San Mateo Wants To Hurt Gun Stores, But Criminals Unaffected

AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, File

San Mateo County in California is has created new requirements for gun stores wanting to open in the unincorporated parts of the county. This was in response to the San Jose shooting in a light railyard, though there’s no evidence that such a rule would actually have prevented the horrible tragedy that happened that day.

But hey, San Mateo officials are sure this is just what they need.

Now, making it more difficult for gun stores will certainly make it harder for law-abiding citizens to purchase firearms, but what about criminals? Well, they don’t seem to be having too much issue.

Belmont police said they pulled over Walter Mancia Menjivar for a traffic violation at about 10:45 a.m. on Ralston Avenue near Island Parkway.

Officers said they found Menjivar in possession of two guns, marijuana and drug paraphernalia and suspected methamphetamine.

One of the firearms was one of the dreaded “ghost guns” we hear pushed so much by the media, but which are already illegal to manufacture for sale. The other wasn’t really a firearm, but a pellet gun that looked like some kind of machine gun. The 9 mm “ghost gun” was bad enough.

Belmont is located in San Mateo County, for the record.

Yet I’m curious just how county officials will explain this. I mean, Menjivar didn’t purchase that firearm from a store anywhere in the country. This wasn’t some innocent gun store owner accidentally arming a criminal.

No, this was a bad guy who turned to the black market for a firearm, and the black market provided, as it usually does. If you’ve got money, someone will sell you just about anything. Menjivar was able to get pot, a gun, and possibly meth. How many of those are illegal?

Honestly, the only thing that he may have obtained legally was the marijuana. This is California we’re talking about after all. It’s legal for recreational use and has been since 2016. According to federal law, though, you can’t legally own a firearm if you’re using it, though, so that’s another nail in his coffin, I’m sure.

But hey, at least lawful gun stores won’t be able to open in parts of San Mateo County without jumping through still more hoops, because that sure does seem to be what the county needs to keep people like Menjivar from getting guns, right?

Look, criminals aren’t going to gun stores. At worst, they’re sending people with clean backgrounds to gun stores to buy guns in their stead. These straw buyers get spotted quite often, actually, but a few do get through. Yet most of the illegal gun trade comes from stolen firearms. Those aren’t traded in gun stores and making it harder to open such a store doesn’t do anything to prevent that trade.

What it does, though, is make it less likely that local residents will be able to find somewhere to purchase a firearm. Those without the means to travel are going to have an even more difficult time.

However, as we can tell, the criminals won’t miss a beat.

Jul 29, 2021 12:30 PM ET