Monday, January 28, 2013

One Million Moms for Gun Control

R. and I are proud to stand with One Million Moms for Gun Control.

Here's the Grape at Saturday's State House rally in support of OMMFGC's March on Washington:

We're also proud to live in Massachusetts, and support Rep. David Linsky's  brave and important legislation to close background check loopholes, improve trafficking enforcement and mandate that all firearms owners purchase liability insurance. 8 to 9 children die every day in the United States of gunshot wounds.

That sad number would be much higher if we didn't have access to first rate emergency medicine in this country.

I'll repeat the sobering statistic and let it sink in: 8 to 9 children a day die of gunshot wounds in the United States. You'd better believe that as a mom, I want gun owners held liable if their firearms are used to harm any child, with or without criminal intent.

Consider: If 8 to 9 children were being killed by a toy everyday, the media would be unable to speak of anything else, Congress would hold hearings and the toy would be pulled from shelves in milliseconds. Politicians from both parties would scream about the need for better regulations.

Massachusetts moms and other concerned citizens: Your state senators and representatives NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU. Only 8% of Massachusetts voters own guns, but we learned at Saturday's rally that they are a vocal, angry minority. We who want better gun violence prevention legislation must make it clear that we are watching how our representatives and state senators vote on Rep. Linsky's bill, and that we will not support our representatives in their upcoming elections if they fail to support the measure. (Gov. Patrick has already indicated he would sign the bill into law.)

Here is the letter I sent today. Feel free to copy, paste and send it to your representative and state senator. You can look up your Massachusetts representatives here.

January 28, 2013

Dear Sen. Chang-Diaz and Rep. Rushing:

I am a constituent, I voted for you, and I am writing to ask that you support House Docket 2678: An Act to Reduce Gun Violence and Protect the Citizens of the Commonwealth. Like millions of American moms and other concerned citizens, I KNOW more can be done to reduce the everyday tragedy of gun violence and deaths. Representative Linsky’s bill will close loopholes in our existing state laws to help prevent additional gun violence in the Commonwealth.

I expect that you will join me, and One Million Moms for Gun Control, in supporting these common sense solutions to the increasing gun violence in Massachusetts.

I will be watching for your commitment to House Docket 2678.

Please know that this legislation is of extreme importance to me. I am particularly eager to see Massachusetts lead the nation in mandating that all owners of firearms purchase liability insurance for their weapons.

If you do not support HD 2678, I will not support you in your next election.

Thank you for your time.

Mari Passananti
Boston, MA 02118
(mom to a 3-year-old)


  1. Where are you getting your stats from?
    According to the Brady Campaign own web-site in 2010, 134 children ages 0-19 died from unintentional shootings.

    In the whole entire US in 2010 606 people died from accidental shootings..

  2. Hi and thank you for reading for commenting. You are correct: 8-9 children a day die of gun shot wounds in the United States, and that number includes intentional and accidental killings.

    I will correct the error above immediately.

    My view is that the gun owner should be civilly liable and accountable in all shooting cases, whether accidental or intentional. This is not unlike a homeowner's liability for injury on his/her premises, or a car owner's liability in the event of an accident.

    The Linsky bill addresses this issue by mandating that all owners of firearms purchase liability insurance.

    Obviously in intentional cases, criminal liability attaches. And in many accidental cases, criminal liability should also attach if gross negligence by the gun owner is a factor.

    The Brady campaign's most recent stats are from 2011:

    33 people died of gun shot wounds per day (adults and children), or over 12,000 people for the whole year.

    Just over 8 children a day in 2011 died from gun shot wounds.

    During 2011, 3588 children survived accidental shootings, or roughly ten a day. Far too many, in my opinion.

    Just under 20,000 people were shot accidentally in 2011. There is no available breakdown as to severity of injuries for either adults or children.

    See also:

    1. I have some concerns about what you are supporting....I looked at these stats from the FBI (2011) You would like to see further restrictions in MA based off of the stats I read here? 0 people killed by rifle, CA has the strictest laws and had the highest number of murders with rifles, and other instruments. Yes, I did notice the "firearm type unknown" category. New laws have little to no effect on criminals. They still commit these acts regardless. The more you take away from law abiding citizens, the more power you put into the hands of violent criminals. Do you think criminals support this legislation? Of course they do! It gives them more power. You say nobody needs military style you mean cosmetics? Because nobody I know owns a military style weapon. The government and police have those. They are fully automatic. Also how can you force people to have insurance on a legally owned firearm? That is against the second amendment. "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" It will be infringed if people are forced to buy insurance and keep their firearms at a gun club. This is also against the rulings of DC vs Heller in 2008.

    2. Thanks you for sharing the FBI's link. Criminals do indeed commit crimes, but stricter laws mean stricter penalties. State laws in and of themselves have limited effect on the nation's gun crimes statistics because guns can be trafficked over state lines. Federal trafficking enforcement and a crack down on straw purchases are both key to comprehensive gun violence prevention.

      The Heller holding specifically left unresolved the question of whether the states can restrict gun ownership. The Court took up the matter in 2010 in a case called McDonald v. Chicago. A plurality of the Court held that the second amendment does apply to the states, but reaffirmed that certain restrictions are Constitutionally permissible. Background checks were listed first among these.

      Commonwealth v. Runyan (Mass SJC, 2010) held that Heller does not apply to the MA state legislature, and held that the gun lock rule may differ enough from the rule challenged in Heller to pass Constitutional muster. I am sure we will see other similar test cases working through the courts.

  3. Mari,
    What is your ultimate goal? Do you want gun owners to carry insurance because you feel victims of gun crimes / accidents have not been receiving proper compensation?

    Or do you want to reduce gun violence?

    I want there to be a reduction in gun violence. I really don't care about making lawyer richer by requiring people to carry insurance.

    Is requiring insurance going to dissuade gang bangers in Roxbury, Dorchester, Lowell & Springfield from using a gun?

