A New Hampshire paper asked, and was alarmed to find the answer was — New Hampshire. Foster’s Daily Democrat (nothing like truth in labeling! Except, FDD is generally a conservative paper that endorses Republicans… they liked Democrats in the 1860s) found that the ATF counted nearly 10,000 automatic weapons in the largely rural state. Not only that, but the number had nearly doubled in two years.
Newsman Jim Haddadin’s research follows:
ATF data indicates there were 9,863 registered machine guns in New Hampshire as of last March, up from 5,479 in December 2010.
A Foster’s Sunday Citizen analysis found that there are now an estimated 7.5 machine guns in New Hampshire for every 1,000 people in the state, based on ATF data and the latest population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.
That ratio is higher than anywhere else in the United States or Puerto Rico. The second highest ratio is found in the District of Columbia, where there were 6.77 machine guns for every 1,000 people. Connecticut was third on the list, at 6.13 guns per 1,000.
It’s unclear whether the numbers reflect an increase in private machine gun ownership in New Hampshire.
The figures provided by the ATF could conceivably include new weapons manufactured in New Hampshire for law enforcement or military use. They could also include guns held by local police departments or law enforcement tactical teams.
ATF representatives have declined to release more detailed information from the agency’s database of controlled weapons.
The last sentence is a clue as to what Foster’s game was: they were trying to get ATF to release detailed information on Class III weapons holders, so that they could do a News-Journal and try to get the owners burgled or attacked, as that Long Island paper did. But the ATF’s hands are tied by Congress, and they can’t release individual data.
Haddadin did stick with the story, and probably got to the bottom of it: NH’s unusual MG concentration may have more to do with the almost fifty licensed manufacturers in the state, including some big fish like SIG, Ruger and H&K.
Still, only 10,000 MGs in the state that prides itself on Joghn Starjk’s patriotic call to Live Free or Die (often rendered by cynical natives as Live Free or Live in Massachusetts)? Shouldn’t there be more? There should.
Therefore, we call upon the New Hampshire delegation to support an end to the unfair and disruptive Hughes Amendment that interferes with the proper functioning of supply and demand in the machine gun market. After all, we’re having a “national conversation about guns.”