Sunday, January 6, 2013

How Do Criminals Get Guns?

The Four Major Ways Criminals Get Guns

Everyone agrees criminals should not have guns. Yet, the reality seems to be that they have practically unlimited access to them. It would be better for everyone if somehow we could deny them access. But how?

First we need to identify the ways in which they currently do come into possession of weapons. We'll eliminate one common fallacy right away, that criminals get guns from other criminals.  This may be true as far as it goes, but it doesn't help us in our analysis.  We're interested in the original source of guns that are used in crime. If, for example, a gun is stolen during a burglary and passed from criminal to criminal before being used in a murder, that gun came from "Theft," which is one of our main categories.

The entire exercise is based on the presumption that nearly all guns start out as the lawful property of someone. The exceptions to this, home-made weapons and those imported from overseas, are insignificant in number.  Our interest is the exact point at which a gun passes from lawful ownership into criminal hands.

The four categories are these.

1. Straw purchases. Gun traffickers recruit people with clean records who, depending on the state in which they live, can buy numerous guns and turn them over immediately to their criminal bosses. Other straw purchasers are of the amateur kind, the one-off kind, but regardless of the type there is a solution.

2. Theft. Most of this is done in private homes one gun at a time, or if the thieves are lucky several guns. For this there is an obvious solution. Other theft is done at military armories, gun manufacturers and gun shops, all of which require some failure on the part of the lawful custodian of the weapons.

3. Private sales. This is the one often referred to as the "gun show loophole." The reality is that private sales of guns account for about 40% of all gun sales and do not require a background check.  The solution.


4. Lawful gun owners who turn bad. Many of these guys are what I call "hidden criminals."  These are the ones who engage in unlawful activity but have never sustained a disqualifying felony.  They buy and own guns legally just like your truly lawful gun owners.  Others are upstanding members of society right up until the point they lose it and either kill the wife with a gun or shoot up the work place.  We read about them every day. Some of them could be identified through drug testing, others by improved mental health background checks.

The four categories are listed in descending order, the most easily addressed to the most difficult. Straw purchasing could be practically eradicated with the solution I've outlined, while lawful gun owners who turn bad is much harder to address.

But, although gun-rights folks keep saying we have onerous gun control laws which infringe upon their rights, the truth is we have done very little to curtail the terrible problem of gun flow from the good guys to the bad guys.

This must change.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

34 comments:

  1. Your solutions are to punish the law abiding in the hopes of hampering the few among us who are criminal.

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    1. It's not punishment and it's not just a few.

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  2. 1. Straw Purchases. It should be illegal for adults to buy liquor for minors. Check.

    2. Theft. There should be laws against theft. Check

    3. Private sales. Ban all voluntary free-market transactions, including rummage sales, house or car for sale by owner scenarios. Check.

    4.Lawful gun owners who turn bad. Laws against jealousy and rage should be enacted. Check.

    Welcome to gun control Utopia.

    orlin sellers


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    1. Hey anonymous?? You are what they call a patsy kid... We have rights given by god to protect ourselves and the people we care about.... Not to rely on someone to do it for us.. Its been proven registration leads to confiscation. Now go like a good little boy to your cot in the FEMA camp... Chump.. Guns are what founded this country... What are you gonna do throw sticks and stones at people trying to persecute you for choosing to live your life the way you feel fit?? I don't even own any guns but if the time comes when something breaks out DOESN'T THE CONSTITUTION STATE THAT I HAVE CERTAIN INALIENABLE RIGHTS?? How much of a chance do you really have if someone has an automatic pointed at you and you have a shot gun?? Sounds like a rigged deck to me....

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    2. Anon #2- You just attacked someone who is on your side, someone who is opposed to further gun restrictions. He did it with sarcasm, but you aren't bright enough to realize that. And in doing so, you just reinforced the stereotype that gun types aren't exactly the most intelligent types.

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  3. 1. With 300,000,000+ guns in this country, it would take decades for your proposals to have any effect.