    Could we maybe, just maybe lock up violent criminals and throwing away the key? As we speak our Governor wants to allow those teenagers who were convicted 1st & 2nd degree murders back on the streets.

    You think our gun violence problem in MA is fueled by Joe six pack, who lives in Natick, goes to work everyday but happens to own a few guns?

    1. My goal is to see the Feinstein bill passed on the federal level, and on the state level, to see the Linsky bill passed. Nancy Lanza was a "joe six pack" from new town, a town not unlike natick. Maybe if she had been required to pay for liability insurance, she would have thought twice about letting a teenager touch an ar-15. Maybe if the insurance had required her to store the assault weapons at a gun club or face prohibitive rates, she would still be alive, as would those twenty babies murdered at sandy hook school, and six innocent adult bystanders.
      Like I said in my original post, my household is proud to stand with one million moms for gun control and support the Linsky bill as written.
      Liability insurance does affect behavior. See, e.g., cars, workplace liability, etc.

    2. you do realize that insurance wouldn't have stopped Adam Lanza from killing his mother and then taking her guns right? You also seem very concerned about the twenty white babies that were shot in a small town in CT but what about the 500+ killed in Chicago by people that will neither follow gun laws or insurance requirements.

    3. Please tell me how car insurance makes people take better car of their car and less likely to have it stolen.

      Please tell me how someone can defend themselves with their firearm when it is locked at a gun club?

      10 times as many kids die from drowning compared to guns. Why don't you want to ban swimming?

    4. Do you think if Lanza's mother did not have a so called "assault" weapon as part of her gun collection, anything would have been different in CT?

      Also, what is your definition of an "assault" weapon? Be more specific than military style. What makes it fit the name you are calling them.

    5. I do believe the carnage would have been less.

      Assault weapon/military style weapon: a weapon designed for offensive/combat purposes, that is capable of firing more than ten rounds without reloading

    6. Why did you not directly answer my questions?

      "I do believe" is not an answer. How can you "believe" something that has been proven to not be true?

      There is no such thing a a firearm that is designed for offensive/combat purposes. Just saying does not make it true.

      We go to war to defend our country, defend our freedoms, defend our safety and defend our way of life. Therefore, all weapons that we use to defend this country are defensive weapons.

  4. I'm a Natick resident average Joe marketing manager and do you know that Linksky's bill as is would take away my gun that is used to protect my wife and children from the crime ridden area in Framingham that borders my neignborhood and force me to store it at some gun club that I don't belong to nor want to belong to? Hoe does that serve me better?

    1. The requirements under the law, if enacted, would depend on the type of weapon in question. Nobody needs a military style assault rifle for personal/home protection.
      Had Ms. Lanza been required to store her assault rifles at a gun club in her name, her son would not have had access to them.

    2. Nobody Needs a $40000 car BUT it's there right to buy one if they want. I may not need a military style "assault" rifle BUT it's my right to buy one if I want.

      I have my firearms permit... AND I have my driver's license, I obtained them responsibly and legally and that is how I operate my firearms and my car.

      These "military style assault weapons" as you call them are nothing more than a rifle with some cosmetic attachments. I can take a regular rifle that would not be affected by any of these bills and purchase some cosmetics and ta da it now looks like your "assault rifle". I can make my small .22 caliber rifle look like a big scary .223 "assault" rifle in minutes. It does not change the function of anything if I pull the trigger one time I get one bullet whether it is a .22 or a .223.

      Have a look at this video of Jessie Duff a professional shooter with all types of firearms and she shows that the most popular "assault" style rifle is actually less powerful then the regular everyday hunting rifle.

      Everyone wants to protect the children but let's use some common sense when making decisions and not rush into "feel good" legislation.

    3. Since you have appointed yourself as the "decider" of what defensive tools that I use to defend my family, please tell me what training and experience you have in the field of firearms?

      Do you think that in your wildest dreams that if Lanza didnt have the ability to steal a gun that he would choose another weapon such as a fertilizer bomb which you can buy at the hardware store or perhaps simply drive a car into a school yard of children? Do you really think he would just give up if guns were not available?

    4. Actually according to the Massachusetts Municipal Police Training Committee, the AR-15 is an ideal rifle for use within a civilian environment because it is more accurate than handguns and shotguns, has a larger magazine capacity in order to deal with multiple attackers, and actually has a lower risk of over-penetrating walls and doors since the projectile is much smaller and faster, causing it to break up on impact. It also has enough power to stop an attacker more quickly than other rounds. All of these reasons make the AR-15 ideal for home defense.

    5. Jayson, It is indeed your right at present, unless you live in a state like Massachusetts, which limits the types of firearms an individual may purchase.

      Massachusetts has fewer gun deaths than most other states. I think looking to the MA ban as a model for federal legislation is one of several sensible starting points for a national discussion on gun violence prevention.

    6. Yet again, you have not directly answered my questions.

    7. Hi again, David, and thank you for your continued interest.

      I am not a "decider." I am a mom with an opinion that happens to differ from yours, and an ordinary citizen and MA voter.

      As to your question about Mr. Lanza: none of us can know his thought process or what his actions might have been under a different fact pattern.

      I'm very curious as to your opinion of the late Ms. Lanza: Should she have been allowed to take her mentally unstable son shooting? Should she have been allowed to keep guns in a home with an unstable household member? Remember, he didn't have a violent record, but he was perhaps mentally ill.

    8. Hi Thecrow, Nobody is suggesting we deprive active duty law enforcement personnel of their weapons of choice.

  5. Mine is a simple hand gun but, because it is a semi-automatic one with 10 rounds it would be removed from my home by law or have to be sold. I agree with many parts of his bill but not all of them.

    1. A hand gun with 9 rounds, such as a semiautomatic Glock issued to police by many law enforcement departments around the country, would be an example of a home protection weapon that would not be subject to additional regulation under the Linsky bill.

