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Where did the gun come from?

The folks at Bring It On! were good enough to invite me to write about our mission to rid the streets of crime guns by asking Where did the gun come from? after every shooting.

The recent execution-st yle shooting of 4 college students in Newark  makes it more important than ever that we track crime guns back to the source, cut off the supply and stop the shootings.

We need to ask Where did the gun come from? after every shooting to identify the people who supply guns to criminals, youth and terrorists.

Did you know most shootings are committed by people under the age of 25 who acquired their guns illegally? 5 out of 6 guns recovered in crime were obtained through illegal means. (Braga & Pierce, 2005). If we cut off the supply of guns to criminals, we can save lives.

We’re NOT trying to take guns away from lawful citizens. We want to break down the system of illegal trafficking that provides guns to dangerous people. We hope you’ll weigh in with your suggestions and experiences.

Where do you think criminals get their guns?


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26 Responses to “Where did the gun come from?”

  1. Thanks Nancy

    I think this is an important question. I’m amazed at how many gun advocates (of which BIO has several) are opposed to this question. They shouldn’t be. They should be behind the effort to rid the streets of illegal guns. After all, they are the ones who claim (rightly) that the laws on the books aren’t enforced now. By asking the question, we put pressure on the people who provide guns to murders, thieves, terrorists or just plain old angry people.

    People who obtain guns the legal way should be angry that idiots exist who are willing to break the law and jepordize their rights to own a firearm

    Come on people, stand with Nancy and ask, Where did the gun come from?

  2. Laws on the books??? What laws??? All guns start out “legal.” Then some asshole sells them illegally to a murderer. We don’t have laws that could realisticall y stop that. Cops find the guns, go the home of the original “legal” owner, owner says, “Oh yeah! That was tolen!,” cops walk away and seller walks free. We need some way of keeping “legal” owners honest. Licensing and some kind of declarative inspection would go a long way to ending this problem. This way, cop goes to original “legal” owner’s home, owner says, “Oh yeah! That was stolen!,” cop says, “well that’s not what you said two months ago and this gun’s been on the street for three months,” owner goes to prison where he belongs. Another thing that would go a long way would be laws that say that if you don’t report a gun stolen within a reasonable period of time, then you go to prison if it’s used in a crime.

    Laws on the books my ass.


  3. Well Jersey, fat cows will fly on the moon before we ever pass “declarative ” inspections in this country. It is a non-starter. No actually it’s worse, it’s a blatant rallying cry for the side that wants no gun control what so ever.

    You are already supposed to report a gun stolen, but I have no problem with that idea. However so what? A guy reports his gun stolen and it’s used to commit a crime. The question remains Where did the Gun Come From?? Who sold the kid the gun illegally? It doesn’t matter to me that the gun started off legal, it matters that it ends up not being. Where is the man in the middle? Who is he and why isn’t he going to jail?

    Selling stolen goods is a crime. Selling an illegal firearm is a crime. Laws on the books.

    And honestly, how many guns on the street used illegally are from home owners that had their house robbed? 5%, 15% can I get a number here?

  4. I think it’s been estimated 10% of crime guns come from break ins to private homes. I’ll try to lay my hands on the source.

  5. So that leaves 90% that come from some other source.

    And of those 10 we still don’t know who told the police and who didnt. Not to make light of the home owner being robbed idea, it does contribute - I just think in the big scheme of things it’s irrelevant. It’s not the home owner selling illegal guns, it’s the criminal who stole it selling it (or the illegal arms trader, or the guy who doesn’t do background checks etc). That’s why I like your question “Where did the gun come from” It puts the pressure to find out who is distributing these things illegally.

  6. Admin, I agree that declarative inspection won’t fly (because the NRA crowd will misrepresent it so they can continue to illegally sell firarms) but you’re not following my hypothesis about the sale of illegal guns. As I said - all guns start out legal. At some point, they are sold illegally. Those illegal sales (read the Bloomberg report) are “legal” owners selling guns “illegally” to criminals.

