Vox: Let Law Enforcement Deny Gun Rights Based on Their Discretion

courtesy Vox

“Discretion, (Daniel Webster) argued, allows police to wade into that middle ground even when the law might not explicitly ban a person from owning a gun. One example: Perhaps a person’s wife recently told a police officer that someone has suicidal or homicidal thoughts. If that person then comes in and tries to get a license, the police chief could use that discretion to deny the application, even if expressing violent thoughts is not explicitly disqualifying under the law.

“To this point, there are multiple issues within gun violence. An assault weapons ban likely won’t have an effect on suicides, gang shootings, or domestic violence, for example, but it may have a significant effect on mass shooting deaths. Other policies may have different effects in different categories.

“Wherever researchers ultimately land on the effect of individual laws versus the whole picture, there’s little debate that Massachusetts has a fairly robust, effective set of gun laws. That includes not just the licensing system, but also a safe storage law, the registration portal, legal requirements for reporting lost or stolen guns, restrictions on private sellers, bans on assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines, a list of prohibited gun buyers that extends far beyond federal law, oversight on gun dealers that goes above the federal standard, and much more.” –  German Lopez in Vox, I Looked for a State That’s Taking Gun Violence Seriously. I Found Massachusetts.


  1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    So what if someone’s wife doesn’t come in and tell police that her husband is suicidal and they deny him his rights anyway?

    1. avatar Casey says:

      Mandatory reporter law. If anyone ever says or does anything that might possibly indicate that they were thinking about contemplating suicide or are in any way visibly depressed, sad, or not just up-beat and pleasant people, and you DON’T report them immediately to the police, then you’re criminally liable for violating that law, whether or not they actually suicide.

      And you better act real happy about it.

      Or else.

      1. avatar Alex says:

        Everything is awesome!!!

      2. avatar Ross-I-GNL-6 says:

        The Computer wants you to be happy. Happiness is mandatory. Failure to be happy is treason. Treason is punishable by summary execution.

        1. avatar Blurb says:

          You have insufficient clearance to say that in this forum. You have been reduced in rank from indigo to blue.

    2. avatar DDay says:

      Funny massachusetts has higher gun violence and crime than NH, VT and Maine and all three are constitutional carry states.

      1. avatar Michael Buley says:

        It’s because MA hasn’t figured out the right combination of laws that completely eliminate gun violence — those nasty violent guns — and completely eliminate violent behavior, depression, anger, suicidal thoughts, unhappiness, anxiety. Once ways can be found to eliminate all of those things — i.e., change human nature — all will be well. Until those ways are found, more laws are necessary.

      2. avatar craig says:

        Ya, the 300,000 dairy white dairy farmers spread out over an entire State usually don’t have much beef with each other. You’d think by now people would realize what causes violent crime, too many people of too many economic and ethnic backgrounds living in proximity to each other.

  2. avatar Leighton Cavendish says:

    So let’s also use this to deny voting…free speech…assembly…religious worship….right?

    1. Come on OVER to M-Assachusetts! We got a license for EVERYTHING! The problem is anyone going to give you one! People who think THEY have Constitutional Rights need NOT apply! Oh, and Welcome to Massachusetts! The 14th Amendment has left the building!

      1. Not only the 14th, but the 4th as well. And let’s infringe upon the 2nd, by using hyperbole, and violating people’s 1st Amendment rights to speak their mind. Totally FUBAR all the way around.

      2. avatar Mao the Dung says:

        Massachussetts – a cradle of tyranny.

        1. avatar JasonM says:

          They have the 26th highest violent crime rate of all the states and DC. And the states with lower violent crime rates include such bastions of “sensible gun laws” as GA, WI, WV, PA, NE, WA, OH, IA, MS, ND, UT, WY, ID, KY, NH, VT, and ME. It’s almost as if there’s no direct correlation between “gun safety” and actual safety.

          Also Boston is the 35th most violent city in America.

        2. avatar Phil Wilson says:

          No statistically significant correlation if you plot “Brady score,” or gun control advocates score of how strict gun laws are by state, and murder rate. There’s a correlation of about 0.10, in the direction of stricter laws are associated with a higher murder rate. Which is about the same strength (and direction) if one plots rate of private ownership of firearms vs. murder rate internationally (using UN data).

      3. avatar GluteusMaximus says:


    2. avatar CZJay says:

      I remember during the Bush/Cheney years they had setup “free speech zones” for people who wanted to protest. They made sure the zones were far away from the thing they wanted to protest. You had to go to this special area if you didn’t want to get arrested for protesting.

  3. avatar Marcus says:

    Can we do that for voting rights too to like prevent voter fraud?

    1. avatar CZJay says:

      It’s not about who casts the votes, it’s about who counts them.

