There are very strict laws on the exportation of guns to other countries. You can’t just buy a firearm, put it in a box, and shipping to someplace like Haiti. Even if you buy the gun in a lawful manner, you just can’t do that without jumping through a ton of hoops.
However, it seems that Business Insider–a publication that doesn’t seem to talk all that much about business these days–just discovered that criminals break the law when it comes to guns.
Loose gun regulations in the United States have turned the country into a gold mine for weapons traffickers, a UN report found.
Criminals are capitalizing off lax gun laws in the United States – specifically in Florida – to traffic weapons into Haiti, exacerbating an already dire crime problem there, the United Nations said in its report released earlier this month.
“The principal source of firearms and munitions in Haiti is in the US, and in particular Florida,” the report found. “Weapons are frequently procured through straw man purchases in US states with looser gun laws and fewer purchasing restrictions.”
Straw purchases involve an individual buying a firearm and then passing it off to another person “who may not lawfully acquire firearms” or someone who “wishes to conceal their identity,” according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Once they are procured, smugglers transport the weapons into Haiti by air, sea, and land, often by way of the Dominican Republic, the report said.
While the author focuses on the “lax” gun laws, what is more important is that at every point in this process, laws are being broken. I fail to see how laws are too lax when laws are what’s being broken in order to buy and ship these guns.
Still more laws are broken in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
If criminals are breaking all the laws, just how would more laws actually prevent this?
Further, why should we assume that the problem is an insufficient number of gun control laws as it is? Yes, Florida isn’t exactly California when it comes to gun control, but it is a state located about as close to Haiti as a state can be.
I can’t help but feel that Florida is the source of these straw purchases not because of insufficient gun control laws but because it’s just better for them to transport them there. As such, they’re not jumping on multiple planes–each of which raises the possibility of detection–nor having to travel further on boat which increases the chance of an encounter with the Coast Guard.
The truth is that while the illegal export of guns to nations like Haiti is a problem, new gun control regulations aren’t suddenly going to change things when the previous gun laws were broken without a care in the world.
Even if you locked down otherwise lawful sales, they’d just buy them off the black market and ship those to Haiti.
If there’s a market, someone will try and find a way to fill it. They won’t care about the laws you put in place to prevent that, either.
If you want to clamp down, the answer is in enforcement, not new rules that will infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens but do little to prevent those illegal exports of guns.