One of the biggest problems we have as law-abiding gun owners are gun thieves. Not only do they steal guns from law-abiding citizens and our favorite gun stores, but they then sell them to criminals. Those criminals then commit crimes which are used to justify still more gun control that has zero impact on criminals but impacts ordinary folks like you and me.
Most of the problems with firearms in this country could be solved by putting an end to gun thefts.
However, that’s easier said than done. After all, we haven’t managed to stop any other kind of theft in this country, really, so how can we stop gun thieves?
A man who stole dozens of guns from a Cedar Springs store nearly three years ago and then threatened witnesses will spend 42 years in a federal prison.
U.S. District Court Judge Janet Neff called 40-year-old Charles Skipp a “one-man crime spree” as she handed down his sentence, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Grand Rapids said in a Tuesday release.
The release said Skipp, who was indicted in October, pleaded guilty in February to 10 federal felonies[.]
The charges are linked to the break-in at the Family Farm and Home in Cedar Springs in November 2017. According to court documents, thieves sawed their way through a loading dock door and then into display cases, taking every gun they could get their hands on — 89 of them.
At 40-years-old, Skipp will be drawing social security before he ever breathes free air…if he serves the entire sentence, at least. At that point, he’ll be too old to steal anyone’s guns.
Now, to be fair, the sentence doesn’t seem that long if you consider that it’s just under half a year for each gun stolen. Then again, sentencing doesn’t really work that way, where you get X amount of time for each item taken, so it’s a harsh sentence.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge said in a statement, “The 42-year sentence sends an unmistakable message to anyone else who might embark on a way of life in which one dangerous crime begets another and so on: Your spree will end with you in prison for decades; so don’t even start.”
Birge isn’t wrong. It does send a message, one that’s unmistakable.
The problem is that we need to see a whole lot more of these kinds of sentences. Gun thieves are a particular scourge in our country, one we should all be able to agree should be hammered with every legal means at our nation’s disposal. Skipp getting 42 years for his crime is a good start, though I think we all know he’ll get out long before finishing that sentence. He should still be in there long enough to dissuade others.
Yet most thieves won’t hear about Skipp’s sentence. That’s what we need more and more of them until the thieves recognize that it’s just not worth the risk.
When that happens, watch what happens to the black market for guns. While there will still be plenty of buyers, there won’t be nearly as many sellers, and that’s a win for everyone.