Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

What is a Massachusetts gun owner really like?

Flickr/Robert Nelson

Gun rights activists, and in Massachusetts even gun owners, bear an unfortunate and negative stigma that often leads to the dismissal of their views and experiences of having any value. When one mentions they are pro-gun, believe in the Second Amendment, or own guns in the Northeast, they are often classified negatively as a “gun-nut.” These “gun-nuts” are assumed to be camouflage wearing, right -wing, anti-government racists. On Jan. 19 at least 1,000 of these “gun-nuts,” congregated in front of the State House to stand up for their rights and beliefs. In doing so, they proved that the stereotype as is perpetuated by the media could not be farther from the truth.

The terrible tragedy that took place in Connecticut on Dec. 14, 2012, renewed the call for a discussion on gun control, mental health and violence throughout American culture. What was hopefully going to be a thoughtful discussion quickly turned to a full out assault on gun owners and the Second Amendment. Within a month the president had issued what were claimed to be 23 executive orders and called for a renewed push in Congress for a ban on arbitrarily defined guns, and an arbitrarily decided magazine capacity limit. What makes an “assault weapon” is a complete fabrication of the political machine, which is easily demonstrated on the changing definition between the original law from 1994 and the bill as it has been reintroduced today by Senator Diane Feinstein.

The United States had an assault weapons and magazine ban from 1994-2004, and a Department of Justice study after the ban explained it was impossible to conclude that the ban had any effect on the use of such weapons by criminals, because the changes were so minute that they could have been attributable to many other factors.

Prior to, during, and after the ban crime has dropped and continues to drop to the lowest it has been in decades today. Not to be outdone, the politically ambitious Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York forced through legislation in under a day to require the registration of certain firearms, in addition to the turning in of magazines which hold more than ten rounds.  The legislation additionally set a new limit of seven rounds, all the while bypassing the states’ own standard minimum lengths of legislative review.

Within a day of this, Governor Deval Patrick had filed legislation which, in his own words, was following what New York had done. I know this because he said it to me when I called in on a radio show.

This prompt action targeting gun owners led to a large amount of grassroots support mostly organized through social media to stand at our Statehouse in Boston on Jan. 19. With only a few days to truly gain momentum, Massachusetts had a crowd which overflowed from the front of the statehouse across the street and into the Common.

The turnout for this event was truly fantastic and unexpected. According to estimates from the Boston Globe, there was more than three times the turnout for the pro-gun rally, than the better organized anti-gun rally, with 700 to  200 individuals respectively, which was held the following weekend. I would personally estimate the numbers at the gun rights rally to have topped 1,000. Unfortunately, despite multiple media agencies showing up, minimal coverage was received. This likely was because nobody was behaving in any manner likely to gain the negative attention of a system all too bent on vilifying gun owners. The national coverage of these events included pictures predominately from states in which people were openly carrying firearms of various sorts as the media infatuation with “scary looking guns” was out in full force. The same day a total of five injuries unrelated to the protests due to accidents with firearms in the United States made CNNs top story over the tens if not hundreds of thousands out in peaceful protest. The majority of these peaceful protestors were armed, even in Boston and there were zero incidents. It is important to note that accidental gun fatalities usually number about 500 annually, compared to approximately 33,000 accidental poisonings, 34,000 motor vehicle deaths, and 26,000 deaths due to falls.

Don’t let facts serve as a distraction to mainstream media reporting, however.

The makeup of the crowd in Boston undeniably included many younger to middle aged white males, though many ethnicities were certainly represented. There was a fair share of entire families’ present as well as individual women, some of whom were instrumental in getting the word out about the rally. Indeed the first and inarguably most moving speaker was a survivor of the Tiananmen Square massacre who had just recently received his citizenship as well as his ‘License to Carry.”

He spoke of the similarities of the rights Chinese are supposed to have compared to those of Americans in Article II of the Chinese constitution and the American Bill of Rights respectively, and how they are a joke as the citizens of China have no means to defend those rights, which include the freedoms of speech, assembly and religious practice.

He called into question what would have been an acceptable amount of bullets to limit the millions of Chinese in Beijing that day had they been allowed rifles when they came under fire of the Chinese military. This is not to say the theme of the rally was to inspire fear of government, or fight tyranny; that was far from the case. There certainly were those making the point that it is important to have a balance of physical power between any given population and their governing body. That thought is certainly present in the minds of most who support and understand the Second Amendment., but this was not central to the purpose of the demonstration in Boston.

When organizing this rally it was hoped that not only would some valid points be brought up when it comes to who gun laws ultimately affect, but that it would be demonstrated that gun owners are friends, neighbors and coworkers among Massachusetts communities. The grassroots and social media organization of this demonstration meant that everyone could assist in its organization, and that the key points would come to light in a somewhat democratic manner. This certainly was achieved, with many a sign listing who people were in addition to their status as a gun owner. The most prominent example of this was a woman who held a sign that read: “Mother, Lawyer, Democrat, Second Amendment Defender. (10)  This rally did not comprise individuals belonging to just one political party, race, gender or mindset. Many brought up the practical points that presented the case for private gun ownership and the defense of home and family, such as police response times, and the amount of bullets a good citizen should be able to possess when faced with a threat. Career law enforcement officers who were among the crowd spoke further on those issues, offering their support based on their experiences with licensed gun owners when compared to violent criminals. Good points were made and it was certainly refreshing to be among various Massachusetts residents willing to stand up for what is being demonized more and more in this state.

Through talking to various people in attendance, it was clear that these were fellow residents of Massachusetts. The attitude when it came to guns was that government must stop punishing the law- abiding gun owners who follow all the rules, and focus on fixing the problems we undoubtedly have with violence and crime. Just because the crowd was made up of gun owners, doesn’t mean they didn’t support their definition of common sense gun laws, such as locking those up who are violent or steal guns, or trafficking guns or in any way facilitate firearm possession by criminals. Most were also in favor of a comprehensive background check system, though they strongly opposed long-term registration of individual guns. Items, which were absolutely unacceptable to the crowd, included measures that only serve to hurt the law abiding, or those that would serve as a stepping stone to further restrictive regulation. Most notably is the example of what New York now has in place, where one may own grandfathered ten round magazines, but are instantly a criminal if they load more than seven individual bullets into that ten round magazine. There is no reasonable explanation for how this law would do anything but harm someone’s ability to defend themselves and their family. These were the points the lawyers and law enforcement among the crowd agreed upon.

Ultimately, despite the lack of media attention, the rally succeeded in painting gun owners of Massachusetts in a good light that accurately portrays them as the pro-rights community members they are. Massachusetts gun owners are friends of the community, peoples’ neighbors, family, bosses, employees and co-workers. Gun owners, but more importantly hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts community members do want to be involved in a discussion about what can actually be done about the problems with violence in this state and country.  People of various backgrounds and experiences came together to defend everyone’s rights, and make a public offer to sit down and work with a legislature which, since Deval Patrick has taken office, has refused the requests of Massachusetts gun rights organizations to be involved. Hopefully this outpouring of support from gun owners will lead to a conversation which will work to fix problems with both crime and how gun owners are respected in the Commonwealth. However, in order for that to happen, the Governor and his office must actually have the discussion that they said they were willing to have, rather than continuing to lie about their intentions and entertain only the ideas of the anti-gun organizations which run purely off emotion.

Michael Ball is a Collegian contributor. He can be reached at [email protected].


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  • M

    masonMar 8, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Seriously why would anyone carry around a cell phone and a fire extinguisher to protect themselves?? I propose we arrange a test between gun owners and those who choose other methods to protect themselves in an arranged battle called Mortal Combat.

