The media tells us mass shootings are on the rise, that such shootings are happening several times a day. We just can’t keep up with all of these shootings. This, we’re told, is evidence that we need more gun control. However, what about the number of these shooters using stolen guns?
See, I ask because I wrote about a shooting in Tuscon over the weekend where the shooter was a felon and couldn’t legally own a firearm. That weapon was most likely a stolen firearm bought off the black market. We don’t know for certain about that yet.
We do know about a shooting in Gainesville, Florida, though.
It had been stolen in Alachua, yet another filched weapon to be used in the ongoing gun violence committed by teens or young adults.
“These kids can’t go into a gun dealer, put their ID on a table and say ‘I want to buy that gun.’ And felons cannot possess guns. Because of that, they have to get them illegitimately,” Gainesville Police Chief Tony Jones said. “We know several guns were used (in the American Legion shooting). They could be out on the street now.”
Everytown For Gun Safety, a nonprofit gun control advocacy group, reports on its website that theft does play a sizable role. It cites several studies.
“Gun thefts often divert guns into an underground market where people with dangerous histories are easily able to obtain firearms without restriction,” Everytown states. “That is why stolen guns are often recovered at crime scenes, including at the scenes of homicides and other violent crimes.”
Gainesville attorney Robert Rush, who is representing one of the children wounded at the American Legion, said his experience shows that stolen guns are often used in crimes and often get resold or passed around to be used in other crimes — an observation backed up by police.
Rush said he has found data that a stolen gun will be used in a homicide within a year — which has been borne out in cases he has taken on.
In other words, even Everytown agrees that stolen guns represent the lion’s share of the problem. However, as I noted with the Tuscon story on Tuesday, the media uses statistics like those found at the Gun Violence Archive and presents those uncritically, as if they tell the whole story. However, many of those so-called mass shootings aren’t. They’re criminal shootings like this and they use stolen guns.
Meanwhile, some will try and use those statistics to justify more gun control when even Everytown admits that many of these firearms are stolen from lawful and law-abiding gun owners.
Remember that when the subject comes up.
The truth of the matter is that the majority of crimes are committed with firearms that were obtained illegally. That’s why so many of us are skeptical of the idea that gun control will somehow impact criminals rather than us, the law-abiding gun owners and gun buyers. After all, it never has before, so why would it now?
Even when talking about the supposed hundreds of mass shootings reported in the media, gun control didn’t stop many of those, as we can see here.
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