Why Massachusetts Has the Nation’s Toughest Gun Laws

The debate rages on for gun owners and gun laws in the United States
The fight for better gun laws continues to rage on despite decades of firearm legislation.

It’s no secret to Massachusetts gun owners that the Codfish State has some of the strictest firearm laws in the United States. And as the years have gone by, those laws have continued to tighten — despite the efforts of organizations like the NRA. So how exactly did it get to be this way?

The 1998 Massachusetts Gun Control Act

In 1998, Massachusetts passed what was hailed as the nation’s toughest gun legislation. That law sought to make the gun licensure process more comprehensive and difficult to navigate. It banned semiautomatic assault weapons, created additional licensing rules and sought severe penalties for those storing unlocked guns. Part of the legislation required all new firearm license applicants to complete a certified firearms safety or hunter education course.

The law also imposed a ban on covert guns, unreliable guns (junk guns), and certain assault weapons. Despite these restrictions, many argued the laws were ineffective in curbing gun violence. But as James Alan Fox, a Northeastern University criminologist stated, “The quality of your gun-licensing laws is only as good as those surrounding you.’’

The 2004 Revisions

In an attempt to further strengthen the 1998 laws, Massachusetts legislators enacted a series of revisions to the original act. As part of the revisions, the ban on certain assault weapons was continued; an extension was put in place for the term of FID cards and LTC from four to six years; a provision was added for a grace period of 90 days following the expiration of a license, as was an exemption of the LTC renewal fee for active law enforcement officers.

Beyond that, the 2004 revisions sought to establish a firearm license review board whose responsibility was to review applications from individuals convicted of certain misdemeanor offenses who were disqualified under current law.

The 2014 Laws

Following the devastating 2012 school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, Massachusetts lawmakers came together in an effort to overhaul the state’s gun laws — which many believed were too lax, despite the state’s consideration as one of the nation’s toughest states for gun owners.

The 2014 law stiffened penalties for certain gun-based crimes, instituted real-time background checks in private gun sales and created a firearms trafficking unit within the state police. It also gave police chiefs the right to use judiciary means to deny FID cards to people whom they felt were unsuitable to own a weapon.

Going Forward

Despite the efforts Massachusetts lawmakers to stiffen firearm laws and curb gun violence, many argue that these laws aren’t enough on their own. Jim Wallace, head of the Massachusetts-based Gun Owners Action League and a vocal gun rights advocate, said “more laws don’t necessarily mean good laws.”

But if you look to countries like Australia, where strict gun laws have led to a massive decline in gun violence and gun-related murders,, Wallace’s assertion might not stack up. It seems to go without saying that a nation’s level of gun ownership would be proportionate to their gun-death rates. Following nationwide buyback and confiscation efforts in Australia, there hasn’t been a single mass shooting since 1996.

The problem is, in America gun ownership is very much apart of the culture. It’s one of the nation’s most coveted and controversial amendments. Australia is a small country compared to America. A nationwide buyback and confiscation program would probably not go over very well. So it’s clear that the issue goes deeper than law. Moreover, many argue that gun laws only serve to hurt those gun owners who go through the proper legal channels to obtain their firearms, while criminals will continue to find easy ways to arm themselves.

So tell us your thoughts. Do you think stricter gun laws means fewer gun-related crimes? Do you think statewide legislation is enough to curb gun violence? Or is there something deeper at play which we must first address?


People With Guns Do the Darndest Things

When I was in 10th Grade, I took a calculus class. My teacher’s name was Mr. Frank. Frank was his last name. He had two first names but that’s mostly irrelevant to this story. 10th grade was 12 years ago. Now, if you ask me what the derivative of 6x cubed is, I’d say it’s 18x squared and I may or may not be right. The moral of this story is: I don’t remember a damned thing from that year in calculus class. Now, how is this relevant to you, a potential owner of a gun or multiple guns?

Well, it’s relevant because guns are a lot like calculus: they’re complicated and you better pay attention if you want to get it right. The fact is, no matter how many gun safety classes you take, there’s always the possibility that in some given moment you’ll forget everything you learned and accidentally you shoot your parakeet named Derek. The point is, it’s always possible to do something stupid with your gun.

