Firearms Myth #4: Gun Owners are Criminals

father_and_son_silhouette equal sign criminal      question mark

Whether or not you agree with gun ownership, to essentialize gun owners as criminals is not only ignorant, but also a logical fallacy.  Those who purchase or possess firearms through illegal means are not gun owners; they are criminals. Only those who legally obtain and use firearms are gun owners.

When you think about it, why would someone go through the legal processes of buying a firearm if they are planning on committing a crime with it? Buying a firearm legally is a long, expensive process that is easily be circumvented by people looking to use firearms illegally. To purchase a firearm legally, one must go into a gun store, with many witnesses and cameras, then go through at least one background check, pay for the heavy taxes and government stamps on firearms, then have the dealer register the firearm to him or her, and then in some states such as California, go through a ten day waiting period. So, if someone was intending to use a gun to commit a crime, why would they go through that long, expensive process just to get a gun that will be traced back to them if they do anything illegal? The answer is that they simply do not. Criminals are not that foolish that they would make a blatant evidence trail leading right to them. Therefor, it would make no sense for criminals or potential criminals to use legal firearms. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2010, only 1.5% of firearms transfers or permits were denied, showing that the 98.5% of people who go through the legal system to buy guns are law biding citizens who are competent and eligible to own firearms.

gun dealer

Now, some people might argue that background checks and registration are not required in most states and therefor most firearm sales occur without it. However, it is actually in the firearm dealer’s best interest to perform background checks and register firearms to people. First of all, realistically, relatively no one wants a shooting to occur, and they will take steps to prevent that if they can, especially if they are a firearms dealer. Even if you think that is not true and that firearms dealers only want to maximize their profits so they will sell guns to people without background checks or registration, you need to look at the bigger picture. Would a firearms dealer want to take full liability of a firearm they sold to a random person, and risk losing their F.F.L. (Federal Firearms License) and shutting down the entire business because they can net a $300 off an AR-15 that they sold to a person without a background check or registration? Of course not. When an F.F.L. dealer purchases firearms to sell to people, the guns are automatically registered to the store. If they do not register the firearm to the person they sell it to, the gun will be traced back to the store if any illegal activity occurs with the gun. The ATF is extremely strict on who they give F.F.L.’s to, and is very adamant about looking into cases where unregistered firearms are used in shootings. Firearm dealers are very aware of this, as the ATF wants them to be, so they have the incentives to do backgrounds and registration this way the entire business does not hold liability for what people do with their firearms. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, over 3,000 Federal, State, and Local agencies perform background checks for multiple dealers.

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