Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Where do street guns come from?

Well, it's happened again. Another senseless murder in Minnesota. This time over a cell phone. How is it that some people feel like they are justified in shooting someone over a slight about cell phone? I don't get it. This article from the StarTribune is frightening. The shooter picked on the victim because he was the biggest one? And then he " "shot center mass, like how they teach you at the range."? What goes on at gun ranges anyway? Do people know the difference between shooting a real person and shooting at a target at a gun range? When shooting at a target, does it feel like one is shooting an actual person? And why do you need to feel like you are shooting at an actual person unless you plan to do so? And, of course, here is yet another AK-47 bought on the "street" for cash.

Where do the street guns come from? The gun guys commenting on my blog have alleged that they come from everywhere but from private sellers and most especially not from private sellers at gun shows. And yet, we have many hidden camera videos and articles proving how easy it is to buy as many guns as you want from private sellers- no questions asked. Yes, I know, many crime guns are stolen or purchased through straw purchases from federally licensed dealers. As the recent report from Mayors Against Illegal Guns shows ( see my previous post) , guns are trafficked all over our country and often come from states with laxer gun laws. They all start out as "legal" purchases from Federally Licensed Firearms Dealers. From there, they don't fall from the sky, as a friend of mine has said. Street guns are easy to buy and easy to come by. More's the pity for this young man whose family is now mourning yet another senseless loss of life over a missing cell phone. With gun laws that would stop some of the trafficking, we can save lives if we have the will and courage to do so.

39 comments:

  1. Again, let's assume that the initial reports are true. If all as is stated, we're going to probably find that the shooter (and likely the victim, too) were gang members. What's the bet that the shooter has a lengthy criminal record? No normal person shoots someone over a simple dispute. People this messed up rarely make it to this level without coming to the attention of police beforehand.

    What goes on at shooting ranges? People learn to shoot. When shooting at a target, you shoot it in the middle, or center of mass. That way if you miss a little to one side or other, you still hit your target.

    Please explain what sort of law would have stopped this? Last I checked, there is already a law against murder. What one more law would have prevented this guy from murder?

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  2. "Normal" people kill other people every day over insignificant things- remember the man who shot his wife because she didn't make his eggs the way he wanted them? What your definition of normal is could be subject to debate, I suppose. I believe I clearly said in this post that laws such as those recommended by MAIG and others could stop some people who shouldn't have guns from getting them. Stopping illegal trafficking so these guns are not so available on the streets is a start. I am talking about prevention. Everyone knows there are laws against murder. If we don't attempt to prevent them, murders will continue. We don't know if these people were gang members. And if they were? Are they expendable lives to you?

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  3. Would it have made a difference to you if the murder had been done with a screwdriver, or perhaps an automobile? The screwdriver is the 2nd most common stabbing implement used in crimes - yet you can buy them by the dozen in any hardware store.

    So, let's try a thought experiment. Say you got your wish, and every gun in every legitimate venue (legal, privately-owned guns; guns in store inventories; etc.) were to vanish tomorrow. How long do you think it would take for the number of guns in illegal hands to break, wear out, or become unserviceable? This is even assuming that criminals don't figure out how to fix them, or even build new ones (ever seen the collections of weapons, including guns, built inside of prisons?)

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  4. A good trial lawyer would ask for answer the question posed:

    "Where do the street guns come from?"

    We know there are laws about murder, but that is not the question. The question is "Where do the street guns come from?"

    Firearms are the only illegal item that begin their existence as legal items--How do they become illegal?

    It seems that everytime this question is posed, the gun guys can't provide an answer and try to dodge the question. They change the topic. They say criminals will always acquire guns.

    But they don't answer the question:
    "Where do the street guns come from?"

    Laci

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  5. “I believe I clearly said in this post that laws such as those recommended by MAIG and others could stop some people who shouldn't have guns from getting them. Stopping illegal trafficking so these guns are not so available on the streets is a start. I am talking about prevention. “
    When you propose a law (or a legal structure) the burden is on you to show HOW that law or laws will do what you claim. Read this
    http://tinyurl.com/29slaz9 (PDF Alert!!)
    These are guys who make guns with nothing more sophisticated than a standard hand file. When you consider that the average machine shop has the tools to start producing machine guns tomorrow, you need to understand that there is no possible way to stop gun trafficking. This is wholly aside from the fact that a country that cannot prevent drug smuggling also cannot prevent gun smuggling. I don’t know how to say this any other way. The criminals will ALWAYS have guns. Whether they buy them mail order like they did in the 1920’s, smuggle them across the border with the cocaine, or make them themselves in grass huts with hand files.