Did you know that on average at least 500 accidental gun deaths occur every year? Did you know that in 2010 firearms were the third-leading cause of injury-related deaths nationwide, following poisoning and motor vehicle accidents? Did you know you’re more likely to shoot yourself if you own a gun than you are to be shot by someone else? Did you know that owning a gun won’t necessarily make you safer at all?

These are just a few things you might not learn in your average gun safety course. But on your way to acquiring your Massachusetts gun license, it’s probably a good idea to keep in mind all the stupid things that could happen when a gun is in your midst. So, for the sake of constancy, here are five stupid things people have done with guns.


What to Consider When Buying Your First Gun

Buying a gun is a big deal any time you choose to do it, but the first time is something special. After all, what’s the point of having a license to carry if you don’t know what to carry? Well, luckily we here at GuaranteedMassGunLicense.com have got your back. So without further ado, let’s go over some of the most important things to consider when purchasing your first firearm.

A handgun is a common choice for first time buyers seeking to protect themselves and their home.

What’s the Use?

The first thing to consider when buying your first gun should be obvious. What are you going to use it for? Are you looking for a gun for security purposes, such as home protection? Is it for recreation? Hunting? Concealed carry? Whatever the case, it’s probably a good idea that you figure it out before heading off to your local gun shop. That way the friendly clerks and firearms experts won’t secretly make fun of you in the back when you’re not looking. Not to mention, they’ll be able to steer you in the right direction for your specific needs.

So what are first-time buyers doing with their guns?

  • 87.3% use their guns for in-home protection.
  • 76.5% report using theirs for self-defense.
  • 73.2% use theirs for recreational purposes

    Fortunately for you, you’ve already taken the gun licensing courses. These will have no doubt helped you acquire the knowledge necessary to pick out the right model for your specific needs.

    So let’s say you’re one of 87.3% of first-time gun buyers who plan to use your firearm strictly for home protection and self defense purposes. In this case, I would look into purchasing a basic shotgun such as the Remington Versa Max Tactical. As opposed to the pump-action shotgun, this semiautomatic has an eight-pound heft, gas-action, cushy buttpad, and gel comb insert, and it’s likely the lightest recoiling 12-gauge on the market. Although semi-autos are more expensive than pump-action, they’re more reliable and easier to fire, making them ideal for first-time self-defense oriented buyers.

How Much Ya Got?

The next thing you’ll want to do after deciding on your intended use is set yourself a budget. If you didn’t already know guns range from anywhere around $150 to $5000 depending on the model. The only person who can determine your budget is you. Which is why, if you’re opting for a handgun, you should set your budget between $400 to $800 assuming your finances allow. The reason for this is that within this price range it’s easy to buy a handgun that’s reliable, well designed, and has a solid warrantee from its manufacturer.

For shotguns, the price will depend on the action type. If it’s a pump, you’re looking at anywhere from $349 to $700. For semi-autos, it’ll run from $700 all the way up to $2000. Again, it all depends on your needs and how much time you’re willing to put into your gun.

Would You Like to Supersize Your Gun?

As a new shooter, you’re probably going to need every advantage you can get when operating your first gun. That means you should have a specific eye on a high capacity gun with low recoil. As you improve your skill level, you can graduate to larger caliber firearms. But for the sake of sensibility, it’s best to start simple. And again, you’ll want to refer back to your intended use when making a selection here. For example, if you’re looking to conceal and carry your first gun, you’ll want to look for something compact with a high caliber. A gun of this sort won’t be very pleasant to shoot but you’ll have little trouble keeping it concealed. On the other hand, if you’re looking for ease of fire, you’ll want to opt for a full size duty style gun chambered with a lower caliber. You’ll find this option more comfortable for shooting, and will surely enjoy its high ammunition capacity.

Whatever the case, make sure you consult your local gun experts, weapons trainers, and so on when making this most important decision. As with everything else in life, you get what you pay for so keep in mind that going on the cheap might not necessarily be the best option, especially if you’re looking for reliability and smooth functionality. Anyways, that’s all for this week. I hope you found this to be informative in all the right ways. Happy hunting, folks.

What Do You Know About Gun Safety? A Primer on the Four Golden Rules

One of the most sacred laws of the land in America is the right to bear arms. It was with their guns that American revolutionaries fought against the tyranny of British rule. But that was 24o years ago. Nowadays people use guns for a variety of different reasons: hunting, self-defense, emergency preparedness, target practice, sporting pursuits. The list goes on.

