Gun rights are under attack more than any time in history. Politicians, media and the educational system villainize gun owners to a degree never equaled in the past. Anti-gun groups have become powerful, extremely well-funded and are gaining wide support. Disarming and reducing the criminal population is not allowed due to political correctness. Instead, proposed solutions to gun-related crime focus on making it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to own and carry guns and put severe restrictions on the guns they can have. With violence on the rise and police unable to control it, law-abiding citizens need guns now more than ever. Due to restrictions, they often find themselves out-gunned by criminals. In the recent past, police complained they were out-gunned by criminals who often carried more powerful weapons with high-capacity magazines. The response of politicians was to allow police to be better armed to protect themselves. When citizens complain of being out-gunned, politicians put more restrictions and bans in place making the problem far worse.

 In states with minimal gun regulation, most are unaware of just how bad things are in other parts of the country. One good example is my home state of Massachusetts where rights have been whittled away to an alarming degree. It's not difficult to get a gun license but it can be expensive and generally takes a few months. The bigger issue is extensive restrictions on guns and accessories. The vast list of prohibitions includes silencers, flash suppressors, foregrips, folding or telescopic stocks, threaded barrels, numerous mechanical features and ridiculous capacity limits. The most recent and disturbing development happened on July 20, 2016. It became illegal to buy or sell any firearm that is, or mechanically resembles an AR15 or AK47. The AR15 is the most popular rifle in this country, if they can ban that they can ban anything. This happened with no warning or public knowledge. Dealers were notified just hours before the ban took effect. This was an arbitrary action taken by Democrat Maura T. Healey, the state Attorney General. Charlie Baker, our corrupt RINO governor, has done absolutely nothing to correct this injustice. The attorney general claims these guns were illegal under an existing ban in place since 1998. She claims it was illegal for dealers to sell versions built to comply with state regulations. This is completely untrue, the state has approved rosters of all the guns you can legally buy. Only models on those lists can be purchased and only if they comply with additional regulations. The AR15 and AK47 were on the approved roster for high-capacity weapons and were being sold in compliant versions. Nothing in the 1998 ban prohibited the basic design or actions of these guns. That was the understanding of state officials, law enforcement and dealers for 18 years.

 A quick look at the approved gun rosters gives the impression there's a huge variety of guns legal to buy. Most of the guns on these lists are either not produced in compliant versions or are only legal if owned before various bans and restrictions were enacted. The variety of guns actually available in this state is extremely limited. Dozens of prominent manufacturers and hundreds of popular models are illegal. All of this insanity is the result of politicians pushing for what they disingenuously call reasonable or common-sense gun laws. Their true intent is to make all guns as expensive, difficult to get and useless as possible. The changes are small and incremental but eventually you end up with what we have here in MA. A state that has never had a mass shooting but finds it necessary to ban most guns. The only mass killing here was a bombing committed by Islamic immigrants who then endangered the entire community for days after. Police unsuccessfully tried to capture them. One of the bombers was accidentally killed by the other. The remaining terrorist was found by a citizen.

 Gun bans and regulations have done nothing to make the citizens of Massachusetts safer. Crime in this state has increased to epidemic levels over the past few decades. Stricter gun laws and progressive policies have been a complete disaster. To avoid negative press, state and local officials under-report crime and instruct police to ignore it to keep arrests at a minimum. I've witnessed this myself in many cities. I approached a Holyoke officer and asked if he was going to do anything about the two people smoking a glass pipe on the steps of the public library 50 feet away. He responded "We have a task-force that handles that." as he walked away. Nobody responded, the two finished sharing the pipe as children walked up the stairs past them like nothing was wrong. This happened at a time when Holyoke's police chief was receiving praise in the media for how much he had supposedly reduced crime. He didn't reduce crime, he reduced arrests. Not hard to do when you tell your officers to ignore crime. Many years ago I owned a taxi company that serviced the Northampton area. The amount of crime I witnessed in Northampton was unbelievable. Most of it never ended up in police logs or covered by local media. Reports that the crime rate is down are complete bullshit. Across this entire country it is completely out of control.

 Massachusetts has minimal airgun regulations but some cities have strict prohibitions on them. In Holyoke you can't shoot an airgun, even on your own property, without police showing up and seizing it. I guess they prefer you smoke meth on the library steps instead. In 2016, Democrats tried to push through a legal requirement for airguns to have special markings. This included a bright orange muzzle and other highly visible indicators. Though it failed to be implemented, it's still in the works. This is in spite of the fact that it's in violation of the federal law posted on the HOME page. Under federal law airgun and ammo retailers can't be held liable for random accidents and crimes involving their products. This doesn't stop MA from having a law on the books that does exactly that. Though completely unenforceable, this along with other idiotic liberal antics caused many to stop shipping here. The most recent was in December 2015 when Amazon stopped shipping all Amazon-fulfilled pellet guns and accessories. In other states the problem is much worse. New Jersey and Rhode Island consider airguns to be firearms, regulate them as such and require a firearms license to own one. Illinois considers any over .18 caliber and 700 FPS to be firearms. In all five boroughs of New York City sale of airguns is illegal. They can be owned if purchased outside the city, a $10 annual license from the city police is required before buying one. Connecticut and Delaware classify airguns as dangerous weapons. In those states there are heavy restrictions on their use and carrying is prohibited. Michigan recently relaxed it's airgun restrictions a little but some are still regulated as firearms.

 There have been some legal victories for gun rights in recent years. It's only due to the hard work of gun rights organizations and massive support from members that we've made some progress. There's still a long way to go, the fight to restore and protect our rights needs to be intensified. There are no airgun rights organizations. Gun rights groups defend the hobby indirectly. The NRA has an extensive variety of competitive airgun shooting programs and is the most involved.

 I call on my fellow arms owners, business people and organizations to join and promote the gun rights groups

on this website. Use their links, resources and notices to take action. It's simple, quick, inexpensive and you don't have to own a firearm to join. They aren't always in agreement on certain issues but they are the most effective and widely respected gun rights groups.

 Thank you for your time,

 Bill Baldyga, Owner & Manager, NRA Life Member, NRA Golden Eagles member, SAF Life Member, GOA member.