Criminal cases unfolding right now against an alleged cop killer in Palm Springs, the accused mall gunman in Burlington, Washington and a suspected “straw purchaser” in Seattle once again underscore the futility of promoting background checks as an effective crime prevention tool.
Today’s Seattle Times reports that detectives investigating the Cascade Mall rampage last month have confirmed that suspect Arcan Cetin tried to purchase a .45-caliber handgun at an Oak Harbor gun store hours before the shooting. He was deterred by the prospect of a background check – which he would not have passed because he is only 20 years old, and federal law prohibits commercial handgun sales to anyone under age 21 – but he wasn’t stopped.
A couple of hours after he left the store discouraged, he showed up at the mall with a Ruger 10/22 semi-auto rifle in .22 caliber. It’s a sporting rifle that had been fitted with an after-market 25-round magazine. He apparently took the gun without permission from his step-father.
Jump down to Palm Springs, where alleged cop-killer John Felix is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and several other crimes. The convicted felon also faces charges of illegal firearms possession and possession of a stolen firearm.
Meanwhile, the Seattle PI.com is reporting the story of Paul Philimon Gebrekidan, who allegedly bought guns legally and then sold “dozens of guns” on the black market after claiming the guns had been stolen. Some of those guns have reportedly turned up at crime scenes, an unsurprising turn of events since he allegedly sold those guns to people legally prohibited from possessing firearms because of criminal histories or mental illness.
The common denominator in all of these cases is that background check laws, and other gun control laws, didn’t stop any of these crimes.
Cetin was discouraged by the prospect of a background check, so he apparently never filled out the paperwork. The Seattle Times story indicates he left the gun shop without trying to make a purchase, which the store’s owner almost immediately decided would not have taken place, anyway, because of his behavior. But the background check roadblock did not keep a gun out of his hands.
The alleged California cop killer already knew he couldn’t have a gun, so he had one, anyway. Stories describing his ammunition as “armor piercing” are disingenuous at best because only a couple of types of soft body armor are designed to stop rifle bullets. Most bullet resistant vests worn by police are designed to stop handgun bullets, not centerfire rifle bullets, virtually all of which will penetrate those vests.
And if the allegations are true about the Seattle straw buyer, he provides a perfect example of someone who ignores a background check law and other gun laws. No law is going to inconvenience him, while it penalizes tens of thousands of honest citizens.
Gun control proponents will argue that just because laws don’t stop all crimes, that’s no reason to abandon all gun control laws. Instead, they want to simply pass more laws. They clearly don’t consider gun ownership as a constitutionally-delineated civil right, but a privilege to be heavily regulated by the government.
But the anti-gun lobby constantly complains about lack of “compromise” on this issue. Here is a suggestion: before any new gun laws are proposed, repeal the ones that demonstrably don’t work. Exempt people with concealed carry permits or licenses from background checks when they purchase firearms. A background check is required of anyone who gets a concealed pistol license, anywhere in the country. Just how many times do people have to prove themselves innocent of being a criminal?
End gun-free zones and make carry licenses/permits legal across the country, same as drivers’ licenses.
Stop penalizing honest citizens for crimes they didn’t commit. Use existing laws to prosecute criminal activity and focus on the accused criminals.
How’s that for a start?