    Follow me here. I’m, saying that God knows how many guns could, or would be declared “stolen” by an illegal seller. We have to put a stop to that. I seriously doubt that the number of truly stolen guns used in crime is 10%. It’s probably more like under 5%. But we don’t really know. There’s no way to know as things stand now. I would bet my little toe that the majority of “stolen” guns were in fact sold illegally by the “victim” of the alleged theft, not stolen.


  7. I think the idea of tracking gun ownership is a waste of time and resources. IMO it would be more effective and less costly to greatly increase the penalties for being caught in the commission of a crime when a weapon is used. I say weapon because I do not think you can allow someone who uses a baseball bat, knife or bomb, a loophole just because the weapon was not a gun. Run someone over with your Toyota Prius and it will kill just as effective as shooting them with a gun. It is a mistake to focus on the weapon and not on the criminal. You will never be able to stop the flow of weapons, guns or others, to criminals. It is a waste of resources to even go down that road.

  8. Manapp, as usual, your conservative viewpoint is already passe and proven wrong. We have ridiculously draconian sentencing as it is in America, we have over 2 million people in prison at any moment, and we have a police state for all intents and purposes. If your way worked, we already wouldn’t have illegal gun problems in US. It’s time to think of sommething that hasn’t been tried, instead endlessly falling abck on failure.


  9. Frankly, if we passed legislation that required trigger locks, I think that gun crimes would drop quite a bit.

    Biometric locks could preclude any but the registered owner from shooting the gun.

    Sure, there are hurtles…what if’s…but basically, this could solve a large part of the problem.


    Oh, and shut down the big gun selling shows that bypass background checks. That could be helpful too.

  10. The sentencing in US prisions is anything but draconian. Stories abound about people committing serious crimes, getting 8 years and serving 2-3. The overcrowding problem is easily dealt with by decrimalizin g or legalizing drugs. Drug offenders do not belong in prision. Free up prisions for serious offenders, like those using guns in commision of crimes, and keep them in for the full sentence. Perhaps make prision a little more “hard time” and a little less a place where gang members want to go to increase their street cred. More punishment and less rehab.

  11. Wow manapp I think we finally found something we agree on with your last post.

    Though of course one has to wonder at our whoel culture of violence to begin with. …

  12. I hear ya’ manapp. But that ain’t gonna happen any more than declarative inspections.   Over all, though, I’m pretty certain, given the sheer numbers of incarceratio n, that we lock people up pretty tight and for long periods in America, the occasional anecdote aside.


  13. Why can’t we ask “where did the criminal come from?”

    Lots of Americans own guns, but only a very small percentage of them choose to commit crimes with them.

    According to FBI crime statistics, guns are used more than two million times a year to PREVENT crimes, most of the time without a shot being fired.

    Criminals are, first and foremost, cowards, and avoid armed victims like the plague.

    The real agenda behind the victim disarmament movement is to make the world safe for criminals.

  14. E Pluribus Rabidus, there is no disarmament movement of any political significance in America today, and even far-out lefties like me like it that way. Don’t be paranoid. Simple math will you that if you add guns to a violent population there will be more shootings.

    You say, “Lots of Americans own guns, but only a very small percentage of them choose to commit crimes with them,” but we have the worst incarceratio n rates, arrest rates, violent crimes rates in the developed world! Obviously A LOT of them are commiting crimes. THAT”S WHY THIS IS AN ISSUE, UNUM.

    The very fact that you believe that if more victims were armed then there would be less crime (most crime happens fast, so criminals usually don’t have the luxury of knowing whether they’re confronting an armed person or not) tells us that you believe there must be a lot of criminals out there that must be reckoned. So your argument makes no sense.

    More guns? Whatever. If more people buy guns, fine. That’s there choice. Disarmament?   Don’t be goofy. Some kind of reasonable regs? It’s at least worth discussing sanely.


  15. Noone reading a blog has any idea, and if they did, they wouldn’t waste their time writing about it here, because noone here can actually do anything about it except write childish rants about it

  16. I know that this is a rant and, well, childish, dd, but where’d you ever get the idea that “noone” was a word? It’s “no one”.

    We may not be able to do anything about criminals using guns in crimes or kid’s being killed playing with guns in the home but it does seem that we can educate you. That, in itself, seems like a useful occupation.