  4. avatar m. says:

    fu d-sucker vox a**holes, come and get them

  5. avatar Cruzo1981 says:

    Can we have red flag for reporters that have gotten stories wrong? Can we say we believe they are lying or are using flawed studies to stop them from publishing? That would make sense to me. It’s just common sense legislation I’m talking about. If you lie to the public en masse you are endangering them and you should be punished, no trial or anything, you should not be able to publish again. Just common sense, for public safety for the children and the uneductaed…

  6. avatar Jackhammerscott says:

    Forget the Bill Of Rights! Unless deemed worthy by the police that most of the left call discriminatory, violent, trigger happy. Just pull people’s rights when ever you feel like it as a police official. Great plan, except oi t is the opposite of what makes America the beacon of the world!

  7. avatar frankw says:

    All subjects of the Empire will be happy under penalty of death- Emperor Ming

    1. avatar jwm says:

      The beatings will continue until morale improves.

  8. avatar Reggie Browning says:

    So, basically give the police absolute power to act not as enforcers of the law, but extrajudicial entities capable of pointing a finger at anyone they don’t like and demanding they give up any guns they own on a whim? Yeah, where is the fourth amendment there exactly?

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      What could possibly go wrong?

    2. avatar Salty Bear says:

      They can (and do) already do that. This just makes it less work and more official.

    3. avatar CZJay says:

      That’s the whole point of “red flag” laws. They give the government the power to confiscate your guns when they feel like it is necessary. People completing ignore how the law was written. They focus on the ex-wife scenario probably because they don’t stand up to government thus don’t have to worry about being targeted by them.

  9. avatar Draven says:

    Yes, in MA, if while she was in high school your wife turned down the cop who is now in charge of gun permits, then you don’t get a permit. That is ‘police discretion’.

    1. avatar Rick the Bear says:

      IIRC, after February 2015 (?), the licensing authority has to state in writing the reason for denial. That went along with eliminating Class B LTCs and making FID cards discretionary.

      And that’s why I left The People’s Republic.

      1. ….And Let’s not forget that thanks to re-elected, Anti-2nd Amendment, GOP-RINO Gov./Charlie “The Barker” Baker, we’ve added “RED FLAG/ERPOs Laws “. Also, remember they previously added a system so the Local Police Departments could petition the Courts to Deny an FID card/ LTC….

  10. avatar Craig in IA says:

    First, we’d need to know, and establish a oattern of the state of mind of the person exercising said discretion. Then add the circumstances surrounding the need for such discretion.

  11. avatar The Rookie says:

    “In New Hampshire, the process for buying a gun is easy — easier than getting a driver’s license.”

    “Drive a few miles south to Massachusetts, though, and the process is very different.”

    And yet, NH has had a far lower murder rate than Mass. for at least the past 20 years. Huh.


    1. That’s Because Political dissidents from M-Assachusetts escape to N.H. …

      1. avatar GluteusMaximus says:

        They also love the tax free liquor

    2. avatar craig says:

      Ya, it’s white people living in the woods, that’s why it’s lower. It’s not rocket science or laws for that matter.

  12. avatar K42inPO says:

    Law allowing for the discretion of police sounds less like a path to corruption, and more like a high-speed railway to it.

    1. You mean a bullet train?

  13. avatar rt66paul says:

    So, now, “righteous anger”, which is Biblical, can keep you from your God given rights. I guess that makes me “righteous indignant”.

  14. avatar jwm says:

    The left hates due process.

    1. avatar CZJay says:

      Damn Leftists:

  15. Latest from GOAL.ORG

    Massachusetts Gun Law Success Clearly a False Narrative.


  16. avatar TheUnspoken says:

    Discretionary rights become rights denied, as we see with may issue concealed carry or when CLEO signoff was required for individual form 1 and 4 approval. Why should the a police chief or sheriff take the “risk?” They don’t want to vouch for anyone except their buddies. And it makes sense, if politicians are going to blame them for approving someone who turned out to be a threat, some will protect themselves and deny everyone. Just like corporate America turns to their lawyers and rather than say “protecting our employees rights to defend themselves is paramount,” it is easier or perceived as less risky to just have a blanket no weapons policy.

  17. avatar million says:

    try this exercise: replace gun rights in Vox’s position with rights like Due Process

  18. avatar st381183 says:

    How about we let the government control our right to free speech. Look at the tizzy CNN is in with Trump v. Acosta. More peoe have been killed by the stroke of a pen than by a bullet.

  19. avatar IN Dave says:

    I would joking say go for it, as long as it works the other way too. The sheriff and many of the deputies come to my house to shoot. Their “discretion” would be I could buy newly manufactured full autos and suppressors would be common place without an extra $200 penalty. But something tells me when vox say “discretion” they mean from a more restrictive angle, not the freedom loving side.

  20. avatar m. says:

    carpet-munchers run MA

  21. avatar Alex says:

    Sure, except being from massachusetts you VERY QUICKLY learn that your 2A rights are now based on a local police chiefs personal politics. Boston and Newton (suburb of Boston) are well known to virtually never approve carry permits. Other towns do, but yes that is just where it starts…

  22. avatar W says:

    This is what happens when a bunch of urban millennials form their own media company.

