Crimes and injuries related to firearms have risen — sometimes dramatically — since Massachusetts passed a comprehensive package of gun laws in 1998, reports the Boston Globe. Murders committed with firearms have increased significantly, aggravated assaults and robberies involving guns have risen, and gunshot injuries are up, according to FBI and state data. To gun rights groups like the NRA, these statistics are evidence that gun control does not work. But to gun control advocates, the numbers show that no state — no matter how tough the laws — is protected from firearms violence when guns are brought in from other states.
“The quality of your gun-licensing laws is only as good as those surrounding you,” said James Alan Fox, a Northeastern University criminologist. By that measure, according to gun law proponents, Massachusetts has proved to be vulnerable. Only two states have a higher percentage of out-of-state guns found at crime scenes, according to one study. Many guns found in Massachusetts travel only a short distance: 133 crime guns were traced to New Hampshire in 2011, and 79 to Maine, according to the federal ATF. Those states alone accounted for nearly one-third of the 669 crime guns traced to states outside of Massachusetts. New Hampshire and Maine, unlike Massachusetts, do not require a permit or license to buy a gun.