Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Yet Another Massachusetts Outrage

Several pro-gun bloggers have discussed a gun-related story out of Massachusetts. I won’t blog as much on the worst outrage, the suspension of a firearms license, but I want to discuss a gun collecting angle.

First a little background (I synopsize so you don’t have to). In 1998, duly-licensed gun owner Joseph Landers’ jacket flipped open in the wind and a passing Dedham, MA cop saw his carry weapon. The cop investigated the gun owner and found he had a valid Concealed Carry permit issued by Dedham Township.

Now, you’d think that would be the end of it. Nope, we’re talking Massachusetts here. The cop had filed an incident or contact report. Dedham’s police chief, Dennis Teehan, used that report to revoke Landers’ Class A License to Carry (LTC). Landers wants his Class A LTC back, not to carry a concealed weapon, but so he can follow his passion of collecting guns, uniforms, and military accouterments.

Before I talk more about collecting, let me mention that Massachusetts licensing scheme contains so many misnomers it’s an affront to the English language. When you read “License to Carry” wouldn’t you think that it referred to carrying a concealed weapon? I’m sure that’s what 90% of Massachusetts’ citizens believe, especially those reading about Mr. Landers.

“Carry” in the context of Massachusetts’ licensing scheme means possession. For instance, you have a gun in a locked case, in your car’s locked trunk; you are carrying that weapon in Massachusetts. In fact, you can have a Class A LTC and still be barred from doing almost anything with your own gun. A police chief can limit your license to target use only, hunting use only, employment (i.e., security guard) use only, and anything else he or she can dream up. A Class B LTC means you can possess a revolver or pistol capable of holding less than ten rounds of ammunition, but you are affirmatively debarred from concealed carry.

When Teehan revoked Landers’ LTC it meant Landers could get a Firearms Identification Card (FID) only since these are more or less “shall issue.” Landers is now limited to owning only long guns, and those must have less than a ten round capacity (another feature of a Class A is "permitting" ownership of "high-capacity" weapons and magazines). Thus, Landers is debarred from collecting most modern military long arm and any side arm. He had to sell his 1908 Luger and a Colt 1911 to avoid breaking Massachusetts law.

I’m a collector of military and other firearms. I don’t share Landers’ passion for uniforms, cannonballs, books on warfare, or other items he owns. There are people who probably think he has an unhealthy interest in warfare just as there are those who think my interests are warped. They’re entitled to their opinions unless they foist them upon me or others. That’s what Teehan has done to Landers.

Teehan has prevented Landers from collecting weapons that will complete his collections, Teehan has caused him to sell items, he has refused to issue an LTC for “collecting purposes only" even though that’s in his purview. He is a petty tyrant wearing a police chief’s uniform.

Shit like this is why Bill and I maintained a storage shed in New Hampshire when we lived in Massachusetts. We wanted it just in case we ever needed to spirit guns out of Mordor Massachusetts quickly. It’s why we finally fled the state (full disclosure: we still work there and pay income tax to that hellhole--arggghhhh). Massachusettslawmakers have purposely allowed its citizens to become victims of petty tyrants through their carefully designed licensing scheme. Its citizens have forgotten freedom while pursuing a pie-in-the-sky dream of Kumbaya harmony.

Not everyone comes out of a cookie-cutter. I am interested in guns. Landers interests lies in guns and accouterments. We are somehow suspect in the land of Kumbaya. Massachusetts’ citizens want what they got. They want to feel superior to those of us who own and shoot guns and especially those troglodytes who’d carry a gun for self-protection. They want us to embrace the bliss and eat the lotus blossoms.

I don’t blame Teehan and gun grabbers in Massachusetts government so much as I blame the citizens of Massachusetts for supporting police chiefs and politicians who are petty tyrants. While these “good” citizens create their Kumbaya land of milk and honey they are forgetting there are two-legged and four-legged predators in their midst. More importantly, they are forcing conformity to their beliefs in ways that those people they hate the most, red-state religious right-wing “nutjobs,” can only envy.

No comments: