Thursday, October 15, 2015

What to do about guns?

     Just this month, another school shooting made headline news around the country. This time, Umpqua Community College in a small Oregon Community was shaken by gunfire. As with every mass shooting, a furious debate about control was sparked. Politicians vowed to change the laws. Statistics are tossed around from every side of the issue. People curse the NRA and others quote the Second Amendment. The problem is, nothing we can say or do will stop the shootings.
     As a criminal defense attorney, I have been involved in many cases involving firearms. In most cases, the firearm in question was not purchased at Bass Pro Shops or Cabelas, nor was it purchased from a gun show. Rather, the gun was purchased on the street for a hundred bucks from a guy that my client only knows by his street name. When the police run the gun's serial number, they will frequently find that the gun was reported stolen more than a decade ago. In one case that I worked on, the gun was determined to have been stolen from a police department.

     I agree that we need to do what we can to limit access to firearms for certain classes of individuals, including those with mental health issues. Even so, we can close gun show loopholes and change regulations regarding background checks but based on my experience with violent offenders, it is not likely to do much to reduce violent crime. The simple reason is because those who commit violent crimes generally do not obtain their guns by lawful means. All the gun control in the world will not stop someone from getting a gun if they really want one.