a massacre was averted as a result of good law enforcement,”  The guy sounds like he just withdrew.  Yes, I understand, the licenses expired and so ok.  The guns get taken and all that.  But to suggest there was a potential for violence just because someone owns a lot of guns and let their permits expire?  Just propaganda and very irresponsible “reporting”.  Other than missing jury duty, does this guy have a criminal background?  Addiction?  Mental illness?  Stockpile?  Sounds like an old guy who just got depressed.  Ammo is cheaper in bulk.  Maybe there are more facts left unsaid here, but this is an ignorant article.

  • Brian Dube

    Well said Burguest

  • trimone

    Myerov writes, “They followed up and found Becker used to have licenses for 18 guns, but all the permits had expired.” This is factually incorrect, a firearms license is the registration for a gun, in other words you DO NOT register every individual firearm that you own. Don’t let the facts get in the way of crafting a story with an agenda.
    Massachusetts fails to do the responsible thing, the state neglects to remind people that a license issued by the state is about to expire, just like with Registry of Motor Vehicles neglects to do with a driver’s license. The Commonwealth is more interested in coming up with another way to go after a citizen rather than facilitating one to stay current with licenses.

  • Lynch72

    Ok so the guy broke Mass law by failure to register his weapons and he also owned weapons that are illegal in Mass, I get that.  But to say that a “Mass killing might have been avoided” is just crazy.  If law abiding citizens have their guns taken away then the only people that will have them are the POLICE and the CRIMINALS.  When seconds count to protect your loved ones the POLICE are just MINUTES away.  It is not their job to protect the PUBLIC from the CRIMINALS with GUNS, it is their job to clean up the mess that a CRIMINAL with a GUN creates.

    What if one of the victims in that MOVIE theater had a weapon, they could have stopped the gunman by shooting back.  Without the PUBLIC being allowed to Legally poses and carry a hand gun in public we are all just sheep waiting to be killed.

    • cola

      “What if one of the victims in that MOVIE theater had a weapon, they could have stopped the gunman by shooting back.  Without the PUBLIC being allowed to Legally poses and carry a hand gun in public we are all just sheep waiting to be killed.”Not so much.  That guy had ballistic body armor.  The solution to speech we don’t like is more speech, but the solution to gun use we don’t like is NOT more gun use.  This business about preventing a massacre is a red herring: if the guy had intended to do such a thing, and he had simply kept his licenses up, the laws wouldn’t have stopped him.  If we want less gun violence, we need to look at its actual causes and address them.  Saying we should encourage more gun-based self-defense is a knee-jerk reaction and is really more about perceptions of safety.

  • Citizen

    I used to think that WBUR reporters were providing factual accounts. Now I see that even they omit, skew or put in false statements to get a story outcome the way they want it.

    • http://twitter.com/wwwcash Criostoir

      The constitution is a great argument when it suits, hey even corporations are people nowadays.

      The only reason to own most weapons is to kill people, period…

      • Steve

        Yes, the purpose of a weapon is to kill people.  It’s an unfortunate fact of life, but sometimes it needs to be done (like if somebody’s trying to do harm to you or your property and you need to defend yourself).

        Let’s not forget why the founding fathers protected the right to bear arms.  Ultimately, it was not for hunting, nor even self defense (although it doesn’t preclude those reasons).  It was because they had just fought off the most powerful military in the world for their freedom and ours, and they knew that an unarmed citizenry would be sitting ducks for a power-hungry government, and that in the rare and unfortunate event that the people (collectively) had to take the country back b y force, they would at least have a more reasonable chance to do it.

  • Steve

    Another liberal hit piece on the second amendment.  Every time some lunatic shoots up bunch of people, the anti-gun nuts come out of the woodwork to play on peoples’ emotions and call for more gun control.  Every gun control law on the books is unconstitutional, and therefore violates the SUPREME law of the land.  Gun laws are illegal, plain and simple.  If the liberals want to outlaw guns, then let them go through the very tough process (by design by our founding fathers) of amending the constitution!

