This week Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Boston Police Commissioner William Evans announced their latest plan to curb inner city violence.
The plan is aimed at curbing the amount of “illegal guns” on the street that are available for criminal use. Not surprisingly, the plan doesn’t focus on the perpetrators, or on reforming our criminal justice system. Instead it takes aim, and puts the blame, squarely on the shoulders of law abiding gun owners.
This sentence from Mayor Walsh’s press release is very telling.
“In 2014 and 2015, the Boston Police Department has recovered 1,500 guns from the streets of Boston, and will continue to combat gun violence by using proactive, targeted enforcement.”
A couple of things to note, there is no mention of arrests, or if there were any, or who the people were, or if they were charged with the Bartley-Fox law passed in 1976, which requires a mandatory minimum of one year in jail. At the time of this writing GOAL is yet to see record of a person charged or sentenced regarding this law. Massachusetts has a well documented recidivism rate for violent criminals of over 40%, we must wonder how many of those caught illegally possessing a firearm are repeat offenders and why they are not being prosecuted to the full extent of the law?
The press release continues, discussing a study funded by the Mayor’s office in which they used taxpayer funds to analyze trace date on the approximate 3,000 guns traced since 2007 by the Boston Police.
We’ve covered gun trace data before and how it’s used by gun prohibitionists to paint an inaccurate picture. The report published by the Mayor, which is the genesis of his new plan, uses this same data and attempts to paint a picture of law abiding gun owners being either irresponsible, incompetent, or acting criminally. The study notes that 85% of the 3K firearms traced were recovered from someone other than the original owner. This statistic has no merit as many firearms are lawfully sold by the original owner. The report then mentions that 63% of the 85% were not reported as being lost, stolen or transferred to the Firearms Records Bureau.
Fair enough, what they’re not telling us though is the age of the guns mentioned in the 63% stat. The mandatory reporting of lost/stolen/transferred firearms to the F.R.B. is a fairly recent requirement in the big picture of firearms. We often see photos of firearms recovered by the B.P.D. where the guns are literally relics that were around well before the eFA10 or computers for that matter. So once again, the mayor’s report is using stats without merit. The last stat mentioned is that 11% of the firearms were reported as stolen.
Something to note with the “lost/stolen” stat, it’s conceivable that many gun owners are, or would be hesitant to report lost or stolen firearms for fear of repercussion from their licensing authority.
As an example, GOAL is aware of a high profile case from Lowell in which a gun owner went away for a few days, while he was gone thieves broke into his home, took days to crack his homemade safe and stole 40 of his legally owned firearms. Even though the responding police officer noted that the safe was very secure and must have been very difficult to gain access to, the homeowner was arrested, not the thieves.
The “solution” offered by Mayor Walsh & Commissioner Evans, based on this faulty data is educating those who follow the law to not break the law.
They are sending a letter to Boston area gun owners with information about laws regarding transfer of firearms, and reporting of theft and or loss. The letter points out the eFA10 portal and how it should be used. Remember, going back over the last three years the Firearms Record Bureau has done away with the paper FA-10 forms, leaving only two options available, the first, conducting the transfer at an FFL (fee based), or the second utilizing the computer based eFA10 web portal.
Regarding the eFA10 web portal, GOAL noted many issues with the system, including concerns about security going back to 2011. We feel that it’s unacceptable to be forced to report a lawful transfer of property, this is made even worse when the only option provided by the Commonwealth does not guarantee any security for storing or communicating our private information.
The mayor’s report continues by outlining plans to survey licensed firearms dealers who wish to purchase firearms from the city of Boston, it also outlines a plan to seize toy guns from kids.
The conclusion announces plans to hold a “Regional Gun Summit”, there are no details given. We can only hope that the discussions focus on law enforcement and not gun owner blame. We hope they discuss how to make life more difficult for criminals instead of citizens who follow the law. We hope they discuss the root cause of the problem instead of placing the blame for the actions of criminals on inanimate objects.
We are disappointed by the Mayor’s feckless report and plan, it is yet another “we must do something” initiative aimed at the wrong people and blaming the wrong things.
Unfortunately for the good people of Boston it’s not a solution. We hope that they take note of the funds being wasted by Mayor Walsh in his effort to once again make life difficult for the wrong people.