Stories today from New York and Chicago, and one yesterday from Georgia, clearly illustrate why the belief that so-called “universal background checks” will somehow reduce violent crime may be at best wishful thinking.
That appears to be the summation from gun rights advocates and activists chiming in on stories published in the Seattle Times and elsewhere. The Times picked up an Associated Press report on so-called “crews” of violent teens shooting each other over “disrespect,” while the Chicago Sun Times has been pursuing a story about the murder of a 14-year-old girl allegedly enabled by the uncle of the alleged killer, because he allegedly supplied the gun.
UPDATE 5/2: The Chicago Tribune has an in-depth story about the trail of the alleged murder weapon.
The Chicago case is a study in gun law failure, activists suggest, and at the same time good police work that precludes the need for another gun law. Now under arrest is Donnell Flora, 25, who allegedly brought the murder weapon to the scene of the crime, via a bus ride. Flora is paralyzed from a shooting in 2010, and he could not legally have a gun because of previous felony convictions.
The gun has been traced to another man, Robert James, who reportedly bought the gun, a .38 Special Smith & Wesson revolver, legally in 2012 from a suburban gun shop. Last November, the newspaper said, James apparently sold the gun “to a friend” and on April 15, reported the gun stolen from his car.
Police investigators digging into the case uncovered that fact. It has now put two men in jail.
That revelation may be something of an embarrassment to Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, who had previously demanded tougher gun laws because he believed the gun had been stolen out of some guy’s car. James now stands charged with disorderly conduct and selling a firearm to someone who did not have a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card.
The Georgia case involves several people from one family who allegedly were running guns up to New York. These guns were either bought or stolen, according to WSB-TV news.
The Associated Press story about teenage “crews” – bands of thugs without an apparent leader – noted that these individuals have been shooting one another. Perhaps they used some guns from Georgia, but wherever the guns come from, it is not legal for the teens to be carrying them in their neighborhoods.
Lastly, the Seattle Times carried another report about the arrest of a man in the Magnolia neighborhood who was allegedly selling guns and heroin in the basement of a home where he was staying, apparently without the knowledge of the homeowner or her son. The 34-year-old suspect was arrested for allegedly being a felon in possession of firearms.
The common denominator in all of these cases is that none of the transactions involved background checks, nor would they ever. The suspects in Chicago and Seattle couldn’t legally possess guns in the first place, so they certainly will not bother with such checks. The Georgia suspects obviously were not bothering with background checks, nor is there any likelihood they would have, had a law been in place to require it.