Murders tend to fascinate the American public. There’s a reason so many of our popular TV shows revolve around murder and why “true crime” books focus on it. People love a good homicide, apparently.
In California, an accused killer is now awaiting his fate, but there’s an important lesson in his case.
The jury here in Merced County Superior Court this week is deliberating the fate of Tyler Saephan, a 27-year-old man standing trial for a homicide that occurred on Aug. 7, 2015, with a weapon stolen earlier.
The murder weapon was a gun that was stolen from a house during a party, and prosecutors told the jury the shooting was a consequence of a marijuana deal gone bad.
Saephan pleaded not guilty to the charges of first-degree murder, second-degree robbery, theft of a firearm, unlawful possession of a firearm, and unlawful possession of ammunition for a firearm.
Witnesses testified that Saephan was at a party at a friend’s house in Merced on July 23, 2014, two weeks before the homicide. Witnesses allege the hosts left the room, and when they returned Saephan and Cesar Barrera were alone. Barrera is only facing charges for the burglary at this time.
The host testified that her father called her after returning to his home, where the party was held, and told her his guns had been stolen from the locked safe in his bedroom.
Note a couple of things here.
First, we have guns stolen from an allegedly locked safe. Then we have one of the people reportedly responsible for the theft allegedly killing someone.
In other words, for all the platitudes from anti-gunners, this case is a prime example of just how little good mandating the use of gun safes actually is.
It’s also a firm reminder of just where most guns used in murders actually come from.
(Spoiler: It’s not the neighborhood gun store.)
Most firearms used in murders aren’t the result of an insufficient waiting period or the lack of one entirely. They’re also not the result of malfeasance by the seller, either.
No, they’re usually obtained illegally. For a small handful, that means straw buys, but the majority are stolen guns. Someone steals a gun from a lawful owner and then either uses it or resells it to someone else.
Contrary to what you hear from the media, they’re not even unserialized firearms that often. Stolen guns are the primary tool criminals prefer for killing someone.
So tell me, just what bit of gun control would have stopped this? Mandatory storage laws won’t do it because the guns were locked away. Clearly, laws against stealing guns didn’t help, either. So what, pray tell, would the anti-Second Amendment advocates suggest?
Or maybe it’s finally time to recognize that gun control laws aren’t going to have the effect some seem to believe and maybe we’d be better off directing our attentions elsewhere.
You know, just to shake things up.
Not that the anti-Second Amendment types will be remotely interested in such a thing. Big shock, I’m sure.