- Posted January 29, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Gun control debate: Background checks
Gun Dealer for Positive Change
In the meantime, my husband and I have opened a gun dealership in Arkansas. Compared to Connecticut, this is a free-for-all when it comes to buying guns. Anyone can get a gun from anybody. Gun shows are a sieve through which felons and others who shouldn't have guns find a ready supply of inventory and sellers who hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil. Newspapers are rife with ads selling guns. We have had customers walk out of our store because they had to fill out paperwork and/or pay sales tax. At 8%, it's a pretty big consideration for many people who are intrinsically cheap and can find a gun elsewhere with no sales tax requirement. Recently, we had a straw purchase that we reported to ATF: A person who is a felon had a friend buy a gun for him at our place of business. THis was reported immediately to ATF and I gave all the info about the purchase and the individuals involved. THe agent was going to come up in two weeks to take a statement from the employee that handled the transaction. A week ago, this same felon came in with a rifle apparently purchased at the local gun show that he wanted to resell. We called the police. An officer spoke to the customer and determined that this felon's record had been sealed so he couldn't do anything. I spoke to the ATF agent I had spoken to originally and she said she would speak to him and his friend and that if they did it again they would get into trouble. Are you kidding me? When I asked why the customer wouldn't be arrested, she said the prosecutor in the Harrison district didn't like to prosecute 'Felony Possession of a Firearm' cases so ATF didn't want to pursue it if they couldn't get an indictment.
These are two instances where our legal system gets in the way of common sense and quick resolution to firearms issues. Guns are merely a tool. Guns don't kill people. People kill people. I am a firm believer in RESPONSIBLE gun ownership. And, the NRA has missed the boat on this one. Steps that I believe should be taken are as follows. Some of these may seem self-serving but I think these steps would help keep the wrong people from getting guns. 1.) it is essential that all gun sales be subject to background checks. 2.) All gun shows should be for dealers only, and onlky those with resale certificates. Under the proposed universal background checks, who's to say two people at a gun show can't simply swap guns or do the same thing they've been doing all along?...ie buying a gun for cash that has no sales history after the first guy who purchased it from a dealer. At a gun show, the seller could be the fifth owner of that firearm, with the last four transactions being totally under the radar. A universal background check is useless. It is also useless for those who advertise in the local paper to a guy who goes over to his house and pays cash for a gun. Who's to know? And, does ATF have the manpower to set up people who will probably be doing this? I don't think so.
3.) I know I'm a lone wolf on this but I'm willing to acquiesce on the 10-round magazine issue. Hi-cap mags are a convenience for me. Others may say the hi-caps are needed for self-defense. My theory is if I'm in my own home and I can't kill an intruder in the first ten shots then I have a bigger problem than the number of bullets in my magazine. I have hi-cap mags and I really like them but they aren't a necessity that everyone else makes them out to be. I am a little concerned about the new New York law restricting capacity to seven rounds. I may be wrong but my understanding is that there is no provision/exemption for law enforcement. Cops should be able to carry hi-cap magazines. Isn't that the point? To have the good guys have better firepower than the bad guys? 4.) Another way to limit gun sale portals is to raise the fee for obtaining an FFL (federal firearms license). Currently, the fee is $200 I believe. If the fee was raised to $1000 for example, it will reduce the number of "basement FFLs" (those without a storefront that operate out of their home). 5.) Additionally, all applicants should be required to submit a copy of their resale certificate showing that they are on the radar for state revenue agencies. This is particularly important for the gun show venue: no resale certificate, no table for selling. Essentially, make buying a gun like buying alcohol: only from licensed storefronts. 6.) Have a federal standard for obtaining handgun carry permits. Currently, each state administers it's own licensing program. THe standards are established by the NRA in the states that I am familiar with. It is a good program when administered rigorously. Unfortunately, just about anyone can become an NRA pistol instructor and the standards are not evenly applied. Although live fire is a requirement of obtaining a pistol permit, I've heard of instructors using fake guns in their livingrooms to meet the live fire requirement of the licensing process. Federal standards applied and administered by state police departments would ensure better training of those a issued concealed carry permit. 7.) Link mental health records with criminal records so when background checks are conducted they'll screen out those who should not be purchasing guns. Many years ago, a police officer that moonlighted for us sold a gun to a man who committed suicide. It shows that even trained people cannot always see when someone is planning to hurt themselves or someone else. There needs to be a much better system in place.
All this being said, I think the assault weapons ban is ridiculous and merely a feel-good measure for politicians who know absolutely nothing about firearms. The original assault weapons ban banned longarms that had two of three of these characterisitics: a bayonet lug, a collapsable stock and a detachable flash suppressor A collapsable stock will only reduce the length of a gun about ten inches give or take, leaving it still long enough to make it impractical to conceal. When was the last time a person was killed with a bayonet lug or a bayonet for that matter? A flash hider that can be removed allows for its replacement with a suppressor due to the threading on the barrel. I can see it in theory but a silencer can be put on almost anything, flash hider or no. Such legislation is merely punitive only to those who will obey it.