  17. Also, I think you’re missing the value of writing childish rants about things. It’s called ‘Anger Management’. People pay big bucks to psychologist s to learn how to manage their anger. Bloggers, on the other hand, get to do it every day by blogging.

    It might even keep ranters from going ‘postal’, as it were, and using a gun in a crime. All of which is to say, embrace your ‘inner ranter’.

  18. Finally, not everything everyone writes here can properly, in my opinion, be classified as a childish rant. There are plenty of substantive, civil, and convincing conversation s that take place on blogs. Even on this blog. Maybe we can’t change the violent culture in America on our little blog. We can, however, occasionally generate greater understandin g. It seems to me that there is positive value to that or I wouldn’t be blogging.

    Perhaps, rather than dropping in and dropping mildly insulting comments, you’d contribute something useful to the conversation .

  19. “DD”? Is that you, Drakeman?

    “We may not be able to do anything about criminals using guns in crimes..”???   Really, Craig?

    I suppose we can’t do anything about mine safety either? Posion food and toy imports? Predatory lending?

    There’s always something we can do. We just have to try. And, as you sort of said, talk about it.


  20. Hell, I really didn’t read all the comments but in the end it is impossible to stop the flow of illegal guns much as it is impossible to stop drug trafficking or prostitution . As long as there is a demand for these weapons, there will be a supply…

  21. Well when you condier someone supplying an illegal gun to someone else that is then used in a crime is an illegal act, then asking where the gun comes from is in effect asking where is the criminal that sold the gun? What’s the problem with that EPU?

  22. Jersey,

    I can stop myself from committing a crime with a gun. I can’t stop anyone else from using a gun in a crime. I’m not superman. I can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound, stop speeding locomotives with my bear hands and I’m not faster than a speeding bullet.

    Are you?

    Yes, okay, we can sort of exert a certain level of influence over our fellow readers through the sheer force of rhetoric and argument but, face it, BIO! doesn’t have the ear of the President or any torque with the collective arms of US Congress or with state legislatures other than through normal political means…which is to say, not much. But even what we can do, we can’t do via BIO! which is what DD was on about.

  23. Or, to put it another way, read Paul Merda’s comment of August 23rd, 2007 at 8:14 am above.

  24. (damn, Craig figured out my super-secret  !)

    Craig, you may not be able to stop a person from wanting to commit a crime, but you sure as hell can apply a measure of prevention. If people were genuinely afraid to illegal sell their legally aquired firearms, that may go a long way in preventing a person from getting a gun illegally.


  25. Want to start your private office arms race right now?

    I just got my own USB rocket launcher :-) Awsome thing.

    Plug into your computer and you got a remote controlled office missile launcher with 360 degrees horizontal and 45 degree vertival rotation with a range of more than 6 meters - which gives you a coverage of 113 square meters round your workplace.
    You can get the gadget here: http://tinyu c

    Check out the video they have on the page.


    Marko Fando

  26. I’d be interested in knowing what the breakdown of sources for illegally possessed guns is - that would be very valuable info; I’d be all in favor of using it to beef of enforcement of any existing laws that were revealed to be neglected, and development of new strategies to plug other holes in ways that didn’t block the rights of safe and legal gun owners.

    As for home theft, anyone who owns a gun and does not keep it locked up securely is negligent. Trigger locks are good too, as Ken noted, but you’d be surprised how easy it is for a smart and determined person, even a bored adolescent, to get them off. Voice of sad experience speaking there. Anyway, I’d like to advocate that all gun owners do what my brother and I do - every gun we own is locked in a safe if it isn’t on our persons or close enough to lay our hands on quickly, and we lock up all the ammo too. I have small grandchildre n in my house a lot of the time, but I’d do the same regardless. Nobody will ever read a news story about one of my grandkids using one of my guns to do anything unless they become safecrackers .

    I’m also in favor of enhanced penalties for using a gun in the commission of a crime, and heavy penalties for making “straw man” gun buys for other people who couldn’t legally buy the guns themselves.

    Finally, I’m in favor of including some firearms training in the educational system. A lot of people shoot each other accidentally because they have guns, often legally, but don’t know what the hell they’re doing when they handle them.

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