Saturday, July 28, 2007


Next to abortion, few words in American debate can cause as much body shaking, spittle-flying, righteous indignity as the word "guns."

[Personal background: I grew up in an area where guns were common accessories. Although my family didn't have any hunters, friends' parents did. I especially remember one father who had nothing but disdain for gun hunters (but only because he hunted with bow & arrow). Guns aren't a great and scary unknown to me. And in spite of the copious tears I shed while watching truck after truck go by with deers strapped to the hood after seeing Bambi for the first time, I respect hunters who know what their doing. (The idiots who shoot anything that moves and end up bagging cows and mailboxes are another story altogether.)]

I've long been bewildered by the fear of gun control. The whole "prying out of my cold dead hands" idea. Why do registration & control laws have these gun-owning manly men shaking in their boots? But because otherwise sensible people fear registration & control means "I can't keep my rifle," the US has little oversight over guns. But wait, you say, what about registration? Surely that keeps the guns away from bad people! Well, it depends on where criminal X buys his guns. Did he buy it from a gun store? Or from a guy who sets up a table at a show? Or a pawn shop? And even if he bought it from a store - was it a store like R&B in Hampton, Virginia? R&B is no longer in operation because the store was closed down in 2001 after its owner, Richard Norad, was arrested for violating firearms laws. What kinds of violations? Well, according to a recent investigation, "Records kept by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives show that R&B Guns was once among the country's leading sellers of guns later used by criminals."

And R&B is not alone. Read more here (a Houston Chronicle article), or a similar story in USA Today, which reports on how guns can be traced to their sellers. Business Week ran a story earlier this month on similar problems in gun stores across the country. And as the article in Business Week points out - the nation's miserably weak gun laws are so ineffectual that criminals don't need to try and buy guns illegally. "The data shows that a majority of guns used by criminals are not stolen or smuggled in to the country. They are bought at federally licensed gun stores, often by "straw purchasers," people acting on behalf of others who cannot buy a weapon legally because of a criminal record."

Apparently guns DON'T have to be criminalized for criminals to have guns. So let's have a nice round of applause for the NRA and its toadies (past & present) in Congress for doing their best to make sure the nation's criminal element has quick and easy access to guns.

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Blogger buckarooskidoo said...

I've never understood registration regulations, exactly, because what is in it for the gun store owners? It's time-consuming, expensive, just a's in their interest to just let people buy, and how aggressive would you expect the ATF to be in this particular administration?

It's a big joke, and the gun situation generally is a mysterious thing for me, too.

10:34 PM  
Blogger TomCat said...

The "cold dead fingers" crowd has visions of liberals sending armies to take their guns and Bibles and make them interbreed with minorities. If there ever were a move to take guns by force, it would be far more likely to come from the right as only the neocons and theocons prefer a totalitarian state.

2:06 PM  
Blogger Catmoves said...

For buckarooskidoo: It isn't the gun shop owners who want this law (they just add their cost to the price of the gun), it's the wimpy left who are oh, my goodness, so afraid of guns. You know, those people who don't seem to be able to grasp that, per capita, there are more hand gun and automatic weapon sales in cities that forbid them, than there are in cities that only ask for the registration forms.
Oh, and by the way, isn't it lucky their were no gun control laws just before the American Revolution?

11:10 PM  

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