    2. As the domestic supply gets tighter, criminals will import guns from other countries. How much cocaine is grown here? If a powder that can be smelled by dogs can be brought in by the ton, what about metal parts?

    3. With around a hundred million gun owners, how are you going to find the time for psych. exams for all of them?

    4. Your solutions involve far too many infringements and potentials for infringement to be satisfactory.

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    1. The typical gunsuck moron responses. THERE ARE NO OTHER COUNTRIES, YOU FUCKING MORON! The US is the supplier of illegal guns in the world.

      This COLOSSALLY STUPID idea comes up from gunsucks who think the rest of us are idiots. This is a stupid point. It is false.

      I will recant and apologize if you name the country that it is easier to get guns in. Mexico? Guns from the US. Canada? Very hard to get guns.

      Fucking stupid comment. Gunsucks are morons.

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    2. Get ready to recant:

      Fabrique Nationale--based in Belgium
      Glock--based in Austria
      AK-47--manufactured in Russia, China, and former Soviet Bloc countries
      Heckler & Koch--based in Germany
      Saiga--based in Russia

      Are you aware that one of the guns that's popular with Mexican gangs is the FN FiveseveN? That's from Belgium. Are you aware that when you land in Mogadishu, you're asked to name your caliber? Have you seen the reports about the gun markets in Pakistan?

      But do tell: What is the source of AK-47s? Do you seriously believe that they all come here first to be sent on around the world? Gun manufacturers exist in many places. We buy a lot of them, but so do many other countries and people.

      Here's a deal, though. Drop "gunsuck" from your vocabulary, and I won't insist on getting that apology that you promised.

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    3. Wow, Anonymous, Penis jokes!

      As for your comments, the theft from military bases Mike speaks about happen worldwide. A large number of guns supplied to Mexican Cartels that came from the US were military weapons we sold to the Mexican Army. These were later diverted by corrupt soldiers to the cartels.

      Look at all the AK's around the world. We didn't build them. And Greg, they're made in more than eastern bloc countries--e.g. Egyptian Maadi, Iraqi and Iranian mfg's make them, and a friend of mine in the army actually found one with maker's marks from Mexico that had made its way to Iraq.

      Anon, there are lots of places it's easier to get guns. In many parts of the Middle East and Africa for instance. In Saudi, you can Legally buy up to even an RPG if you want, you just can't shoot it safely or legally anywhere but the Desert. We actually have quite a few more regulations than many places.

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    4. Are you saying "gunsuck" is a penis joke? If so, I think that's a stretch.

      Of course you guys are right, the US does not produce all the guns.

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    5. Mikeb, pretending not to understand when things go against your side... But any guesses as to when Anonymous will be here to recant and apologize?

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    6. I don't care who produces the guns, you morons. In Austria, HOW DO YOU PURCHASE A GUN?

      Plus the moronic idea that you can buy a gun in Saudi Arabia and get it here is laughably stupid, and that is because it is from a gunsuck, most of whom are morons. It would cost MIN $2000 to get there. If you put 10 of them in your suitcase, you think that is getting through customs? If not, you are talking about some HEAVY-DUTY import shit.

      This is the standard gunsuck bullshit. No one gets guns in foreign countries. Foreigner come here. During the FRY civil war, militias in Croatia were buying 50 cal sniper rifles by the dozens through the gun show loophole.

      The US is the gun supplier of the world. And only morons come up with other sources.

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    7. Mike,

      It's not as direct as when someone says "Gun owners are compensating for their itty bitty penises." However, it's clearly meant to imply fellatio which is the same type of "gun as a phallus" deflection. I don't mind debating things with Anonymous when he presents arguments, but the insult is kinda formulaic and old.



      Anonymous,

      You said that we had weaker laws than everywhere else and that we supplied the illegal guns to the rest of the world. The examples Greg and I cited were aimed at showing 1) guns are less regulated in some places, and 2) the illegal market, worldwide, has far more sources than just us.

