Cross posted at the Liberty Zone.
I know you’ll be shocked to know this, but apparently criminals don’t undergo background checks at shops or gun shows in order to purchase guns they use in crimes. I don’t know how this happened, but I, for one, am surprised beyond all belief! After all, don’t criminals get guns from evil gun dealers/gun shows/pawn shops/flea markets?
Apparently not. Believe me, I was just as shocked as you were to find out that criminals get guns from… well… mostly other criminals!
I don’t know about you all, but my worldview has now been shattered.
And if you think all that was easy to write with a straight face, trust me, it wasn’t. As a matter of fact, I kind of look like this now.
In all seriousness, researchers Philip J. Cook, Susan T. Parker, and Harold A. Parker found some interesting results about where criminals get guns – results gun rights advocates knew about: Our respondents (adult offenders living in Chicago or nearby) obtain most of their guns from their social network of personal connections. Rarely is the proximate source either direct purchase from a gun store, or theft.
[S]urvey evidence provides strong evidence that the gun market is sharply differentiated by the characteristics of the individual who is seeking a gun. Adults who are entitled to possess a gun are more likely than not to buy from an FFL. On the other hand, those who are disqualified by age or criminal history are most likely to obtain their guns in off-the-books transactions, often from social connections such as family and acquaintances, or from “street” sources such as illicit brokers or drug dealers. While some of these illicit transactions are purchases, they also take a variety of other forms.
Translation: law-abiding citizens purchase guns legally. Criminals purchase their guns through illicit sources or personal connections.
The study discusses a social network – personal connections that allow criminals who would otherwise be ineligible to purchase guns to easily get them. Whether it’s addicts who get their hands on firearms and sell them to get a profit to buy drugs or someone in the “hood” that hasn’t been nabbed for a major crime, has a FOID card, and can legally purchase firearms and resell them to others in the hood who cannot, obtaining firearms illegally despite stringent laws doesn’t appear to be all that difficult based on this study.
Oh, and then I find this little tidbit interesting. The same gun grabbers who whine that only police and military should have access to firearms will find the following finding disturbing: two respondents in the survey mentioned that guns come from corrupt police.
Guns are from the “government” or corrupt police. R52. “Police take guns and put them back on the street.” R69: “Crooked officers put guns back on the streets.”
A few things I get from this study:
- Enhanced background checks will do nothing to stop criminals from using their social networks from procuring guns.
- Government is part of the problem.
- All it takes is one person who is not prohibited from owning guns to start distributing them to his buddies who are.
So what can be done?
Certainly more laws called for by feckless politicians won’t remedy the issue. Criminals don’t care about laws. That’s why they’re criminals. I was struck by the fact that many of these criminals were apparently purchasing firearms primarily for self defense. “Many gave some version of the phrase ‘I’d rather be judged by 12 than be carried by six.’ ” Pollack said.
These people live in rough neighborhoods. They don’t exactly have access to gated communities and armed guards. They are the ones who are more likely than not to need armed protection. Now, by saying this, I AM IN NO WAY IMPLYING THAT THIS IS A MITIGATING FACTOR. I’m certainly not an apologist. That said, I can also understand why the people in “the hood” would feel the need for armed protection more than your suburban soccer mom screeching for more gun control because of something she saw on the news. (Yes, I’m talking to you Shannon Watts!)
Given the fact that most of these criminals obtained guns from their connections in the hood, will any politician call for denials of gun purchases merely based on where the buyer lives? Cue screeches of RAAAACCCCCIIIIIIIIIISSSSMMMMM!
Given that these connections are social in nature, will politicians call for limiting cell phone usage of people in “the hood”? Maybe preventing them from associating with one another? Or maybe deny certain individuals who legally are eligible to purchase a firearm the right to do so based on who their friends are? Yeah, can’t wait to see how that works out!
But in their zeal to appear as if they’re “doing something” some families of the victims demand, they forget that doing something that would prove to be ineffective is akin to doing nothing at all. Well, nothing other than interfering with the rights of law abiding citizens to exercise their rights.
I suspect politicians know this, but the urge to get re-elected is much like the urge to mate during Pon Farr. Common sense pretty much flies out the window, and what’s left is this primal urge to remain in power. My own State Delegate Patrick Hope confirms this phenomenon. “People are angry,” Hope said. “People are angry by the inaction.”
So strong is the urge to remain in office, that politicians are even willing to lie. Yeah… I know you’re shocked by this phenomenon.
Currently, there is a loophole in Virginia that doesn’t require background checks for sales at gun shows. Hope said he went to a gun show and asked if he could get a gun without a background check. Instead of raising red flags, the vendors were more than happy to help him.
A) The majority of vendors at gun shows who sell guns are FFLs, which means they are required by law to run a background check! And they are meticulous. Know why? Because any discrepancy in records, any anomaly means they could lose their license and their livelihoods!
2) What Hope and other gun grabbers want isn’t background checks at gun shows, where the “loophole” is nonexistent. What they want is to stamp out private sales – to prevent people from legally selling their own property to others – an inexcusable infringement on property rights.
And here’s the thing. Nothing in these proposals would have stopped the shooting of two television station employees in Roanoke. The shooter had no criminal record, no mental health disqualification, nothing that should have prevented him from making that purchase. The illegal alien who shot Kate Steinle got the gun from a careless law enforcement officer, who left his firearm in the car. The Islamic fundamentalist loon who shot up recruiting stations in Tennessee was also able to pass a background check. Would politicians now calling for more gun control advocate a denial of Second Amendment rights if one is a Muslim? I’d love to see the screeching from CAIR if that ever became a proposal!
Bottom line is this: the study above shows without a doubt that law abiding citizens are not the problem, and more laws are not the solution. As a sheriff I know once told me, laws are for the law-abiding.
Maybe politicians should focus on root causes of violence, rather than blaming the tool.