    • Matty1234

      steve I support the second amendment but you do need to draw the line somewhere. Back when the 2nd Amd was written it took about a full minute to load and fire a single inaccurate shot. With the gun technology today there needs to be a line in the sand where only certain guns can be made available to the general public for the safety of the general public.  Furthermore these days there are more reasons to own a gun than just “to kill people”.  They are used to hunt, for sport, for pleasure, as family heirlooms, collection pieces.  You should not paint all gun owners with a broad brush that they just own guns to kill people.  Sometimes amendments are dated and need to be reinterpreted to todays world, unless of course your still afraid of having to forcibly quarter soldiers during war time

  • Jack211

    Steve,

    Here’s the text of the second amendment: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free
    state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be
    infringed.”

    Most people, the Supreme Court included, only see the second phrase (the words after the comma). In the context of the time it was written, the United States had just won the war of independence, which would not have been possible without citizen militias consisting of farmers and other ordinary people who used their guns to fight against the British army. Today, since citizen militias no longer exist, the need to for everyone to have a gun also no longer exists.

    Then why does the US have the most heavily armed population in the world? Is it to protect ourselves from all the other people who have guns? Or is it to give us the feeling of power, invincibility, safety, superiority – in other words a purely emotional reasons? Regardless of the motives behind gun ownership, the consequence of owning some many guns is this: over 30,000 people each year are killed by firearms in the US, and 100,000 are injured. If these statistics were due to a disease, there would be research to uncover the causes, develop treatments, and find a cure. But since guns are the cause of death, we have chosen to ignore the problem, unless you buy into the argument if everyone was carrying a gun, nobody would use them. Sounds a lot like the nuclear arms race, which fortunately for the world, the countries involved eventually saw the error of that their strategy.

    Imagine a world where only law enforcement and the military possessed guns. No more drive by shootings, no more armed robberies, no more murders committed in heat of anger because a gun was at hand. It may sound impossible to achieve, but anything is possible if we want it badly enough!  A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.

    • PaulD

      Jack, you really ought to study a bit of history if you think the country would be better off if only the police and military had guns.  Further, it’s profoundly naive to think that there would be no armed robberies if we got rid of guns or murders committed in the heat of anger.  

      • Jack211

          I agree that this country could not have won the Revolutionary war if
        citizens did not have guns. But that was then and this now, and if this
        country were attacked by another, the guns owned by private citizens
        would not have any effect at all.

        If you own guns is to protect yourself from people who have them and
        want to harm you, then if there were NO guns at all, except in the
        hands of law enforcement and military, then you wouldn’t need to worry
        about being harmed someone who has one. Granted, since we have about one
        gun for every person in this country, getting rid of them will take
        time. But imagine what it would be like if we did!

        In the UK, where the guns law are much stricter than here, the
        police do not carry guns unless they trying to apprehend people who they
        believe to be armed. The death rate from guns there is also much lower,
        proving that having fewer guns means fewer deaths. The US is proof that
        having more guns mean more deaths.

        • CaneFu

          “if this country were attacked by another, the guns owned by private citizens would not have any effect at all. ”

          Here’s a quote from modern history during World War II….

          “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.”

          This is a quote from Isoroku Yamamoto who was a Fleet Admiral and Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. Also, the recent U.S. military failures in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam prove beyond any doubt that determined citizens armed with nothing more than rifles can outlast the mightiest army in the world.

          Honestly Jack211, you’re just plain ignorant of recent history.

        • CaneFu

          “If you own guns is to protect yourself from people who have them and want to harm you, then if there were NO guns at all, except in the hands of law enforcement and military, then you wouldn’t need to worry about being harmed by someone who has one”

          WOW, more ignorance on your part. Many home invasions these days are committed by young guys who are armed with nothing more than a baseball bat or knife. At almost 60 years old, my only real chance for survival in an instance like that is to use a firearm to defend myself.

