Sunday, August 12, 2007

Guess I Better Say Something About This...

...before anyone else links to my blog, sending people here looking for my response only to be disappointed by my overwhelming lack of giveashit.

Gun permits drop 25% in Bay State

The number of licensed gun owners in Massachusetts has declined by more than a quarter in the past six years, a falloff driven by restrictive laws, higher licensing fees, and cultural change, according to police officers and gun owners.

Well, seeing as the number of PEOPLE in Massachusetts has declined steadily over the same time period, where's the story here? What would be surprising and newsworthy would be a story about gun owners moving INTO Massachusetts.

The drop is especially dramatic in the eastern part of the state and in urban areas. The number of licensed gun owners fell at least 30 percent in Boston, Springfield, Quincy, Fall River, and Waltham. It dropped at least 20 percent in more than 220 of the state's 351 communities.

The number of licensed owners climbed in about 40 mostly smaller communities in the central and western parts of the state. It also rose in a handful of eastern suburbs and cities, such as Weston and Brockton, according to data from the state's Criminal History Systems Board, which tracks licensed gun owners.

Overall, the number of people in Massachusetts with a license to carry a weapon has declined from about 330,000 to about 240,000 from 2001 to 2007. Over the past three years, the number of licensed owners has declined by 15,000.

So, by my math, from 2001 to 2004, the number of licensed gun owners in Massachusetts dropped an average of 25,000 a year, and over the following three years, an average of 5,000 a year.

From the Boston Globe - April 2006:

The estimates show that between 2000 and 2004, more residents left Massachusetts than moved to the Bay State -- with an average annual exodus of 42,402 people.

You'd think that there would be some concern among state officials about so many gun owners - people who have proven themselves to be upstanding model citizens - leaving for greener pastures, so to speak.

But, then again, it's not like don't have a plan. They'll just make up the difference with the illegal aliens coming in to Massachusetts for their free healthcare, discounted college tuition and state-issued government identification, and everything will be fine.

While some law enforcement officials praise the decline, police, politicians and antigun advocates caution that there are still plenty of illegal guns on the streets, contributing to a steady pace of violence.

It's funny how these idiots can look at law-abiding gun owners and see actual human beings - reckless individuals, in their minds, who are to be vilified as imminent dangers to society and themselves. Yet, it's the "illegal guns", not the non-law-abiding criminals, that are "contributing to a steady pace of violence" in the inner city.

Plus ├ža change, plus c'est la meme chose.

"Fewer firearms on the street makes life safer for everyone," said Robert F. Crowley, Quincy's police chief. "The average citizen who has a gun 24-7 I don't believe has the experience, knowledge, and training to know when and if they should use a firearm."

Ah, yes, our old friend Chief Crowley. I think I may have mentioned him before.

Many attribute the drop to a 1998 state law, the Massachusetts Gun Control Act, and subsequent changes, which dramatically changed the gun licensing landscape by increasing fees and making it more difficult for people with old legal problems to renew their license.

Yeah, not to mention those dangerous folks who, over the years, had committed the heinous crimes of forgetting to update their home address on their automobile registrations, failing to return a movie to Blockbuster, or living in a building with loud neighbors.

I'm shocked that the Globe didn't feel it was necessary to mention that in the years following the passage of the Gun Control Act of 1998, the state's rates for homicide, robbery and attempted robbery, and aggravated assault all saw a reversal in their downward trends from the years preceding the passage of the "most effective gun laws in the nation".

It now costs $100 for a six-year license for a handgun, shotgun, or rifle. It costs $25 for a six-year permit for a chemical repellent, with no renewal fee. A lifetime permit for a rifle used to cost $2. It can take about two months to get a license.

Unless, of course, you suffer the outrageous misfortune of living in Boston, in which case that C-note is just the tip of the iceberg, my friends.

There's the required safety course. That's another $100 (minimum).

There's the "mandatory" gun club membership, another $100-$200 a year.

There's the "mandatory" range test, which is only offered during the work week (hope you can get time off from work or find someone to watch your kids for a few hours). And, oh yeah, you're going to want to practice a little bit with a .38 revolver prior to taking that test. Gun rentals and ammo costs add up pretty quick.

Whatever you do though, don't dare suggest that we start requiring people to show a photo ID in order to vote. why, that would amount to a discriminatory poll tax, according to Ted Kennedy, who cringes at the thought of his constituents being forced to pay for their constitutional rights.

"People come in to renew and are shocked it's $100," said Keith MacPherson, deputy police chief in Waltham.

"Shocked"? I really don't think so.

Pissed off enough to pack up their shit and move out of state, maybe, but certainly not "shocked", per se.

Other New England states do not appear to have experienced a similar drop, although comparisons are hampered because permitting and records differ widely.

Wow. There's a news flash for you. The other New England states less hostile toward gun owners aren't seeing their gun owning population packing up and moving into Massachusetts.

Who'd have guessed?

Limited data show that the number of nonresident permits have increased by more than half in Maine and have more than doubled in New Hampshire since 2000 and 2001, respectively. Pistol permits are down slightly in Rhode Island and are up slightly in Connecticut.