    Gun owners verus the normal citizen who only holds a cell phone and calls the police when reporting a crime. Winner: Gun owner.

    Gun owner versus individual who knows karate. Winner:Gun Owner.

    Gun owner versus peace loving who is opposed to conflict and violence. Winner: Gun Owner.

    Gun owner versus ninja with sword and stars. Winner:Gun Owner.

    Clearly I have made a cogent argument that guns are the superior form of self defense.

  • P

    perrieMar 7, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    I don’t own a fire extinguisher or cell phone silly. Why would I depend on foam and a telephone to protect myself? That’s why I carry around my sword and ninja stars.

  • M

    MikeMar 7, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Was there a coherent argument anywhere in there?

    I guess I’m paranoid because I protect myself. You must be paranoid because you own a fire extinguisher, and a cell phone.

    I’m sorry there is no validity to that argument, you are just making baseless attacks on something you clearly don’t understand… which is the entire problem with the anti-gun agenda in the first place.


  • P

    perrieMar 6, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    If paranoid members are insistent about carrying weapons and they insist on possessing the most extreme form of a weapon(i.e a lethal firearm) than it seems logical we should allow members to carry any form of weapon below that standard.

    Perhaps numb-chucks, swords, ninja stars? Also smoke-bombs are legal. I want to be able to carry a sword to stab anyone who threatens me and if a group approaches me, than throw ninja stars at their eyes and blind them. Then get away with a smoke bomb.

  • P

    perrieMar 6, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    regulatory agency*

  • P

    perrieMar 6, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    “no matter how small that minority becomes.” Also other commenters on this site have expressed their central argument which seems to be “Guns should be allowed because I want to own a gun”.

    That minority the previous poster mentioned is becoming smaller and smaller and the right to own guns will continue to be restricted as we have seen in New York. It would be very difficult to amend the constitution however there a plethora of other methods which can highly restrict the use of guns and decrease the ease at which zealots can purchase them.

    Ken puts up a good point, so I think as society that rejects violence as a solution to violence and seeks civilized solutions, we need to change our approach from trying to rationally discuss the issue and find a suitable compromise to restricting gun ownership by limiting the amount of stores that can sell guns, limiting the types of guns that can be sold, limiting the amount of ammunition that can be sold, closing the private-sale loophole and passing national legislation that requires ownership of a gun aside from recreational(hunting/sports) to be approved by a local police force or regulatory issue.

    We can’t prohibit the use of deadly weapons in our society but we can minimize their use to a nominal status.

  • P

    PDMar 5, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    “Well regulated spelling”

  • U

    uttopolisMar 5, 2013 at 8:35 am

    “well regulated malitia”

  • K

    KenMar 4, 2013 at 11:30 pm


    Thank you for the excellent write up of gun owners in Massachusetts, and thank you for your service to our country. I think people in MA need to understand that lethal force is important in defending ones life, and that a firearm is a very effective tool to be used in self defense. It’s amazing how some people who are targeted by violence are the ones advocating for less ways to protect yourself. Gun owners are not a fringe group in MA, and the voters cannot push away a fundamental right of the people to protect themselves, no matter how small that minority becomes. Thankfully we have the Constitution to limit the powers of mob rule.

  • M

    MikeMar 4, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Lucas and John, I am happy to have a debate with both or either of you to be put up as a podcast at any time. I am the writer of this article, feel free to email me.
    I don’t know how you say gun owners don’t care about society. We care very much about society. We care about the anti-gun agenda USING this tragedy to try to inhibit people within our entire society, to include you, from lawfully protecting themselves and loved ones. To paint US as uncaring and cold is wrong, when it is truly the anti-gun movement standing on the graves of those who die in these horrific tragedies. American society allows people to exercise their fundamental right to self defense. If that means killing somebody who is attempting to do the same to you, than so be it. Equating lawful gun ownership with a “right to kill” is just incorrect and backwards. Murder is still murder, assault is still assault, none of that changes. If the alternative to not having a “right to kill” as you put it is that I allow someone to break into my house and rape my fiance and kill us, than I don’t think we are going to be able to have a reasonable discussion.

  • F

    FrenchmanMar 4, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Well, John, let’s see. Martin Luther King applied for a concealed carry permit. How could a CCP be good enough for him, and not for the rest of the law abiding citizens and residents of this country?
    Second, and this is the greatest joke I’ve read in a long time, you write “Their response is to use the tragic event as an opportunity to pander their point”. Now, you show how completely indoctrinated by the left wing you really are. Every sinle anti’gun, or pro gun control argument or article will have the words Newtown or Aurora in it. President Obama won’t miss an opportunity to be shown with children on stage. The left had nothing to do but to come up with the same old gun grab arguments since the tragedy in Connecticut. Yet, you really dare to write that it is the gun owners who exploit the tragic event to pander their point? REALLY? What news are you watching? What newspapers are you reading? I don’t think I have heard a more wrong statement in a long, long time.
    Now, you want reasoning? I’ll give you something to reason about. First, allow me to quote you: “Also it’s sad how little gun owners care about society at large or crime and they take any event no matter how horrific and tragic to their advantage. They show no human concern or empathy”
    John… Of course we care about society. We are part of it. So are our children, our spouses, our parents and our friends. And because we care for them, we want to be able to protect them with any means necessary. Wake up, young Padawan. The world out there is violent. There are plenty of people who do not have your best interest at heart. And they will go out of their way and commit any violent act necessary to get their hands on your possessions. They are comonly refered to as CRIMINALS. How is my willingness to put a stop to this violence, when committed against my loved ones, not caring for society?
    As for the right to kill… I do have the right to kill any person who is trying to do the same to me. It is called self defense. To be perfectly hones with you, I’d rather see the other guy dead then myself. Would you call me selfish because I’d rather not be dead?

    You do not make any sense, whatsoever.

  • B

    BenMar 4, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    “They fail to provide a compelling reason or rational argument on why society should allow people the right to kill…”

    Everyone has the right to use lethal force to protect themselves from someone who tries to kill them. Almost every society recognize this right on some level. Even Thomas Hobbes recognized the inherent right to protect one’s life. Firearms are merely tools of lawful self defense — the right to carry them does not confer any special “license to kill.”

    Not everyone is going to be comfortable with firearms, but to restrict other people’s rights you need a better reason than simply your belief that they’re not “civilized.”

    Our first question should be, does gun control even reduce crime — our national experience is that it does not. The assault weapons ban did not decrease crime, according to the DOJ’s own studies. Not surprisingly, the DOJ’s recently leaked memo also shows that nothing that Democrats are proposing would have any effect on crime either. The same goes for Massachusetts — we passed landmark gun control in 1998, which reduced legal gun ownership from 1.5 million to about 200,000 in just a few years (it’s since crept back up a bit). Even with that dramatic reduction of legal gun ownership, murder, suicide and robberies have all gone up.

    If we want to strike at the root source of crime, there are a number of societal reasons for it. One that is well within the control of policymakers is the War on Drugs. Just like alcohol prohibition before it, we can clearly see that rates of murder and violence have been driven upward by the financial incentives of the black market. But for some reason, we keep being told all we can do is give up more freedom, even thought we know it will do nothing.

  • L

    lucasMar 4, 2013 at 8:15 am

    I am not trying to “win” or “lose” anything. I was trying to engage in rational discussion but the response is some of the members is to degrade an important topic about crime and the use of weapons into a childish contest.

    I think the author made good points, but it’s clear other commentators just want to turn this into a game.

  • J

    John AMar 4, 2013 at 8:12 am

    I think martin luther king a man whose life was devoted to non-violence would detest his name being used as part of an argument for a weapon that enables violence and murder.

    Also it’s sad how little gun owners care about society at large or crime and they take any event no matter how horrific and tragic to their advantage. They show no human concern or empathy. Their response is to use the tragic event as an opportunity to pander their point. As the previous poster has done with martin luther king and other posters have done with the horrible event in newton,ct.

    I agree with lucas, their entire argument is based around individual desire not reasoning. They fail to provide a compelling reason or rational argument on why society should allow people the right to kill and why the best approach to dealing with crime is to give more people easier access to the same type of tools that crimes are commited with. I can’t imagine a less civilized solution to crime and violence by enabling it further.

  • M

    Michael ConcannonMar 3, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    “The the central argument of gun owners is that they want to own guns and it’s ends there. “I own a gun and there is nothing you can do about it”.” -Lucas

    “Sooo… Lucas, you lost right?” -Kris

    I think that about sums it up. We offered detailed and rational explanations and he responded with bigotry and attempted belittlement of opposition to his argument.

    I think that is plainly obvious in his most recent claim that protecting the right to keep and bear arms is “selfish”.

    This argument cannot withstand any scrutiny given the people I know who own firearms. They/we petition the courts and our government for the sake of ALL law abiding citizens and legal aliens to keep and bear arms.

    Discriminatory and fascist policies that seek to disarm those politically out of favor are particularly offensive to us and precisely the historical lesson we seek to avoid repeating. It is such policies that prevented Dr. King from obtaining a concealed carry permit after he was attacked and his home burned down. It is such policies that were behind the earliest and most Gun Control laws since.

    We seek the ability to defend family and community as well as self, for we will do so regardless of the weapons at hand. We understand that Lucas’ and similar claims of harm to the community by law abiding citizen ownership of arms are demonstrably false when you study the issue and find that around the globe there is no correlation to access to and the type of firearms and crime.

    No, what is selfish is to use government to attempt to maintain an illusion of safety and protect you from your irrational fears at the expense of your fellow citizen’s rights.

  • K

    KrisMar 3, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Sooo… Lucas, you lost right?

  • L

    lucasMar 3, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    The the central argument of gun owners is that they want to own guns and it’s ends there. “I own a gun and there is nothing you can do about it”. It’s a selfish viewpoint that ignores the risk and harms of guns and operates on the premise that people should be allowed to exist as if they live in a state of nature.

    Owning a deadly weapon designed to kill should be a privilege not a right. Like one poster mentioned the right to own a firearm should be determined an ad hoc basis and determined based on need, not desire. Crime is prevailing problem in society and there are more intelligent ways to deal with the problem than making it easier for people to kill each other. lol

    One way is a more effective police force in dangerous cities and a larger police force, to examine the causes of crime and better methods to prevent them such as reducing poverty and the culture of crime. Also better techniques to prevent violent crimes such as increased patrols in areas of high violent crimes, harsher sentences, more intelligent approaches to preventing and solving crime(I forget the name of the software,but the nypd has excellent technology and approach to reducing crime, despite the fact it’s one of the largest cities in the country, the prevalence of crime is low and it’s per capita rate of criem is about the forth of cities like chicago despite similar conditions and smaller than cities like springfield). If gun owners were serious about tackling crime, they would offer other approaches.

    People are never going to listen to what you say or retract the restrictions on gun ownership if your central argument always goes back to “I want to own a gun”.

  • F

    FrenchmanMar 3, 2013 at 11:51 am

    That’s the kind of backwards and threatening behavior that gun owners demonstrate and why the issue is never discussed in a public forum that leads anywhere. You devalue yourself and the group you represent when you hurl insults and try to goad them into a “face to face” encounter.

    given the narure of this newsmedium, I suspect you are much, much younger than me, but know that I am not trying to “talk down”, but rather “to you”, here.
    Do you know why this issue never goes anywhere on public forums? Because of people like you. You seem to be perfectly resistent to any comon sense argument. You feel attacked and cornered, and start making even less sense when that’s the case. Look, how many people, from the brady campaign to the “million moms march” people, call law abiding cititzens baby killers because they are members of the NRA? They do it publicly, and without fear. Words like “gun nuts” or “armed psychos” are not made up by gun owners. They come from the “oh so peacefull” ones like you.

    The person who wrote the opening quote of my post, did just invite you to a friendly debate. It is your paranoia and fear of the unknown, that makes you perceive it as “threatening and backwards logic”. In the country where I come from, Universities are “thinking factories”. They are a place where controversy comes as a part of diversity. Obviously, when you see diversity, it scares you. As a student in a place of higher learning, you should welcome every opportunity to debate with people who have different views. Just go to that UMASS gunclub, and at least give it a try. I think it’s safe to say that nobody there will shoot you or beat you up just because you don’t like the same things they do there.
    It seems fom your posts that you are a young man who has lived a sheltered life so far, and there is nothing wrong with that. But, and I hope this day will never come, one day, life might teach you a few ugly lessons, like it did with Michael, a few posts before this one.

  • L

    LevMar 3, 2013 at 2:39 am

    -Lucas, gun owners really aren’t threatening or confrontational. The vast majority of us are your friends, teachers, co-workers, and neighbors. We stand next to you in line at Stop’N’Stop and we fill up on gas at the same pump you do. We are not some crazy mob shooting machine guns in the air. We simply want to be able to fight back against the “bad guys” if, God forbid, the situation calls for such drastic measures.
    -When it comes to police protection, I urge you to re-read my previous post. Police officers have no magic power that would enable them to predict criminal acts before those take place. Many of us simply don’t trust criminals to leave us unharmed while they commit their deeds, that’s all.

  • M

    Michael ConcannonMar 3, 2013 at 12:17 am

    @Lucas: “That’s the kind of backwards and threatening behavior that gun owners demonstrate – See more at:

    More Stereotyping and bigotry. :-/

    Lucas as a victim of violent crime years ago, I understand first-hand that police can reduce crime in the community, but can do nothing for the crime standing in front of you when you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time – which can be anywhere, even a “safe place”.

    In my case, the police arrived approximately 15 minutes after my attack to document it (long after the threat was gone), but the only resource/person available or able to stop the threat was me (unarmed at the time by Gun Control laws). I did nothing to provoke them, I have long suspected that I interrupted their getaway from a home burglary, but they were never charged/caught/tried so I will never know.

    This is true and violent nature of your “Gun-Control”. It will have no impact on criminals, only further regulate past or future victims of violent crime. You can toss out platitudes about gun owners being “backward” and “uncivilized”, but that does not change the reality that while most people are good, those that are not do not concern themselves with laws of civilization – the only thing stopping them from harming me or my loved ones is my ability to physically prevent them from doing so.

    If you get in the way of that by demanding these laws you are complicit in their crime every bit as much as if you held me down for a beating (or worse).

    It is not we who are backwards, it is you who choose to ignore the reality of this world and attempt to use the violence of government to enforce your fantasy. I am demanding that both of us be free to choose how we defend ourselves, it is you who is reverting to tyranny of old and dictate to me what my life is worth and how I may defend it against a lethal threat.

  • P

    PDMar 2, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    Lucas, I am a police officer in MA, and I do not trust the police’s ability to come save my life when I am off duty. This is from EXPERIENCE of being the guy that answers people’s calls for help. 95% of police officers feel the same way.

    I encourage and train anyone I can to learn how to use and own firearms. Stop being a nieve sheep. Grow a pair and take some personal responsibility. You are very ignorant on guns, history, and life in general. Leave your bubble and learn something for the sake of us all.

