Thursday, August 03, 2006

What Are THEY Smoking

Alphecca linked a Burlington Free Press article about guns. More specifically, it’s about guns acquired in Vermont and used criminally in Massachusetts. The article pointed out that it rarely occurs, but just the thought of someone being able to buy a gun without a horrendous amount of paperwork and government approval is enough to drive gun banners batty.

The article mentions John Rosenthal. I’ve heard him talk on the radio and he claims to owns guns. He believes people ought to be able to own guns, but only those suited to sport, preferably trap and skeet. He sponsors an organization that puts up anti-gun billboards on one of Boston’s busiest freeways. The current one proclaims that lax gun laws in other states contribute to the availability of crime guns in Massachusetts. Other billboards have called for handgun bans, “assault weapons” bans, etc.

Oh, he’s also lent his name to the American Hunters and Shooters Association, an organization of Elmer Fudds who’ll support your right to own a $25,000 shotgun, but might balk at a $300.00 pump-action and oppose self-defense handguns and black rifles. With friends like this….

The article says Mr. Rosenthal went to a gun show in Vermont. I bet he had full intention of being shocked. He wasn’t disappointed and saw, “…guns being sold by private owners ‘in the aisles and from pickup trucks in the parking lot.’ In Massachusetts, all handgun sales require a background check, and buyers must have a permit issued by local police.”

That’s the goal of gun owners like him—a Massachusetts-style licensing and registration scheme. Under such a scheme, you would need to go to a gun store if you wanted to give a gun to your adult daughter or sell one to your neighbor. There both parties would provide IDs, verify that they have a valid firearms license for the class of gun being transferred (now verified with a fingerprint scanner in Massachusetts), complete transfer paperwork, and wait for approval. Of course, the gun store will charge you for their part of the transaction.

By now you all know what I feel about Massachusetts’ gun control (check the sidebar if you don’t). It won’t work. For one thing, criminals buy or rent guns from each other and they’d never go through a licensing procedure.

The article quotes a Springfield, MA police captain, “Still, the perception is that it's easier to get access to guns in Vermont…People will go up from here with heroin and crack and trade them for guns.”

Heroin and crack are illegal. It’s also illegal for illicit drug users to own a gun and more so if they have felony police records (or a misdemeanor domestic battery convictions). Think about all the implications of using an illegal substance as currency to acquire a gun illegally. They have already broken laws on drug possession. They know people with a product they want and that person is willing to accept an illegal substance for payment. I doubt your local gun dealer is taking heroin as a payment method.

Does John Rosenthal really believe that criminals will take a few rocks of crack to the local gun store to complete a gun transfer legally? I’d like to see that receipt and also find out what he and other gun banners are smoking.

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