May 7, 2018

IT’S BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE THE BATTLES OF LEXINGTON AND CONCORD: This Is The Toughest Gun Law In America. “Reformers love what Massachusetts is doing. The NRA? Not so much.”

A thirtysomething man sought to buy a rifle here last September, and if he had been living in almost any other part of the country, he could have done so easily.

His record was free of arrests, involuntary psychiatric commitments or anything else that might automatically disqualify him from owning firearms under federal law. He could have walked into a gun store, filled out a form and walked out with a weapon in less than an hour.

But he couldn’t do that in Massachusetts because the state requires would-be buyers to get a permit first. That means going through a much longer process and undergoing a lot more scrutiny.

Each applicant must complete a four-hour gun safety course, get character references from two people, and show up at the local police department for fingerprinting and a one-on-one interview with a specially designated officer. Police must also do some work on their own, searching department records for information that wouldn’t show up on the official background check.

I’ll leave it to Glenn to opine on the constitutionality of Massachusetts’ gun restrictions. But I will wonder out loud if HuffPo writer Jonathan Cohn would sound so jubilant if he had to jump through the same hoops before being allowed to exercise his First Amendment right to publish an opinion piece.

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