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As TTAG reported, a screw-up prevented Massachusetts House Bill 4102 (“An Act to Reduce Firearms Violence”) from emerging from committee for a full legislative vote. The Boston Globe sheds some light on the apparent procedural mistake: “Last week, the bill’s future dimmed when a botched vote by the Judiciary Committee resulted in its rejection based on a 4-4 tie, despite reports that six members had voted for it and only four against. The committee tally also showed that nearly half of the 17-member panel had voted to take no immediate position, known in legislative parlance as voting to reserve their rights.” Known in these parts as staring down the barrel of the upcoming, post-Scott Brown election season and taking a powder. The Globe also fails to mention that the crucial two legislators whose votes weren’t counted somehow managed to miss the legal deadline to vote. Hmmm. And now Massachusetts Governor Patrick wants to reheat the cooling, mouldering hot potato . . .

Referring to the committee’s disputed rejection of his bill, Patrick said yesterday that he is working with DeLeo “to see if we can’t fix that.’’

“It is an important initiative,’’ the governor said. “It’s important to neighborhoods. You have only to pick up the paper, listen to the news and see the fear that’s in some of the neighborhoods because of the proliferation of guns.’’

Patrick added: “It’s very frustrating, but you know it’s going to take more than frustration to get it to move. I have been in touch with the speaker. He has assured me he’s going to do what he can to sort this out.’’

So Patrick is going to conjure up a little legislative legerdemain (i.e. cheat) to resurrect a zombie bill that makes it more difficult for Massachusetts residents to buy [highly restricted] guns, without even bothering to make a specific connection between the gun-a-month club bill and gun violence. Or explaining how similar restrictions in California, Maryland, Virginia, New York City and New Jersey helped reduce gun crime. Oh wait! They didn’t.

Is it me, or does Patrick’s comments make him sound like some kind of mafia don? Anyway, would the Gun-A-Month Club bill be the end of days for Massachusetts gun dealers? Here’s what an Ammoland writer predicted for New Jersey when they were on the cusp of enacting a similar bill:

Special orders for particular models of handguns will be a thing of the past. Eventually, Retail Dealers will be lucky to have any inventory for sale at all. Retail Dealers will only be able to obtain one handgun a month from any source except another Retail Dealer (who is not likely to sell any of their dwindling inventory to another dealer.) As dealer inventories sell out, they will not be able to replace it except at the worthless pace of one gun a month. In a short time, there will be no handguns left for dealers to sell.

Citizens will no longer be able to sell their handguns to New Jersey Retail Dealers, unless they have the one handgun the Retail Dealer wants to buy that month. God forbid they have more than one handgun to sell! For example, a widow selling the all the deceased’s handguns in the estate to a Retail Dealer will be a thing of the past.

The Retail Dealers will be stopped cold. Forget about selling your guns to a Retail Dealer, having the Retail Dealer enter the handguns on his/her bound record books and conducting an instant background check on their future sale. As Retail Dealers turn away private sellers in droves, there will be a boom in private sales, grey market sales and black market sales as demand and prices skyrocket!

Didn’t happen.

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  1. Robert, I'm confused about the last paragraph (the one quoted from Ammoland.) Are dealers also restricted to only obtaining one handgun a month? I had thought the law only prohibited retail buyers from buying more than 1 gun a month?

    Second point regarding the supposedly "sensible" one-gun-a-month restriction: At the risk of getting fitted for a tinfoil hat, the only way to make such a law work would be to maintain a pretty extensive database of every handgun sale at state level.

    After all, without such a database, what would prevent a buyer from buying a Glock at Gary's Gun Emporium on the 2nd of the month and then buying a Smith and Wesson at Sam's Shootin' Shop on the 5th? The dealer would have to have some way of finding out whether a potential customer has already bought his one-gun for that month or not. So if Mass doesn't already have mandatory gun licensing, this would be a back-door effort to acheive the same goal.

  2. No dealers are not. Which shows you that both sides of the debate are prone to hyperbole.

    The gun-a-month states use the NCIS background check database to red flag customers who DARE purchase more than one gun a month.

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