I knew times were tough in Massachusetts, but I had no idea about this:
Since 1994, the number of federal firearm licenses – FFLs – issued in Massachusetts has declined from 4,109 to 531, or by 87 percent. [emphasis Murdoc's]
That’s what Murdoc calls a shockingly large number. These two issues are where a lot of it comes from:
The first is the Brady Bill, named after White House press secretary James Brady who was shot in an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan in 1981. It increased the license fee from $10 per year to $200 for the first three years and $90 for each three-year renewal.
The second piece of legislation was the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, also known as the Crime Bill. It requires applicants for the federal licenses to notify their local police department, submit fingerprints and a photo with the application, and certify that their businesses adhere to local zoning regulations.
It also requires gun dealers to have an established location for their shops that must be separate from their residences. This eliminated many hobbyists and part-time dealers.
But, what does “eliminated” really mean here? In at least some cases, it probably means “Many hobbyists and part-time dealers stopped legally selling firearms.”
Here’s a bit more background:
At the time, the Clinton administration was concerned about smaller gun dealers operating under the radar and potentially outside the law.
Ah. We’re concerned about potential law-breakers, so we’ll make it more expensive to follow the law. That will keep people from doing it illegally.
Police departments complained that with dealer licenses easy to obtain and difficult to track, they were often the last to know to whom the licenses were issued.
Ah. We used to be the last to know who legal dealers were. Now we’ll never know about any of those folks.
So, as a recap, the increased fees and paperwork hurt everyone except bigger businesses and crooks.
Hat tip to the reader who forwarded this story!