Proponents of universal background checks argue that such laws will keep guns out of the hands of criminals. They seem to believe that black market dealers will somehow keep paperwork and conduct NICS checks on buyers, all while selling firearms illegally or something.
We on this side of the debate have, obviously, argued otherwise.
Not only do criminals buy and sell guns outside of the system all the time, even in states with universal checks, there are still straw buyers who will take advantage of the situation to make a little money.
In fact, a Massachusetts man just pled guilty of doing a little of both.
The office of Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua Levy said Isael Rodriguez, 29, purchased firearms from a licensed dealer, falsely claiming he was purchasing them for himself, then resold the guns for a profit to individuals in Boston.
Rodriguez pleaded guilty to dealing in firearms without a license, a charge that carries a potential sentence of five years in prison; and making false statements to acquire firearms from a licensed dealer, which includes a possible prison term of up to 10 years. The sentencing guidelines for both charges also include up to three years of supervised release and fines up to $250,000.
According to the indictment, between Jan. 20, 2021 and Nov. 8, 2021, Rodriguez sold the firearms — including a Glock 19 9mm pistol — to an individual, despite the fact that he is not a licensed dealer. The indictment further states Rodriguez bought the 9mm pistol from a licensed firearm dealer in Framingham in January 2021, while providing a false written statement during the course of the purchase.
Now, let’s understand that not only did Rodriguez buy a gun with the intention of selling it to someone else–essentially a straw buy–he did so in a state where all gun owners much as a Firearms Identification Card and people selling guns to individuals must verify such a card.
He did none of that.
As such, he kind of shattered this myth that universal background checks actually stop criminals from trading guns.
No, I have no idea how anyone could believe such a thing in the first place, but we’ve all seen supporters of universal background checks seemingly buy into that.
This is the kind of thinking that you get when you focus exclusively on guns and not on the kind of people who do this sort of thing. Our focus on the tool and not the tool using it has created a situation where some will exploit gun control laws in an effort to make a few bucks, all while accomplishing nothing with regard to violent crime.
Background checks sound fine and good until you realize that there’s literally no way to prevent bad actors from getting guns in the first place. All you’re doing is putting a hurdle in place for the law-abiding citizens who don’t represent a threat to anyone.
We could be doing other stuff, things meant to shift people onto the straight and narrow path without curtailing the rights of the law-abiding.
But states like Massachusetts would rather give people like Rodriguez a chance to make some money.