    2. WRONG. When real trouble happens, police carry the same exact weapon that you want to ban, AR15s!. Why shouldn't my family be protected by the best firearm available?

      Why do comment need to be approved? Afraid the public might see the truth?

    3. Police use Glocks with much higher than 9 round magazines. The only Glocks which have magazines with 9 rounds or smaller are sub compact models. Police use standard sized Glocks which hold 17 in 9mm and 15 in .40 cal.

      Did you see the story of the woman who defended her twins and herself from a break in down in Georgia? She had a six shot revolver, fired all six rounds. She hid the intruder 5/6 times in the chest. He still managed to walk from the house and drive away. If there were two or three intruders, what good would a 10 round magazine be? The woman and her twins would be dead.

    4. And if Mr. Lanza had no access to his mother's guns, 27 people might be alive.

    5. David: Nobody is suggesting that active law enforcement personnel or active military personnel carry anything less than the most effective weapons necessary for their jobs.

      I moderate comments so I can keep up and respond to them.

      I also weed out spam (lots of ads for web marketing, penile enhancement, get rich quick schemes come through as anonymous comments on this and many other blogs).

      My blog, my rules. If you want your rules, I encourage you to write your own blog. I'd be pleased to swing by and comment.

  6. This was an interesting article that I read yesterday.

    1. Thank you for sharing the article from MetroWest Daily News. I saw it yesterday too, but am happy to post it here, and find myself agreeing with Rep. Linsky's quote:

      "I’m not surprised," said state Rep. David Linsky, D-Natick, who recently filed legislation aimed at tightening state gun laws. "The gun manufacturers and the NRA have been intentionally creating a false sense of hysteria in order to sell more guns. Period."

      The NRA represents gun manufacturers. Their job is to sell guns by whatever means necessary and if that means stoking fear, they have no problem doing so.

    2. Very few gun crimes are committed by legal gun owners. Linsky's bill does not address illegal guns in anyway. He was very clear in his press release that he wanted to 'increase the restrictions on gun ownership'. So he is saying right there, he is going after legal gun owners and not the ones committing crimes.

      MA has the 2nd most restrictive gun laws in the country after CA. The murder rate in MA in 1998 when it was passed was 65 or so. Recent years, it's been 122ish. So how effective has it been? There is no "gun show loophole" in MA. Private sales require a state form and the MA gun license which is required in the private sale serves as the background check.

    3. MA does indeed have some of the toughest gun laws in the country, including a state ban on certain weapons. It's very easy to bring a weapon into the state from another state, which is why trafficking enforcement needs to be a key point of gun violence prevention. NH, for example, hosts gun shows with a wide open loophole. More than half the guns seized in criminal investigations by MA police came from out of state. Trafficking and straw purchasing, however, cannot be effectively addressed at the state level.

      Mr. Linsky's bill would, among other things, increase gun owner culpability in cases of accidental shooting. The group Mother on a Mission was started by a woman whose 12 year old son was shot (here in MA) by another 12 year old while at a neighbor's Christmas Eve party. The gun in question was legally owned by a person with no criminal record, and the kid was shot in a party full of adults. The gun owner should be liable. Linsky's bill addresses that kind of case.

  7. with me being able to keep twenty, nine round magazines in my home but I can't own one 10 or one 15 round magazine?
    What about the Arsenal Inc AK-47 that comes from the factory with one, five round magazine. Is it ok for me to keep that in my house along with ten, five round magazines as long as I don't own just one 30 round magazine. Does any of that makes sense to you?

    1. Under the proposed federal legislation One Million Moms for Gun Control and I support, the AK-47 you reference above would be banned, regardless of its magazine size.

      Like I've written before, I believe the Linsky bill is a great step for Massachusetts, but I also believe a federal assault weapons ban is long overdue. State legislation can only go so far, and federal trafficking enforcement, for example, is an essential piece of meaningful gun violence prevention.

      As for your 9,10, 15 bullet question: a line needs to be drawn somewhere, and a legal definition for "high capacity" must be written. I'd personally like to see it at five, but the MA bill says ten, and I think it's a reasonable compromise so I support it.

      May I ask, why do you wish to remain anonymous? You are clearly an engaged and interested reader and commenter.

    2. Please tell us how the weapons that you want to ban are different than the ones that you don't want to ban?

      how is an AK47 any more evil than a rifle that you don't want banned?

      I am a 30-year expert on firearms and can't figure that out. Please help me.

      I am betting you don't have the guts to publish my comments.

    3. This woman in GA could be dead with a 5 round limit.

      A person with minimal skill can make a magazine of any size in their garage. There are 3D printer programs to make 30 round AR magazines. There are currently in excess of 30 million plus magazines you do not like. The supreme court ruling mentioned any gun law cannot restrict commonly used firearms and accessories. The standard magazine for a pistol varies based on the caliber but goes up to the high teens for 9mm Glocks, Sig's, etc. The standard magazine for an AR rifle is 30 rounds. These are not "high" capacity, the standard mag for them are those. Also a ban on "assault" weapons including the AR rifes would violate the recent Supreme court decisions. AR's are common rifles, there are over 3 million of them.

      Also, people wish to remain anonymous for a number of reasons. I do most often because I don't want scammers on the web to be able to track me and steal my identity, etc.

    4. David, I welcome you and your years of expertise to my site.

      Personally, and I speak for myself only here, support the proposed federal ban on all weapons capable of firing more than ten rounds without reloading. I don't think the weapons are "evil." Unreasonably dangerous would be a fairer characterization. Rather, I believe strongly in the position advanced by General McChrystal: that the type of assault weapons our soldiers should carry do not belong in the hands of civilians.

      Michael, The fact that someone can manufacture something doesn't mean s/he should be permitted to do so without criminal culpability. Indeed, if I set up Mari's Moonshine Business on the web, I'm pretty sure I'd be shut down swiftly.

