All too often I hear politicians say that "we've got to get guns off the streets", yet all the politicians can come up with is gun control regulations that have to be obeyed by lawful, upstanding and honest gun owners. Law abiding gun owners don't commit violent crimes with their guns. With that in mind, I think most gun control is aimed at the wrong people and I have some solutions that most politicians either have not thought about or have ignored on purpose.
You see, lawful and honest owners of firearms are not peddling their cherished firearm collections to crack-addicted miscreants on darkened street corners. However, with anti-gun politicians, anti-gun advocates and their misinformed rhetoric, you'd think that this was the case.
I've stated it in a previous blog, but I suppose it's time to post it again. The actual sources of firearms that are used during the commission of a violent crime are very important to examine. Crime control measures that are intended to diminish violent crime committed with firearms almost never focus on these specific sources, but rather are misdirected toward firearm ownership in general.
This of course is not only a clear violation of the Bill of Rights, but it's completely useless in terms of preventing violent crime. I believe that we can and should have policies in place that affect the actual sources of guns used during the commission of a crime, while leaving the honest gun owner completely out of the loop.
Okay Marc, you might say, where do criminals get their guns if they're not buying them from sincere and trustworthy gun owners? I'm so glad you asked... This is the focus of this latest blog post, so let's get right to the meat and potatoes and cut through the crapola shall we?
According to the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ), there was a study of 18,000 state and federal prisoners and the goal was to determine where they obtained the firearms that they used to commit crimes with. This study and other studies that have been done since then all come up with approximately the same percentages and sources. Here is what they found:
39.6% of guns used in a crime come from friends and family of the convict.
39.2% were obtained through illegal sources, such as on the street, through the illegal narcotics trade and through robberies and burglaries of homes and gun stores.
8.3% were purchased fraudulently through a legitimate and properly licensed retail outlet. Mostly these came through lying on required forms and paperwork and providing false identification. Only about one percent (1%) of all gun dealers sell guns to felons either negligently or knowingly.
3.8% of guns used during the commission of a crime come from pawn brokers for the same reasons as other retail outlets.
1.0% of them come from yard sales, flea markets or personal sales, where a gun owner unknowingly or knowingly sells a gun to a felon through a face-to-face sale without any kind of background check at all.
0.7% of guns used during a crime come from sales at a gun show.
The remaining 7.4% of guns that are used during the commission of a crime are unknown and could not be determined by the study. Logic dictates that this 7.4% that is unknown, is from illegitimate sources that cannot be tracked by state or federal entities and was not revealed by felon interviews.
When you closely examine this very important study, you can clearly see why gun control laws aimed at general firearm possession have almost no affect on the criminal mind or the felon's sources of firearms. Okay Marc, you've convinced me that you know what you're talking about. What can we do to diminish sources of guns actually used in criminal activity, while leaving the good guy out of the loop entirely?
The first thing we should consider is much harsher penalties for a family member or friend who knowingly provides a gun to a felon. Giving your brother, cousin, nephew or son a handgun, when you know that he's up to no good, should result in serious penalties that would make someone think twice about doing something that stupid.
Next, is "on the street" sales and sales through their illegal narcotics trade. Most of the time, from what I've seen, gun charges are dropped in favor of getting a more significant penalty for narcotics dealing. This is a colossal mistake in my opinion.
Most violent criminal activity comes from felons who are trying to get money for drugs or who are on drugs during the commission of the crime. Since most violent criminal activity is drug related in some way, these firearm charges should never be dropped, but should play a major role during the process of criminal charges and convictions.
Okay, next we have burglaries of homes and robberies of firearm dealers and sporting goods stores. These comprise the lion's share of the second 40% in my opinion. Firearms that result from burglaries and robberies are very quickly turned around and sold off to criminals who are willing or inclined to use them to do harm to others. Firearms that are stolen in this way are not held onto and hoarded by the burglars, they are quickly turned around for cash or narcotics.
What we can do to curtail this source is actually quite simple, but mostly overlooked by legislators and prosecutors. A five (5) year prison term should be imposed in addition to a home burglary, per firearm if a gun was taken. In addition, a robbery of a sporting goods store or firearm dealer would result in an additional penalty of five (5) years per firearm stolen. I.E. commit a robbery of a gun dealer and steal ten guns and you're in the clink for the next fifty years!! Period. Negotiation complete.
Ignorant teen aged neighborhood thugs would leave the home owner's gun collection right where it is and take only their other valuables if they knew each gun would result in a five year additional prison term. We MUST affect the criminal mind, as well as the actual sources of these "crime guns".
Next on the list is the fraudulent purchase of firearms at retail. These sources comprise 12.8% of guns actually used during criminal activity. If you add gun dealers, pawn brokers and gun shows together, you get 12.8%.
Again, about 99% of these retail purchases come from providing false identification and falsifying state and federally required documents. According to what I've read from the F.B.I., B.A.T.F.E .and other federal agencies, about one percent (1%) of Federal Firearm License (FFL) holders and gun retailers either knowingly sell to felons or do not run names properly through the National Instant Check System (NICS) or do not keep good transaction records.
Some anti-gunners insinuate that most retail firearm purchases from felons happen through this very small portion of rogue gun dealers. But real-world statistics from federal agencies indicate that only 1% of all gun dealers do not care who they sell guns to. Even though this is a small percentage of gun dealers, these scoundrel dealers should be punished appropriately.
