“Micah Johnson never balked at the $600 asking price for an AK-47 assault rifle,” nydailynews.com reports. “The buy was arranged via Facebook, and consummated in the parking lot of a Target.”
The New York Daily News offers no proof of that Micah X. Johnson used Facebook to set-up the sale of the firearm that may have been used in the Dallas police massacre — depending on whether or not the reporters misidentified the rifle in question.
[Note: the killer used an AK-74 not an AK-47. I’m assuming that the seller, one Colton Crews, knows the difference and that the News got it wrong. Otherwise, Mr. Crews wouldn’t be so rattled by the sale. I guess.]
The story’s based entirely on the sellers’ statements. Anyway, Facebook’s response to a Facebook-arranged sale to a cop killer could be . . . drastic. Meanwhile . . .
Colton Crews [obscured above] forgot about the deal until last week, when ex-Army reservist Johnson killed five Dallas police officers — and federal investigators tracked Crews down.
“I don’t even know how I feel about it right now,” Crews told the Daily News. “I have no idea. It’s awful. It’s just bad.”
Crews, 26, said there was no inkling during their 15-minute November 2014 transaction that Johnson was anything except a military veteran and a solid citizen.
Needless to say, gun control advocates will seize on the transaction as an example of the dangers of unregulated private firearms sales. They will once again call for “universal background checks” in states like Texas where private sales are – gasp! – private.
It’s an issue of which Mr. Crews, drummer for San Antonio’s monkeysphere, is not entirely unaware, especially now.
No red flags were raised, no second-guessing ensued. Under Texas law for a private sale, no background check is needed when the seller is not a licensed gun dealer.
“First off, it was my belief he would have passed a background check,” said Crews. “He didn’t seem weird in any way, just a normal guy.”
A short conversation ensued, mostly small talk as Johnson made sure the rifle was in working condition. Crews, who conducted a bit of an online background check on Johnson, felt like he’d made a fair deal with a good guy.
If Mr. Crews used Mr. Johnson’s Facebook page for his background check, he might have discovered that the “good guy” purchasing the firearm had links to racial hate groups. Or not. In any case, I’m skeptical that Mr. Crews did any research before meeting Mr. Johnson at Target to sell his AK.
Once the story came together, Crews found himself badly shaken. He says his interest in guns is now gone, and he opted out of a weekend deal to buy a shotgun.
“It’s the fact that I feel partially responsible for all this s— that’s happened,” he said. “That’s it. That’s what it is. … He’s just one guy who bought a gun from me, and he decided to do something completely awful.”
Mr. Crews is not responsible for Mr. Johnson’s actions. No one can see into the heart of man. Besides, if Crews hadn’t sold Johnson the AK-74 used in his crime — again assuming that the News got the nomenclature wrong — I doubt Mr. Johnson would have given up his murderous plans and taken-up gardening (for example).
Regardless, the Second Amendment protects all Americans from government infringement on the right to keep and bear arms, which includes buying and selling.
Curtailing that right to punish millions of law-abiding gun owners for the actions of a single madman is wrong. As President Obama recently reminded us, “We cannot let the actions of a few define all of us.”
That said, if the Civilian Disarmament Industrial Complex wants to “close the private gun sale loophole” — which is no more of a loophole than the private sale of books — they should make the FBI’s background check system available to private gun sellers. That is all.