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By Larry Keane

A new study confirms Massachusetts gun control laws achieved “no effect” on reducing violent crime even though legislators promised they would.

Politicians earn support by promising constituents they’ll focus on a few key issues and delivering results. Antigun lawmakers in the Bay State achieved a rare trifecta-failure by curtailing voters’ Constitutional rights, eliminating hundreds of jobs and failing to make a dent on violent crime and enhancing public safety.

Predictable Results

Nearly 600 members of the public attended a July 2014 Massachusetts Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security on a massive gun control expansion considered by the legislature. Oddly, the proposal sought to ban modern sporting rifles (MSRs) that the state already banned in 1998. It also included a provision to implement rules allowing law enforcement to decide “may issue,” “suitability standards” regarding who can purchase not only handguns, but also shotguns and rifles, regardless of whether the buyer passes a NICS background check.

Deval Patrick
Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)

A month later, then-Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick signed the bill and Massachusetts House Speaker Democrat Robert DeLeo praised it, saying the package will “make Massachusetts one of the safest places in the world.”

At the time, Bay State Republican and Second Amendment advocate Rep. George Peterson said of the gun control package, he “didn’t find anything that will have an appreciable effect on gun violence. These are more restrictions on lawful gun owners.”

A new 2021 deep-dive study by researchers at American University proved Rep. Peterson clairvoyant, concluding that the gun control package has not reduced gun violence and gun crime at all in Massachusetts.”

Researchers looked at Massachusetts crime data and determined that the annual number of firearm-related crimes, homicides, suicides and criminal prosecutions appears unaffected so far, even after six years since the strong gun control package was implemented. Janice Iwama, assistant professor of justice, law and criminology at AU, said she “found no consistent effect of the new legislation on reducing four types of violent crime.”

That didn’t stop researchers from couching the law’s failures and pushing legislators to consider even more restrictive laws and that Massachusetts residents should just give it more time. “That doesn’t necessarily mean the law isn’t working, or was misguided. But it does raise questions about what a state that’s already got tough laws can do—and whether the state is really even trying.”

The Cliff’s Notes summary would say Massachusetts had strict gun control laws in place, legislators passed even stronger Second Amendment limitations on law-abiding gun owners and that residents have experienced no reduction in criminal gun violence. They didn’t count on losing jobs.

Economic Costs

Even with the 2015 restrictive laws having little noticeable effect on reducing crime, antigun Massachusetts legislators hadn’t quenched their thirst. They introduced bills to implement even more gun control in the state during the recent legislative session.

Ownership of America’s most popular-selling centerfire semiautomatic rifles were already banned in the Commonwealth, but firearm manufacturer Smith & Wesson watched as lawmakers introduced restrictions banning the popular gun from even being manufactured. That’s a significant portion of Smith & Wesson’s business and they made a difficult decision.

“We are under attack by the state of Massachusetts,” Mark Smith, Smith & Wesson’s President and CEO, said in a press release. “This has been an extremely difficult and emotional decision for us, but after an exhaustive and thorough analysis, for the continued health and strength of our iconic company, we feel that we have been left with no other alternative.”

Moving truck

Smith & Wesson announced 750 jobs would leave Massachusetts for greener pastures in firearm-friendly Tennessee. Troy Industries, which also manufactures MSRs, magazines and other firearm accessories, announced earlier this year the hostility in Massachusetts led them to pull up roots and move 75 jobs out of state. As of 2020, Massachusetts was home to nearly 5,000 firearm-industry related jobs with an economic impact of roughly $1.8 billion.

Gun control hostility has cost the state nearly one-fifth of those jobs. That’s directly attributable to laws that have had no measurable impact on reducing criminal gun violence.

Smith & Wesson has been a landmark business in Springfield since 1852. While overall violent crime in America is on a steady downward trajectory, and MSRs account for fewer total deaths each year in United States than knives, clubs and fists do combined. Gun control politicians in Massachusetts have buried their heads in the sand and ignored reality.

The result is there are far less jobs, more restrictions on the Constitutional rights of law-abiding Bay Staters and no noticeable reduction in violent gun crimes. Well done, Massachusetts politicians. This is something voters should remember.


Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.


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    • …and when the Progressive Democrats have shuttered all the oil / coal / NG fired power plants we can pay 10x current electric rates to charge those same electric vehicles. Probably on a California style rotating blackout schedule due to the lack of generated power.

      This is a feature not a bug in their New Green Deal.

      • Old Guy in Montana,

        I happen to know a thing-or-two about electricity. I am deeply–DEEPLY–concerned that our nation’s electrical grid cannot possibly have enough capacity to meet current demand PLUS the added demand of recharging everyone’s cars.

        Unless I am unaware of some miracle method of substantially increasing the capacity of our nation’s electrical grid (including electric generation), we are in deep doo-doo.

        • But, but..muh solar.

          Or perhaps the crazy idea that’s been circulating that every household can have a bicycle (rear wheel propped off the ground on a stand) attached to a coil motor. Everyone spins for 30 minutes per day. Exercise, weight management, and free electricity for all the Teslas.

          (insert the obligatory /sarc tag here)

        • I Haz a Question,

          As far as I can tell, the only remotely plausible way of recharging a car every day at 1/2 of homes (on average) requires supplemental energy generation and onsite energy storage.

          The supplemental energy generation would require solar panels and/or wind generators. (Note that you would need relatively small solar panel array or wind generator–but you would need it nonetheless.)

          And the energy storage system would require a battery bank at your home along with associated charge circuitry.

          How much will that cost? What about homes that don’t have a good location or even room for solar panels, wind generator, and storage system? What about people who live in apartments or condominiums and cannot possibly install such systems?

        • 30 years in the Nuclear Power business and I have to say I agree. Everything they touch turns to crap. I have been waiting for three months for a Generac whole house generator. They can’t make them fast enough.

        • “(including electric generation)”

          There is, but most won’t even consider the best alternative. Fission based nuclear, until we get the “Technology of tomorrow, and it always will be” productive fusion reactors down pat. By no means will I claim nuclear solutions are not potentially dangerous. Although the over the top hair on fire approach to the mere mentioning, is also well beyond the pale of reason & fact.

          Ironically, despite all the contrarian claims. There have been exactly no studies done on the effects of mass usage of solar and wind farms on the environment, aside from incidentals regarding bird populations or other very local wildlife impacts. I’d submit, less solar heating of the crust of the planet may hold some dire unforeseen consequences with regard to the state of the planetary core that should be modeled & investigated. A core that is the quite important source of our geomagnetic field. That which protects us from a large amount of cosmic radiation, GRB’s & EMP from our own star, I might add.

          I suspect they have no idea the effect hard gamma has on matter.
          Much less how non-conducive the upper echelon’s of the electromagnetic spectrum are to the existence of life, as we know it.

          Same should be done with wind farms, as we currently have no idea what widespread usage will do to the wind, and hence planetary weather patterns either. And yet, they pull these ‘solutions’ out of their asses as though they are the end all be all final answer without a thought to the potential repercussions.

          Surely that enumerated above bears at least some deep consideration, one would think? Or hope?

          “But, but. Muh nEuCleAr wAsTe!!?!”

          Radio Thermal Generator (RTG) in everyone’s garage to charge your electric car, or run your oven. That’s what you do with the byproducts with no further electrical infrastructure improvement needed. Somewhat facetious, but also very doable.

        • @9×39
          I agree. There are many things that can and should be done. I just don’t see any of it happening with so many people like Biden and other leftist lunatics in charge. Democrats are themselves holding the country and in fact the world back from the very things they say the want. We will never see advancement of any significance when there is no middle class and everyone but a small handful of elites have nothing and must spend all of their time fighting just to stay alive.

        • For the little bit I ever had to study critical infrastructure re emergency planning the electrical grid was the most critical and most critically vulnerable. To the best of my knowledge we haven’t fixed many issues since 2012 and I can only speculate it got worse re additional demand and subpart maintenance/generation.

        • “Or perhaps the crazy idea that’s been circulating that every household can have a bicycle (rear wheel propped off the ground on a stand) attached to a coil motor.”

          Within the next 5 years I’m planning on buying a Tesla product, their ‘Power Wall’ whole-house battery backup, for the reasons you have cited. All-price on the model 2 powerwall is about 13 grand installed. And as time goes on, start installing solar panels to feed it…

      • Old Guy in Montana,

        Expanding on my previous comment:

        A modest home central air conditioning system draws something like 1.8 kilowatts when it is running, which is only about 1/3rd of the time. Thus its average continuous power consumption is 600 watts (1/3rd of 1.8 kilowatts). As many people may know, electric companies always complain how their electrical grid struggles to supply that “extra” power draw of 600 watts per home.

        Newsflash: the electrical grid will have to supply at least an extra 500 watts of power for every home if/when everyone has electric cars. How is the electrical grid going to handle that?

        (Note: it takes about 12,000 watts on average to propel a car. And if the average person drives their car for one hour every day, they will need to draw 12,000 watt-hours from the grid to recharge their car every day. If they allow 12 hours to recharge, they are drawing 1000 watts continuously for 12 hours. Finally, if only 1/2 of homes drive their car and need to recharge every day, that averages out to 500 watts of continuous power draw for 12 hours every day to recharge cars at every home.)

        • “How is the electrical grid going to handle that?”

          man, you don’t get it at all. of course the grid can’t, so what will happen is car ownership will be reduced and restricted to those with a demonstrated “need” – meaning the chosen and those who work for them. just like “may issue” permits.

        • Not a real concern, since as soon as the glorious revolution is over, only the commissars and above will be able to afford transportation beyond bicycles.

    • Sir, this is a gun rights website…

      First off let me say that I am in NO way in favor of govt mandates including what my car runs on.
      That said, electric cars are the way of the future. Full disclosure I own one and the number one reason why I own one is because it literally saves me hundreds of dollars a month in fuel, and thats including the car payment and a slightly higher electric bill.

      To summarize his main points.

      IF and thats a big IF we all switched to evs today we would need approximately 1.25 Trillion more kWh of electricity per year. Currently the US produces 4.1 Trillion kWh per year. We would only need to increase production by about 30%. For reference: from 1960 to 2000 we increased electricity production from .76 Trillion kWh to 3.8 Trillion kWh… thats 5 times the production in 40 years or about 4% per year. If we increased at the same rate that would give us 6.5 years or so to have a grid that could support every car being electric. The thing is we have a lot longer than that. Current adoption rate is still very low. 2-3 cars out of 100 new cars sold is an EV

      FUD is for anti-gunners

      • Even if we increased grid output 30% (Elon Musk says 100%), there’s still the issue of battery materials:

        “If we replace all of the UK vehicle fleet with EVs, and assuming they use the most resource-frugal next-generation batteries, we would need the following materials:
        • 207,900 tonnes of cobalt – just under twice the annual
        global production;
        • 264,600 tonnes of lithium carbonate – three quarters of
        the world’s production;
        • at least 7,200 tonnes of neodymium and dysprosium –
        nearly the entire world production of neodymium;
        • 2,362,500 tonnes of copper – more than half the world’s
        production in 2018.

        And this is just for the UK.”

        ‘Electrifying the UK and the Want of Engineering’
        Michael Kelly

        (Michael Kelly is the Emeritus Prince Philip Professor of Technology at the University of Cambridge. He was a Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Department for Communities and Local Government.
        He is a fellow of the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering, and is a trustee of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.)

      • “Sir, this is a gun rights website…”

        Wes, the conversation occasionally wanders at TTAG, that’s how it rolls here, and it makes it a better place… 🙂

      • There is more to consider than transmission!! How many square miles of solar panels will need to be added in order to recharge all those cars?

  1. I’m sure all the staties and town police leaving because of the mandate will help things along.
    I figure after Tuesday the lefties would rather crash the car into a tree than pullover and let anyone else drive.

  2. “… Massachusetts gun control laws achieved ‘no effect’ on reducing violent crime even though legislators promised they would.”

    I want to make sure I understand this–a politician promised something and then failed to deliver? And this is surprising, why exactly?

