I responded to this tripe when it appeared in Scientific American (twice) and it hasn’t gotten any better now that I have encountered it a third time.
In the first place, the bad guys don’t obey the law when it comes to getting guns.
A Department of Justice report released in January of this year contained the results of a study of 256,000 inmates in state and federal prisons. The survey was conducted in 2016 and sound that about 85% of crime guns are not acquired from dealers. 9.1% of the inmates said they did get their guns from a licensed retailer, which means they passed the background check. This indicates they would have had no trouble getting a permit to purchase.
More than 43% of crime guns were obtained on the black market. Others were acquired from family and friends, transactions that it is impossible to monitor without universal registration, which is basically a non-starter in the U.S., partly because a registry is prohibited by existing federal law. Some guns were taken from victims, including burglaries of residences and retail shops. The ATF has reported that burglaries of gun shops have risen more than 200% in recent years.
The use of Missouri as an example is cherry-picking and hoping nobody checks. Yes, the homicide rate did jump nearly 25% from 2007 to 2008, but it had fallen more than 9% in the two years before 2007 and it fell nearly 12% from 2008 to 2009. Either the effect Wintemute reported was transitory or perhaps it didn’t exist at all.
Three states, Colorado, Delaware and Washington, enacted universal background check laws. All three states saw a dramatic increases in homicides and homicide rates following the adoption of those laws. Should we then link universal background checks to a higher crime rate? It’s interesting to note that Dr. Wintemute also studied the effectiveness of those laws and concluded they were ineffective but didn’t mention the increase in murders.
People convicted of violent felonies and domestic violence misdemeanors are already prohibited from possessing firearms. Since assault covers a wide range of offenses, including some that don’t involve any physical contact at all, it’s overkill to slap the offender with an automatic lifetime ban on firearm possession. Incidentally, what the good doctor described is called “assault and battery.”
That domestic violence “loophole” doesn’t exist. If a person convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence even handles a gun, it’s a federal offense punishable by up to ten years in prison.
As far as the cops going out and picking up the guns, there might be others in the household who are not barred from possession and they might be the ones that own the guns. Inconvenient but that’s the way the Fifth Amendment insists it works.
DUI is usually a felony and two DUIs is a felony. Gun problem solved! It doesn’t matter if the person got probation of a sentence of less than a year. Te prohibition is based on the maximum possible sentence.
If Ms. Wenner Moyer (Ms. Moyer? Mrs. Moyer? Is there supposed to be a hyphen?) and Dr. Wintemute want to invent fantasy laws, they should at least first study the laws we already have.