          The Department of Justice has estimated that close to one million law-abiding citizens every year in the U.S. defend themselves with a firearm without ever having to fire a single shot – merely pointing their gun at a bad guy is enough to stop the crime from happening. You need to educate yourself instead of letting your mind wander around in fantasy-land all the time.

    • Steve

       Jack said: “Imagine a world where only law enforcement and the military possessed guns.”

      Oh yeah, that’s great!  Don’t you understand that that is exactly what the founding fathers DIDN’T want?  They did NOT want only the government to be armed, with the people to be at their mercy.  That’s why they constitutionally protected our right to bear arms.

      It’s important to understand how human nature works.  Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  A government that is armed against the people is going to abuse that power.  Just look at every dictatorship in the world.

      As a liberal, you look around the world and see nice people.  As a conservative, I look around the world, and I see the evil in those people you see the good in.  Sorry, but that’s just the way it is.  I’m a realist.  People are rotten at their core.

      And lest you accuse me of being the next James Holmes, I don’t own any guns.  I never have.  And I’m not a recluse.  I have friends, and I get out in the world.

      But you mentioned the militias.  Isn’t it interesting how people are not organized into militias anymore?  Gee, I wonder if that has anything to do with the militias being demonized by the anti-gun nuts and our government?

      Maybe the intent the founders had when they wrote the second amendment was to allow the people to form their own mini militaries that could be utilized if the people ever did need to take the country back.  But thanks to our shallow culture and the ignorance created by the public education system, far too many people don’t even understand that.

      • Jack211

         Given the strength of this country’s military, you should be advocating
        that citizen militias have their own fighter bombers, drones, cruise
        missiles, and, almost forgot, helicopter gun ships. Even if people were
        allowed to buy all the assault rifles and machine guns they want,
        it wouldn’t make a difference against the US military! That battle was lost a long time ago! The armed militia argument starts to sound like a smoke screen to hide the real reasons people own guns. Might it be that guns make some people feel big and powerful? The same reason they drive big pickup trucks and SUVs? I say this because all publicly expresses reasons for gun owner don’t make a lot sense when subjected to some critical thought.

        • PaulD

          How myopic and arrogant.  Exactly who’s critical thought are you talking about?  As I said, you should study some history.  

          - We’re still not fully out of Iraq and Afghanistan.  What kind of weapons did the insurgents there have?  The answers are rifles and home made bombs.  I bet GWB had the same attitude you do before we went in there.
          - During Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the Nazis were held off by a month by a small band of starving Jews with a handful of rifles.
          - Even ignoring the tyranny argument, do you want to tell this woman she can’t have a gun? http://cheaperthandirt.com/blog/?p=16441

          The police in many parts of the country take on the order of 20 minutes to get to homes in large unincorporated areas.  It’s not like living in Brookline.  The home invaders in that case did not have guns.  Even if all guns were to magically disappear, it doesn’t mean an end to weapons.  Machetes, bats and plenty of other implements would fill in for those with the will.  The unfortunate part would be that none of them can equalize those of varying physical strength like a gun can.  

          • Jack211

             It’s unfortunate that so many people in this country are not able to have a discussion without resorting to calling someone “myopic” and “arrogant” simply because you disagree with their opinions.

            As far as the woman and home invasion goes, there are just as many examples, if not more, of lives lost due to guns. Children shot by cross-fire from drive by shootings or by playing with a gun they found in the house or by a friend who found one at home. Law enforcement people know that a gun in the home is more likely to injure a member of household than an intruder.

            Rather than look at one-off incidents, it would be interesting to see statistics on the the number of lives saved by guns versus the lives lost.

            A quick search turned up this article from Time Magazine: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,152446,00.html

            The article concludes there are no good statistics on how many lives are saved by guns, just lots of stories.

        • Guest

          Au Contaire, Jack.  Some of us live in areas where a weapon is necessary. I, for one, live in the wilderness where no one can hear anything except a gun shot. We can signal someone or shoot someone, whichever is necessary. 

          During deer season, the deer come on my property and eat and rest. On the other hand, I will shoot near a mountain lion that is bothering my horses. If it doesn’t learn, I will shoot it.