      I think we can all agree that a five round limit isn't on the table for federal legislation. The woman in Georgia would have had the same outcome under a ten round limit.

    5. The weapons that you want to ban are NOT THE SAME AS OUR SOLDIERS CARRY. IT IS A LIE. Soldiers carry full-automatic, machine guns. ARs are NOT full-automatic machine guns.

      Machine guns are, by the way, perfectly legal for citizens to own. In the last 50 years, there has been one crime committed with a machine gun, ONE.

      Police carry the ARs that you want to ban. Private citizens face far more violence than police since citizens are the victim in crimes. Private citizens kill twice as many criminals as cops with a 5x lower error rate. Therefore, they should have the same weapons as police.

      Why don't you do any research before making a conclusion?

    6. My position regarding our soldiers and police remains the same: they should carry the best equipment available. No ban currently under consideration would affect the guns carried by law enforcement officials.

      I don't think many police would agree that having private citizens shooting people, even criminals, is in the interest of the public safety. But now I am curious, and will ask my local sergeant (D4 Boston) and report back in this space. My hunch (just a hunch): There is a reason we don't go in for vigilante justice in this country.

      Very curious as to where you found the error rate stats you cite?

      As for my research: I invite you to look at the gun laws and gun murder rates in every other industrialized nation before proclaiming gun control cannot work to reduce gun deaths. To cite one example, Australia passed an assault weapons ban after a school shooting and they haven't had a mass shooting since. These laws work elsewhere, which makes them worth trying here. And that's not a particularly liberal view; it's shared by Rupert Murdoch among many others.

  8. I don't think my comment came through. What I said was lets use the Glock as an example. Are you ok with me being able to keep twenty, nine round magazines in my home but are not for me being able to keep one 10 or 15 round magazine in my house?
    What about the Arsenal Inc AK-47 that comes from the factory with one, five round magazine. Is it ok for me to keep that in my house along with ten, five round magazines as long as I don't own just one 30 round magazine. Does any of that makes sense to you?

    1. The first sentence of your previous comment did not come through earlier. Thanks for clarifying. I have no idea why Google cut your comment off, and I am pleased to publish it in full.
      My answer above covers most of it.

      As to your question about the number of magazines one may possess for a Glock handgun: I personally would love to see a limit on an individual's total ammunition possession, and will propose that to my Congressional delegation and state reps and senators immediately. I don't believe in taking credit for other people's ideas so I will let them know the suggestion came from a responsible gun owner. Thank you.

    2. Since there are 20 times more deaths by cars than from guns, why don;t you want to limit the size of gas tanks and the weight of cars? Lets find out what car kills the most people, call it an "assault car" and ban it!

    3. I do not feel you understand these issues very well. A magazine is some sheet metal (or modern plastic) and spring. It is not complex and it is very easy to make one if you wanted, not to mention the 30 or 40 million plus of them out there now. Also, google 3D printer AR magazine. You can make them now with a 3D printer. You are trying to stop something that is impossible to stop. Criminals will break the law as they are criminals and that is what they do. You would just limit lawful people. Limiting mag sizes would do nothing as well. It takes 2 seconds to change a mag so limiting them to 10 or whatever is a meaningless feel good measure that will do nothing.

      So you would like to limit the amount of ammo people can possess. A, how would this be even possible. It would not be and only the lawful would abide. B, I assume you believe this would stop gun crime. How? A target shooter going to the range will go through hundreds of rounds in a an hour or two of practice. How much ammo would a nut like Lanza need? He probably fired less than 200 rounds in his attack. Even if he only fired 60 or 70 rounds, he would have killed the same number.

    4. David, I am old enough to remember the Ford Pinto. When a car design proves deadlier than other cars on the road, we absolutely take steps to regulate the flaws. Perfect system? Of course not. But better than nothing. Victims of car accidents also have recourse in the courts against car and parts manufacturers, something the NRA fought successfully as regards to firearms manufacturers.

      Michael, Indeed criminals have always existed and criminals will break laws. But it doesn't follow that we shouldn't have laws. I believe the fire codes do limit the amount of ammunition one may store on a premises. Your target shooter will presumably need to reload during the course of his or her practice—something Mr. Lanza didn't need to do. The bottom line as to Mr. Lanza is that he is the classic example of an individual who should not have had access to a firearm. Had his mother been required to keep hers locked away from him, she might still be with us, as would those kids and their teachers/staff.

  9. Can I ask what the limit should be? 50 bullets, 100 bullets? What is the correct amount someone should own? Are you being serious? How do enforce that?
    Current fire codes in MA limit the amount of ammo a person can keep in their home.
    Do you see where we are going here? Can we stop proposing stupid law after stupid law that doesn't address the underling causes of these school shootings.
    We need laws that keeps guns from bad people and keep them in the hands of law abiding people.
    We can do that by having better background checks and better screening for mental illness. How about a law that says if you have a mentally ill person in your house maybe you shouldn't be allowed to own a firearm?

    1. I don't know whether fire codes nationwide limit ammunition in the same way as here. I admit I was being a bit facetious with my last response.

      The under lying cause of mass shootings? Access to assault weapons.

      Every country has a certain number of dangerous people. Only in the US do we let dangerous people possess military style firepower. That's why the federal ban is critical. The Linsky bill is sensible regulation, aimed at closing loopholes, keeping the mentally ill from possessing guns, ensuring responsible ownership, and yes, increasing prison sentences for gun crimes committed in MA. I am proud to be an enthusiastic supporter of this legislation.

    2. so the undying cause of obesity is spoons?? No, criminals are the under lying cause of mass shootings. typical liberal bs, blame an object instead of the actor.

    3. "The under lying cause of mass shootings? Access to assault weapons."

      How so? Without even looking at the numbers, I know for a fact that there are more mass shootings with handguns than with rifles. In NY state in 2011 there were a little less than 700 gun deaths. Do you know how many were with rifles? 5 were with rifles. And that number of 5 is all rifles not just so called "assault" rifles. Nationwide less than 1% of gun deaths are with so called "assault" rifles.

