If Gun Control Worked, This Wouldn't Happen

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

New Jersey loves their gun control. Governor Phil Murphy believes in gun control. He apparently thinks it will solve all of the state’s problems with crime.

Yet, it doesn’t.

Instead, crime continues chugging right along, as if the gun control measures were nothing. Then again, to the bad guys, they are nothing.

Well, that’s not really fair. They’re not “nothing.” They’re a business opportunity.

A Tremonton man who was restricted from owning firearms due to a previous violent felony conviction in the 1980s has pleaded no contest to 11 misdemeanor charges after he was caught selling guns online in a January 2020 Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) sting operation.

Richard Lewis Andrew Christiansen, 67, who had been convicted in the 1980s of a felony for sending threatening communications through the mail in another state, reached a plea agreement with prosecutors in April of this year that had him plead “no contest” to five counts of Class A misdemeanor attempted transfer of a firearm by a restricted person, five counts of Class A misdemeanor attempted unlawful solicitation for a firearm transfer, and one count of Class B misdemeanor providing false information on a concealed weapons application.

In exchange for the “no contest” pleas, Box Elder County prosecutors dismissed 18 third-degree felony counts of possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, and six third-degree felony counts of transaction of a firearm or dangerous weapon in violation of law.

“In May 2014, Defendant attempted to purchase a firearm but was denied because he marked that he was a convicted felon on the application form,” reads the statement of probable cause. But in an application for a concealed carry permit from March 12, 2018, Christiansen answered “no” to the question asking about felony convictions.

An oversight at BCI led the agency to issue Christiansen the carry permit, which was discovered nearly two years later.

In January of 2020, agents from the BCI conducted an undercover operation targeting Christiansen and were able to purchase two guns and ammunition from him using an online auction site. Christiansen was taken into custody after meeting with the undercover agent to complete the gun sale. A search warrant executed on Christiansen’s Tremonton home turned up 23 additional guns, which Christiansen “admitted he owned.”

So apparently, Christiansen made money by selling guns illegally, despite being lawfully barred from owning them himself. He pled guilty to enough counts that I can’t help but think he did a whole lot more.

See, it’s easy to look at this and think “we clearly need more gun control,” but that’s only if you look at the surface. For one thing, federal gun control laws barred Christiansen from owning guns in the first place.

Yet gun trafficking is only profitable because of gun control laws in the first place. Without New Jersey’s draconian gun restrictions, it’s unlikely Christiansen would have made much of anything. He wouldn’t have even bothered in the first place and we all know it.

See, when you heavily restrict much of anything, you create a black market demand for it. Prohibition of anything fails to decrease demand, it simply pushes it underground. That’s why banning alcohol created rum-running, bootlegging, and speakeasies. It’s why restricting drugs created the cartels.

When you ban something, you don’t change what people want.

It’s easy for us to believe that Christiansen was just selling to criminals, but I doubt it. I suspect he sold to plenty of others who would otherwise be law-abiding citizens but have found New Jersey’s gun control laws simply too onerous to obey. They’re criminals now, but wouldn’t have been without the state’s continued actions undermining the Second Amendment.

Yet without all those rules, there would be fewer people working to bring guns into the state illegally. That’s just a plain and simple fact.

“Oh, but if we had national gun control laws, this wouldn’t happen,” some might argue.

They’re wrong, of course. We had a national ban on drinking, so alcohol came in from other countries. Drugs flow in from Mexico and South America. Guns would follow a similar pathway and we all know it.

The one thing gun control does is create criminals. It doesn’t do much of anything else to them, though.