As TTAG has pointed out previously, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns is acting like a dunk looking for his car keys under a streetlamp—because the light’s better. Their call to “Close the Gun Show Loophole” is the worst kind of political pandering. The kind that addresses a non-issue to pretend that its proponents are “doing something”—instead of doing something effective. The fact that the Mayors’ stat- and study-laden website doesn’t include a single reference to the percentage of weapons purchased by criminals at gun shows (less than five percent) shows the cynicism with which they address an otherwise admirable goal.
The MAJOR and IMPORTANT sources for criminals’ weapons divide into three parts: friends and family (31 percent), the black market (28 percent) and retail sales (27 percent). Yes, retail. As in guns bought from gun stores. As you know, a felon can’t purchase a weapon from a licensed gun dealer. So someone else buys it for them. Either family, friends or someone without a criminal record looking to bank a CP (convict premium). Like the people buying booze for underage drinkers. Only far, far worse. To wit:
Federal authorities said 33-year-old Travis Price [shown], a Fairfield resident, was a notorious gun dealer that helped import firearms from Colorado and sell them to gang members in Northern California communities.
At least 37 firearms were purchased legally in Colorado by family members of the suspects before making their way to California, according to authorities.
“People with clean backgrounds were purchasing the firearms on behalf of people with not clean backgrounds,” said Fairfield Police Detective Will Schaefer.
Now how are you going to close THAT loophole Mayor? Buying guns for felons is already illegal; a federal crime, in fact. So there are only two ways to stop the transfer of firearms from legal to illegal owners.
1. Increase the penalty for giving guns to felons. Yes, well, it’s already a federal beef, especially across state lines. Tightening the criteria is a problematic approach, to say the least. How do you prove that a legal buyer knew that the person to whom he or she gave a firearm was a criminal? And then you have to prove intent. “What? I didn’t know. He stole it.” Chicago wants to go down that road, of course. Good luck with that.
2. Catch people buying guns for criminals. You know: detective work. As occurred here. Only there’s an interesting dynamic in play. Notice that the story’s lede highlights a statement by “federal authorities.” And yet the actual detective responsible for the bust is NOT a fed: Fairfield Police Detective Will Schaefer. The discrepancy reveals the usual inter-law enforcement rivalry, which makes catching felons such a highly inefficient enterprise.
One of the weapons was found on the 1900 block of Grande Circle in Fairfield after an attempted murder.
Detective Schaefer helped break the case when he linked several of the guns back to Price, authorities said.
All four suspects are facing multiple felony charges. About two dozen of the guns they allegedly sold are still unaccounted for.
While ending a sentence with a preposition is a practice up with which I will not put, at least the reporter gives credit where credit’s due. If Mayors Against Gun Violence was really against gun violence, they’d do the same. They’d focus their energies on those areas that would maximize the effectiveness of their campaign to stop gun violence—rather than drawing attention to statistically irrelevant (though highly emotional) anomalies like the Columbine spree shooting.
The best way to take illegal guns out of the hands of criminals is the way police are doing it now. It’s not as efficient as it could be, what with so many damn bureaucracies involved, from the [almost entirely superfluous] Bureau of Alcohol, Tabacco and Firearms right down to the [under-appreciated] cop on the beat. And every city, county, state and federal [attention-seeking] law enforcement agency in between.
But then, Mayors calling for less bureaucracy or better cops won’t win votes, and it sure would piss off their unionized friends in the local police department. So we’re left with what I call “gun control theater.” Meanwhile, the bad guys continue to get their guns.