STUDY: Massachusetts’ Expanded Background Checks Have ‘Had No Effect on Violent Crime’

By: Teresa Mull

Another study confirms the obvious: making it more difficult for law-abiding Americans to access firearms does nothing to decrease violent gun crime.

Janice Iwama, a researcher at American University (AU), just published the study in Justice Quarterly, a publication of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.

The study, titled: “Massachusetts Gun-Control Legislation Has Had No Effect on Violent Crime,” examines laws that went into effect in 2015 “related to background checks for firearms sold at gun shows or through private sales [that also] created changes to firearm regulations by adopting new gun licensing procedures.”

AU reports:

Based on the percent of firearms licenses, about 1 to 5 percent of adult residents had a firearms license in Massachusetts counties. But Iwama found no consistent effect of the new legislation on reducing four types of violent crime (murder or nonnegligent manslaughter, aggravated assault, robbery, rape).

Rather than admit that gun control doesn’t work, Iwama is questioning whether these particular mandates are being enforced properly:

“Gun violence remains at the forefront of the public policy debate when it comes to enacting new or strengthening existing gun legislation in the United States,” Iwama said in a press released. “Yet the political polarization and relatively limited scholarly research on guns and gun violence make it difficult for policymakers and practitioners to enact and implement legislation that addresses the public health and safety issues associated with gun violence.”

This study comes at the same time The FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2020 is showing, likewise, that gun control is a huge failure and waste of time that actually makes good people less safe.

Guns Magazine (see here) notes some of the report’s highlights:

For the second year in a row, armed private citizens killed more felony suspects (343) than police did (298) (FBI Data).
Roughly four times as many murders were committed with knives “or other cutting instruments” (1,732) than with rifles. More people were physically beaten to death (657) than were killed with rifles. Actually, the number of people fatally beaten matches the number of people identified as murdered last year with rifles and shotguns.
There are no background checks on hammers or machetes. If all the allegations are true, these cases underscore the fact that the problem is not guns, but people, and that no amount of gun control will prevent such crimes.

The AU study also coincides with gun manufacturing giant Smith & Wesson announcing the company is being forced to move its headquarters from Massachusetts because of the state’s draconian gun control.

“We are under attack by the state of Massachusetts,” Smith & Wesson president and CEO Mark Smith said, according to an article by the Tribune News Service.

The news outlet further reports:

Smith & Wesson said its move was prompted by legislation proposed earlier this year by Springfield state Rep. Bud L. Williams and others that would outlaw part of its manufacturing business. That includes feeding devices capable of containing 10 or more rounds, trigger pulls requiring pressure less than 10 pounds, threaded barrels that accept silencers and other military-looking hardware.

Smith & Wesson will be moving its manufacturing facilities to Maryville, Tennessee by 2023. It’s not an ideal time for the company to move, since sales and manufacturing have been through the roof throughout the past year.

According to

Smith & Wesson said revenue hit $1.1 billion in the most recent fiscal year, up from $529.6 million a year earlier.

“Why would I disrupt that?” Smith said.

Teresa Mull ( is editor of Gunpowder Magazine.

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