  • M

    MikeMar 2, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    You fail to address the practical aspect of having a large enough police force to be at everyone’s home at once… Bad guys target areas where cops are not. I am not asking for the right to kill. I HAVE the right to defend myself. I am asking that my ability to exercise that right is not crippled.
    Lucas, I attend Umass (obviously). I would be happy to have a debate with you, which can be posted up on facebook on the Umass Gun Club page as well as wherever you like. I’d also encourage you to attend a Umass Gun Club introductory class or event.


  • L

    lucasMar 2, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    “I own guns and I live here, and there’s nothing you can do. I’d love for someone like Lucas to try to have a face to face debate with myself or other gun owners, although you know he never would”

    That’s the kind of backwards and threatening behavior that gun owners demonstrate and why the issue is never discussed in a public forum that leads anywhere. You devalue yourself and the group you represent when you hurl insults and try to goad them into a “face to face” encounter.

    Also the argument that the police don’t have a responsiblity is just absurd and frivilious, it’s another reason why when legislation is proposed regarding the gun issue it’s always to restrict the use of guns, not liberate them. Obviously people aren’t swayed by that argument and additionallly the public doesn’t want untrained angry,confrontational indviduals who put their safety above others. The public would place their trust in the police to protect them over possessing a deadly weapon and over a self-asserted militia.

    Also mike did mention a good point and did acknowledge a problem, that there is not always a sufficent police force and therefore crimes go uncaught and undetected. His response was myopic and he only offered one suggestion, give me the right to kill.. that one approach.. Another is a more effective police force, there are a myraid of ways to deal with crime beyond allowing to own deadly weapons.

  • P

    pieratMar 2, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Is the revolution here yet so we can clean our society?

  • N

    NateMar 2, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    As a Massachusetts gun owner, it’s obvious that those like Lucas are white and well-to-do to speak of not needing protection. I dare you to poll the black community on how helpful the police are, and how much they trust them to keep them safe?

    I own guns and I live here, and there’s nothing you can do about that beyond whining. I’d love for someone like Lucas to try to have a face to face debate with myself or other gun owners, although you know he never would. He’s told what to think and how to think it and probably hasn’t finished his first year of college.

    Sincerely, an intelligent, college educated Massachusetts gun owner.

  • L

    LevMar 2, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    As early as 1855, in South v Maryland, the Supreme Court ruled that the sheriff owed no protective duty to members of the public.

    In 1982 in Bowers v DeVito, the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit ruled that “…there is no Constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered by criminals or madmen.”

    In 1989 in Deshaney v Winnebago City Social Services Dept, the Supreme Court ruled that “the [Due Process] Clause imposes no duty on the State to provide members of the general public with adequate protective services.”

    In 2005 in Castle Rock v Gonzales, the Supreme Court ruled that “Respondent did not, for Due Process Clause purposes, have a property interest in police enforcement of the restraining order against her husband” who killed their three young children.

    That’s just a small sample of cases in which the Supreme Court continuously upholds the notion that THE POLICE DO NOT HAVE TO PROTECT YOU. In fact, this even makes sense, since law enforcement officers cannot possibly predict crimes – all they can do is respond to crimes that are in progress or have already happened (that is not a poke at police officers – they do their intended job well.)

    Meanwhile, the average police response time to an emergency 911 call is ten minutes. In Aurora, James Holmes killed 12 people and injured another 58 in just 5 minutes. Adam Lanza killed twenty children, six adults, and then himself in just 14 minutes.

  • M

    Michael ConcannonMar 2, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    @Lucas: “So by either statistic Massachusetts are a minority and a minority that is ignored and will continue to be.”

    As President Obama said in his inaugural address:
    “The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a republic” -Barack Obama

    The amount of hatred, ignorance, bigotry and advocacy of violence toward innocent and law abiding people displayed in the last few months has been astonishing. Gun-Control advocates openly accusing their fellow law abiding citizens of murdering children and demanding new laws that turn them into criminals and confiscate their property is a sight I hoped I would never see again in this country.

    A true failure on our part to learn the lessons of the past 100 years. The lessons of the civil rights movement, the holocaust and institutional mass murders by socialist governments.

    This event has shown the true nature of Progressive politics and I am glad for it, because it has woken up the sleeping giant of people who had previously hoped that staying quiet would allow this insanity to pass in time.

    As with all defense of civil rights of “a minority that will be ignored” it faces an uphill battle against ignorance, bigotry and the same “mob rule” we see on display from Lucas and so many others in this state.

  • N

    NickMar 2, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Lucas, I don’t even know where to begin. You say we are so “civilized” as a species, and yet evil people still do harm to good people. You say “civilized” people don’t need to carry violent weapons around, yet you are okay with law enforcement protecting you. All of which carry firearms. You are constantly contradicting yourself, because your argument is moot. The SCOTUS has ruled that a police officer has no legal duty to protect any individual (Warren V. District of Columbia). Therefore it is your duty to be your own first responder. If someone was about to attack you or a loved one, would you rather be able to defend yourself or watch as that evil person did harm to you and/or your loved one? I really don’t care if you like firearms or not, but it is not your right to prevent law abiding citizens from protecting themselves and their family. If you don’t like firearms, then don’t buy them. You see, we live in a society that is far from “civilized” as you like to think. You may be a person who is willing to be a victim of evil, but I and many others are not. You may think that living in a city where “civilization started” and “rejecting guns” makes you safe, but you are far from safe with that mentality. Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the United States, and last year there were 500 murders, 435 of which were caused by guns. Those are NOT law abiding citizens, because law abiding citizens can’t own hand guns in Chicago. So what was that about “civilized” cities again? Springfield is a city, and has the highest crime in MA. Brockton, Lowell, and parts of Boston have very high crime rates. Those are all cities as well. It is also very difficult to get an LTC in metropolitan areas in MA. What does that mean? Less law abiding citizens able to defend themselves, and higher crime due to criminals who attain the firearms anyway. Plano, TX statistically is the safest City in the US. Texas also has some of the best (by that I mean most lenient) firearms laws in the country. Can you see the correlation here? You can keep living in your fantasy world in which we are “civilized” and we live in a “safe” beautiful utopia. You can also choose to wake up and see that there is evil in the world, and you are responsible for your own well being and safety. There may come a day when the only person left to defend yourself is you.

  • K

    KrisMar 2, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Lucas, I hope you don’t drink… That stuff is uncivilized and deadly.