      The VA Tech shooting, please explain how Feinstein would have stopped that? The VA tech shooter use a Walther P22 (.22 cal) pistol and a 9mm glock. His magazines were 10 and 15 rounds from what I've seen. He killed 34 adults and wounded 17 more. Feinstein wouldn't have stopped CT either as those firearms would have been grandfathered in.

    4. David, I am not a nutritionist but I am going to go on a limb and guess the main cause of obesity is overeating. Criminals will indeed commit crimes, but sensible legislation can deter and/or mitigate the results of some crimes. Drug laws are a classic example cited by people all over the ideological spectrum. People still make meth in their homes, even though its manufacture is illegal. Should we scrap the drug laws?

      Michael, I agree that the proposed Feinstein legislation would not prevent all mass gun murder. But such a ban might have prevented Newtown, for example. If such a law had been in place, and had Ms. Lanza been required to keep her grandfathered AR-15 under lock and key, she might still be with us. As might many of those first graders.

  10. Mari,
    Your heart is in the right place. The vast majority of murders in this country that are committed with guns are not committed with assault rifles, it's with hand guns. Don't you care as much about the kids that are being killed in Chicago as you do about those kids in Sandy hook?
    Do you support a blanket gun ban then?
    What we need is targeted legislation that solves the problem of keeping guns out of the hands of thugs and mentally ill people. Feinstein’s bill doesn’t do that and is so poorly written that is not even supported by the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Democrat Patrick Leahy.
    The Linsky bill, come on, 100’s of guns will need to be stored at a gun club? Let’s use Aristotelian logic with that one..
    You think that might create a magnet for robbers or mentally ill people who want access to 100’s or 1,000’s of killer assault weapons in one 60 second robbery? Adam Lanza killed his mother so he could get access to her guns. You think wouldn’t hesitate to rob a gun club knowing that 100’s of guns are kept there?

    1. All gun violence is awful, but I think most people will agree that the massacre of twenty first graders struck a collective nerve unlike any gun crime in recent history and produced a watershed moment.

      Since you asked, I *personally* would like to see a handgun ban. But what I want, indeed what any one citizen wants, and what is politically feasible on either the state or national level, are vastly different things.

      I understand handguns are here to stay.

      We can however, do a better job of tracking purchases for the life of every firearm, closing background check loopholes, prosecuting arms trafficking, and limiting ammunition. Over 9 of 10 American voters polled by Gallup (a slightly right leaning outfit) this week favor universal background checks.

      That's a stunning statistic in a country where we can't get that many citizens to agree that the sky is blue.

      I disagree, having read the bill, with your comment that Sen. Feinstein's proposed legislation is badly written.

      If anything, her bill doesn't go far enough to facilitate prosecution of straw purchasers (a top concern of Sen. Leahy) or to toughen federal trafficking laws (a subject on which a bipartisan group of senators is presently drafting a bill). Prosecution of straw purchases and trafficking would help a great deal in fighting gang type handgun violence.

      No law, state or federal, can ever eliminate all crime. Yet 85% of the children killed by guns in the world are killed in the United States. Every American should be embarrassed by that statistic and motivated to put a real dent in that number, which means sweeping reform, not piecemeal legislation.

      As I noted above, we are the only western country that allows civilians to possess military style assault weapons, the kind of weapons that literally shredded those 20 children's bodies beyond recognition in matter of seconds. Handguns do not produce equivalent mass destruction in an equivalent time frame. (If they did, our soldiers wouldn't need assault rifles.) That's why I support the Feinstein bill.

      On the MA level: I'm going to speculate that a person like Adam Lanza would have more difficulty overpowering a licensed gun club (full of "good guys with guns" and protected by insurance mandated security measures) than his own mother. I think we can stipulate that it's impossible to fully deter a homicidal person with a death wish.

      Plenty of gun clubs and gun stores around the country already store hundreds (or thousands) of weapons of all sorts, and we have yet to see the the rash of heists to which you refer.

      The Linsky bill's proposal to keep military style assault weapons out of private homes is just common sense.

      I hold out zero hope that either the Feinstein Bill or the Linsky Bill or the upcoming Leahy Bill will stop ALL gun massacres. But if we can save even one child with sensible gun control, we are morally bound to try.

      I am also morally bound to let you know that I won't post more than ten anonymous comments in a conversation. I am more than happy to keep conversing after that number, but I'll need you to step out of the shadows.

      Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go make calls in favor of the Linsky Bill.

      Happy weekend to you.

    2. The only difference an AR rifle makes vs a handgun is at long range. At close range the effect of the rounds on a body would result in the same. US soldiers do carry handguns in addition to rifles. Rifles are necessary because most fighting is done at long ranges and the pistols would be less accurate and do not have the range. But other than maybe the DC sniper, all these mass shootings, gang shootings, etc. are at close range.

      "As I noted above, we are the only western country that allows civilians to possess military style assault weapons, the kind of weapons that literally shredded those 20 children's bodies beyond recognition in matter of seconds. Handguns do not produce equivalent mass destruction in an equivalent time frame."

      The VA tech shooting is exhibit A. 34 adults dead, 17 wounded.

      AR's and such are military "style", the key word is style. They are not military rifles and are far less powerful than most hunting rifles and shotguns. They look scary but are no different than numerous other semi auto rifles. And how often do you see them used in crimes? There are over 3 million civilian AR's alone and how often is there a crime with them? The NYC police commissioner, the Philly commish, etc. say "assault" weapons are not the guns used by killers. They say a ban on those won't affect the murders they see every year.

      It is just a smokescreen to pass a feel good measure that is completely meaningless.

    3. It's not meaningless to the mothers of the first graders slaughtered in Newtown.

      Nobody is disputing the need of military personnel to carry the most effective weapons available into battle.