      I never suggested I could feasibly get an AK or RPG in from Saudi. I have said that broad gun bans here would make such a criminal enterprise more feasible and more common due to the higher profit to be made by selling the gun to criminals here. Would it be hard? Yes. Would it be Impossible? No. If you are keyed into the underworld, you can already find these here, as evidenced by their showing up at crime scenes on occasion.

      I never heard that about the Croats. If that's true, they're dumb as they could have gotten better deals and had less export red tape by getting equivalently powerful guns and ammo from all of the criminal gun runners that popped up in the former Soviet Union in the chaos after it fell. Also a shorter supply chain.

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    8. My god, it's like talking to a wall. We are talking about practical matters. Where does a thug in Chicago get his gun? He gets it from a gunsuck gun runner. The only people who are threatened by limitations in the number of guns bought during a period or gun registration are gunsuck gun runners who are violating the law. If you oppose these reasonable and sensible restrictions, you are certainly a criminal.

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    9. Anonymous, how much cocaine is grown and processed in America? Tons of the stuff travel thousands of miles to get here. Guns would be easier to transport. For example, a dog can detect drugs, but metal smells like metal, and machine parts look like machine parts to an X-ray machine.

      But you promised to recant and apologize if we showed you how you were wrong. When can we expect you to live up to your word?

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    10. No, "gunsuck" is not sexual. It's a term which means that people get vital sustenance from a gun, people like you and Greg. You guys are dependent on your weapons in some perverted manner. Hence "gunsuck". It's my term to reply to the standard line of "gun grabber" which you gunsucks use all the time.

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    11. Gunsuck Greg: Why don't you import some guns from Saudi Arabia and get back to us? If it's so easy, everyone should give it a try. You don't give a crap about laws or moral aspects of society, so doing a little gun running should be seen by you and other gunsucks as a good way of making a little spare change. Until then, you haven't shown shit. And the notion that guns and drugs are somehow equivalent again shows that there is stupid, really stupid, and gunsuck thinking.

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    12. Anonymous, are you denying that cocaine is imported into this country? If not, are you saying that cocaine is so much easier to import than guns? Rather than acting like an elementary school bully, how about explaining your reasoning.

      I don't run guns illegally. That's because I follow the law. Plenty of criminals don't. What the gun control freaks constantly propose is limitations on people who are law-abiding. What they should be concerned about is criminals.

      Instead of weaseling out of your promise, I'll expect to see you recant and apologize. Otherwise, you're no different from any of your other control freak fellow travellers.

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    13. Gunsuck Greg: First you make a moronic equivalence that makes no sense - importing guns = importing drugs. I say "that makes no sense". It's up to you to defend this false and idiotic equivalence. I continue to regard you and other gunsucks are idiots, because you cannot reason and cannot make an intelligent syllogism. I have nothing to apologize about. You insult my intelligence. I refuse to consider your argument valid.

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    14. Anonymous, if you won't even take my argument seriously, despite its reasonable nature, what's the point? Cocaine is illegal. And yet it is brought into this country by the ton. It is concealed in a variety of containers and vehicles. What difference do you see between cocaine and guns with regard to the ability of smugglers to sneak either in?

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  4. We need a complete registration of all guns. Some gunsucks, a small minority, are innocent. But the vast majority of gunsucks are guilty of either gun running or collaboration with gun runners. There is a lot of money to be made in getting guns to felons. We need to find and punish those who sell guns to criminals. REGISTER ALL GUNS.

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    1. Do you imagine that if you insult us enough, we'll give you what you want? No deals. What's your next move?

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    2. Hey, more penis jokes, and this time they come with libel!

      Bring arguments and I'll argue with you as a gentleman. Keep up this name calling and libel, and I'll just have to assume that you are projecting your own physical inadequacy and criminal predilections.