    “Discretion” means no hard and fast, black and white rules. As such, discretion is prone to abuse. The in-laws and relatives of the chief of police find themselves with permits, others find themselves without permits. Of course, such abuse of power has been recognized and resolved throughout much of the United States. But don’t expect some 18 year old know-it-all over at Vox to understand what has been tried and what has failed. Their ignorance is a blessing, you see, not a curse. They, like little David Hogg, are able to see things more experienced people cannot.

  23. avatar DaveL says:

    Did I just pass into an alternative universe here? Does Vox really not understand that “discretion” has been the soul of police abuses of power from Driving While Black to Ferguson’s ticket racket? Back when Michigan started requiring a license to buy a handgun, it was at the discretion of the issuing authority – guess who got denied? What, exactly, makes them think they’ll be any better at it now?

    1. avatar CZJay says:

      Seeing his first and last name, I think it’s safe to say he might not be a fan of black people.

    2. avatar W says:

      I may be wrong, but I think that the first discretionary issue was the Sullivan Act in NYC. It was very badly abused by the issuing authorities. The authorities issued to connected groups and denied not connected groups. The NRA did a piece on it some time ago. TTAG did one a year ago.


  24. avatar Kyle says:

    Hell of an idea!

    Any other constitutional rights vox thinks we should restrict at the discretion of the state?


    hmmm, i believe its crickets i’m hearing on that one.

  25. avatar Mike B in WI says:

    Gee, and I thought we should be looking for a state that takes the Constitution seriously

  26. avatar Chip in Florida says:

    “…One example: Perhaps a person’s husband recently told a doctor or hospital that someone has suicidal or homicidal thoughts. If that person then comes in and tries to get an abortion, the Hospital or doctor could use that discretion to deny the procedure, even if expressing violent thoughts is not explicitly disqualifying under the law.”

    Hmmm… suddenly discretion doesn’t sound so appealing, does it?

  27. avatar CZJay says:

    German Lopez… These guys must be trolls.

  28. avatar Chris T from KY says:

    The white homosexuals who work at and run Vox are really quite impressive it using racist gun control. When police officers use to stop black people for almost anything and then deny their rights for almost any reason they could come up with.

  29. avatar GunnyGene says:

    Mass and Vox. 2 of the many States and Media outlets that I couldn’t care less about. What I do care about is if I will be able to fulfill my deer limit this season. It’s looking promising. 🙂

  30. avatar Chris Morton says:

    “Discretion, (Daniel Webster) argued, allows police to wade into that middle ground even when the law might not explicitly ban a person from owning a gun.”

    OR, they might ban Blacks, or Jews, or Muslims or gays from owning firearms.

    Sorry, change “might” to “WILL”.

  31. avatar Aaron says:

    The police should also be able to use their discretion on whether someone should be able to speak. Or practice their religion of choice. Right?

    This is proof that Clarence Thomas was correct when he said the 2nd amendment is in danger of being a disfavored right.

  32. avatar Ark says:

    Vox: Cops are violent racists who run around murdering black people for no reason, and we should abolish the police.

    Also Vox: Cops are professionals who are smarter and better than the rest of us, therefore we should give them sole authority to revoke our constitutional rights for any reason or no reason.

    1. avatar Chris Morton says:

      Pick ONE.

      1. Has not German Lopez ever heard of #BlackLivesMatter?

  33. avatar skiff says:

    Please check out US Court of Appeals, First Circuit, No 17-2202. Michael Gould et al, v. Mark Morgan, acting Chief of Police, Brookline Police Dept; William G. Gross, Commissioner of Boston Police Dept. It was just decided on 11-2-2018. A convoluted decision at best. It isn’t pretty. Two of the three judges are from RI.

  34. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    I say we let the police regulate vox.com as they see fit. Not the press at large, just vox.com.

  35. avatar balais says:

    That big wtf moment when Vox starts ‘entrusting’ the police 😀 LMAO!!!

    Would you entrust your rights, with ‘discretion’ with a organization known for morally reprehensible, corrupt, and racist behavior? I sure as shit wouldn’t

  36. avatar Pete says:

    Well, it worked out pretty well during the Jim Crow era, for the KKK maybe.
    Can’t risk having an uppity negro shooting night riders you know.

  37. avatar MDC says:

    I’m beginning to see why sex dolls have a place. They don’t tell, swell and are dead as hell.

  38. avatar Michael says:

    Hitler and Stalin had a plan like this, worked out pretty well for a while, for them…later on, lots of bureaucrats we’re just, sorta, left hangin’ around. So sad. So if the Koolaid is ready, let’s all have a big swallow, (straws are now prohibited). I know life is supposed to be made safer by this, but I can’t figure out why. Remember, anything not prohibited is mandatory, it’s for the children…and if it saves just one life…It’s still a slimy, stinkin’ dictatorship…No compromise, no retreat, no surrender!. -30-

  39. avatar PeterC says:

    I got my first MA pistol permit when I turned 21, which was quite a while ago. About 40 years later, I was living in a town north of Boston, and I went in to renew to renew my permit for the umpteenth time. The police chief, who was also the town drunk (it was a very small town) asked me “Why do you want to renew your permit?” I replied “Because I’d prefer to carry legally.” He signed the permit. I moved to AZ shortly thereafter.

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