    4. YES, it is meaningless to the mothers of the first graders slaughtered in Newtown.

      Guns did not kill their kids, a psychotic murderer did.

      Their kids may be alive today had CT fixed their mental health care system instead of instituting an assault weapons ban like they did years ago.

      I noticed that you have not mentioned a single word about the real problem: mental health.


    5. The mothers of Newtown see it differently. Shannon Watts, who founded 1MM4GC, sees it differently.

      Veronique Pozner in particular has been very vocal in support of tougher gun laws. A psychotic murder armed with a weapon of mass destruction murdered her son and his classmates. Among other injuries, six-year-old Noah Pozner had no jaw left and one of his hands was blown off.

      Mental health services are indeed sorely needed in our country. Last time I checked, it was not the liberal or progressive wing of the country that was opposed to universal health care. It's a crime that vets need to wait weeks for mental health appointments; that insurers can mandate the number of visits to a mental health professional; that copays for mental health services can be higher than other copays.

      However, mental ill persons are actually more likely to be victims of crime than perpetrators. So "mental health" is only one small piece of a larger conundrum.

      The children of Newtown are dead because Mr. Lanza had access to an assault weapon.

      As the President said Tuesday night, those kids deserve a vote on a ban.

      And please do stop SHOUTING. I like a civilized site.

  11. "Gun violence" (whatever that means) is not going to be cured by some nonsensical, anti-freedom effort to further infringe on the rights of peaceable, responsible gun owners. Because peaceable, responsible gun owners aren't, by definition, aren't causing the problem.

    The focus clearly needs to be on who is killing who, and why. Overwhelmingly, these are young, black men, killing other young, black men, with handguns or pistols (nearly none with a long gun and NOT with standard capacity rifle magazines) in urban centers (250,000+ residents). If you can figure out how to improve the economic situation and culture of violence/aggression in America's largest cities, you'll "fix" the problem. Most, if not all of our focus should be precisely on issues other than "guns" and "insurance". It should be on understanding why black poverty rates are at record highs. Or why black illegitimacy rates are breathtakingly high. Cities like Worcester, Fall River, Lynn, Chicopee, Springfield, Roxbury, Mattapan, Lawrence and Roslindale all exhibit these symptoms.

    "Liability" insurance mandates on peaceable, responsible gun owners is going to do nothing except make some people "feel good" about fixing a very real problem but will do little to remediate the actual issue. Other measures like "universal background checks" and "assault weapons bans" will be equally ineffective. In fact, they'll likely have the perverse effect, if any effect at all.

    1. Countries with assault weapons bans have fewer mass shootings than the USA.

      I agree that all gun violence is awful and applaud legislative and non-profit efforts to lift children out of poverty before they grow up to be criminals. Education, particularly in many of our cities, could use a massive overhaul. I live in Boston, and have seen failing schools turned around. It can happen, but it takes gutsy leadership and lots of work.

      I have a hunch that liability laws would alter behavior. People might think twice about letting others handle their guns. They might make doubly sure their guns are out of reach of visiting children. Not a cure all, but a step worth considering. "Doing little" isn't ideal but it beats doing nothing.

  12. "Gun violence" (whatever that means) is not the problem. The problem is violence carried out by a very small minority of individuals.

    Most of the measures you support would do exactly nothing to fix the actual problem other than help some social architects "feel good" about "doing something" even if that "something" won't fix the problem.

    The real problem is limited to crimes committed by poor, urban, young black males killing other poor, urban, young black males. Focus there, and you'll be able to make some significant gains in bringing down all violence metrics. Figure out why black illegitimacy rates, unemployment and poverty rates are at alarmingly high levels, and we might be able to figure this out.

    Focusing on peaceable, legal, responsible gun owners is going to have no demonstrative effect on lowering violence rates. Namely because, peaceable, responsible gun owners (by most definitions) aren't the ones causing the mayhem. "Liability insurance", "AWBs" and other measures are being sold to the people of Massachusetts and across America as a panacea when in actuality they're going to be completely ineffective at fixing the source problem.

    1. Hi Michael,

      You raise an important topic. I agree that urban poverty, indeed all poverty, is a scourge in our nation and people from both sides of the ideological spectrum should work together to explore solutions. Education, particularly early intervention, does help lift kids out of poverty and crime.

      I don't for a second believe the legislation discussed in this post constitutes a panacea. But I do think that a ban would lessen the frequency of the Newtown type mass shootings. Eliminate? No, but perhaps reduce. And I think that is worth exploring.

      Ms. Lanza was by all accounts a law abiding gun owner. As was the gun owner whose gun killed the 12-year-old son of the woman who founded Mom on a Mission. I agree with Mr. Linsky that gun owners (assuming they, unlike Ms. Lanza, survive the crimes committed with their guns, should bear some responsibility.)

  13. "Nobody needs a military style assault rifle for personal/home protection."

    Assault rifles are very much prohibited in MA. Not only do you need to go through the described ATF/NFA requirements (applications, tax stamp, police approval), you also need to acquire an MA Machine Gun license, in addition to the License to Carry (LTC).

    There are not many assault rifles in Massachusetts. And only two select-fire rifles have been used in a crime since 1934 (date of enactment for NFA) - one of them, curiously was an actual police officer.

    Most anti-gun folk confuse "assault weapon" with "assault rifle". They are entirely different firearms. "Assault weapon" is a political definition that says that certain cosmetic features are prohibited, like flash suppressors, or vertical pistol-style grips, or bayonet lugs, etc. "Assault rifles" are capable of fully-automatic fire or multiple-round burst modes.

    Why I still don't fully understand why anti-gun folk like to use this comment, most of whom never so much as seen an AR-15 held by a civilian, the AR-15 and similar rifles, like the Ruger Mini-14, are very effective home defense firearms. They are military-style*d*, in that they LOOK like the military, fully-automatic equivalent, but do not function as such.