  • F

    FrenchmanMar 2, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Dear Lucas,
    First of all, do you realise that by saying that a person carrying a firearm is like an ape carrying a stick, you insult every soldier and officer of the peace, past and present? Well, thanks for that.
    Also, do me a favor real quick. Please, show me a “violent weapon”. I’ve been around weapons probably longer then you live. I’ve seen weapons of all kinds. 155mm artillerie, assault rifles (the real kind, with select fire)of all makes, all kinds of handguns, just to name a few. They usually just lay around in armories or safes. They do nothing. You can slap them silly, call them names, insult their makers, nothing happens. There is NO SUCH THING as a “violent weapon”. It takes a person who’s ready to commit violence and who operates a gun.
    I feel it is my god given right to protect myself and the lives of my loved ones. I chose to own a gun to do it. The gangbangers down the street won’t care if the state or the fed Gov. will prohibit gunownership in the future. They will still have theirs. And what will WE have?
    Do you really want the bad people to be the only ones to have guns? We’d have a second Mexico here in a short time. Oh, you will say that I can’t compare the US with Mexico. because we have the better police, and Mexico has a cartel problem. As far as the police goes, well, they have no duty to protect you. Look it up, they don’t. And think of what 1 single man has done to the huge LAPD (Christopher Dorner), and now tell me ith a straight face that you really count on law enforcement to protect you.
    Yeah, there is still the cartel thing. Big difference, right? I have news for you. As of 2012, according tho the US Department of Justice, the mexican cartel is already active in over 1200 american cities. Not a typo, 1200 is the number. Once they are settled and big enough, they will use street gangs like the bloods, the crips, the latin kings, and oters, as distributors for their drugs and as their pions, to do the killing and legwork for them. How long do you think it will take them to get this country to a similar state then Mexico? And who will protect you then? The apes with the sticks?
    What you want is not a world, society, or whatever, without guns. What you wnat is a world without violence. It is a legit dream. It is a good dream. But it’s just that: a dream. People have commited violence millenia before the invention of firearms. The strong people, who could yield a sword, or throw a spear, were the ones who ruled over those who were too weak to do it. Firearms made the weak equal in strength to the strong ones. And we should keep it that way. Come on, do you really want your children to grow up in a world where the criminals are the only ones to have the means to be violent, and take the option of self protection away from them?

  • B

    Ban everythingMar 2, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Why don’t they alchohol it kills way more people than guns, those who it doesn’t kill and become dependent on it have their life in shambles and hurt the people around them. What right do we have that says we must be able to have alchohol? It is a known toxin so why allow people to drink it?

  • S

    smittyMar 2, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Lucas you are gravely mistaken. Look up Warren vs District of Columbia. The police have no obligation or legal duty to provide police services, even if a dispatcher promises help is on the way. We did not “give that right to police.” OUR rights are God-given, and simply affirmed in the Constitution. So unless you are here representing God I suggest you head back to school and demand a lesson on the Constitution. I don’t need a piece of paper to know I have the right to protect and defend my life. The right to self defense is an innate human right. Anyone who says otherwise would suggest that one set of people deserve a different set of rights than all the others. Every day you are surrounded by law abiding citizens who exercise their 2nd Amendment rights and choose to carry for self defense – get over it.

  • P

    PeterMar 2, 2013 at 10:05 am

    I keep seeing comments which talk about how things work on a democracy; you all know that the United States is not a democracy right?

    As far as the role of a firearm in an enlightened civilized society goes: if this is the nature of our society then you have nothing to fear from firearms. We are talking about inanimate objects which cannot act on their own. Civilized people would not choose to use them to harm others without cause so you have nothing to worry about. If you are worried about what a fellow citizen will do with a firearm then you are validating the need for law abiding members of society to posses them.

  • B

    BenMar 2, 2013 at 2:51 am

    I’m not a gun owner, but I have to agree with Mike here. I’ve read the recently leaked DOJ memo. I’ve read the crime statistics for Massachusetts. It seems pretty clear to me that gun control does nothing more than make us feel good.

    But the bottom line is that we have a right to defend ourselves and our families against violence — however we choose to exercise it, that’s one of our most basic rights as human beings. For those who refuse to recognize it, the language they use to describe gun owners is telling… “uncivilized” and “ape with a stick.” It’s bad enough that some commenters here want to deny basic human rights, but to appeal to ugly stereotypes and impugn the very humanity of gun owners is telling indeed. All I can say is that these slurs do not represent the UMass community or our Commonwealth in any way.

  • M

    mikeMar 2, 2013 at 1:27 am

    Because Massachusetts is generally safe doesn’t mean assaults, etc do not occur here. I don’t need to demonstrate a direct threat to excercise my fundamental right to self defense. Do I need to live in an old house to have a fire extinguisher? Sorry, carrying a gun is as simple and harmless as carrying a cellphone, and nobody has a right to tell me or anyone else with no history of violence or mental illness that we are not worthy of defending ourselves. We arent waiting to have someone bust down our door, but we damn well have the right to be ready if they do.

    With regard to who can sell guns, they already are extremely limited and must hold an FFL. Limits on quantities of ammunition is rediculous, I shoot 5-10 thousand rounds a year, Ill buy in bulk or load my own. There is no loophole in Mass, every private sale must be betweened licensed individuals and a form is filled out to verify.

    As I said. Gun owners do offer solutions. We would like to see strict penalties for people who sell guns to felons or straw purchase guns, but the politicians don’t seem to want to go after them because its not as catchy as a ban.

    I like how you through assault weapons in at the end. Can you even define what one is? Because Ill continue to protect my home with my AR15 thank you very much.

  • S

    SteveMar 2, 2013 at 1:25 am

    What would we do without people like those on here telling others how to live their lives?

    For being so civilized there’s a lot of demonizing of those that do not share your same ideas. Mike so far has been the only one to be civil while others resort to name calling and marginalization of those that don’t think like them.

    No one has mentioned this, there is more crime in densely populated areas yet this is where there are some of the most restrictive guns laws. How is that possible? Chicago for example and if you want a local example Springfield MA. Springfield does not issue unrestricted licenses to civilians (making them unsuitable to carry) Yet we constantly hear about people getting shot. How is that possible?

  • B

    BenjaminMar 2, 2013 at 1:25 am

    I think the underlying problem is that our founding fathers allowed people to have guns in the first place. – See more at:

    WHAT?!?!? You do realize that our country solely exists because of the ability to own firearms. The musket was the modern day weapon of the time that helped defeat the British. Did you learn anything in HS history? Good luck fighting back an armed felon with your cell phone and waiting for the police to come help. Mike was 100% right the police do not have a responsibility to protect you. Will they usually try? OF course – but I think you should read up about the guy that was attacked by a knife wielding serial killer on the NY subway while the police watched through the doorway and waited for the victim to disarm his attacker. Luckily he had martial arts training (dangerous I know!) and smashed the knife from his hand. If this guy waited for the police to help he would be DEAD. Then the Mayor and the NYPD go on the air and take credit for stopping this serial killer.
    It’s completely erroneous to claim they increase violence. Look at the facts from England, Chicago, DC etc. Sure alot of the time their weapon violence goes down… while their other violent crimes absolutely SKYROCKET! Why – because he criminals know that you can no longer defend yourself. A minority of the population carrying a personal defense weapon has an effect on the rest of the population that doesn’t because the criminal has no idea who does and doesn’t have a gun. Unless he goes to a GUN-FREE ZONE filled with easily overpowered victims

  • V

    VendomeMar 2, 2013 at 1:03 am

    In simple terms the original assault weapons ban called for the removal of Muskets that were superior to the Redcoats weapons.

    That was unacceptable and further, the Revolutionists were more than competent with their weapons.

    So, it isn’t true that Founding fathers didn’t envision a society armed. There were and they did indeed put in place a Bill of Rights to ensure if a tyrannical government were to take hold we would have the right under God and duty as a people to remove and restore order as we see fit.

    They also invisioned that all men being created equal and were endowed by the creator to pursue Life, Liberty and Pursue Happiness.

    Each of equally have these rights but none has the right to infringe on that which in inalienable.

    The only to ensure your rights is for you to defend them when necessary.

    If someone wants to deprive you of your right to life, only you can defend yourself to keep it.

    If someone wants to drive you of your right to liberty, only you can defend that right.

    If someone wants to deprive you of your property, which is rightfully owned by you through the fruits of your labor, then only you can stop them.

    If someone means to deprive your loved ones of anything belonging to them or undermine their rights only you can stop them.

    A gun may be your only power to enforce your rights, your desires.

    Then again, it’s your decision not to have guns. But, violence does occur. Evil men exist and KuhRayZees go off their meds.

