This post started out as a comment about a post I made on Tuesday. Instead of a comment, I decided to turn it into a post, because it started to get too long. If you haven’t followed the debate in the comments, let me sum up.
I mentioned in the earlier post that gunnies should move out of anti-gun states like Massachusetts and New Jersey. That post struck a nerve with Bitter, a blogger whose work I’ve long respected. In a later comment I really hit that nerve again when I dismissed victories that pro-gun people in Massachusetts have made. My statement was harsh, perhaps overly so. But I still believe that such victories are holding actions and will not result in materially reducing Massachusetts’s draconian gun laws. Here are my thoughts on the matter.
While pro-gunnies in Massachusetts have made some headway, there's no way they will win major battles simply because the deck is so heavily stacked against them.
For instance, Bitter mentioned in her comment that the firearms industry has abandoned Massachusetts by not fighting against bans on the sale of certain guns. There was litigation when Attorney General Tom Reilly started using his consumer protection powers to create these bans. The industry lost that battle when the Massachusetts Supreme Court said Reilly could do it. After that, the industry pretty much has abandoned that state.
The government and the courts are against guns and in effect their owners. Even that is not as significant as the beliefs of a majority of Massachusetts residents. Most of them are anti-gun, especially in regards to self-defense issues. They elect anti-gun politicians, who actively run on anti-gun platforms (Tom Menino anyone).
Now, few of these residents or the government have a problem with people owning a shotgun for trap or skeet and maybe a rifle (preferably not semi-auto) for hunting or perhaps a little competition. Most people though have problems with handguns, black rifles with all the bells and whistles (the state has an assault-weapons ban), combat-oriented shooting, and other things. Collecting is even suspect unless you maintain a collection for educational purposes: personal enjoyment or hope of later profit are not good enough (see page 1 of the linked pdf file).
Because the majority of people in MA are so anti-gun, gun ownership in MA will continue to be circumscribed and suspect. I don’t think gun ownership will be completely banned in Massachusetts, at least not in my lifetime. Since guns won't be banned, there will always be room to negotiate where the boundaries lie. These negotiations are where pro-gun people in Massachusetts will have their victories. I don’t see hope for meaningful change especially as the state is so controlled by Boston.
The “freedoms” that Massachusetts allowed me were not enough. I’m an active gun collector. I shoot pistols in bullseye competition. I own one black rifle (Bill owns more). When I lived in Massachusetts, I followed the law. I went hat in hand to the police department and begged for a gun license. I even registered a few guns (most stayed out of state).
Rather than fight entrenched laws, politicians, and a majority of people, I feel it's better for gunnies to leave certain states and move to freer states and use their votes, money, and influence to ensure that those freer states never go the way of Massachusetts or New Jersey.
Massachusetts is losing population for several reasons mainly due to the cost of living there. Some Massachusetts residents come to New Hampshire and try to pass anti-gun laws (among other things). The best way to short-circuit these efforts is for pro-gun people to come to settle in New Hampshire (or say Pennsylvania, Nevada, and other states experiencing similar situations).
Bill and I moved to New Hampshire to reclaim our gun rights (the cheaper cost of living didn’t hurt either) and we’re glad we did.