    1. When asked, at the first Senate hearing on gun violence prevention last month, to name one instance of a person defending her home with either an assault rifle or an assault weapon, the NRA's hand picked witness could not come up with one such case.

      Indeed, the case she cited as an example of home defense involved a shotgun. A shotgun not unlike the one my childhood neighbor used to deal with coyotes who interfered with his goats.

  14. You know you support someone who put forth a bill, that is now law, that de-criminalized bestiality, right? Linsky its what is wrong with this country. When someone has sex with barn animals, its now a $100 fine. If i have 11 rounds in a firearm, that i can legally carry, i get 5 years in prison. Yeah, sounds pretty good to me...

    1. I have not been following bestiality legislation in MA or elsewhere, but thank you for that insight.

  15. Brady Campaign stats are a complete joke. They include 19 year olds as 'children'.

    If you believe 18 and 19 year olds are children, you should be campaigning against sending children to war, exploiting children with labor, allowing children to possess and operate extremely dangerous instruments such as cars.

    Here's some facts for you:

    - 7 times more children die due to drowning in swimming pools than due to gunshots.

    -Guns prevent an estimated 2.5 million crimes a year or 6,849 every day.120 Often the gun is never fired and no blood (including the criminal’s) is shed.

    -Every day 550 rapes, 1,100 murders, and 5,200 other violent crimes are prevented just by showing a gun. In less than 0.9% of these instances is the gun ever actually fired.

    - 71% of gunshot victims had previous arrest records.
    • 64% had been convicted of a crime.
    • Each had an average of 11 prior arrests.
    • 63% of victims have criminal histories and 73% of the time they know their assailant (twice as often as victims without criminal histories).
    Most gun violence is between criminals.

    -Fact: Half of all murders are committed by people on “conditional release” (i.e., parole or probation). 81% of all homicide defendants had an arrest record; 67% had a felony arrest record; 70% had a conviction record; and 54% had a felony conviction.

    Fact: Two-thirds of the people who die each year from gunfire are criminals being shot by other criminals.

    Fact: 94.4% gang murders are committed with guns.135 Gangs are responsible for between 48% and 90% of all violent crime

    Fact: 60% of convicted felons admitted that they avoided committing crimes when they knew the victim was armed. 40% of convicted felons admitted that they avoided committing crimes when they thought the victim might be armed.

    Fact: Felons report that they avoid entering houses where people are at home because they fear being shot.

    Fact: Chicago (Gun-free city) leads the US in number of gun-related homicides : over 500 last year and 2500 shootings.

    Fact: 93% of guns used in crimes are obtained illegally.

    If you care about the children, you should start campaigning for parents to learn how to use and start carrying guns.

    If you'd like to see hundreds of thousands more rapes and murders every year, keep your current course.

  16. 18/19 year olds are indeed not children in the eyes of the law. I do not, however, have any control over the Brady Campaign's record keeping. I do believe that the twenty first graders slaughtered with a gun in Newtown deserve a serious conversation on gun violence prevention.

    Fact: Children are much more likely to become victims of gun violence if there are firearms present in the home. Sometimes that violence is accidental, or the result of gross negligence, as in the case of a three year old who died while playing with a loaded handgun in SC last month, while his grandparents were in the next room.

    Children do indeed drown, which is why we require fences around pools, and why insurers require homeowners with pools to pay considerably more for insurance than homeowners without pools.

    I share your concerns about handgun violence, and believe the answer lies largely with much stronger trafficking and straw purchasing enforcement on the federal level; universal background checks; tougher sentencing for felons who use firearms in the commission of crimes. I agree that a ban on handguns would not fly in this country.

    As for Chicago: No city in the USA is an island. We have free movement of people and virtually free movement of guns, across state and city lines. Which underscores the need for tough federal action.

  17. You say in a previous comment that an AR15 is not necessary to defend your family. Representative Linsky to my knowledge has zero military, law enforcement, or even firearm experience. I served in the Marine Corps infantry for 5 years, including in Afghanistan. I am certified by the Massachusetts State Police as well as the NRA as a firearms instructor. I shoot between 5-10 thousand rounds a year on my own time, largely through my AR15. I recommend to all my students that they consider AR15s for protecting their family, and I use one for the explicit purpose of protecting my family . Am I wrong? You say I am, but you provide no supporting evidence to that fact. I am telling you I am more or less an expert in the field, but you would rather listen to someone with no law enforcement or firearm experience? Please tell me what experience or knowledge you have that suggests that the AR15 is not a great rifle for protecting your family. I am interested to hear it, as someone in the field, who works with law enforcement, is military, and a firearms instructor I firmly disagree, and can support that with fact.

    With regard to "liability insurance," if guns are used in crimes, than the criminal is already subject to criminal prosecution and civil litigation. What the heck would insurance do on an item that poses lower risk than most household items (look at CDC stats on accidental poisonings, falls, drownings, etc)?

    You say you support Fiensteins bill. Fiensteins bill doesn't do anything but make the guns look different. How will that change anything? Even if you believe (incorrectly) that the guns she says she is banning are somehow especially dangerous, all she is doing is making them have to look physically different, they will still exist and function just the same.

    Let's touch on magazine capacity. Again, I recommend that my students carry as many rounds in the gun as it will fit. Even law enforcement has only a 20-40% hit rate, much lower in low light. That means that if I am limited to protecting my family with only 10 rounds, and someone breaks into my house at night, that means I MIGHT hit them 2-4 times. Most often home invaders intent on doing harm work in teams of at least 2 (look at any high profile home invasion). You are still going to argue 10 rounds is sufficient? Can you in good concscience tell me you speak from enough experience in the field that you are worthy of supporting regulations that will hinder how thousands of Massachusetts residents protect their families? Newtown Connecticut, though tragic, is incredibly rare. Home invasions, assaults, rapes, and robberies are not. A federal magazine and assault weapons ban existed from 1994-2004, and DID NOTHING (as US government studies verified), you would support this same ban or a stricter version despite evidence that it only hinders the law abiding?