    The rest of us just want to be left alone.

  • V

    VendomeMar 2, 2013 at 12:52 am

    Mason, Mason, Mason.
    “I think the underlying problem is that our founding fathers allowed people to have guns in the first place.”
    I think the underlying problem is that our founding fathers allowed people to have guns in the first place. – See more at: think the underlying problem is that our founding fathers allowed people to have guns in the first place. – See more at: think the underlying problem is that our founding fathers allowed people to have guns in the first place. – See more at: think the underlying problem is that our founding fathers allowed people to have guns in the first place. – See more at:
    Sheesh! A history lesson is called for here.

    The founding fathers knew that a government that was all powerful and not under the authority of its people would be a tyrannical government. They threw one off and formed a new country with all the rights and benefits they believed a free people should have and agreed to what the rules were.

    See, in 1765 King George and Parliment decided to enact the The Tax Stamp Act. The intent of this act was that all paper would be manufactured in London and have a stamp on it, making it Lawful and legal to use for publication. Also, The Tax Stamp Act had an imprimatur of what could be printed and anything that displeased the King, Parliment and his Henchmen would of course be made illegal to print and distribute.

    Not good if you have some guy printing Poor Richard or have discussions in newspapers of the Colonies of those things which were at odds with London.

    So, The Colonists rightly concluded that if King George could tax paper, then why could not tax Land, homes, businesses, plantations? They already had a recent example by way of the Sugar Tax.

    Further troubling to the Colonists was that none of the revenue raised would be used for the Colonies and more distressing was they had no say in what taxes would be raised as they were not represented by anyone to the king.

    So a bit of time goes by and the king learns of the unrest and also that he is not realizing the revenue he had envisioned.

    What to do? Ah! The King imposes a tax on tea. The colonists are none to pleased that they are now paying more for tea than they were, the taxes were usurious and usurpatious and most outrageously again, they had no say in the raising of the tax and the monies would not be used by the colonists but, selfishly enjoyed by the king and parliment. KuhRayZee?

    Response from the King? Nose in the air and quietly ignored the colonists while sipping tea and pouring over the treasures(property) of the colonists who had laboured mightily only to have their property and worth diminished.

    Response from the Colonists? Well, they dressed up like Indians and held a little protest by tossing a bunch of tea into the Boston Harbor.

    Well, that engraged the King because it wasn’t just silly to take a thing that valuable and make it no longer of value, which diminished the coffers of the King. It was also downright disrespectful and ungrateful.

    The king let it be known he was displeased and the Colonists rightly informed him he had gone to far. They were the self determined individuals who had toiled and taken chances to make this wilderness into something that could profited from and enjoyed.

    Far? Far? The King asked. He determined to show these pesky upstarts who was boss.

    Some guy named Samuel Adams had the temerity to declare the colonist were self governing and even had a bill of rights that was created in 1689 and it even declares that Parliment must represent a people in order to levy taxes. The Colonists were taxed without representation and therefore the taxes were not lawful and a bunch of other Colonists started to ignore the taxes concluding the same.

    What to do? So, he decided to assert his just authority over his inferior minions but realized that in order to do so only one side can have guns.

    Parliament in 1774 passed the Coercive Acts and banned the import of firearms and gunpowder which the King then signed into law.

    The Colonist saw this for what it was and that was to gain complete abbeyance to the King and feilty and maybe a little ring kissing. They weren’t going to have the yoke of London locked onto their necks.

    It was on!

    War was inevitable but not without a few skirmishes first such as Redcoat’s General Gage and a battalion seizing hundreds of barrels of powder from Charlestown.

    The Colonists were alarmed and that day is known as the Poder Alarm for what the events were to portend.

    It was at this point local militias marched into towns in formibable sizes enough to intimidate the officers who were under the authority of the King to resign and accept commissions of the locales there were in.

    The Continental Congress is formed in Philadelphia and General Gage orders his Redcoats to perform warrantless searches and seize any arms and gunpowder that is found. The people were not happy.

    Some fat guy by the name of Ben, Benjamin Franklin engineers an arms supply deal with two of London’s enemies France and Spain. They along with a few other nations would supply the revolutionists with arms to throw off the mantle of the king. The nations of Europe saw this an opportunity to weaken the King and agreed to supply our little insurrection.

    The Coninental Congress then recommends to each of its citizens that prudence, self reliance and defense dictated that all citizens should be proficient in the use of arms. It was heating up.

    This idea arose out of the thinking of philosopher such as John Locke and Edward Coke that a just and right government was the servant to the people and as such the people reserved the right to take up arms in defense of inalienable rights and remove a disobedient servant.

    Now this insurrection has spread across the colonies and the Colonists have had enough of being governed without say and a guy in Virginia, Patrick Henry,

    A committee was formed that included included Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson—“to prepare a plan for the embodying, arming, and disciplining such a number of men as may be sufficient” to defend the commonwealth. The Convention urged “that every Man be provided with a good Rifle” and “that every Horseman be provided . . . with Pistols and Holsters, a Carbine, or other Firelock.” When the Virginia militiamen assembled a few weeks later, many wore canvas hunting shirts adorned with the motto “Liberty or Death.” or something like that.

    The King and parliment make a desperate move to further gain control and in 1775 the Redcoats start outright Confiscation which led to….

    1776 a bunch of guys in Redcoats and even more Colonist meet on a green in Concord.

    The Redcoats aren’t stupid and they range the men who would become revolutionists by some 500 yards. Why?

    They are out gunned.

    See, the Redcoats have muskets and the revolutionists have muskets but, the Redcoats muskets are not rifled, making their ammunition very unstable as it leave the barrel of the gun and their rounds were only accurate to 50 yards. Hell, you could still kill a guy with arrows and a slingshot at 50 yards.

    The revolutionists, on the other hand, are armed with Kentucky and Pennsylvannia Muskets and these were the original assault weapons.

    Their rounds were accurate to 400 yards and beyond. The men bearing these were well practiced as militia men and hunters. They don’t miss or they don’t eat and the Redcoats know it.

    Well, something goes wrong, a shot goes off and that’s how it started.

    Then the Continental Congress Declares its Independence with the following:

    When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

    He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
    He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
    He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
    He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
    He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
    He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
    He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
    He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
    He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
    He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
    He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
    He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
    He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
    For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
    For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
    For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
    For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
    For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
    For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
    For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
    For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
    For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
    He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
    He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
    He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
    He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
    He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

    In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

    Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

    We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

    You should read it and understand what the grievances were and you might ask if your government isn’t doing a bit of the same.

    So the war ends and at the end of it all we draft a Constitution that gives the newly formed government 17 disctinct powers and leaves all other issues to the states and really the people who now have a say in how they are governened through legislation that is voted on by the people.

    In order to enforce equality of all it was necessary to define what that meant and from where the rights would be derived. If they rights were given by the government then the government would and should have the authority the remove said rights.

    However, it was determined and declared that our rights come from God and are inalienable. The government cannot remove these rights.

    They are thusly so defined below and in plain language English:

    1st: Freedom of speech, religion, press, and peaceful assembly (Recall the King and his displeasure with any ideas that ran counter to his? All governments of absolute power cannot retain power if thought is not regulated, nor it’s dissemmination.)

    2nd: Right to keep and bear arms (aka own firearms) (This right protects the 1st and follows order of peaceful discourse or violent defense. Without this all other rights can be voided anytime by any political party that is in power and there would be no way to keep order)

    3rd: The government can’t force you to house and feed soldiers in peacetime.

