California Provides Multiple Examples
In Mexico, one of the most common sources of firearms, both for criminals and for people who simply want to protect themselves, are police officers. Obtaining firearms legally is nearly impossible, creating a money making opportunity for cops, who can easily buy firearms and resell them.
Ironically, the same thing is happening in the state of California. For decades, California has required an increasing list of features of handguns placed on the “approved list” of handguns that may be sold in the state. Originally, this was done to drive to cost of handguns up, so that poor minorities could not afford them – and yes, the Democratic authors and supporters of the bill actually said this. More recently, the state has required “micro-stamping” of fired cases – something that no gun maker has been able to accomplish. This has resulted in an ever shrinking list of guns legally available for retail sale in the state.
There are, however, two legal sources of pistols not on the approved list. The first is private purchase from an average resident who either bought the gun before the law took effect, or before the handgun was dropped from the list, or before moving into the state. The second is police officers – who can but any handgun they wish. Private citizens can sell their guns privately to anyone able to pass a background check. Police used to be able to do so in the same way, although this has changed in recent years. The idea was that if a cop bought a gun and did not like it, they could sell it privately, buy something else and not be in violation of state laws.
However, more than a few cops have seen a money making opportunity. They bought guns using their police exemption and then sold them privately. They were typically careful to conduct the sale through a dealer with a background check as required by state law. However, in many cases, the state found out – and although they may have been in the clear as far as state laws were concerned, they still were in violation of federal law. Since they were buying guns with the intent of reselling them, they were “in the business of selling firearms” without the required federal firearms license (FFL). The state simply contacted the feds and they brought charges.
I would point out that if these cops had not been concerned about following state laws, and had simply sold the guns without a background check, it would have been much, much harder to catch them. This is exactly what happens every day in Mexico. It is also what likely is happening right now in California, to at least some degree.
As a pastor, I worked with many people in recovery from drug addiction. I never once had an addict tell me, “I wanted to get high, I had money to buy drugs, but could not find anyone to sell them to me.” Not one. I don’t like drugs – I don’t even touch alcohol – but I have to conclude that drug laws do not keep people from getting drugs. Instead, they corrupt our police and turn otherwise law abiding people into criminals. Why should we think that gun bans will be any different?
Gun bans around the world have exactly the same effect – and we are beginning to see it happen right here in America. Passing more gun bans will only make it much worse. Supply will rise to meet demand. Guns will be smuggled in from other countries, diverted from the military, made in underground factories and yes, diverted and sold by police.