Boston City Council Holds Knife Control Hearing
On Thursday, September 8, 2011, the Public Safety Committee of the Boston City Council held a public hearing concerning the potential licensing of businesses that sell knives. According to the supporters of the proposed license, the action is needed as a means to address the "ever increasing knife violence in Boston." Knife Rights was represented by Jim Wallace, Executive Director of Gun Owners' Action League, who was also representing his own organization.
The politicians attending were clearly firm in their conviction that action must be taken, some scapegoat must be found. There were grieving parents and their genuine heart wrenching stories of lost loved ones. Public safety officials offered supportive testimony for the proposal. For anyone who attended the infamous Gun Control hearings here a decade ago, the only difference was that the word "guns" was replaced with "knives."
The testimony and statements during the public hearing were frighteningly reminiscent of past gun control hearings. "Why would we allow any corner store to sell these dangerous weapons (knives)." "Selling knives does not support families." "We must do everything we can to restrict access to these dangerous weapons." "Why would anyone need a knife with a blade more than two inches long.""Knives are fine if you need them for work, but employers should require they be left on the job."
To anyone who has been involved in the Second Amendment battle in the last few decades it sends a shiver up your spine, because this is exactly how gun control efforts were initiated. To make matters more frightening, law enforcement officials testified that "the modern way of approaching these issues is to go after the source of the items rather than the criminals themselves."
Wallace urged the City Council to take careful and meaningful steps in addressing the problem of violent crime. "I urge the City Council to review what it is about to do and reflect on the failures of gun control," said Wallace. "Over a decade ago I had to testify before committees in the state house with grieving families in the background. Now I sit before you a decade later with grieving families behind me again. If you proceed down this path and get it wrong again, ten years from now we will likely repeat this scene yet again."
Wallace also reminded the councilors that these stores are already licensed by the city, for which they pay a fee and are subject to city oversight as to their compliance with the law, and that there is already an ordinance on the books that makes it illegal to sell a knife with a blade two inches or longer to anyone under age 18. He reiterated that there is no need for new regulation.
Even in high security of prisons rudimentary knives (shivs) are readily available, which shows the futility of trying to control the source of a such an easy to make weapon, as opposed to penalizing law-abiding citizens and making it more difficult for them to obtain the versatile tools used by millions every day at work, home and while recreating.
The City Council took no action on the matter during the hearing. It is likely that it will be some weeks before a draft ordinance is presented to the City Council as a whole.
In the meantime, we will work to try to ensure that history does not repeat itself. We have an unusual advantage in this situation to know what the future will bring if we follow this path of knife control proposed by Boston. We know without any doubt that citizens' rights will be trampled. Most certainly grieving families will still be burying loved ones because politicians would appear to prefer going after the source of an inanimate object rather than the human criminal element - the source of the crime. The solution offered up today is no solution at all.
If you are a Boston citizen, here is a link to the councilors' webpages where you can find a link to contact them and POLITELY express your outrage: http://www.cityofboston.gov/citycouncil/councillors
We urge all Boston area Knife Rights members to contact the Boston City Council and express their opposition to this measure.
Your membership and support allows Knife Rights to oppose efforts such as this to restrict our freedoms. If you are not yet a member, please join Knife Rights and encourage your friends to join today!