"We saw a big increase after 9/11," said Sergeant William Gomane of Maine's State Police.

The law in Massachusetts was changed in 1998, and in later years, so that anyone convicted of a violent felony is disqualified from ever obtaining a state license. Those convicted of a misdemeanor or a nonviolent felony are also disqualified for five years following conviction or release. People convicted of assault and battery on family members, or crimes involving drugs or guns, are also disqualified.

"A slew of people are now prohibited," said Dennis Collier, a police captain in Revere.

Even before the new law, license applications were filed with local police chiefs, who have some discretion for granting or denying licenses.

If, by "some", the writer means "complete", then sure.

For instance, a person whose state and local background check shows he or she has been on trial for violent crimes, but not convicted, can be denied a license by the chief.

Welcome to Massachusetts: Innocent until...nah, fuck it...GUILTY!

Of course, the same bunch of "progressives" who hail that as "common sense" gun control are the same folks who are losing sleep over the fact that our government is holding enemy combatants, captured in the field of battle, without giving them a fair trial in an American court room to determine their guilt or innocence.

Being a Massachusetts leftist means never having to say you're consistent.

With even tighter restrictions, some gun owners have been infuriated, considering it an unjust and a transparent attempt to deny honest hard-working residents their right to own a gun.

Um...yeah. Who's arguing it isn't?

Edward Arsenault, 70, of Fairhaven, was turned down for his license renewal earlier this year because he had been convicted in juvenile court of stealing a chicken from a chicken coop when he was 9 years old, in 1946.

I bet all the families living on Bowdoin Street in Dorchester are sleeping soundly in their beds tonight knowing that their state government is devoting precious public resources toward disarming dangerous monsters like Mr. Arsenault here.

Arsenault said he barely remembers the incident.

"I have no problem with gun control or background checks, but let's not get ridiculous," said Arsenault, a gun license owner since the 1980s. "Something done when someone is 9 years old carries over until they are 70? We're not talking about robbing a bank; we're talking about stealing a chicken."

He appealed the ruling to New Bedford District Court in April and won, at least partly thanks to Fairhaven Police Chief Gary Souza, who testified on his behalf. It was the first time in more than four years on the job that Souza stood up for someone who had been denied a license, he said.

And, of course, he was duly compensated by the State for all the legal fees he racked up while fighting in court to have his rights restored.

Oh, wait. No he wasn't.

Massachusetts: Keeping those uppity poor folks from defending themselves since 1998, and proud of it.

In Boston, the number of licensed owners fell from 7,577 in 2001 to 4,374 this year, a drop of 42 percent. In the same period, gun licenses in Cambridge dropped 25 percent to 782; 71 percent to 484 in Brookline, and 33 percent to 1,150 in Newton, state records show.

"We're pleased that the number of gun owners has decreased in our city, but the real issue is illegal guns, and we need more laws to deal with illegal guns in our cities," Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston said in a statement.

Translation: "We're pleased that the ratio of law-abiding citizens to violent criminals has significantly decreased in our city. It's best for the children."

Hey, don't look at me. I've never accused him of being overly perceptive.

Mayor James E. Harrington of Brockton, a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a national organization, said that while it is good fewer firearms are around, the bigger problem is guns that make their way to the street illegally. He would like more restrictions on bulk out-of-state sales of guns by dealers.

Again, an elected official in Massachusetts proudly blurring the line between guns owned by responsible, licensed gun owners and guns being carried by gang members and drug dealers in the inner city neighborhoods in the state.

John E. Rosenthal, founder of nonprofit Stop Handgun Violence, said the drop in ownership is primarily because of the law, but might also be because of increased awareness of gun safety and violence. Maybe "moms who are the primary caregivers are concerned about guns in the home and maybe they are influencing the men in the home," Rosenthal said.

Yeah, you keep telling yourself that, you disingenuous stooge.

The drop did not surprise Andrew Arulanandan, a spokesman for the 4-million-member National Rifle Association.

He attributed the reduction to higher fees. "When you add additional taxes on any universe of people, there are going to be people who are forced to give up whatever pursuit that is being taxed. The victims here are the people with limited means and not the criminals. The criminals won't stand in line the tax."

Don Hunt, owner of Hunter's Trading Post, a gun shop in Weymouth, thinks the dropoff is partly because of negative media stories, which he said poison young people's minds toward firearms.

"This is not a gun sport friendly state," he said.

No shit.

I had no idea.

Attitudes toward firearms vary widely. Many people in rural areas and in the western part of the state enjoy hunting and guns.

In Chester, nestled in the foothills of the Berkshires, "the joke is, you don't live in Chester unless you own a gun," said Police Chief Ronald Minor. The town of 1,300 has about 185 licensed gun owners. Owning a gun "is like second nature, like having a car," Minor said. "It's just a different way of life."

Imagine that. A state government enforcing, with great vigor, a whole slew of restrictive laws that deprive a minority population of their rights and freedoms, just because they enjoy a different lifestyle than those in the majority.

How very progressive, indeed.