Four Arrested After Straw Purchases At Gun Show

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

Gun control proponents continually tell us that if we pass more gun control laws, we’ll stop bad people from getting guns. Part of that is universal background checks. They seem to believe that criminals are buying guns from law-abiding people at some incredible rate, despite the fact that these weapons are generally only advertised by word of mouth these days.

Yet if universal background checks were to become federal law, would that really stop criminals from getting guns?

Not really.

Four people were arrested for firearm offenses and 19 guns were seized following a joint surveillance operation with the Monroeville Police Department at the Monroeville Gun Show, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Monday.

AG Shapiro’s office said the seizures and arrests took place over the weekend of Feb. 6-7.

Officials said David Fields, Tanesha Olverson, Robert Raglin and Elizabeth Rexrode were each arrested at the Monroeville Gun Show for their roles in the illegal straw purchases of firearms.

Fields is prohibited from purchasing a firearm, and Raglin, a convicted felon, is prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm. Olverson and Rexroad acted as straw purchasers to acquire firearms for people prohibited from having them.

The straw buyers ye shall have with you always.

Let’s be real here. If people can purchase firearms legally at all, some crook is going to find someone with a clean enough record to purchase a firearm on their behalf. That’s just how it’s going to work.

And before someone thinks banning guns is the answer, let’s look at how well banning cocaine, heroin, and meth has done in keeping them off the streets.

Straw buyers are a legitimate problem for law enforcement because they pass the background check. While some will say dealers need to keep a better eye out, there’s not much they can do unless there’s something obvious. And believe me, dealers do refuse sales when they suspect there’s a straw buyer in their midst.

But it’s generally only the stupid ones that signal they’re buying for someone else. There’s not much that dealers can do when they’re not throwing off warning signs like parts from a jumbo jet out of Denver’s engines.

People would do well to remember that any law you create to try and prevent criminals from getting guns won’t actually do a whole lot. These are people who make their living circumventing laws all the time. They’re not going to blink about one more charge. For them, it’s nothing. Even if they get a couple of years in prison, it’s still nothing for them.

Yet more gun control does make things more problematic for law-abiding citizens. Universal background checks make it difficult to loan guns to others or to give a gun to a friend or family member, for example. The criminals will still be selling guns back and forth without worrying about a damn thing, but the rest of us are jumping through hoops.

No wonder crooks see the law-abiding as chumps.

You’re never going to disarm the criminal. Why not focus on there being fewer criminals in the first place?

May 17, 2021 1:30 PM ET