    4th: We are free from unreasonable searches and seizures of our homes, our bodies, or our property, conducted by government officials, and any search/arrest warrants must have proper information.

    5th: Four main parts:
    1 – We can’t be forced to give court testimony that would incriminate ourselves, 2 – once we have been found not guilty of a crime, the government can’t charge us again for the same crime, 3 – the government can’t take private property for public use without justification and giving the owner proper compensation for it, 4 – before being charged with a capital crime or other serious crime, our case must be reviewed by a grand jury.

    6th: We have a right to a speedy trial, and be represented by a lawyer, have the chance to challenge prosecution witnesses, call witnesses for our defense, and have a trial by jury of our peers if charged with a crime.

    7th: We have a right to have civil cases heard by a jury.

    8th: The government can’t use torture or excessively cruel punishments nor can they require excessive bail.

    9th: Just because a right is not listed in the Constitution or its amendments doesn’t mean that the right doesn’t exist. In other words, this demonstrates that the Constitution doesn’t grant rights, it protects them, and these listed in particular.

    10th: If the Constitution doesn’t specifically grant a power to the federal government, it automatically stays with the people and/or state governments.

    (I copied this crib note explanation from some guy at yahoo answers. Shortcut)

    A peaceful society is kept peaceful by a society that understands no man has the right to exert by force or intimidate another into doing anything contrary to what an individual wants or is morally bound by, without understanding that force will be met with an even greater force to end the aggression.

  • M

    masonMar 1, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    I think the underlying problem is that our founding fathers allowed people to have guns in the first place.

    As mike has stated gun owners are a minority and if we are interested in keeping weapons out of community than we need to petition to the legislature for stronger gun laws as the concerted majority. I think it’s clear that gun owners are unwilling to find a compromise to reduce the harm of firearms.

    I think there are several methods, one to restrict the sale of firearms to only indviduals that need it. Mike states he is concerned about his family yet despite the fact massachusets has is one of the safest states in the country, he has not listed any reason for his fear. I think one compromise is to allow gun owners guns to own guns but to restrict those who have been credibly threatened or otherwise it is demonstrated their life is at risk and the need for a gun outweighs the risk of owning one. Also severe restrictions that prevent criminals and mentally ill from owning guns, this includes closing the private trade loophole and also having legal penalties for any private gun owner who sells a weapon to a felon.

    Other restrictions could be limiting the type of stores which can sell guns, limiting the amount of ammunition that can be purchased, mandating fingerprint safety locks and prohibiting assault weapons.

    It’s clear that guns cause problems and it’s clear they increase violence and they enable those who are prone to violence to easily kill. Mike is right, gun owners have a legal right to own guns but we need to acknowledge that fact and do everything we can to restrict the damaging and lethal consequences guns have on our society.

  • M

    MikeFeb 28, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    The police won’t be there when someone breaks into your house, or attacks you on the street, the majority of the time. Their main function is to investigate crime, enforce law, and deter crime through their presence. They do not stop individual actions, which is why defensive gun uses in the United States range in estimate from the high hundreds of thousands to the millions.
    Gun ownership in the state is not on the fringe, though it is certainly the minority. I can’t respond to that in any other way but to say that it is factually incorrect.
    First of all, responsible civilian gun ownership doesn’t make society less safe, there is actually a good amount of evidence to support the contrary. Getting away from that, individual rights and liberties absolutely still factor in even when considering the whole. The entire idea behind a constitutional republic is that democracy doesn’t hold the power to “vote away” rights. If you don’t like that, I suggest leaving the United States. People can’t one day decide that hateful speech makes people less safe, therefore you will go to jail for being a racist, bigot, etc. We may well be better off if we didn’t have hateful people in our society, but it should not and would never ever be acceptable to put limits on speech or lock them up.
    There are multiple cases suggesting the police are not liable or required to come to your aid. While they usually certainly try their hardest, they traditionally have no legal obligation, and it is also unrealistic to expect them to be by your side at all times, like a gun and proper training can. Fire extinguishers are for protection from fires, even though we have a fire department, guns are for protection from criminals even though we have law enforcement. Nobody should be permitted to violate my fundamental right to self defense and to defend my family, while they go to sleep with private security around their house, armed to the teeth.


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    lucasFeb 28, 2013 at 6:48 am

    Massachusetts has rejected gun rights which is why we have some of the strongest gun laws in the country and why attempts by your small contingent has continued to fail, gun owners are on the fringes in Massachusetts.

    Also you are listing a civil case, the entire purpose of a police department is to enforce the law, apprehend criminals and deter crime. Their entire jobs are based around this, suggesting otherwise is just frivolous.

    Also again the argument is based on the personal fear of the gun owner(i.e if you an elderly person or woman runs into some thug on the street..), their individual concerns shouldn’t triumph the safety and wants of the state as a whole. That’s great that outside of the cities where the minority of the population lives Massachusetts has a gun community but in cities, where civilization first began to take place, we reject guns.

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    MikeFeb 27, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    I was using a personal example to counter Lucas’ argument. Yes, of course gun owners are concerned for their own rights, they are also concerned for the rights of anyone who wants to be able to protect themselves. The point of this piece was to demonstrate that gun owners in Massachusetts were truly a cross section of the residents of Massachusetts.
    With regard to law enforcement having no obligation to protect you, I am not saying police officers don’t do a great job most of the time, but they have no legal obligation to protect you. The NYPD had used this as a legal defense when one of their officer stood by as a citizen was being slashed on the subway. If you are going to attack a position, I suggest you do a little reading first.
    The issue has to do less with obligation, and more with the reality that the police can’t be everywhere at once. They are not your personal guardians. If you call them, hopefully they show up in time. If you run into some thug on the street… all bets are off. A gun (with training and some common sense) offers anyone, man, women, elderly, to be equal to any attacker they may face.
    The community as a whole in Massachusetts has not rejected weapons, the major metropolitan areas have fallen victim to the all too common inner city violence in this country, and rather than fix complex societal problems, politicans point the finger at private gun ownership, and get much (though certainly not all) of their party on board. Massachusetts has a strong gun owning community, ESPECIALLY outside of the big cities.
    I encourage any of you who want more information to take a safety and information class with the Umass Gun Club.


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    masonFeb 27, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Again the argument goes back to what the individual gun owner wants not the community as a whole, the argument is consistently about the gun owner and how he feels or what he wants, i.e “As I said before I carry and own guns for self defense, not to make me feel better. If someone breaks into my house or tries to harm me I am not going to nicely as for a few minutes while I wait for the police, after I call them that is.”

    Every fifth word is “I”. They consistently use the word I, they seek to place their desire for owning a weapon over the safety and needs of the community as a whole, one which has rejected dangerous weapons in Massachusetts.

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    masonFeb 27, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    “Also, the police have no legal responsibility to protect you.”…No they just sit around and watch tv all day, do you just make up things to support your argument?

    No wonder the support for gun rights is a declining issue in america, if voters supporter it than legislatures wouldn’t be able to restrict guns as they have done in new york and as obama is proposing. I think if you use facts and reason to support your argument, more people may listen.

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    mikeFeb 26, 2013 at 8:19 am

    What evidence do you have towards the majority of Massachusetts not supporting gun ownership?

    Also, the police have no legal responsibility to protect you. It has nothing to do with an ape carrying a stick. I assume you would say a rape victim carrying a gun or pepper spray is completely justified, no? As I said before I carry and own guns for self defense, not to make me feel better. If someone breaks into my house or tries to harm me I am not going to nicely as for a few minutes while I wait for the police, after I call them that is. That’s absurd.

