Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Concealed and carrying
I wanted to know why the laws weren’t working, so I asked the experts. “I’m not going in the store to buy no gun,” said one maximum-security inmate in New Jersey. “So, I could care less if they had a background check or not.”
“There’s guns everywhere,” said another inmate. “If you got money, you can get a gun.”
Talking to prisoners about guns emphasizes a few key lessons. First, criminals don’t obey the law. (That’s why we call them “criminals.") Second, no law can repeal the law of supply and demand. If there’s money to be made selling something, someone will sell it.
A study funded by the Department of Justice confirmed what the prisoners said. Criminals buy their guns illegally and easily. The study found that what felons fear most is not the police or the prison system, but their fellow citizens, who might be armed. One inmate told me, “When you gonna rob somebody you don’t know, it makes it harder because you don’t know what to expect out of them."
The process of gun ownership, not to mention the ability to carry a gun, is one messy glob of bureaucratic nonsense. I believe that one of the only ways to feel safe while walking in the vast majority of Los Angeles County is to have a gun on your hip. While I do believe that a certain amount of training is needed before you can sling a six-shooter into a holster and take a walk down Hill Street, there is no doubt in my mind that California is far behind the times in terms of the everyday citizen being able to legally purchase a firearm and become licensed to carry one if they feel the need.
As you can see in the excerpt above, the fact that background checks are needed combined with a rather tedious process to purchase a firearm might be part of the solution in preventing criminals from legally acquiring a weapon. Please take note of the fact that I said legally. A criminal is a criminal, and even they are smart enough to know that if they want to carry a firearm, and most likely use it, the lack of a papertrail leading back to them is probably the best way to go. Therefore, sliding $800 bucks to their local arms dealer for a Tech-Nine from who knows where is undoubtely the way they will go.