MA Gun Crime Due to Surrounding States’ Lax Laws. Or Not.

Just down from Maine? (courtesy

Gun-related crimes on the rise in Massachusetts, proclaims the headline at the Boston Globe, factually enough. And then the strap-line: Firearms flowing across borders. In other words, firearms-related crime is on the rise in Massachusetts because “The quality of your gun-licensing laws is only as good as those surrounding you.” Ayup. Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox pins the blame for the Bay State’s gun-related crime on adjacent states’ firearms freedom. I mean lax gun laws. Interesting that the article starts with the blame shifters and then reveals the rate of rising gun crime. Just for S&Gs, let’s do it their way . . .

Many guns found in Massachusetts travel only a short distance: 133 crime guns were traced to New Hampshire in 2011, and 79 to Maine, according to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Those states alone accounted for nearly one-third of the 669 crime guns traced to states outside of Massachusetts.

New Hampshire and Maine, unlike Massachusetts, do not require a permit or license to buy a gun, although weapons bought at federally licensed gun shops are subjected to a background check.

“If you’re a kid in New Bedford and you had a beef with somebody, what do you do? You drive three hours to Maine to buy a gun,” said New Bedford Mayor Jonathan Mitchell, a former federal prosecutor in Boston, who appeared with Menino and other Massachusetts mayors last week to press for stricter gun laws.

If Maine had tougher gun laws, the bad guys would just give up and forget about the whole thing, I suppose. Lest we forget, Maine gun dealers don’t have to run buyers through a NICS background check. Oh wait, they do. And non-dealer firearms sales to felons are legal in Maine. Oh wait. They aren’t.

And God knows there aren’t any illegal guns already in Massachusetts. Oh wait. There are. In fact, here’s a handy little chart detailing the origin of guns used for Massachusetts firearms-related crimes (according to the Globe).

I wonder why NONE of the guns listed are from Massachusetts. What are the odds?

Anyway, 212 out of 366 guns in the survey come from adjacent states: New Hampshire and Maine (RI doesn’t get a look in). But it’s also true that almost half—154 of the 366 guns in the survey—came from way the heck out of state.

Thirty-eight guns (more than 10 percent) migrated from California (with some help, presumably). Why that’s one of the only states with tougher (i.e. more unconstitutional) gun control laws than Massachusetts!

And while we’re talking about stats, let’s see how the civilian disarmament movement’s doing in Massachusetts, reducing crime-wise:

In 2011, Massachusetts recorded 122 murders committed with firearms, a striking increase from the 65 in 1998, said Fox, the Northeastern professor. Nationwide, such murders increased only 3 percent from 1999 to 2010, the CDC says.

There were increases in other crimes involving guns in Massachusetts, too. From 1998 to 2011, aggravated assaults with guns rose 26.7 percent. Robberies with firearms increased 20.7 percent during that period, according to an FBI analysis conducted for the Globe.

The rise in Massachusetts shootings extends beyond crime. All gunshot injuries not resulting in death, including accidents but excluding suicide attempts, increased 20 percent from 2001 to 2011, according to the state Department of Public Health. Across the country, the rise was 18 percent, the CDC reported.

To be fair, the Globe checks in with Massachusetts gun rights advocates, who deride the “it’s not working so we need to do more of it” mindset. It’s odd that no one mentions the fact that gun rights are not dependent on any sort of crime calculus. But there it is. The article ends with this little afactual gem.

Gun-control advocates scoff at the notion that rising gun violence can be attributed to the 1998 laws. Instead, they suggest, the problem is linked to large cuts in police budgets, recession-related poverty, and the continuing flow of guns from out of state. “Since 2000, law enforcement funding has been cut by billions across the nation,” said John Rosenthal, founder and chairman of Stop Handgun Violence, an advocacy group based in Newton.

Yes, police budgets have been cut, but it’s worth noting that police budgets have been ballooning for decades. Click here for a list of how much government spends per resident per year on police throughout Massachusetts. Not taxpayers. Residents.

How much of that money goes to police pensions? Dunno. But I do know that Massachusetts gun owners’ Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms is about to get hammered. Again. Still.