Legal Guns Make It Easier to Get Illegal Guns

By Amanda Marcotte
Friday, December 21, 2012 10:12 EDT
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I’m kind of Turntable-d out lately, but feel free to Panda Party without me!

One of the arguments perpetuated by the gun industry and parroted by conservatives is that if you ban guns, only criminals will have them. The argument isn’t a logical one, but just more ginning up of fear—the criminals are converging, waiting for you to give up your guns to attack!—in order to sell more guns, as well as to bully politicians who might want to ban the sales of certain guns. But it’s an argument that doesn’t bear up well under examination, since guns, as manufactured items, have a creation point that gun bans can choke off at the source. It’s a lot harder to make an illegal weapons factory than an illegal meth lab is all I’m saying.

The reality is that the existing gun market is a boon to criminals, because the open sale of weapons makes them easy not just to buy, but to steal. As Gawker reports, a store where Nancy Lanza bought one of the guns that was used in the Sandy Hook shooting was raided by feds because a 50 caliber AR-15 was stolen and the store owner didn’t report it. Law enforcement believes the thief was planning a similar mass shooting.

But wait! It gets worse.

Police said Riverview Gun Sales had no idea the AR-15 Marsh stole was missing. Management at the store didn’t know about 11 guns that Marsh had allegedly stolen last year until they were notified by detectives.

Inventory control issues at Riverview Gun Sales have occurred before. In 2007, state police raided a Somers home and found a bunch of stolen guns from the store.

“It was found that the same Riverview gun store was missing upwards of 30-plus guns,” said East Windsor police Detective Matthew Carl.

The legal sale of guns facilitates the illegal acquisition of them. Watching TV shows like “Breaking Bad”, you might start to think that the best way to get an illegal gun that’s not traceable to you is to spend a lot of money paying an illegal arms dealer. But it appears that waltzing into certain gun stores and just shoplifting what you want is also an effective—and not to mention cheaper—option.

Not that any of the arguments offered by the gun industry and filtered out by their lobby, the NRA, are meant to make sense or hold up under examination. These arguments are pure distraction, a way to throw up so much noise around the issue that the opposition gives up and goes home.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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