          Therefore, what do you mean when you reference “critical thought?”

        • KGL

           ”Even if people were allowed to buy all the assault rifles and machine guns they want, it wouldn’t make a difference against the US military! That battle was lost a long time ago!”

          Really? Like how the British won in 1782?

          Or how the Confederacy was so easily swept aside in 1861?

          Or how handily we disposed of the VC in Viet Nam?

          And that’s just American history – others have noted the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the Afghans fighting the Russians to a standstill and the present insurgent wars we are STILL supposedly winning.

          You might want to try reading something with a tad more depth and factual content than you currently have.

          • Jack211

            I’m starting to think that all you people who advocate gun possession and citizen militias because of a need defend yourselves against a tyrannical government, are really thinking of an armed revolt against the United States.

            I draw the line at having discussions with terrorists

          • Steve

            Jack, maybe the reason you’re taking so much heat over your comments is because you display a lack of understanding of History 101, Constitutional knowledge, and human nature.  Believe it or not, we would all like a utopia like the one you describe.  But it’s not going to happen by putting a band aid over the problem (banning firearms).

            Then you go and call us terrorists.  Had you been alive during the American Revolution, you would have been a flaming Loyalist.  And had the Loyalists had their way, we’d all be singing God Save the Queen today.

          • Bob serving in the Army.

            Maybe you should google the battle of Athens.

    • KGL

       ”Today, since citizen militias no longer exist, the need to for everyone to have a gun also no longer exists”

      An egregrious misstatement of law.

      In point of fact, those citizen militias you claim “no longer exist” are specifically codified in both MA and Federal law; MGL c. 33, sec. 2 and 3; and 10 USC 311, to be precise.

      You also manifest an equally severe misunderstanding of this nation’s history and the origins, meaning and purpose of the Second Amendment.

      As for your utopian alternatives – look at Britain, with its skyrocketing violent crime rate and utter loss of even self-defense in the home.

      Why is are the Sudanese Christians fleeing that country? Because they have no arms and are utterly defenseless when the Muslim janjaweed brigands sweep down to wipe them out. Note that the genocide in Rwanda was carried out with mere machetes and torches for the most part. Sophisticated weapons are not needed when your victims have none of their own.

      Note also that those nations crying the loudest for the UN weapons treaty are those Third World countries whose dictators fear being toppled – as some have been this year.

      Stellar company you would put us in…..

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ROKB7VFJRZ52WRQA4FIYDJRB4M Mike

      Jack,I take issue with almost everything you just said. But I’ll simply respond to a few key points where you’re wrong or misleading.
      - There were only 8,775 murders involving firearms in the United States in 2010. That represents roughly 75% of all homicides. To say there were 30,000 is misleading at best. Roughly half of all reported gun deaths are suicides, not homicides. So you’ve essentially inflated the number to 30k when it’s actually about 20k. You’ve also made it sound like these were all the result of crimes. They weren’t.
      - The Second Amendment didn’t have an expiration clause in the event we no longer maintained militias. The operative phrase is “the right of the people to keep and bare arms shall not be infringed.” That’s an absolute statement. It doesn’t say that the right will be infringed for people who aren’t in militias. It doesn’t even say you need to have a militia to preserve this right. The militia statement is merely provided as justification. But it has no bearing on the validity of the amendment. The Supreme Court has always interpreted it this way too.
      - You said “is it to give us the feeling of power, invincibility, safety, superiority?”The reason I own a gun is irrelevant and I don’t have to justify it to you. If it’s to feel powerful, so be it. If it’s for safety, so be it. Why don’t you mind your own business? 

      - You said, “Imagine a world where only law enforcement and the military possessed guns.” God help us. I can imagine that kind of world and it’s a frightening place where the people are powerless, stripped of their last line of defense against government and criminals alike. Ultimately, only a gun can preserve liberty when you’re confronted with evil men who wish to do you harm. Voting, talking and even begging are useless when someone has a gun pointed at you. Think about it.

