Pennsylvania has been an interesting battleground over the Second Amendment. It has two large urban centers in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh as well as a very anti-gun governor. However, the state has a history of being pretty pro-gun.
Yet gun laws exist even in the most pro-gun state. Despite those gun laws, criminals find ways around them.
In Montgomery County, PA, recent arrests shed some light on just one operation that armed a number of bad guys.
Law enforcement officials in Montgomery County announced Wednesday that they had dismantled a gun-trafficking ring that spread more than 30 handguns throughout the region, some of them used in violent crimes in Philadelphia.
District Attorney Kevin Steele said the 14-member group used social media and text messages to arrange gun sales, openly displaying photos of the weapons and haggling over prices. They acted quickly, buying the guns and turning them over for sale in a matter of days, he said.
In one instance, they distributed eight illegal handguns in nine days, according to Steele.
Some members of the group, charged late Tuesday, acted as straw purchasers, buying guns for others in the ring who were unable to legally obtain or possess weapons because of criminal convictions, according to the affidavit of probable cause for their arrests.
And in one instance, a suspect was caught selling “ghost guns,” firearms without traceable serial numbers that are built using kits purchased online.
“This is a huge, growing problem we’re facing in Southeastern Pennsylvania,” Steele said. “And it’s a problem simply because it puts guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t be holding them.”
And yet, every step of that is illegal.
See, even “ghost guns” are illegal to make for sale. It’s also illegal for someone who can’t legally own a gun to make one. Straw purchases are, of course, also illegal.
Yet, here we are.
I mean, it’s almost like criminals don’t obey laws or something, right? But that can’t be it. I have it on excellent authority that gun laws totally work so it has to be something else.
The thing is, criminals spend all kinds of time trying to figure out how to get around laws. Once someone figures out how to do it, they tell their buddies–this happens to be how many criminals are caught, thankfully–and then a bunch of them do it too. The word spreads and soon everyone knows how to skirt the law.
We’ve seen so many straw purchasers through the years that it’s laughable that anyone thinks a background check really keeps guns out of the hands of criminals. I’d argue that more straw buyers likely obtain handguns than criminals who try to buy at a licensed dealer each year. Those that do either didn’t think their felony counted or were just too stupid to understand how things work.
But some still think the solution is more background checks. It’s absolutely amazing.
You’d think a story like this would help illustrate the futility of it, but it’s not like anti-gunners are known for letting reality get in the way of their agenda.