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  6. Normal people outside of the military do not kill. Criminals are not normal people they have stepped outside normal. As to the man over eggs, that person likely would have thrown the plate and maybe used the knife as he is psychopathic.

    Stopping all illegal activities is called enforcement. Catch criminals and their tools we have laws for that.

    Eck!

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  7. "They all start out as "legal" purchases from Federally Licensed Firearms Dealers."

    That's one of my favorite points. I think this one idea makes the argument swing towards the gun control side.

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  8. Yeah- Eck- we've been down that route many times before on this blog. Your comments go with the rest of the gun rights folks and they are not relevant to actualy data about homicide causes and the weapons used.

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  9. I say we have a thought experiment and imagine that we have some laws that prevent felons, danterously mentally ill folks, domestic abusers, terrorists and others on the prohibited purchasers list from getting guns. Then let's pass a law going after straw purchasing and then let's pass some lost and stolen gun reporting laws. I say we would see some reduction in gun crime and gun injuries and deaths.

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  10. I sure am wondering why the STRONG resistance to gun laws that won't affect you guys.

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  11. I've lost track of all the comments but someone wrote that it's gang members and criminals committing all the homicides. That is absolutly not true. Most gun homicides are domestic and/or among people who know each other. The gang homicides and random criminal homicides are the minority of the gun homicides.

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  12. Japete, if people from MN extended you the opportunity to go to a gunshow and try and buy an AK type gun with no background check or paperwork, would you accept that offer?

    You also ask 'what goes on at a shooting range'

    Would you accept an offer from someone in MN to take you to a gun range?

    Andrew

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  13. Joan,

    Where do your gun laws stop?

    You ban private sales-requiring background checks on every firearm.

    There are millions of firearms that someone can sell in defiance of that law.

    Do you then require everyone to register their firearms so we can know who is breaking the law?

    Some people won't register their firearms. Canada's registry proves this; so firearms are still being sold without a background check.

    You pass a lost and stolen gun act and still people haven't reported all of their guns, so firearms are still being sold without a background check or people risk the criminal simply won't leave the gun at the scene of the crime.

    So, where do your laws stop Ms. Peterson?

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  14. I have not personally done this in Minnesota but we have several in our organization who have successfully purchased assault type- AK 47 guns at a Minnesota gun show without a background check. I have been offered to go to a gun range by a friend who belongs to one and my consider it. I learned how to shoot a shotgun as a young girl.

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  15. answered by me many times, Bob S. I can't re-explain every single comment I make. My comments above speak for themselves.

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  16. "Most gun homicides are...among people who know each other." Frequently, the criminals that kill each other, already know each other. According to the FBI's crime statistic website (http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius_04/offenses_reported/violent_crime/murder.html#table2_11), almost a quarter of all identified murder-victim relationships (of which gun murders are a subset) are total strangers (ie, criminal activity), and 70% of the remaining three quarters are committed by "acquaintances," of which some portion must be gang or criminal related.

    Finally, what kind of effective, common sense laws do you propose to "go after straw purchasing?" If you want the leaders out there to hear you, you need to come up with something concrete. Straw purchasing is already illegal, so how do we make it more illegal? And don't get me started on lost and stolen ordinances. Show me one conviction of a straw purchaser based on a lost and stolen ordinance; I bet you can't. The reason why is that it's impossible to prove; say I lose a firearm on a hunting trip or out of an ankle holster, that gun is used in a crime, and somehow traced back to me (which should be extremely difficult to do in the first place, since we don't--and shouldn't--have an official firearms registry). The police confront me about it, and I tell them it was lost. They then question me as to why I didn't report it in the 24/48/72/etc hour reporting window, to which I simply reply that I didn't know it was lost until they brought it to my attention (before you scoff at this, there are people with more than 2-3 firearms, for which it is entirely possible for them to lose track of one of them). The same exact process can be used by a straw purchaser.

    --Colin

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  17. Japete, If you read my blog you would know I do not own firearms. But I use the blog.

    However, if your looking to promote a law to prevent something that is where the problem is. Laws are only enforceable after the fact, when the law is violated. It is the penalty part of the law that makes compliance likely.