    There is common ground between those who are in favor of being allowed to keep their family safe, and those who want to take that ability away. We can both agree that letting violent criminals right back out of prison causes problems. We can both agree that people who committ violent crimes should face mandatory minimum sentencing. We both agree that those who get caught selling stolen firearms or trafficking firearms should do a good ammont of jail time. Yet your side of the fence ignores those arguments that would likely be much more effective than a ban. Why? Why aren't you calling for the Governor to throw anyone who knowingly has a stolen firearm in jail for 10 years no questions asked? Why aren't you calling for him to throw those selling stolen guns in jail for 20 years no questions asked? All you talk about is bans, that not only are unconstitutional, but DON'T WORK. Why don't you work WITH us to actually put a dent in crime, rather than fighting us and ignoring the root of most of these problems?


  18. Hi Mike,
    First off, thank you for reading and commenting. I applaud your years of service, and respect your right to your opinion, but I will point out that a number of vets do support sensible gun control, including an assault weapons ban.

    As to the specific gun, the AR-15, if a case of home defense involving that gun had ever been recorded, the NRA would certainly have cited it at last month's Senate hearing. The same goes for a case where more than ten rounds were needed to protect the home. If they had such a case, they would take out ads touting it.

    Liability insurance would serve to motivate people to secure their guns, report thefts immediately, and think twice before letting others handle their guns. Not a cure all, but worth exploring. Same goes for the Feinstein Bill - less assault weapons is better, even in a situation like the USA where no assault weapons isn't a tenable option.

    I agree with your assessment that moving a hitting target is much harder than it looks in the movies. But anyone considering keeping a gun for home protection would also be wise to consider that the presence of a gun in the home increases the chances that a member of the household will die of a gunshot wound.

    I also agree that there is common ground on this issue, which is one of the reasons I am so interested in the issue: trafficking and straw purchasing enforcement, tougher sentences for gun crimes,and universal federal background checks would be vast improvements on the status quo. The Governor, however, does not have the power to jail people.

    A ban's constitutionality would inevitably be tested; its outcome would depend on the wording of the law if precedent is an indicator. Bans do work, which is why many industrialized nations have them.

  19. I wanted to take a moment and thank you all for a robust conversation on this thread. The Little Grape is going on vacation this week since we follow the Boston Public School Calendar, and I will not be able to monitor the blog as diligently as usual. Therefore I am going to close this thread for now, and reopen it next week, so as not to get behind in replying.
    Happy weekend to all.

  20. Regarding liability insurance, can you give an example of what the liability would be? I've asked Rep Linsky this question and he couldn't, or wouldn't answer.

    Regarding AR15s used for home defense, there have been cases in the news within the last month. Please look them up. If you call the NRA, they will cite them also. Please actually do some research but here's a start:

    Regarding straw purchases: Please investigate the FA10 system in MA that records *all* legal firearm transfers and limits face to face transfers (for properly licensed residents) to 4 per year. In short, the FA10 system provides full traceability for all guns and should prevent a straw purchase far better than a 1 gun a month law.

    Regarding common ground: Ok, if we're trying to compromise, what are you willing to give to lawful gun owners? Are you willing to review current laws and rescind the ones that don't work? I've heard a lot of pro-gun control people say they want to find common ground but they've only wanted to add more restrictions on top of what we already have in MA. That's not common ground.

    With regard to 10 rounds: Why do the police need more than 10 rounds in a magazine? Why does the governor's security detail need that? Typically the police and that security detail have backup. They also carry "assault weapons" with 30 round magazines. A home owner woken in the middle of the night by an intruder has no such backup. Look up the recent case of the woman down south who shot an intruder 6 times and he still walked away. What if there had been two intruders (or 4 like the case of the woman who was killed by 4 intruders up in NH a few years ago)? Are you willing to limit police to 10 rounds per magazine? And btw, governor Patrick is pushing for only 7 rounds in a magazine. How do you or the governor arrive at what the right number is?

  21. Hi Paul,

    As I noted above, we are presently on vacation and I am closing comments on this thread for the duration of the week. But your thoughtful and extensive comment swam through the net before I updated the settings, so I will take a moment answer you before clicking the comment closed feature.

    Liability insurance rates would be set by the marketplace, as are all insurance rates.

    MA indeed does a very good job record purchases, but it is bordered by states to the north that do not, which is why a federal approach to trafficking and straw purchasing legislation and enforcement is warranted. I also break from many of my progressive friends in supporting very tough sentences for those convicted of gun crimes.

    Re: common ground: Everything in politics eventually requires compromise. Background checks seem the obvious place to start since polls show anywhere between 86 and 92 per cent of voters favor them. To underscore the common ground significance of that number, try to think when we last had that much of the electorate agree on anything.

    I think a review of existing laws for efficacy is a good idea, and that could be a valuable contribution of gun owners: propose legislation that repeals or amends ineffective, money wasting laws.

    I understand many gun owners feel very strongly about guns as home protection and are quick to cite cases of successful deterrence. Sen. Whitehouse (RI) recently asked: Why is a handgun or shotgun not an adequate deterrent in a home protection situation? I share his skepticism about the *necessity* for an assault weapon for home defense purposes. At the same hearing, members of the Senate panel repeatedly asked for an example of a case of home defense using this type of weapon. None of the witnesses could provide one, which seems strange at best if the NRA keeps a list. But I am willing to stipulate that sometimes strange things happen in the course of Congressional theater.

    It's also worth noting that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends removing all firearms from homes where children live. And women who live in homes with guns are three times as likely to be killed by a gunshot wound as women who live in gun free homes.

    I can't presume to know the Governor's thought process, but the number being discussed on the federal level is ten.

    Nobody I know who's involved in this issue wants to disarm or under-arm the police or our military. I personally do not want them hampered in executing their duties.