24 March 2008

More RKBA illogic

I read that the "gun control" crowd is the "guns for criminals" crowd because they prevent law abiding citizens from having guns. That's a lot of a distraction from reality there. I mean John Allen Muhammad, Steven Kazmierczak, and Seung-Hui Cho bought their guns legally, not through the black market.

Gun enthusiasts often claim that there is no link between legal ownership of guns and gun crime - legal guns are legal, illegal guns are illegal and, according to them, never the twain shall meet.

The problem is that guns are the only commodity that start out legal and then end up on the black market. Some are bought directly from a gun dealer (above), some enter through straw purchase/traffickers, and others are stolen. To understand how guns are acquired on the illicit market, we must also look at the legal trade, since the majority of guns on the black market began as part of the legal trade. In the United States alone, approximately 500,000 small arms enter the black market every year due to theft from private citizens.

Legal gun ownership creates a pool of weapons from which crime weapons can be obtained through theft and other means such as fraud. The more guns in circulation, the larger the pool of guns that can end up in the hands of criminals. This is especially true if the penalties for selling to disqualified persons are non-existant, or weak enough that they could be non-existant. Also, we have seen the Government give immunity from lawsuits to gun dealers who sell to disqualified persons.

It's funny how we hear the "Guns for criminals" crowd scream about enforcing the gun laws on the books (which they have structured to be ineffective) on one hand, yet work to repeal them or make them weaker on the other. More than enough times I have pointed out that a finding of an individual right in DC v. Heller will lead to litigation regarding existing firearms laws. It is not strong guns laws that put guns in the hands of criminals, but weak and ineffective ones.

DC's experience shows that having strong gun laws in one jurisdiction while another jurisdiction has weak laws will indeed lead to criminals having guns. DC's crime guns come from outside DC and from legal sources. Crime guns don't come from outer space. Ambiguous or ineffective domestic laws concerning the purchase of small arms contribute to the quantity of guns available on the black market. For example, "straw purchasers" can buy several weapons at once and then illegally resell them if there are no limits to how many guns a person may buy at one time. These illegal weapons are often sold across state lines from a State with lax regulations to one with quite strict gun laws.

On the other hand, the "guns for criminals" crowd refuses to allow for the tools to prevent guns from falling into the hands of criminals. Even simple actions like reporting stolen guns are fought as infringing upon the rights of "law abiding" citizens. The problem is that "stolen guns" find their way into the hands of criminals. In fact, stolen guns by definition have entered the black market. The Tiahrt amendment blocks law enforcement from accessing useful statistics regarding the source of illegal firearms.

Sorry, by doing everything in their power the alphabet soup of "gun rights" organisations (NRA, SAF, GOA, CCRKBA, SAS, etcetera) have ensured a steady source of guns for criminals. This is a pool which won't dry up anytime soon even if SCOTUS does the correct thing and upholds the Miller standard.

Unfortunately, instead of talking about gun responsibilities and enforcing gun laws which had teeth, the "gun rights" organisations have been working to eliminate gun laws. This means more guns for criminals. Gun owners would have been far better served had the talk been of gun responsibilities.

So, to be quite frank with you, crime guns start out as legal guns. We have to look at who is responsible for blocking any serious solution to this problem until the flow of legal guns into the black market is stopped.