4/00 Massachusetts

Larry Pratt

The anti-self defense crowd has been finding innovative ways to impose unconstitutional gun control laws without bothering with the legislative process.

The recent agreement between the Clinton administration and Smith & Wesson has gotten the most attention because it affects all firearms sold by any Smith and Wesson dealer.

But Massachusetts has shown the wisdom of the federal law preventing the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission from regulating firearms. It was the equivalent of that Commission that decided to ban the sale of most handguns in Massachusetts.

It was done in the name of safety. Then Attorney General Scott Harshbarger usurped some non-legislated powers to regulate the safety of handguns as an ordinary consumer product. Thirty-four other states have passed legislation allowing officials to regulate handguns as they would other consumer products.

But in Massachusetts, one official acting on his own wrote rules putting guns under the consumer product regulations of the state. Interestingly, the rules were not enforced until after the spontaneous outpouring of disgust at the recent Clinton Wesson contract.

That enforcement came on April 3 of this year, when the current Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly decided to drop the hammer.

The Attorney General required all dealers to handle ALL their firearms the same way — namely, only guns that have the safety technology of Smith & Wesson’s latest guns. And only Smith has such handguns.

This becomes a powerful financial tool in the hands of the government officials that have been trying to extort the entire firearms industry. While they claim an anti-trust conspiracy on the part of other manufacturers, truth be told, the attorneys general have been threatening financially debilitating lawsuits if the manufacturers do not capitulate to their gun control agenda.

Massachusetts has become a lead collaborator in the effort to use public power to control a constitutionally protected industry. Massachusetts has gone one step beyond threatening a lawsuit if the firearms manufacturers do not buy into the gun control agenda of certain elected officials. Since Smith & Wesson capitulated, in Massachusetts they have been given a government imposed monopoly of handgun sales.

Isn’t it great to live in a free country?