  3. The “other” definition of insanity… know your policies are destroying you, but you double down anyway!

  4. Nobody’s fault but our own for continually electing these pinheads. People get the government they deserve.

    • “Nobody’s fault but our own for continually electing these pinheads. People get the government they deserve.”

      more like people who vote put idiots, fools, and bad people in office get the government they deserve, the rest of us suffer with it.

  5. “Politicians earn support by promising constituents they’ll focus on a few key issues and delivering results.”

    Um, no, not really. Politicians earn support because they say stuff which invokes warm-and-fuzzy feelings in their electorate. Whether or not politicians actually deliver carries very little sway, if any, on voters.

    The sooner we realize that many people are borderline hysterical and operate principally on feelings, the sooner we might–MIGHT–have a chance of turning things around in our nation.

  6. Remember kids, organized crime wants you disarmed, therefore so do all the corrupt politicians (and city councilmembers and etc.) that they effectively own. It is amazing to witness as all of US corporate media marches in such perfect lockstep in their total lack of curiosity on certain things, especially when it comes to dirty politicians all being so rabidly anti-gun as they vote for open borders and to defund police and so forth, doing everything precisely just as organized crime could want them to do. Coincidence?

    Nobody on the national news level can ever seem to be bothered into even looking for organized rime connections when it comes to anti-gun / open border / anti-cop politicians, when we all know that that such connections are there and they are plentiful. Shhhh! Much easier and safer to report on how violent crime is actually the fault of inanimate objects, because inanimate objects are not immensely wealthy, powerful, and well connected, and therefore not nearly so dangerous to expose, thus avoiding the potentially fatal beatdown you (and those you care about) could get if you ever went to war against our nation’s vast networks of hide-in-plain-sight organized crime. THAT would be dangerous business indeed, so nobody in media does it. They’d rather live to grow old.

    No News At 11.

  7. “We are under attack by the state of Massachusetts”

    no, you’re under attack by subversives who use the state government like a puppet. same as they use many other state governments and the federal government itself. the state of massachusetts is not the problem, these invaders are.

  8. Most Massh0les are Yellow Dog Democrats — meaning that they would vote for a yellow dog if it ran as a Democrat. This will never change. Too bad. This could have been a nice place.

  9. Mass gets closer and closer to becoming a British Colony again! Revolution started there once, wonder if it will take another? I grew up there (my parents fault) will never go back. Even in the 1970’s I found everyday bureaucracy and law enforcement intrusive. Seems like they’re still perfecting it.

    • The difference this time is that Islam and other international influences have much more impact on Great Britain. The British Crown doesn’t mean much anymore outside of the media, the paparazzi, and Obama. They aren’t good for much outside of fanciful headlines.

  10. These politicians don’t care about results. I think liberals believe, as an article of faith, that no one except the government should have a gun. It’s just that simple. Ordinary people with guns are a threat to their power.

    Every level of government in this Country has forgotten its purpose. Instead of protecting people’s liberty and doing those limited things outlined in the Constitution, they’ve become highly bureaucratized, tyrannical entities that believe their job is to control ordinary citizens “for their own good.” They’re not the people’s representatives using power loaned to them by the people for the common good. They’ve become “benevolent” masters by virtue of their self assumed moral and intellectual superiority over the “common folk.”

    It’s a shame that Massachusetts, the cradle of the American Revolution, has morphed into its present repressive state in just about 250 years. Our ancestors spent all that blood, sweat and effort – and for what?

    • “These politicians don’t care about results”

      oh good grief, yes they do. or rather their owners do. nothing they do is accidental, it’s all deliberate.

      • Your saying that the Clintons ‘meant’ to create a new American industrial sector surrounding the AR15?

  11. Well, as we all know, Gun-Free Zones are so darn safe. Gun-Free cities and states have the LOWEST gun deaths, like Chicago and NYC. /sarc

  12. Republican Rep. George Peterson said of the gun control package, “…These are more restrictions on lawful gun owners.”
    It’s a lot more than that. These laws directly violate the Constitutional rights of Massachusetts citizens. Republicans in that state need to sue the State for violating their civil rights.

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