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  5. The World-Wide Defiance of Gun Restrictions
    http://reason.com/archives/2012/12/22/gun-restrictions-have-always-bred-defian

    orlin sellers

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    1. WHAHAHAHAHAHAH - that's from Reason - you are quoting Reason - gunsuck stupidity strikes again.

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    2. Shouldn't you be getting back to work at the Nail Parlor, bruce?

      orlin sellers

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  6. The entire issue of using fake buyers to buy guns and get them into the system is ignored by gunsucks. This is why we need a permanent registration. If you were permanently listed as a buyer, and that gun turned up in a criminal capacity, you would need to explain how it got to criminal hands.

    Gunsucks make millions from illegal sales. Of course they oppose permanent registration and records.

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  7. The solution is that responsible gun owners responsibly control their guns. Any other discussion is a distraction from this fundamental truth. Who but you is responsible for where/how/when your gun is used or who it is transferred to?

    Collectively, since the vast majority of gun owners claim to be 'responsible' gun owners, then the last lawful owner, all the way back up the chain to the manufacturer should be held strictly liable for anything that weapon is used for.

    Naked self interest will drive each person to figure out how to document and retain proof of each lawful disposition/transfer to later establish his own non-responsibility.

    Free market opportunities will sort out everything else: vetting and information systems, voluntary insurance solutions, etc. No government intervention required; no databases, registration, annual fees, bans by category.

    It will take time. And it will move in only one direction: responsible exercisers of the 2nd amendment will self-govern responsibly and be held strictly liable.

    If they do neither, the conclusion will be that they are not responsible and/or cannot govern themselves. They will have demonstrably abdicated their responsibility, leaving it to everyone else to be responsible for them.

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    1. I have no problem being held responsible for the guns in my possession. But if one is stolen or if I sell one in a legal sale, that gun is no longer under my control. Hold individuals responsible for their own actions.

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    2. Anonymous, very well said.

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    3. I don't know if we're just substituting words or not. The legal right of control rests with the legal owner, not a "possessor". You, the owner, physically control the gun and thus control who else may possess it while you own it. Legal responsibility is matched to the legal right. Either one without the other is meaningless.

      This doesn't mean the possessor isn't at all responsible. It means that you still are.

      Over time, and as in many other areas of civil life and disputes, free market forces would establish whether meeting the standards of a merely 'legal' sale would be sufficient to end your liability or whether a "reasonable" or "responsible" standard would emerge.

      Exceptions always exist. The facts and circumstances surrounding a stolen gun may or may not end the owner's liability.

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    4. If I sell something, that object becomes the legal property of the person who buys it. Unless I have good reason to believe that the buyer will commit a crime with the property, my obligation ends there. If someone steals from me, the thief is acting outside of my control and has committed a crime. That isn't my responsibility.

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    5. Your obligation could be way more than believing that the buyer will commit a crime. Courts and juries might determine that "reasonable and prudent" is the standard. You could sell to someone you know will not commit a crime who has told you he has full intention to "legally" transfer it to someone else who will.

      As for stealing, I already said it depends on the facts and circumstances before AND after. Were you reckless or did you take reasonable steps to prevent the theft? What steps did you take after? Did you notify police so that you could actually document, time and prove the actual loss? And possibly get it back?

      Civil liability is (among other things) about assigning relative responsibility to past acts. Your obligation rests in the transfer transaction, not the next guy's actions. And due to the next guy's actions, your behavior in the transfer should be subject to review.

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  8. Few gun advocates want to entertain the following questions:

    * if a gun can save an innocent person's life, why is it that we do not allow children to purchase guns? Why don't we just arm all the 6 yr old school kids? ( While that is somewhat absurd, consider WHY it's absurd. Consider WHY we have laws against minors purchasing firearms. Consider why we deny minors their 2nd Amend Right. )

    * why should someone be denied their 2nd Amend Right because they committed a felony crime? A guy is convicted of felony tax evasion and that dictates that he is not allowed to protect himself with a firearm? ( again, consider the ways we already limit 2nd Amend rights at present. And consider how arbitrary it often is. )

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