I wrote this comment in response to a stat-dependent Boston.com editorial recommending House Bill 4102. It also contained this challenge: “I would love to hear from gun advocates a good reason why anyone, other than traffickers, would need to purchase more than one in a month’s time.”

You asked for a reason why someone would want to buy more than one gun a month. Others have pointed out that it is their right to do so. Commentators have said that, as consumers and legal gun owners, they simply want to exercise that right in response to sales and other personal preferences. There’s another, more practical reason: self defense.

Most home invasions are not the stereotypical “bump in the night” burglary, where a homeowner only needs a single, easily accessible (for them) weapon. Most home invasions are fast, violent, daylight assaults.

IF a person is going to use a firearm to stop a home invasion, the best place to have it is on them. For adults with children, that’s not really an option, from both a safety and psychological point of view. It’s also not the most comfortable of accoutrements. And I’m sure you’d consider it a sign of paranoia. But just because you’re paranoid . . .

Anyway, to defend against a home invasion with a gun, you need to have a gun. It has to be nearby. Home defense experts recommend a quick access gun safe in most major areas of the home. Hence multiple guns.

Then there’s the fact that a small, concealed carry gun is not an ideal home defense gun. If a threat could strike anywhere (e.g. stalker, sexual deviant), you need one gun for each environment: home and away.

So why not spread out the purchases over a few months or more?

Here’s the problem: when someone who doesn’t own any guns feels the need to own a gun, they usually do so in response to a specific, credible, immediate threat. So they need a gun NOW. Or, as I’ve tried to argue, they need multiple guns. This new law wold make that impossible.

Again, I understand the “gun nuts are paranoid” defense against this personal defense argument. As you seem to love stats, I’m sure you could make a case that more people are killed through good guns gone bad than gun owners than home owners killed by home invaders because they only had one gun.

No matter what the numbers say, Americans have the right to armed self-defense. Even in Massachusetts. So if we have that right, we should also have the right to do it effectively. (Don’t get me started on the types of restricted weapons and weapon systems in The Bay State.) Restricting gun buyers to one gun a month may seem like a sensible move, but it will have deadly unintended consequences. Which are worthy of your reasoned consideration.

3 Responses to Why Massachusetts House Bill 4102 (One Gun a Month) Is a Bad Idea

  1. Timely photo. Massachusetts minutemen become the monthmen. (Talk about the feminization of America!)

    Some historic accomplishments of the Massachusetts Monthmen:

    1. They fired the little known "tardy shot heard round the world"

    2. They arrived in Lexington in May 1775. The British had cleared out of the area so they stopped in at Buckman Tavern and had a beer.

    3. They spent the winter of 1778 at Valley Forge. Conditions were rough. The men complained that it was a bit "sticky" due to the humidity and the mosquitoes were thick as flies. Nonetheless, most of the men were able to work on their tans and felt good about themselves come fall.

    4. They arrived at Yorktown in November 1781. Again, the British were gone. But they left an awful mess. So after a brief party to celebrate the end of the war, the monthmen courageously donned blaze orange jumpsuits and began picking up trash along the turnpike.

  2. December, 2003. Wife finally admitted she didn’t know what to buy our kids for Christmas. So I took over. Bought a .22 rimfire (Cricket) for the youngest, a .243 deer rifle for the oldest. Best Christmas ever, according to the kids. With some money I received myself, I then late in the month bought a .38 snub, just cause I wanted one. Three firearms, one month. Totally justified. Totally American.

    At one time, long long ago, when I was still single and (relatively) rich (compared to married and poor), I bought a rifle/pistol combo. Level action Winchester and Ruger single action in the same caliber. Two firearms, one month (one day, actually). Again, totally practical and somewhat common type of purchase.

    Yes, I know the above doesn’t sound like a fundamental constitutional right argument. But there are some very practical scenarios for purchasing more than 1 firearm a month that don’t involve self-defense.

  3. I bought a .40 cal hand gun for self defense. A short time later hunting season was upon us and I looked at a .12ga shotgun but didn't like the one in stock. The owner said a few days to order it, and I saw a Weatherby 300 mag on the wall, and bought it, deciding to hunt ME instead of MA. A few days later they call and say "Your shotgun came in," and I said I didn't order it, but they said it was there with my name on it, and bought it feeling guilty. Friends and I decided to hunt ME with pistols, and the day before at the target range the firing pin broke in my .40 cal, so I bought another one for the hunt, as no gunsmith would fix it in a day. When shotgun season ended in MA I bought a muzzle loader for that season, and then my wife wanted to shoot at the range with me so I bought a Walther P22 she could handle. Those were all guns I NEEDED in a two month period. I still have all of them, haven't lost or sold any and killed nobody with them.

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