The attempt by felons to provide false identification at retail to purchase a gun can be reduced by better firearm retailer identification policy and procedure. Most gun owners can easily provide two forms of picture I.D., such as a driver's license, concealed carry permit or an employer-issued I.D. card. There should be no excuse for providing a firearm at retail to a violent felon.
Lastly and least important on the list are firearm sales that are completed at gun shows. Of all guns that are used during the commission of a crime, only seven tenths of one percent (0.7%) come from gun shows. There has been much undue attention focused upon gun shows as of late, while 99.3% of actual crime guns come from other sources. This statistic to me is maddening!
The anti-gun crowd seem to claim that gun shows are arms bazaars for violent felons and this is simply not the case at all. In addition to that, the term "Gun Show Loophole" is thrown around as if everyone knows what they're talking about.
The truth is that there is no such thing as a "gun show loophole". If a citizen is in the business of selling firearms, they have to have a Federal Firearm License (FFL). FFL holders are required by law to run a prospective firearm purchaser through the National Instant Check System. In states that require a firearm identification card or concealed carry permit to purchase a gun, a valid permit is required in place of the NICS check.
Now that I've addressed how to curtail the actual sources of "crime guns", lets move onto another subject. Let's promote legislation that will affect the criminal mind. Most legislation promoted or supported on the state or federal level is not aimed at the violent felon, but is rather aimed at general firearm possession and sales by the public, in my opinion, this is the definition of insanity.
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."
Some evidence shows that this is not really a quote from Benjamin Franklin, but it's wise just the same. Major gun control legislation has been on the books since the National Firearms Act of 1934 and gun control has not diminished rates of violent crime at all.
If anything, rates of violent crime since the promotion of gun control laws has increased and not decreased. In my opinion, that's because gun control laws are focused on guns and not criminal activity, the actual sources of "crime guns" or the mind of the violent felon.
The violent drug addicted felon, serial rapist, gang member or hot-headed convict is already committing the worst crimes known to mankind and they do not concern themselves with laws that regulate firearm possession, transfer, storage and carry.
That is why we have to work on diminishing the actual sources of "crime guns". But diminishing these sources is not where we should stop. We also have to affect the decision making process of the criminal mind as well.
Just as we should add five (5) years onto a burglary charge when a gun is stolen, we should also add prison time onto a violent criminal act if a firearm was possessed, brandished, discharged or used to injure a victim while committing a crime.
Adding civil penalties and/or prison time onto a criminal act if a firearm was used in any way, would affect the criminal's decision making process and leave the law-abiding gun owner completely out of the loop of crime-control efforts.
We should add:
- 5 years of prison if a gun was possessed during the commission of an aggravated assault, rape, robbery or murder.
- 10 years if the gun was brandished.
- 15 years if the gun was discharged.
- 20 years if the gun was fired and used to injure or kill.
The next thing I would like to address in this blog post is just as important. First, we need to focus upon diminishing the actual proven sources of where "crime guns" come from. Secondly, as I've noted, we need to specifically punish the law-breaker for choosing a gun to aid him/her in committing the crime.
Thirdly, I would like to discuss what has come to be known by "Three Strikes and You're Out".
Recently in Connecticut, a family was devasted by Joshua Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes. They were charged with six capital felony counts in the deaths of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters during a home invasion. They previously were charged with assault, sexual assault, kidnapping, robbery and arson.
These two vicious criminals have criminal records that stretch all the back to their youth. One of them had more than twenty (20) criminal convictions on his record. That's more proof that our criminal justice system is not merely in need of repair. Our criminal justice system is broken.
Think about it for a moment.... If our criminal justice system was completely broken and useless to society, what symptoms would we see? I think we would see violent criminals with a dozen or even two dozen serious crimes walking around free. Am I wrong?
A few years ago near my home, a Rhode Island homeowner was forced to shoot a violent criminal in his home. The violent felon broke into a home, made threats with a deadly weapon and the homeowner grabbed a personally owned firearm and shot the intruder dead in his tracks.
But that's not the most shocking and troubling thing at all. The most troubling and frankly appalling part of that story is that the intruder had twenty nine (29), yes that's not a typo, twenty nine serious criminal convictions.
Enough is enough. I've had it! I know you've had it as well. The chances are that the reader of my blog posts agrees with me. I'm "up to my eyeballs" in frustration and unmitigated anger that there are violent criminal thugs walking around free with literally dozens of criminal convictions.
Do you know who first pushed the "Three Strikes and You're Out" idea on a national scale? I'll bet you don't know that it was the National Rifle Association. That's right, the NRA was the first group on a national scale that pushed "Three Strikes..." legislation.
I don't know about y'all, but I'm frustrated and angry beyond words that our criminal justice system is so impotent, subverted and broken that there are convicts prowling in our neighborhoods with more than two dozen criminal convictions.
In the story above, where the family in Connecticut was invaded and the wife and two daughters were killed, the convicts were literally hiding in the bushes outside the family home for days studying the movements of the family as if they were lions in the African tundra stalking an f'ing zebra!!!
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
It's time to pass both national and state-wide legislation that allows ONLY three murders, rapes, robberies, burglaries or aggravated assaults and then it's prison for the rest of their natural lives.
So to briefly recap this blog post.... We must focus on diminishing actual sources of crime guns, add specific penalties to a crime if a gun was chosen to commit the crime with and we must keep habitual violent thugs behind bars as if they were vicious animals in an f'ing human zoo.
It's about time that we get serious about real crime control and leave the failed, impotent and unconstitutional gun control laws to rot in the graveyard of terrible ideas.
Thanks for listening! Until next time...