Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Legal vs. Illegal Guns

Over at Sebastian's we had the following exchange.

Alpheus said, "Mikeb302000, in order to make this claim believable, you’ll have to do several things:"

— fourth, that whenever these mass shootings occur, they are done by (mostly) legal guns.

This last point is a real sticking point to me. I’m even willing to give you leeway here: if the gunman accessed the guns from a trusted, legal source (such as the person’s parents), I would count such access “legal”, even if the person should not have had the gun. But you DO NOT get to claim that gun control works, when, in the Brazilian incident, gunman allegedly obtained the guns he used illegally. The entire PREMISE of gun control is that by making guns illegal, evildoers will not have access to guns–thus, if an evildoer BREAKS THE LAW to get guns, gun control, by definition, FAILS.
I responded like this:

I think you're conveniently leaving out something. ALL guns start out legal, unless you want to quibble over zip guns and those manufactured in the cellar of some clandestine gunsmith. ALL guns in criminal hands got there in one of three ways. 1. theft, 2, straw purchase, 3, private sale.

In most cases, regardless of which one of the three ways it happened, the last legal gun owner fucked up in some way. That makes those individuals partly responsible. The rest of you are dirty too because you oppose simple legislation, aimed at the law abiding, I grant you, which would prevent much of this.
What do you think? Please leave a comment.


  1. "ALL guns in criminal hands got there in one of three ways. 1. theft, 2, straw purchase, 3, private sale."

    Well 1 and 2 are already illegal, so how does that count as a legal gun? And why blame the victim of a crime for the crime being committed whether that is theft or the straw purchase?

  2. Jim is playing the old semantics game favored by gunloons. The strategy is simple: all guns are legal until they are used for illegal purposes, then they don't count.

    The point Jim and other gunloons wish to avoid is that all guns start out as legal guns. All guns.

    Criminals get hold of these legal guns through a variety ways--some legal, some illegal. It doesn't change the fact that current laws make it ridiculously for anyone--criminal, terrorist, mentally ill--to obtain a gun. In fact, it's as easy for the criminal to obtain a firearm as it is for the most law-abiding citizen.

  3. Wrong Jade. There is no way for a criminal to get hold of a legal gun. The very act of a criminal acquiring a gun makes the transfer illegal.

    Actually it is easier for a criminal to obtain a firearm than for a law abiding citizen to do so since a criminal isn't concerned with obeying the law.

  4. The only way a criminal can legally purchase a firearm is if they've never been convicted of a crime, therefore, no criminal record for the FBI to check on. Also, when you purchase a hand gun through a gun shop, pawn shop, or even at the local gun show, the weapon has to be registered and the prospective owner has to have a background check, plus endure the waiting period before you get your gun. Criminals aren't going to purchase a weapon that has to be registered because they don't want a record of the purchase to show up if/when the gun is used in the commission of a crime and they sure as hell aint going to endure no waiting period like a "legal" gun purchaser would. Criminals don't have a problem using "illegal" guns in their crimes because they're not the purchaser of record.


    1. Background checks don't occur on the internet, nor at gunshows. There was a bill that was going to require that, but the Republican majority voted it down. A big win for criminals everywhere.

    2. "A big win for criminals everywhere."

      Notice how that's often synonymous with "big win for gun owners everywhere."

  5. Like I said, too many guns that start out the legal property of someone, end up in criminal hands. It is at this point that we need to intervene. In those cases in which the last lawful gun owner is completely clean, we need stricter laws to help him hold onto his property. In the other cases where he is complicit, perhaps by turning a blind eye or failing to do proper due diligence, we need stricter laws to constrain him to do the right thing.

  6. GunloonZ like to think that killing perps is a good way to keep them from committing more crimes. Howzabout if we make transferring legally obtained firearms to criminals, or to folks who lack "proper credentials" for purchasing same, a capital crime punishable by public hanging. That should make everybody happy.

  7. Demo - do you propose to start with the federal agents that helped transfer all those weapons into Mexico? I bet a lot of "gunloonz" would be in favor of that.

  8. There are certainly a vast number, perhaps the majority of gun crimes, which are perpetrated by the owners of legally obtained guns. People who up until that time were law abiding. Consider so-called crimes of passion as an example. Or a crime of desperation. Mental and emotional breakdowns. Alcohol and drug users. And Tomfoolery. While accidental are no less chargeable crimes.

    Then throw into the mix traditional accidental shootings, mistaken identity, which is much, much more likely than a gun owner preventing a crime with their gun.

    And let's not forget the ever popular suicides. Which are still criminal acts.

    It gets murky. But one thing is for sure, statistically you are more likely to shoot someone like a loved one or yourself, than protect them from a criminal.

    Owning a gun makes one MUCH, MUCH more likely to become a criminal.

  9. Anonymous, I like you're style. Please come around some more. The way I say it is that guns are bad news, period.