How Mass Shooters (and Everyone Else) Get Guns

Monday, January 14, 2013

In 2010, according to the Department of Justice, around 80,000 Americans were denied guns because they lied or provided inaccurate information about their criminal histories during a background-check.

Only 44 of those were charged of committing a crime. Our partner The New York Times is reporting that the Obama administration is now studying this pattern of dishonesty in these so-called 'lie and try' transactions and the apparent lack of prosecutions.

This could all be part of the new approach to gun violence Vice President Joe Biden is expected to announce in a series of recommendations for overhauling national gun policy this week.

But what does this application review process look like in action, especially in states with tough gun control laws that may end up being a model for new federal policy?

Reporter Anne Mostue joins The Takeaway from our partner WGBH in Boston.


Anne Mostue

Produced by:

Mythili Rao

Comments [8]

Steve R from Massapequa Park

The second amendment says: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
I don't hear much about the well regulated militia part of this amendment lately.

Apr. 13 2013 05:16 PM
Will Caxton

"Internet and mail selling should be illegal." Done. Transfer of
ownership of a firearm across state lines legally must be done through a
Federally-licensed dealer, who is required to keep records, according to
the Gun Control Act of 1968. Sales are still allowed between two
unlicensed individuals who are both residents of the same state. For
guns used in crimes, the average elapsed time from the last sale until
the crime is seven years. Some large proportion of crime guns are
stolen, though I don't know the percentage offhand.

"It is illegal to not register the transfer of a car when you buy or
sell it. You need a license to operate a car." This is not strictly
true: registration and licensing are only required to operate a motor
vehicle on public roads. No driver's license or registration is required
for vehicles used on private land.

"Only 44 of those were charged of committing a crime."
"Biden says Administration Doesn't Have Time to Prosecute People Who Lie on Background Checks"'t-have-time-to-prosecute-people-who-lie-on-background-checks.aspx

Jan. 26 2013 12:30 AM
D l MC from Brooklyn

The method for issuing gun permits in Massachusetts sounds pretty illegal to me. Since when does a permit issuer arbitrarily get to make the decision. If it is not law that law-enforcement or ex-military be given carry preference how does the issuer justify that as part of his decision.

Jan. 14 2013 08:25 PM
pfletch from Puget Sound

I second the comments made by "Sarah from Brooklyn" and "unkerjay from Puget Sound, WA".

My son had a psychiatric evaluation before he was accepted for Green Beret training. As a civilian, he also had a psychiatric evaluation before he was accepted for firefighter training. Two very different occupations with very different requirements and warning signs. We don't need to look at past records of hospitalization or depend on schools' and parents' evaluations. Employers -- private and government -- can require sychiatric evaluations. Gun permits should require equal due process, at least.

Full disclosure of ALL the data should be a no-brainer. Without getting into the stupidities engendered by Operation Fast and Furious, every firearm used in a crime should be traceable to the last owner and the last seller -- private, gun show, or firearms dealer. (Internet and mail selling should be illegal. Every transaction should be face-to-face.) Similarly, the NRA should be willing to offer full disclosure of the data it claims to have, for example, on the number of mass murders prevented by the presence of other armed civilians. With de-escalation of emotional hype, an informed populace will make an informed decision.

To bring the marketplace on board with enhanced firearms legislation, require insurance for firearm possession. I cannot register my vehicle without proving that i have liability insurance. Similarly, it should be a requirement to have a gun permit. As with anything else, it's a protection for the insured and the public.

Jan. 14 2013 06:32 PM
Isaiah from Seattle, WA

It is illegal to not register the transfer of a car when you buy or sell it. You need a license to operate a car. Why would it be so bad to make it a felony to not transfer the ownership of a weapon with built in background checks. The checks could just use the existing system at the county court house for concealed weapon license with some increased staffing and automation of transfer requests.
I also believe that every gun and barrel should have it rifling registered. This would lead to many solved gun crimes.

Jan. 14 2013 05:09 PM
Sarah from Brooklyn

I still think the mental health issue is a big part of the gun debate. It takes a lot for someone to be committed; in patient mental health records will catch very few mentally ill people. I think there needs to be a stronger mental health presence on college and high school campuses, as well as strict laws to reign in gun dealers, gun shows, and black market transactions.

Jan. 14 2013 03:20 PM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

I am looking forward to hear what Biden will say

Jan. 14 2013 12:40 PM
unkerjay from Puget Sound, WA

We value our privacy and rightfully so.

However, good, informed decisions whether they be about the next president, a good toaster, health care or the impact of guns - their use / abuse in our society cannot be determined without information - data.

I don't have a problem having a robust debate about WHAT data is collected, by WHO, or for WHAT purpose. But, collecting NO data or disarming anyone who might reach conclusions contradictory to one's ideology whether it be from the left OR the right does us ALL a disservice, as does bias.

It won't be the first or the last time we argue over how government (taxpayer) money is used. I think it's perfectly legitimate to propose that funding is unbiased. But, to withhold funding based on unfavorable conclusions as a result of ACCURATE research is just political. It has nothing to do with safety or health concerns.

As I recall, I don't think the research in and of itself was biased one way or the other as much as it simply reported the facts as revealed by the data.

If the NRA has conclusive contradictory facts, let them share them with the media, post them online, tell EVERYONE about them and let them decide for themselves in a climate of equity in which opposing data, if any, is equally accessible and open to peer review.

I'm not strongly in favor of gun control as much as I am gun safety. I think gun safety is best achieved in an environment of FULL disclosure.
If there's much to do about nothing EITHER way, let the facts speak for themselves and let those of us who stand most to gain OR lose decide for ourselves from there.

Jan. 14 2013 12:05 PM

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