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Charles River Smugglers?
Why Does the State of Historic Smugglers not Have That "Gun Running" Problem?
by Sean Oberle


One of the more powerful theories that gun controllers have today is the claim that gun running from low control states causes the high murder rates in gun control utopias like Washington, D.C. and thus we need national, umbrella controls like one-gun-a-month limitations. 

Notice I wrote "powerful" not "correct. It is a powerful argument because it is plausible enough to avoid further inspection. Gun controllers throw it out. It makes enough sense that few people question it. 

Well, I do question it. 

Yes, I am well aware that crime guns often originate in other states. What I question is the defeatist excuses of public officials that "If but for lax gun laws beyond our jurisdiction, we'd all be safe. Don't blame us for our inability to stop crime; blame those gun-nut controlled states that provide the guns smuggled into our poor, poor city." 

Why do I question it? Massachusetts 末 yes, the same Massachusetts that has a long history of smugglers thumbing their noses at government control of commerce 末 from Revolutionary War hero and tea smuggler John Hancock to 20th Century father of a political dynasty and runner of booze for Boston's Irish mob, Joe Kennedy, Sr. (JFK's dad). 

It's interesting how we rarely hear about that state from gun controllers. You'd think it would be a jewel of their arguments. It is the state-level equivalent of England or Japan 末 high gun control, low murder. But, I suppose, it doesn't fit their fear mongering about gun running. Are they purposely ignoring it? I have no idea. I'm not a mind reader. 

What I do know is that Massachusetts destroys the notion that certain nationwide umbrella gun controls are necessary to keep murder and violence low. From 1990 to 1998, Massachusetts cut its homicide rate more than half, from 4.5 per 100,000 to 2.0. It did this despite bordering on New Hampshire and Vermont and being an hour drive from Maine. 

These three states regularly rank among the "worst" when it comes to gun control. In fact, a ranking earlier this year by the Open Society Institute ( gave those states these "grades" out of a possible 100: New Hampshire (0), Vermont (-5) and Maine (-10). Maine came in 50th - last place. Yes, those are a zero and two negatives. 

So how did Massachusetts do it? How, oh how, with all this supposed uncontrollable gun running, did it do it? It wasn't because the state increased its already strict gun control 末 it did that in 1998, after the decreases occurred. 

Massachusetts doesn't have less of a drug problem. It doesn't have a lower population density. Boston's socio-economic breakdown is not much different from those gems of failed gun control. It doesn't have less of a black market to support gun running. It's certainly not because people from Massachusetts 末 and especially Boston 末 are more obedient than people from other parts of the nation. 

In fact, there's nothing about Massachusetts that would make the demand for guns any less than in those states and cities that supposedly have failed violence prevention due to lax gun laws beyond their borders. 

Moreover, I doubt that Boston's crooks possess illegal guns at a lower rate than in New York, D.C., etc. In fact, I doubt that Massachusetts gun control has controlled guns. I bet that Massachusetts is just as effected by gun running as are Washington, New York and Chicago. 

So why the difference? 

What Massachusetts did was use a combination of hard nosed policing and smart community-level anti-violence education. State officials figured out that the best way to attack crime is to, well, attack crime rather than a popular tool of criminals. 

Yes, there have been some police brutality problems and some defendants' rights problems, and those must be dealt with. But at least there is movement in the right direction of attacking behavior -- though Massachusetts still is wasting money on also attacking mechanism.

And that brings me back to what I always harp on. Despite huge gains against violence in the U.S., it still exists. But why do some ignore what was behind the gains in favor of experimenting with further gun controls that are as destined to failure as were alcohol and drug prohibitions? 

Notice that I'm not even bringing up the issue of the right to bear arms. People who (wrongly) think there is no right to own guns can agree with us on this 末 as a society, we have an ethical obligation to make a reasonable assessment of the effectiveness of proposals. We have limited money, time and workforce. We cannot afford to waste them on programs that don't work. 

Lives are at stake. 

Sean Oberle is a featured writer with whose archive is kept here:  Distribution permitted and encouraged. Please say you saw it first on Note: Regarding "one-gun-a-month," we urge every gun owner who can afford it to go and buy a gun every month. Doing so would cause an incline in the sales of guns heretofore never seen in our history. We like this idea. Thanks to gun grabbers for this excellent idea!




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