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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 has become nearly impossible 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 past, police complained they were out-gunned by criminals who often carry more effective weapons with high-capacity magazines. The response of politicians was to allow police to be better armed to protect themselves. As citizens become increasingly out-gunned by criminals, politicians enact more restrictions and bans leaving them less capable of defending themselves, their homes and their families.
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 and 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 sporting 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, had less gun crime before all the restrictions, yet 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 after the shelter-in-place order (martial law) was lifted. Just one more shining example of how government and law enforcement are completely incapable of controlling crime or keeping the community safe. Police do the best they can and deserve credit for putting their lives on the line. It's corruption, political correctness and blatant ignorance on the part of politicians and a delusional progressive population that are the problem.
Gun bans and regulations have done nothing to make the citizens of Massachusetts safer. Crime in this state has exploded 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. Police are instructed to ignore it, this keeps arrests at a minimum creating the illusion of less crime. I've witnessed this myself in several cities I've lived in. Reports that the crime rate is down are complete bullshit. Over the past few decades I've watched several cities that used to be nice places to live become crime-ridden hellholes.
Massachusetts has minimal airgun regulations but some cities have their own restrictions on them. 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. This is in spite of the fact that it's in clear violation of the federal law posted at the bottom of 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 allowing exactly that. Though completely unenforceable, this along with other idiotic 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 Endowment Life Member, NRA Golden Eagle, SAF Life Member, GOA Life Member