On the Straw Purchase Problem

We thank MikeB for answering in the comments, on my challenge to show me how to solve the straw purchase problem without making guns illegal:

I’d say better record keeping which is not limited to the individual FFL guys, and a system of licensing gun owners and registering guns. As was pointed out on my blog by yourself, these things are not objectionable because of the inconvenience. You’ve helped me to understand my position better. Your objections are two things really, government involvement, the libertarian objection for lack of a better term, and the possibility that such initiatives will eventually lead to gun confiscation. I say if we want to do something about the gun flow into the criminal world, gun owners would have to accept both of those.

Understanding that if police recover a gun from a crime scene, we already have enough registration to trace the gun to the last legal purchaser within a matter of hours, typically.  The Pennsylvania State Police have made a computerized database of all the gun purchases conducted in the state going back to the mid 1990s.  They can look up in a second to see all the pistols I own.   And yet, I’m told we have a huge straw purchasing problem in Pennsylvania, such that I have to acquiesce to rationing and reporting requirements to fix the problem.  Pennsylvania passed handgun restrictions, including a waiting period, in the 1930s.  That didn’t fix the problem.  In the 90s, we computerized the system, and overhauled the prohibited person statutes, and gave law enforcement additional tools.  That didn’t fix the problem.  The the state police created a database of all gun purchases.  We took them to court because that was supposed to be illegal in Pennsylvania, and we lost.  And that didn’t fix the problem.

California has a registration requirement, and California is still, overwhelmingly, the largest source of traced guns recovered in California.Illinois has a licensing requirement, and Chicago a registration requirement, with handguns just being plain illegal, and Illinois still is the largest source, over 50% of its own traced guns.

So no, we don’t have to accept both of these, because they don’t work.  If they did, California wouldn’t be clamoring to enact ever greater restrictions in a futile attempt to fix the problem, and Chicago wouldn’t be desperately and bitterly clinging to their unworkable gun ban.   Marko even had a great post this week about why even prohibition won’t really work.  So you don’t really get to tell us we have to accept certain things when you can’t offer evidence that they work, and we can offer plenty of evidence that they do not.

7 thoughts on “On the Straw Purchase Problem”

  1. Never mind the fact that in both Chicago and DC, where they implemented registration, they then closed the offices.

    MikeB is also apparently unaware of US v Haynes that criminals do not need to register illegal firearms since it’s self-incrimination.

    Another fun fact on registration. CA State Police are going through their records and confiscating firearms on people no longer deemed eligible to own.

    Guess who’s making that determination? Why paid anti-gun advocate Gary Wintemute.

    Since this is an established fact, it has no bearing on MikeB’s world.

  2. So, assuming for the sake of argument that we do give in on registration and licensing, what do we get out of it?

    Or is this another example of Obama/Pelosi/Reid “bi-partisanship”, i.e., “When you guys do what we want”?

  3. Anyone serious about gun control needs to understand that:
    1 – criminals steal guns, or buy stolen guns, to use in crimes. They don’t use legally-purchased guns, and they don’t straw purchase.
    2 – Most guns are stolen out of vehicles, by juveniles.
    3 – Allowing people to carry their guns everywhere, all the time, will drastically cut down on the number of stolen guns.

  4. Allowing generally free carry reduces the number of times a firearm has to be (fumble)fingered and the amount of time it’ll be unsupervised. Both of these can lead to negligent discharge.

  5. Hmm…”Have to accept!”

    By that regard, since it’s pretty well documented that most violent crime is done by repeat offenders. And that those criminals often released onparole, early release programs often repeat their crimes. Then we have to accept the abolishment of release programs.

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