Monday, February 21, 2011

How gun control disarms domestic violence victims in Boston

Our favorite Brady board member Joan Peterson wrote in her usual smug tone today:
Has any victim of domestic abuse been disarmed by my group? No. If they want guns, they can have them.
I argue that in my home state of Massachusetts, and especially in Boston, the gun control laws pushed by her group do indeed make it extremely time consuming and expensive for a woman at risk of domestic violence to have a handgun for self defense.

Here's how the process would work for a woman in fear of her life... 

She goes to the local gun shop and is turned away because she doesn't have a valid Class A License to Carry.

She takes time off from work to apply for her license to carry at Boston Police headquarters in Roxbury.  After driving around the block for an hour, she finally finds a parking space.  She's immediately turned away, not knowing she must take an 8-hour state police approved gun safety course.

She signs up for the safety course, which will be held in two weeks.  She pays between $100 and $175 for the course, then waits another week for her certificate. She has to pay for extra day care, because it's Saturday 8AM to 4PM. 

During the course, she finds out she must pass a 30-round qualification test with a double-action Ruger revolver firing .38 Special ammunition at the Boston Police range at Moon Island.  Massachusetts General Laws prohibit her from currently owning the gun she is expected to be proficient with, so she goes to the local range twice a week for a month to take a lesson with the instructor.  Each lesson is $20 to the instructor, and $35 for two boxes of ammo.  Oh, and her arthritis - she just has to deal with the excruciating pain in her hands from the 14 lb. double-action trigger (yes, 18 rounds of the test are mandatory DA one-handed).  There are no exceptions for disabilities.

After she's practiced enough to be able to pass the test, it occurs to her that it's January, and that she'll be firing a gun one handed, no gloves allowed, in 15 degree weather with a 30 MPH wind spraying salty water in her eyes, literally in the middle of Boston freakin' Harbor.  These conditions being insurmountable for her, she postpones the test until April, when the weather becomes reasonable.

A few months roll around, and she takes another day off to go to police headquarters to apply for the LTC and schedule the range test.  She pays her $100 (cash only), presents proof of safety course completion, citizenship and residency, is photographed and fingerprinted, and submits to a background check.  She is forced to sign extra statements containing legalese about acknowledgment of the use of deadly force. 

Two days later, she makes special arrangements for her kids' day care and takes another day off to show up at the range at 7AM.  The police officers are professional and polite, she handles the gun safely, and most of her bullets hit the target.  The range officer looks at the target for two seconds and mutters, "Eh, 275, you passed.  You'll get your license in 6 weeks."

Ten weeks later, her license shows up in the mail.  She heads out to the nearest gun shop, which is 20 miles away (HA! No, Mayor Menino doesn't allow gun shops in Boston!).

"Hello, my good man.  My ex-husband's been threatening to kill me quite a lot, so I'd like to get a new Glock 22, .40 caliber.  It makes sense to me to buy the same durable, safe, simple gun that my city's police use."

"Sorry, ma'am, we can't sell you a new Glock 22."

"Why not?"

"Because they're not on the list."

"What list?"

"The state's list of guns we're allowed to sell."

"This is the same gun that most of our state's police carry every day!  I saw that it's on the Approved Handgun Roster from the state's Executive Office of Public Safety."

"Well, yeah, it's on that list, but not the Attorney General's list."

"There are two lists?"

"Well, the EOPS list is the only actual list.  The AG's list is secret..."

"Fuck it, I can't understand this nonsense. How can I get my Glock 22?"

"You can either buy it from a private buyer who already has one in-state, or you can buy a scarce pre-1998 Glock from us for 50% over retail.  They were grandfathered in."

"Just ring me up for that Ruger over there, I don't care anymore.  I've spent $800 and five months of my time just just to get the government's permission to buy a gun."


And that, Joan Petersons of the world, is the typical time and expense women in Boston have to put up with to get their best means of self defense - you have been educated.

Victims of domestic violence most certainly have been discouraged and disarmed by your groups.

If Joan were honest, she would have said something like:
Has any victim of domestic abuse been disarmed by my group? No. If they want guns, they can have them.  All they have to do is wait a few months, pay several hundred dollars, endure pain if they're disabled or elderly, and take several days off from work.  It's common sense!


  1. Actually, Massachusetts has one of the lowest homicide rates in the country because of its tough laws. The challenge now is to get a handle on ILLEGAL guns, as Mayors Menino and Bloomberg are pushing. Any legitimate gun owner should support them in this effort.

  2. The enactment of the "tough" gun laws in 1998 coincided with an already decreasing homicide rate.

    Sorry, but a lot of things influence state homicide rates, and gun control is at the bottom of the list.

    Substitute "Vermont" into your first sentence and see how much sense your argument makes.

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