Criminals Can Acquire Firearms In Spite of Gun Bans and Buy-Ups
March 10, 2007
by Joseph P. Tartaro
“Mr. Barry’s office admits the bill is ‘an acknowledgement that people do have guns,’ The Times continued. “He and the other lawmakers think that the solution is to make sure all guns are registered, though the people who will register their guns are not the problem.
“Look at Canada, which has registered handguns since the 1930s and all guns since 1998. The Canadian government recently admitted that it could not identify a single violent crime that had been solved because of registration. Hawaii, which has had registration and licensing for around 50 years and well-protected borders, has had the same experience.
“An amnesty to register guns isn’t going to make DC safer,” The Times editorial said. “The laws fail for a simple reason: Criminals rarely leave their guns at the scene so that they could be tracked, and even when they do, the criminals’ guns are not registered. Registration really just imposes a cost on law-abiding citizens.
“The city should also do away with other laws that endanger innocent people, such as requirements that we keep our guns locked, unloaded and disassembled,” The Times said. “It may take less than eight minutes to unlock and load your gun for defense, but it still takes too long. Research indicates these laws endanger many more lives than they save.
“Since 1976, the city’s murder rate is up 32 percent. The country’s is down 36 percent. Let’s see whether letting law-abiding citizens get more guns means less crime,” The Times concluded in its call for a change in Washington’s gun laws for city residents.
Of course, Washington, DC, or New York City, or Chicago, or Milwaukee are all examples of the failure of attempts to regulate human behavior by focusing on tools that can be used for both good and evil. As The Times pointed out, the Canadian experience is another litmus test of the failure of gun control.
And then, of course, there is that model so frequently cited by the anti-gun crowd: Great Britain.
The almost total gun ban in Britain and Wales is now several years old and crime problem keeps getting worse.
But if gun bans are a foolish approach to the crime problem, so are gun buy-ups as those conducted in several US cities and is now being planned for Buffalo, NY, in May. As opponents of such buy-ups or amnesties point out, it’s not the criminals or the would-be criminals who are turning in guns.
As a matter of fact, the buy-ups, or buy-backs as they are incorrectly called, can actually put guns into the hands of serious criminal types, as they have in Australia, according to a Feb. 10 story in The Sydney Morning Herald.
The newspaper down-under reported that “Buyback guns (are) in the hands of outlaws.”
The Morning Herald reported that a network of elicit dealers has thwarted “the $600 million national guns buyback scheme, and weapons supposedly destroyed years ago have resurfaced in criminal hands in NSW (New South Wales).
“The Herald can reveal that at least two of the so-called phantom gunsboth pistols written off by the Queensland Firearms Registryhave been fired at the scene of separate unsolved robberies in Sydney in the past six months. Police believe there are hundreds more like them.”
The buyback scheme has been credited with removing about 650,000 firearms from the streets in the past 10 years. A newly elected Prime Minister John Howard staked his political future on forcing it through after the 1996 Port Arthur massacre. He still regards it as one of his finest achievements.
But thousands of the guns were never destroyed, The Herald reported. The man largely responsible for the scheme is Frank Curr, a licensed firearms dealer and pawn shop owner from Wacol in Queensland.
Curr paraded as a civic-minded dealer concerned about drugs and violence in his neighborhood while secretly arming criminals across the border with an estimated 2,000 guns he had been paid to destroy or render inoperable. Only 50 of the guns have been recovered.
Curr, who was convicted last year and will be sentenced soon, was brought down by a four-year covert operation by the NSW Firearms Squad, which describes him as Australia’s largest dealer in illegal firearms.
Police say Curr used a network of 20 other illegal arms dealers in NSW and Queensland, with links to Victoria and South Australia, to flood Sydney with 1,600 to 2,000 guns between 1998 and 2002, The Herald reported. At the same time, Curr was being reimbursed by the government for supposedly destroying or rendering harmless firearms he had received from gunowners who surrendered their weapons.
Detective Inspector Albert Joseph, of the Firearms Squad, and other undercover officers infiltrated the heart of the illegal gun trade operating from Queensland. He says only a few of Curr’s guns were recovered because of steps the dealer took to obliterate their serial numbers. Those that have been found had remnants of their serial numbers that were traceable by ballistic experts.
Police alleged that Curr made between $1.6 million and $2 million before he and his network of illegal gun dealerswhich included a cartel on the NSW mid-North Coast and Blue Mountainswas finally shut down.
Joseph said Curr corrupted a licensed armorer into providing certificates that weapons had been rendered harmless, so the dealer could then sell them as replica pistols in Queensland, thereby exploiting a loophole in the buyback scheme.
In evidence presented at the trial, police said official statistics showed handgun violence had increased more than fourfold since 1996.
“The possession and sale of illicit firearms is the subject of intense media, political and community interest and the recent release of statistics by the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research clearly indicate the significant rise of handgun-related crimes resulting in violence,” Joseph told the court, according to The Herald.
My point, and I suppose that of the Australian newspaper, is that criminals will always find a way to ply their trade and find the tools essential to their success. When those same tools are taken way from the good citizens, the criminals will always profit.