1998 Gun Control Law: Chapter 180

GOAL Warns MA Legislature it's an Unmitigated Disaster!!

GOAL Alerts Legislature to More Disastrous Results of Chapter 180

On Monday, March 24, 2008 Gun Owners’ Action League sent a letter to the entire legislature outlining the public safety disaster that has transpired as a result of the Gun Control Act of 1998.

“Ever since the ‘Worst in the Nation Gun Laws’ were signed into law in 1998 by former Governor Cellucci it has been a nightmare for lawful gun owners in Massachusetts,” said Jim Wallace Executive Director of GOAL.

“Now the rest of the Commonwealth citizens have the unfortunate displeasure of joining us as a result of the increasing crime caused by Chapter 180. We have provided the legislature with an enormous amount of evidence including illegal licensing activities, wrongful persecution, lack of any state oversight and now a disastrous increase in crime since 1998. For any rational person the only conclusion is that the debate over gun control is over!”      

With the information at hand that proves that Chapter 180 has created a Decade of Disaster, GOAL will be asking the legislature to move forward and reform the Commonwealth’s gun laws. GOAL encourages all of its members to discuss this evidence with their legislature and urge them to move on the reform bills before the legislature.


March 24, 2008 Dear Legislator, 2008 will mark the ten year anniversary of the passage of Chapter 180 of the Acts of 1998, otherwise known as the Gun Control Act of 1998. Many of you have had to deal with a continual stream of constituent complaints about licensing delays, unfair denials, illegal overcharging of license fees, the fraudulent Attorney General regulations on handguns and much more over the years. If this were not enough, now what we have all feared the most has come true.

According to a House Post Audit and Oversight Committee report on firearm license numbers, prior to Chapter 180 there were approximately 1,500,000 licensed gun owners in the Commonwealth. Because of the overreaching prosecutorial laws and the expense of a license ($100.00), this number has been reduced to approximately 240,000. While some special interest groups might foolishly applaud this reduction in lawful gun owners, no rational person can rejoice in the coinciding drastic increase in crime.  In 1994 the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) began tracking gun related assault injuries and deaths in several categories and in two different reporting systems. The two systems are The WRISS Report (Weapon Related Injury Surveillance System) and the ISP (Injury Surveillance Program). Reports from these two systems can be found at http://www.mass.gov/dph/pubstats.htm.

According to the State’s reporting systems in the four years prior to the passage of Chapter 180, during that time there were 1,500,000 licensed gun owners, the following results were reported:

The WRISS Report released by the MDPH in March of 2007 reflected a 57% DECREASE in firearm related assaults in the four years prior to the 1998 laws.

ISP reports from 1994 to 1997 reflected a 50% DECREASE in homicide related firearm deaths prior to the 1998 laws taking affect. Unfortunately for the citizens of the Commonwealth, that trend ended abruptly upon the passage of Chapter 180. In the decade to follow, the number of lawfully licensed gun owners declined by over 80%, however the instances of gun related assaults and homicides have increased drastically. (The following numbers are taken from the most up to date reporting category in each reporting system. Certain categories were not initiated until later, those are reflected in the bullet points below.)

  • The WRISS Report released by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in March of 2007 shows a 78% INCREASE in firearm related assaults since 1998.
  • ISP reports from 1998 to 2005 show a 70% INCREASE in homicide related firearm deaths since 1998.
  • ISP reports from 1998 to 2005 show a 236% INCREASE in assault related firearm hospital discharges since 1998.
  • ISP reports from 1999 to 2005 show a 232% INCREASE in assault related emergency room visits since 1999.
  • ISP reports from 2001 to 2005 (the most recent report available) show a 670% INCREASE in assault outpatient observations since 2001.       

Even with this overwhelming evidence, there are some that choose to ignore the facts and blame our neighboring states and their laws that support a strong second amendment view.

Once again, these people would be ignoring the facts. On March 14, 2008 the CQPress released its 15th Annual Safest State Awards (Found at: http://www.cqpress.com/product/Crime-State-Rankings-2008.html.) In this publication New Hampshire won out as the safest state to live in the nation. Maine ranked 2nd, Vermont 4th, Connecticut 11th, Rhode Island 12th and sadly, Massachusetts ranked a dismal 22nd. These facts clearly demonstrate the inarguable fact that the Gun Control Act of 1998 has become one of the greatest civil rights and public safety disasters of modern politics.

The wrongful persecution of lawful citizens and the utter lack of any rational policies in fighting the real criminal element have led us to a Decade of Disaster! It is my hope that the entire legislature will now realize what a great mistake it was to target lawful gun owners in 1998 and work towards reforming what have become to be known as the “Worst in the Nation Gun Laws”. 


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