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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.