But, as Americans are endowed with the right to bear arms, so too are we tasked with learning the ins and outs of gun safety. In 2015 alone, at least 141 deaths of minors were attributed to unintentional or accidental shootings, according to a nationwide review conducted by The Associated Press and USA TODAY Network. Moreover, each year the number of deaths by accidental shooting hovers somewhere around 500.

Hence why obtaining a gun license can be difficult and often discouraging. In order to encourage responsible gun use, lawmakers have taken steps to ensure that gun owners learn the necessary tenants of firearm safety. As in the state of Massachusetts, one must complete a state-approved firearms safety course before qualifying for a license.

As part of that course, you will most likely learn the four basic rules of gun safety. Though you might use your guns in a number of different ways, these four rules apply no matter who you are, no matter where you are, and no matter what you intend to do with your gun. If you make sure to follow these rules carefully and consistently, you can be certain you’ll never have a firearms accident. Fortunately for you, we’re going to present them here as a primer for any courses you will take in the future.

  • The First Universal Rule of Gun Safety:
    Always treat your gun as if it’s loaded. Or more simply, all guns are always loaded.

Now what does this mean exactly? It means treating every gun with the same respect that you’d treat a loaded gun, regardless of whether it’s loaded or not. In other words, you wouldn’t jokingly point your loaded rifle at your best friend’s face, so you obviously wouldn’t if it was unloaded. It doesn’t matter if you’ve checked or not. There may be a bullet hiding in the chamber. That’s why Rule Number One is so important, and why it precedes all the other rules. Because it means, no matter the situation, that we’re using our firearms with mindfulness and care.

  • The Second Universal Rule of Gun Safety:
    Never point the gun at something you’re not prepared to destroy.

This one’s pretty simple. It essentially states Rule One more clearly. No matter what you’re doing with your gun–whether you’re unloading it, correcting a jam, cleaning it, or showing it off to your friends–you must always be aware of which direction the muzzle is pointing. Even for something as basic as setting your gun down after use, make sure it’s pointing in a direction that won’t cause destruction or harm. Otherwise don’t pick it up in the first place.

  • The Third Universal Rule of Gun Safety:
    Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target and you have made the decision to shoot.

    As with every other moment of use, the decision to shoot should be approached with conscious attention and care. This rule is simple: keep your finger off the trigger and it won’t accidentally discharge. These days firearms are made so they won’t ‘just go off’ on their own. For anyone operating a gun, unless you’re engaging a target, their finger should be placed high on its frame–not on the trigger, not hovering near the trigger guard. And the definition of a target is equally simple: a target is anywhere you deliberately point a gun. If you’re not deliberately pointing a gun somewhere, your finger is high on the frame. That’s it.

  • The Fourth Universal Rule of Gun Safety:
    Be sure of your target and what’s behind it.

    It’s important to know that bullets can go through an intended target. Which means you must ensure that your target has a proper backdrop to receive fire. It seems obvious but you’d be surprised how many accidents happen when you’re not entirely aware of the environment surrounding your target. Whether you’re disassembling and cleaning a glock, or practicing on a makeshift shooting range (such as cans in your backyard), you have to make sure that, one: there isn’t anyone lurking behind the target or potentially in the line of fire, and two: that there’s a solid backstop behind it to absorb the bullet. You might be wondering what qualifies as a solid backstop. That depends entirely on what type of gun you’re operating, its power, and the kind of rounds you’re using. Buckshot, for example, will fall to rest with sufficient open space, whereas bullets from a hunting rifle could travel for miles without a solid surface to hit.

    So there you have it, the four universal rules of gun safety. Do not take these rules lightly. To quote from Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility. Guns are some of the most powerful machines in the world, and so owning one is a serious responsibility. In order to ensure safe and proper use, always follow the four basic rules. As you go through a firearms safety course, you will probably go much deeper into the nuances of each rule. But for now maybe print this out and keep it handy whenever you pull your rifle off the rack.

    The Four Universal Rules of Gun Safety:

1. Treat all guns as if they are always loaded.
2. Never point the muzzle at anything you are not willing to destroy.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.