    Guns are dangerous in the wrong hands, and so are many other things, like cars. How many Umass students get DUIs every year? Should we not allow college students to have cars. I know of more umass students killed by drunk drivers and car accidents than I do guns.

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    lucasFeb 25, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Carrying a weapon around like a ape carries a stick is uncivilized, we live in a society where we relinquish personal violence and give that right to the the police to protect us.

    Gun supporters haven’t listed rational reasons or a compelling argument why we should allow them to carry weapons besides it makes them feel safe. The majority of Massachusetts citizen’s don’t support gun ownership and we shouldn’t allow a small minority to own deadly weapons capable of harm and death because it makes them feel better.

    If you want to own a gun move to another state, it’s very simple.

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    MikeFeb 22, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    Gun ownership has nothing to do with the rate of Mass residents who SUPPORT gun ownership. Because a minority of the population of Massachusetts is homosexual, it doesn’t mean we can’t all come together and support equal marriage rights.

    Also, having been around I can tell you that Massachusetts residents are among the least civilized people towards one another, especially when compared to some of these “less civilized” states you talk about.

    Finally, there is nothing uncivilized with having a means to protect yourself. Nothing at all. I would say relying on a phone to protect you and your family from the evils which will go no where makes no sense to me, but I still wouldn’t call you uncivilized.


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    lucasFeb 20, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    Massachusetts gun owners

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    lucasFeb 20, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    So by either statistic Massachusetts are a minority and a minority that is ignored and will continue to be. We don’t support backwards thinking or people who want to resort to living in a state of nature who want to carry a club on their side, or in this case a gun.

    Your better off moving to less civilized states where you can live with your people!

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    MikeFeb 16, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    With the passage of the 1998 Gun Control Act in Massachusetts licenses dropped from 1.5 Million to what has now climbed back up to ~260 Thousand. This is because the old license was valid for life, and they were all forcibly expired (despite being a lifetime FID card) and I guarantee 1.2 Million people did not turn over their guns or move out of the state, the state just turned them into criminals. I’ve met older people who still think their lifetime FID card they have had forever is valid, since they were told it would be so when it was issued. Massachusetts turns good people into criminals, and doesn’t bother to actually take care of it’s problems with crime. Look at Deval Patrick trying to reduce the sentences for those who committed PREMEDITATED MURDER UNDER AGE! At the same time, he is trying to copy Cuomos “SAFE” act. A hypocrite, and a dangerous one at that.


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    NYVoterFeb 15, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    @Lucas –important for you to note that , the “100’s of Thousands Class A Licenses cover Pistol Permits ….I don’t see them listing how many Millions in the State only own Rifles and Shotguns. Thought that would give you a warm fuzzy progressive feeling ..and time to think about the 2nd Amendment.

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    MikeFeb 15, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    Here is the source of Massachusetts licenses:

    —–Now to address your statement that the notion and desire of a gun is uncivilized. The idea of owning a gun for self defense or other sporting/hunting purposes is far from uncivilized. It is the uncivilized people in our society, both with firearms and without, that make it necessary to own a gun. The 100 Million gun owners in the US who commit NO crimes are far from uncivilized. My owning guns and carrying one for protection does not make me uncivilized. Some thug who desires to take what isn’t theirs, whether it be money, a life, or sex is uncivilized, and free people deserve to be able to defend themselves from that.
    —– I highly doubt that constitution will ever be amended to delete portions of the bill of rights. Assuming you support that, and it did in fact occur, I assume you would support the forced disarmament of millions of Americans who refuse to give up their right to self defense. You would have no problem with those who didn’t comply being killed or incarcerated, of houses of all Americans being raided with no cause to locate items that exist in approximately half of American homes?
    —–New York passed terrible, rushed legislation that will not effect anyone but the law abiding. “You can own a 10 round magazine, but put more than 7 rounds in it and you are a criminal!” So now you have criminals who obviously will ignore that portion (and the rest) of the law, and law abiding citizens who face jail time if they do not relinquish magazines they legally own that hold more than 10 rounds, and download all 10 round magazines they own.
    —–How can we negate their use by prohibiting ways in which they can be used? Murder is illegal. Assault is illegal. People who follow the laws don’t murder and assault people. Violent criminals who are not in prison DO, however. And they don’t get licensed.
    —–We need to remove violent people from our society, not tools that non-violent people need to be able to protect themselves from those who are dangerous.


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    lucasFeb 15, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    ” BUT THEY DO NOT have the right to prevent from owning or even legally carrying them.”

    That’s something we need to change. It will require 2/3 vote in 2/3 of the states to change a constitutional amendment but I agree it’s a significant hurdle from removing violent weapons from our society. I think New York has created an excellent example of the law to follow and that is although at the moment we can’t outlaw violent weapons, we can negate their use by prohibiting the ways they can be used.

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    lucasFeb 15, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Do you have statistics to support your claim that “hundreds of thousands” of Massachusetts residents own guns? Also regardless if you live in the hills or in a large city in Massachusetts it doesn’t change the fact the notion and desire of a gun is backwards and uncivilized.

    It doesn’t matter if you live here, the people of the commonwealth don’t support guns and the legislature in a democracy will follow the will of what the people want not a small group of individuals who support violent weapons.

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    David LloydFeb 14, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    Compliments on an articulate, compelling, and factually accurate column. Your family and friends should be proud of your fine work. You speak truth to the power of the intolerant leftists in academia, the mainstream media, and politics who seek to demonize law abiding American citizens who wish to retain their Second Amendment rights. Remain strong in the fact of your ignorant critics. As a UMass parent from Greater Boston, who resides in a liberal town, I am pleased to know that there are courageous smart UMass students who are proud to speak their minds. Keep up your fine writing, and remain proud of your beliefs.

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    MikeFeb 14, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    Actually, there was a protest for gun control as well, that were about a quarter in number to what we were.

    It really isn’t about resorting to protesting on sidewalks, there has been a huge campaign to reach legislators as well. Sometimes making yourself heard in number to prove a point is one in a series of necessary steps, and also works towards organizing and unifying your own position.

    We aren’t “asking” for gun rights. We are asking legislators to use common sense and not resort to persecuting law abiding residents of Massachusetts, and refocus some of that energy on to cleaning up the inner cities.

    We are certainly the minority in Massachusetts, but our numbers are still in the hundreds of thousands in this state, and there still are congressmen and senators who back us in solid number.

    The point of this article was to highlight that the gun owners of Massachusetts are NOT rednecks in a land of liberals, but really the same type of people who exist through out the state who have chosen to exercise and support another one of their natural rights affirmed by the constitution.

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    NYVoterFeb 14, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    Michael Ball , Thank you …thanks for finally presenting an honest and unbiased article. Massachusetts Gun owners are not alone in this Battle. We New Yorkers know what you’re dealing with right now and stand with you. All we can do is hope cool heads and common sense prevails.
    The Media and anti gun people posting & complaining have the right to keep Guns out of their’s their choice – BUT THEY DO NOT have the right to prevent us from owning or even legally carrying them, that’s our choice.
    And it’s protected by the 2nd Amendment.

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    masonFeb 14, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    “What is a Massachusetts gun owner really like?”

    An isolated redneck in a land of liberals. haha I am just kidding, although clearly your political opinions are not supported by the electorate and so those who choose to side themselves with asking for gun rights are a marginal party and have to resort to protesting on sidewalks.

    I think Texas has really liberal gun laws, they allow more than one abandoned car on their property, they have alot of barbecue restaurants and also have an unemployment rate below the national average and a substantively lower amount post-secondary degree holders, so I think it’s a place a Massachusetts gun owner can find home.