Gun laws in the New England states range from strict to lenient. And since the passage of Massachusetts' gun laws in 1998, the state is considered one of the strictest in the nation with regards to the purchase, ownership and carrying of firearms, according to the National Rifle Association of America's Institute for Legislative Action
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The variation in the gun laws between the neighboring states has created complications for law enforcement efforts, according to a recent report in The Boston Globe
Authorities in Massachusetts reportedly recovered 1,737 firearms used in crimes during 2011; however, of the 1,020 firearms traced to their state of origin, just 351 originated in Massachusetts, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. A quarter of the weapons were traced to nearby states, including 79 from Maine and 133 from New Hampshire.
“Massachusetts gun laws are being undermined by surrounding states with weak gun laws,” said Brian Malte, director of legislation for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, told the Globe.
Gun laws in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island all rank in the top 10 when ranked by their restrictive nature, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Gun laws in Vermont and not-neighboring but nearby Maine are considered more lenient — 46th and 38th respectively — and New Hampshire falls in the middle, ranking 24.
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The statistics are based on how the states are addressing different gun-related issues, to Lindsay Nichols, staff attorney for the law center, said in the report. According to Nichols, the trend among the states is moving towards fewer regulations on gun ownership.
Bennett Prescott a spokesman for the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, a group that promotes gun ownership, told the Globe that the laws in Massachusetts and Connecticut are overly restrictive.
“Whenever there is a tragic event … there is always some effort to say, ‘What can we do?’ or ‘What could we have done,’ ” he said. “But there is nothing you can do to stop a madman.”’
This article does not constitute legal advice. Check the current gun laws before purchasing or traveling with a firearm.
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