    You are trying to create preemptive process to weed out undesirables with perfect accuracy. Err on either side and you either restrict rights or risk the possibility of injury or death. If we find those undesirables what is to be done with them? What is the process if we made an error and thy are OK people, or one slips through the cracks?

    To be fair this next question is one I would have the same problems with. It goes to the very issue of being human.

    How can you prove you (Japete) will never cause a homocide (accidental or otherwise)?

    If you can prove that, we have a possible candidate solution.



    Eck!

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  18. I seriously doubt that anyone in your organization has purchased "assault type- AK 47 guns" without a background check at a gun show. Assault RIFLES (the only such thing as an assault weapon is a particular weapon that is used to commit a particular assault, such as a bat, knife or even a handgun) are fully automatic by definition, and sales of that kind of weapon have been strictly regulated since the 1934 National Firearms Act. Please use correct terminology when discussing this issue, as inflammatory words can be, and frequently are, used to turn a logical argument about guns into an emotional appeal that has no place in public policy making.

    --Colin

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  19. Next- I'M COMING FOR YOUR GUNS!!!

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  20. Lots of hypotheticals here. Background check laws can stop the prohibited people from purchasing guns. I am all about stopping the shootings before they happen. I doubt that I would be the cause of someone's murder by gun since I don't carry a gun around and the hunting guns in my house are locked up- don't know where the bullets are. As to other murders- I suppose. Can you prove that you won't commit murder? No one can. What's the point of the question again?

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  21. Well you would be wrong because it happened.

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  22. If you seriously expect me to believe that someone in your organization purchased a fully automatic AK-47 at a gun show without a background check or any NFA paperwork, I think I am done trying to have a "reasonable discussion" with you.

    --Colin

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  23. That's fine with me. I am telling you what happened. The AK 47 was purchased at a gun show in St. Paul by someone working with our organizagion. He told the seller he couldn't pass a background check. No problem- he walked out with the gun. He has had it at press conferences and at the legislature. Sorry you will no longer be with us.

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  24. Are you sure it wasn't a semi-auto sporting rifle based on an AK-47 design?

    --Colin

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  25. "The AK 47 was purchased at a gun show in St. Paul by someone working with our organization"

    I think what the anonymous commenter is getting at is that the AK-47 is a fully automatic assault rifle. Full auto AK-47s are very heavily regulated. For an individual to legally purchase one requires lots of paperwork, the signature of the local chief of police or county sheriff, a wait of about six months, and payment of a $200 transfer tax to the ATF. Legal full auto AK's currently run about $16,000.

    What your friend likely bought at the gun show is a semi-automatic rifle that uses the same basic design as the AK-47. While they may look like an AK-47 to folks who don't know any better, they are not fully automatic, thus by definition they are not assault rifles.

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  26. Yes, sorry- not an automatic- a semi automatic.

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  27. Colin took the opportunity to trot out the old "more illegal" nag.

    "Finally, what kind of effective, common sense laws do you propose to "go after straw purchasing?" If you want the leaders out there to hear you, you need to come up with something concrete. Straw purchasing is already illegal, so how do we make it more illegal?"

    How about this, Colin. Require all gun owners to be licensed and all guns to be registered. When someone buys a gun, they know they'll be receiving a home inspection visit for a compliance check. If they can't produce the guns registered to them, they go to jail.

    Don't you think that would put an end to straw purchasing?

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  28. I see you just took the opportunity to advocate for the old "license all gun owners and register all guns" civil rights violations. Ignoring the fact the these are historically proven steps to gun confiscation (and you can't debate that point as it's happened over and over, even in modern democracies like the UK and Australia), these also run rough-shod over the 2nd Amendment, as you can't require licensing and registration schemes for Constitutionally protected rights. Finally, you wrap up with "home inspection visit[s] for...compliance," which would be a direct violation of the 4th Amendment. Are there any other parts of the Constitution that you want to ignore in regards to gun owners? Laws such as you propose may very well stop straw purchasing, but only at the expense of being COMPLETELY ILLEGAL according to the US Constitution. That is why I asked that Japete propose common sense laws to go after straw purchasing, so that we could discuss something concrete, rather than emotionally charged generalities.

