In Massachusetts, the state is considering a bill to make fully-automatic weapons even tougher to get. As part of an overarching gun control bill (which would also limit people to buying more than one gun a month), only police officers or the licensed owner of an automatic weapon could even hold them.
This is in response to a tragic accident back in 2008, when during a machine gun show this idiot of a father thought it would be fun to take pictures of his eight-year-old son firing a fully automatic Uzi — in clear violation of existing laws, which prohibit anyone under 18 from firing such weapons. The recoil was too much for Christopher Bizilj, though — when he pulled the trigger, the gun kicked up and he fatally shot himself in the head.
It must be noted that this has been the only incident involving a fully automatic weapon in Massachusetts in a very, very long time (I tried to find another, but couldn’t).
Currently, there are a couple thousand fully-automatic weapons in private hands in the United States. Their most common use, I believe, is in fund-raising events — pay some money, get to blast off a bunch of rounds at your target of choice. It’s always popular, and the Westfield, Massachusetts tragedy is the only one I’ve ever heard of. And that’s not surprising — the owners of these weapons know they’re under tremendous scrutiny, and tend to act exceptionally responsibly with their guns.
The only incident I can recall involving criminals using fully automatic weapons was the infamous North Hollywood shootout, where two career criminals with a predilection for knocking over armored cars were confronted by the police. They were eventually both brought down (one died from police wounds, the other took his own life), but a major factor in the police taking them down was one officer going to a gun store and commandeering several AR-15 rifles.
Quite frankly, automatic weapons in civilian hands are not a factor in crime or violence. So there is no reason for Massachusetts to enact new laws to control them. Especially since the incident that is prompting it — the death of young Mr. Bizilj — happened in spite of existing laws that prohibited him from firing the weapon.
But this is Massachusetts. The bluest of blue states. The solution to EVERYTHING is new laws and new taxes.
Just don’t ever ask them to show how it will actually solve the problem. Or that there was a problem in the first place.