When in Boston, Best to be from Out of Town

In late April, UPI reported that US mayors, meeting in New York, “…called for tougher laws to combat gun violence, saying they will have to lead the way.” The meeting – sponsored by that ever-impartial arbiter of news, The New York Times, reported that the meeting had been organized by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.

According to the Frightened Grey Lady, "It is time for national leadership in the war on gun violence, and if the leadership won't come from Congress or come from the White House, then it has to come from us," Bloomberg said. "When Congress does not take the lead on a major problem that affects the whole nation -- whether it's global warming, welfare, immigration -- it's up to the cities and states to do it. And we have. So now we'll do the same with illegal guns."

Also attending the meeting were Philip A. Amicone of Yonkers; Tom Barrett of Milwaukee; Byron W. Brown of Buffalo; David N. Cicilline of Providence, R.I.; Jerramiah T. Healy of Jersey City; Laura Miller of Dallas; Frank Melton of Jackson, Miss.; Gregory J. Nickels of Seattle; Douglas H. Palmer of Trenton; Eddie A. Perez of Hartford; John F. Street of Philadelphia; Kathy Taylor of Tulsa, Okla.; and Anthony A. Williams of Washington.

The idiocy and counter-productivity of disarming the law-abiding is recognized by most the nation and remains only in the deepest Blue or cities such as Boston and New York, where feeling good about useless laws trumps whether such laws actually work. In Massachusetts, the situation is perhaps the most bizarre because of a State Legislature that is purely a Democrat/Liberal satrapy. Massachusetts remains a case study in how government can help the criminal, punish the law-abiding, and reward the connected.

Massachusetts made its worst-in-the-nation gun laws even worse with Chapter 180 of the Laws of 1998. Chapter 180 was passed in the style for which Massachusetts has become famous: it was voted-upon after it had been totally rewritten in secret by the cadre of hard-core, Marxist gun-haters that dominate the state’s legislature, and before any of the other members of the Legislature had had a chance to read it. Under “180,” total, unappealable authority to grant gun licenses to state residents was given to the “local issuing authority” – usually the chief of police. Each chief of police was made the final arbiter of issuing a license based purely on whether he judges an applicant a “suitable person." Aside from automatic disqualifiers such as a person’s criminal record or official medical history of mental illness, issuance of a license came down to whether the chief liked an applicant or not. If a chief didn’t believe in the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, tough. No license.

This embarrassingly stupid law has had an unintended consequence, as such moronic laws always do. There are 353 cities and towns in Massachusetts, meaning there are 353 chiefs of police, each with the power to grant or deny an applicant’s license to carry concealed firearms anywhere in Massachusetts (known as a “Class A – All Lawful Purposes” license under 180). For out of state applicants, the colonel of the Massachusetts State Police is the issuing authority, and as one would expect from Massachusetts, it is far easier for an out of state gun owner to get a Class A – ALP than it is for someone who lives in Massachusetts. A review of the history of granting A-ALP licenses since 1998 reveals that of the 353 cities and towns in Massachusetts, 32, including Boston, simply refuse to do so for personal, political reasons. However, 321 other towns and cities do so. In 2003, the US Environmental Protection Agency, in doing a study regarding pollution from cars, trucks, and mass transit coming into and leaving Boston every day, found that approximately 1.2 million people commute to Boston each work day. This group includes people from the 90.9% of the state’s towns where A-ALP licenses are granted, as well as out of state commuters who are eligible for an LTC issued by the state police. This means that the only people who are disarmed are the law-abiding residents of the Boston, Lawrence, Worcester, and Springfield areas. People from the rest of the state and from New Hampshire, Vermont, and Connecticut may well be carrying a concealed weapon (Rhode Island is the exception: it’s Democratic hierarchy is virulently anti-gun and basically issues no LTCs – no doubt to the delight of criminals).

Thus, Boston’s Mayor Menino and his pals on Beacon Hill have succeeded in disarming Boston while most people coming into the city are free to carry a concealed weapon. How anyone with an IQ over 70 can believe this makes Boston “safer” is a mystery. In the past 20 years all the stats have shown that where CCW is allowed, violent crime drops. Perhaps crime in Boston would be even worse if commuters were not allowed to carry. After all, a mugger or rapist can’t know whether he is attacking a freeman from another jurisdiction or a serf from Boston. One of the Boston residents I know has had his condo broken into several times. Despite a spotless record, his application for an LTC to own a pistol for self-defense was turned down because “he could not prove an imminent threat to his life.” Apparently he is an “unsuitable person.”

True to form, Mayor Menino is now demanding the right to ban the sale of guns to the law-abiding in other states as well. He already has his first response. The US Attorney for New Hampshire recently told Menino to pound sand. Concealed carry in New Hampshire is widespread. Its violent crime rate is 1/20 that of Boston.

If Mr. Menino and Mr. Bloomberg have their way, cringing from criminals in fear in Boston will be coming soon to a town or city near you. If "It is time for national leadership in the war on gun violence,” as we approach the November elections and the 2008 presidential run, we certainly have a lot to think about. In the meantime, I hope that the next time I visit Boston I’m in the presence of people who don’t live there.

22,310 gun laws is not enough! We won’t stop this senseless violence until we have 22, 311 gun laws! And a GPS installed in every gun! And we hang everyone who buys more than one gun a year! And we let convicted child molesters vote! I am the Walrus, Ko Ko Katchoo!”