Proponents of gun control argue that ready access to firearms is why criminals get guns. After all, if we can’t get guns, how are criminals supposed to get them? It’s an interesting idea, of course, and one that may sound like it makes a certain degree of sense to some people. However, if that’s true, how do criminals get machine guns?
Full-auto firearms are heavily restricted and ridiculously expensive. Any made after 1986 simply aren’t available for civilian use, which means the supply dates from weapons more than 35 years old. To say that supplies are small is an understatement. For the average citizen, it’s just not something you can get your hands on.
And yet, criminals get their hands on them.
On July 28, 2021, United States District Judge Lance M. Africk sentenced OLIN GRANT, JR., to ninety months in the federal Bureau of Prisons for being in possession of a machinegun and a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, in violation of the Federal Gun Control Act, announced U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans.
GRANT was charged on June 20, 2019 and pled guilty in a plea agreement with the government on November 20, 2019. In one count, he pled guilty to possession of a machinegun, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(o). For the purposes of the National Firearms Act, the term “machinegun” means any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can readily be restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger; the frame or receiver of any such weapon; any part designed and intended solely and exclusively or combination of parts designed and intended for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun; or any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person. Judge Africk sentenced GRANT to thirty years on that count, to be followed by three years of supervised release.
In another count, GRANT also pled guilty and was sentenced to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c). Judge Africk sentenced GRANT to sixty years, to run consecutive to any other terms of imprisonment, and five years of supervised release. GRANT was also ordered to pay a $200 mandatory special assessment fee for both counts.
Well, so much for the whole “if you can’t get them, they can’t get them” thing, huh?
After all, Grant was trafficking drugs, which is already illegal. To believe he couldn’t get his hands on a weapon would be the height of stupidity. Plus, since he wasn’t buying legally, why would he be relegated to otherwise legal firearms? Simply put, he wouldn’t.
So, he went for a machine gun, something you or I can’t get without spending the same amount we’d spend on a new car, only with no financing. That’s not “ready access to firearms,” now is it?
Look, when you’re talking about criminals, you have to throw out the legal availability of firearms. They’ll still get guns no matter what you do. About all we can do in response is try and make sure the good guys are able to meet the threats and protect themselves and their families.
That’s a lot harder when the bad guys can get their hands on machine guns and we’re doing good to hold onto semi-automatic AR-15s.