Saturday, March 19, 2005

Machine Gun Crime in D.C.

Bill and I had a busy day today. We had to run to State Line Gun Shop to pick up a gun I left for repair. The revolver was built in 1912 and needed a new cylinder rod. We did other errands too and when we got home we realized we hadn't posted yet. Sorry for our late post.

Something of note happened in Washington, D.C. As you know our nation's capitol has very strict gun laws. You can't own or bring a handgun into the District unless it was registered before February 5, 1977. You have to have permits to buy a rifle or shotgun and they have to be disassembled and stored securely. District law states machine guns are prohibited and that a semi-automatic gun with a magazine, detachable or not, holding more than twelve rounds is also prohibited. Despite, or maybe because of these laws, the District has extremely high murder rates.

According to a news report, a 22-year old District man, Lafayette Burnett, was arrested with a machine gun, a MAC-11. He got into an argument with people in an Oxon Hill, Maryland apartment. Burnett and others walked across the border into the District when he pulled out his MAC-11 (its unclear if he were carrying it or had it in his car). He then shot four people. After a car chase, police arrested him. The four people he shot were hospitalized.

Burnett was charged with possession of a machine gun under the National Firearms Act of 1934 and other charges are pending. An NFA charge means he didn't own the weapon legally.

Despite everything gun-banners could do, despite all of Washington, D.C.'s gun control, despite 71 years of NFA, and despite the Hughes Amendment of 1986 (banning civilian possession of a machine gun made after 1986) a thug like Burnett owned and used a machine gun. And make no mistake Burnett, if actually guilty, is a thug. And there are so many questions that need to be answered. How did he get his MAC-11? How much did he pay for it? Was it made before 1986? Was it stolen from a legal collector or was it illegally diverted into the black market?

If I were to buy a MAC-11 legally it would cost me $3,495.00 plus $200.00 for a tax stamp. I strongly doubt Burnett paid anywhere near $3,500.00 for his gun. In all events, no law stopped him from owning a machine gun.

Law-abiding citizens are not the problem. We obey laws and don't shoot up street corners. People who won’t obey any laws at all commit most gun crime. If someone is willing to use his gun to shoot another person no law will change that. Likewise, no law will prevent that person from getting any weapon he or she desires. For proof, look to Lafayette Burnett.

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