    --Colin

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  29. Mine are not "emotionally charged generalities," and I assure you I'm quite serious. I see no other way to break the cycle of FFL guy turning a blind eye to the obvious suspicious customer, and said customer handing the gun, or guns, over to the criminals.

    Registration combined with strict accountability.

    Besides the 30,000 deaths a year which would be reduced, you'd save literally billions in medical and insurance costs.

    And in the end you personally, Colin, assuming you're a good solid citizen, would continue to enjoy all the guns you enjoy right now.

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  30. MikeB302000,

    See you aren't being truthful again MikeB302000, you say deaths would be reduced without any evidence of that fact.

    Gun deaths may be reduced but criminals find ways to commit their murders -- and we've presented evidence to show that -- on your blog and here, time and time again.

    Evidence that you've ignored in your quest to control the law abiding citizens.

    So, you are now advocating the police be allowed to search a person's home - solely on the basis they own a legal product, is that right?

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  31. Mike, first of all, over half of those 30,000 deaths are suicides, which your proposed solution wouldn't affect in the slightest. Second, if you are as serious about this as you say, then you'd better get started on a movement to amend the Constitution, specifically the 2nd and 4th Amendments. Attempts to legislate around this issue are blatantly illegal, and are not even worth discussing.

    Finally, while I don't consider myself a three-per or anything radical like that, I believe a national licensing and registration scheme would violate so many civil rights and be such an obvious danger to the future health of our Republic, that it would cross that "line in the sand" for most gun owners and lead to those "2nd Amendment remedies" that Japete and others have mentioned before.

    --Colin

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  32. The gun purchased by my friend was not an AK47 but a Ruger Mini14 with folding stock,flash suppressor, and barrel shroud. It shoots .223 caliber ammo and came with four 30 round magazines. It shoots the same as an AR15. He had a friend time him. He shot 4 rounds per second. He told the dealer at this major MN gunshow that he couldn't pass a background check and the seller said he wasn't a licensed dealer- $500 cash. Mn law requires permit to acquire (one year)for handguns and assault rifles-required at FFLs but not private sellers.

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  33. "When someone buys a gun, they know they'll be receiving a home inspection visit for a compliance check. If they can't produce the guns registered to them, they go to jail."

    On my blog it was pointed out to me that such an extreme policy might cause the ACLU to take sides with the gun owners. So I tweaked it a bit.

    Every gun purchase generates a record of a particular weapon registered to a particular licensed owner. A document would be issued accordingly. Every year, the gun owner must present himself along with the gun and the registration document to the local police for a stamp. Failure to appear results in an immediate arrest warrant.

    Do you think that would put an end to straw purchases?

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  34. Since I will publicly refuse to register, no. It will not stop anything. It would provoke widespread refusal to comply and if anyone was stupid enough to press the issue forcefully, it would provoke a shooting war.

    Maybe you would like to see cops getting shot down, but I would prefer that cops focus their efforts on enforcing constitutional laws. I'm also pretty sure that the cops feel the same way as me. Don't make the mistake of believing that many people agree with you.

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  35. And so, you are saying, Sean, that the cops would think it's O.K. for them to get shot down? I don't think so.

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  36. Japete, do you read before you comment?

    "Maybe YOU (Referring to MikeB) would like to see cops getting shot down, but I would prefer that cops focus their efforts on enforcing constitutional laws. I'm also pretty sure that the cops feel the same way as me."

    Try paying a bit more attention.

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  37. I don't need you twisting what I said. " Maybe you would like to see cops getting shot down, but I would prefer that cops focus their efforts on enforcing constitutional laws. I'm also pretty sure that the cops feel the same way as me." If you think that most cops feel as you do that they are better off enforcing laws and not thinking about gun laws that could save their own lives, that is a conclusion that could be reached. Stopping criminals and domestic abusers from getting guns could save lives of cops and others who are in the line of fire. That's what I'm talking about. You seem to think new laws wouldn't do a thing to change anything. How do you know? I'm saying they would. It's my word against yours- doesn't make you right and me wrong.

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  38. I always wonder why the antis manage to purchase full auto ak47s on any given street corner, and no body offers me any of these outrageous deals.

    And how would these new laws change anything? There is usually a law already in place that says that these things are wrong and illegal.

    A criminal by definition is someone who doesn't obey laws. How is passing a law going to, all of a sudden, make him into a law-abiding citizen?

    And please don't reply that you missed my point.

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