  • X-Ray

    I beleive the article is wrong. In MA the owner is licensed, not the gun. The gun, if bought in MA, must be registered but the registration doesn’t expire. The owner’s (one) license may have expired, however.

    • KGL

       That is correct. Owners are licensed; not guns.

      Firearms TRANSFERS are registered. However, guns which were owned prior to the system being computerized in the late ’90′s are not in that system and people who bring their guns WITH them when they move do not “register” their guns in MA.

      Should they sell those guns later, the transfer would be recorded.

      • Steve

         Can a Massachusetts licensed gun owner have a gun that they cannot buy/sell
        because it is not on the proper State lists? For example, can I own/possess a gun
        that was given to me as a gift from my uncle in NH even if that gun, say a Ruger
        LCP, is not legal for sale in MA?

  • Guest

    I think this issue hinges on the length of time a person has owned a gun. I have guns I inherited, guns I’ve owned for more than 20 years and guns I’ve bought from individuals who could no longer own guns (convicted of something).  Never have I gone to a store and bought a gun.

    NO one has ever told me that I need to leave my land to register my guns.  Since everyone hears me shooting targets and a few Deputies have driven out to see what was going on,  no one has ever told me I needed to register anything.  I think it’s because I’m on my land.

  • Citizen

    Both sides each try to project their assumption of how the other side thinks or feels. Then there seems to be the responses that if you don’t agree with a view, you are automatically to the extreme side of the “opposition”.

    The fact is, crime happens, those in power become corrupt and do criminal things to cover it and keep themselves in power. Politians lie and distort the truth for their own personal gain. Both side, left and right has had their fair share of convicted criminals in office.

    Until such time that the government can garuntee me and my family that we will never fall victim to the evil intent of criminal thugs, I will keep and bear arms to try and do it for myself and my loved ones.

    Many are correct in saying that guns, if unchecked may result in more gun incidents. That is because the common denominator in people will always make the most noise and cause the biggest problems.

    For every story of someone killed by a gun, there are also stories of people saved by them, just not as widely reported.

    We do not have democracy because we voted to have it. We have it because we fought for it. Our government and military do not rule us with iron fists, because we are armed… Maybe, probably not. But if we were not armed, it could happen, the same way it happened in other countries in the past. Slowly erode the rights until rule is cemented in place. Taliban in Afghanistan. Egypt’s emergency rule; arrest and detain without cause. USA rendition.

    Let’s hope we all don’t allow ourselves to be shuffled into silent minorities where the people labeled as “nuts” can be swept up and put away for our “safety”

    Hopefully none of us will ever see the day when evil stands before our eyes, it’s steely teeth in grin for the impending strike of brutal assault onto which may befall the ones unable to bear themselves to defense. Death does not always come quickly, and the savagery inflicted for the pleasure of others makes one cry out to beg for help upon the deaf ears of huddled sheep. And when death finally arrives and is granted to the suffering, the sheep mill about in a frenzy, only to later return to their contented lives, hoping once again, the Shepard will save them, or the wolf will take some other.

  • Bill

    “To Disarm The People – That Was The Best And Most Effectual Way To Enslave Them”

  • Rbrooks

    Stop being busybodies. A pile of ammo amd guns doesn’t imply an imminent mass killer.

    The grabbers have to get over this notion that possessing things guaranteed us by the 2nd amendment, whether it is one or ten, is not an issue. Most mass shootings involve one gun and under 20 bullets. What do the other 7980 have to do with it?

    I am am avid shooter that buys in bulk and there is 10000 rounds in my house at all times since bulk is the best pricing — AND because fools want to take away my rights regularly so I feel the need to get it while I can.

    Stop demonizing gun owners and the problem goes away. You’re creating felons from thin air,an criminals still kill people wholesale. Stop.

  • sam

    what kind of guns do cops in the us use

  • sam

    i need to know what guns do cops use in the usa

  • sam

    what guns do cops use in usa

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1815048196 White Rabbitt

    No where in the Second Amendment does it authorize gun registration, period.

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