Second Amendment

Gun Control Fails To Prevent Criminals From Getting Guns, Again


Camden, New Jersey
Beyond My Ken

In the latest news of the obvious, USA Today went to Camden, New Jersey (skyline at right), to see how successfully that state's uber-restrictive gun laws have cut off the flow of firearms to bad guys. They haven't, it turns out. As the article's subhead puts it, "Gun law changes sought in the wake of the massacre in Newtown, Conn., wouldn't address the plague of gun violence in Camden, N.J., where poverty and crime feed an enduring and bloody cycle."

From USA Today:

In a 2011 report, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which advocates stricter gun laws, considered New Jersey the state with the second strongest gun laws in America. New Jersey topped the list because among other things, the state requires permits to purchase any handgun, a special identification card to purchase long guns, and background checks in issuing permits. It requires firearms dealers to be licensed and prohibits the possession and transfer of assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines.

And these restrictive laws have accomplished … what?

Anderson Baker lives in a state with a litany of gun regulations. But no law stopped him from becoming a teenage drug dealer who could easily acquire, and use, his weapon of choice. …

This brash teenager didn't need gun shows or shops, nor was he slowed by background checks or waiting periods or reams of documentation. Baker secured his weapons of choice by borrowing guns from family and friends. In each instance, he was never encumbered by New Jersey's tough-as-nails laws. …

Baker said he never attempted to get a permit and never had a background check when he got his guns.

Camden County Chief of Police (the county has taken over policing duties for the city) Scott Thomson says, "You have this paradox in that New Jersey has arguably the toughest gun laws in the nation yet has a city within it that has gun violence at Third World country rates." He plainly points out that gun laws are easily bypassed by criminals. The article also emphasizes that the targets of the recent anti-gun frenzy, so-called "assault weapons" and high-capacity magazines, play a negligible role in Camden's crime. The same is true of crime nationally, with the Bureau of Justice Statistics reporting that "assault weapons" make up a whopping 3.2 percent of the weapons possessed by federal inmates, and two percent of the weapons possessed by state inmates, at the time of their offense.

Of course, handguns are tightly regulated in New Jersey, too, but Camden's criminals still have no diificulty acquiring them through unofficial channels. The article tells of a "standout" charter school student with plans for attending college and escaping Camden whose father was sentenced to three years for illegally selling guns.

This is, of course, a phenomenon repeated time and again. Like all prohibitions on goods and services that people want, gun control laws always breed defiance and black markets. In recent years, they've done so to such an extent that the majority of privately held guns in places like New York City and much of Europe are owned outside the law.

As Camden demonstrates, yet again, gun restrictions might inconvenience the especially law-abiding, but "gun laws to people in Camden are like saying you'll get a ticket if you jaywalk," as Anderson Baker puts it.

NEXT: Casinos Begin Banning Google Glass

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  1. Sounds like open season up there.

  2. You’d think the idiots in government would realize by now that anytime they ban anything a black market for the banned item is created.

    1. IIRC, there’s an Iron Law that addresses this situation.

    2. “The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”

      –Ayn Rand

    3. Indeed, I have done a little research into this and I cannot find a single instance where a government banned something (a good, a service, knowledge, etc.) which the populace desired that was actually effective in preventing the populace from acquiring that thing. Not one instance of it.

      I have come across a few items like the current bans on fully automatic weapons which seem effective until you look into it and realize that even without the ban effectively no one but a handful of hobbists (who currently just go through the licensing process to be able to acquire them legally) would buy them because the use case just isn’t there. They are neither more effective for self defense or criminal activities because of their increased cost, decreased accuracy, larger size and weight. So the ban appears to work but in reality it is just that demand for fully auto weapons is exceedingly low in both the legal and illegal realms.

  3. In good news, my Conceal Carry permit is in process. If I’m lucky, and my mail carrier isn’t on his normal game, it’ll be delivered to my door in a couple of weeks.

    1. Good for you. The power in ccw is that there is a number tied to it and that number equals voting citizens that are clearly stating the second amendment matters.

      Disclaimer: I don’t think you should need a license to carry, I am only pointing out a positive aspect of ccw.

      1. I like how AZ does it. You don’t need one, but if you want one you can get it for reciprocity with other states.

        1. You can carry concealed in AZ sans permit? Damn. Open carry, sure, but concealed?

          1. Yup. AZ is a constitutional carry state. You can carry any weapon concealed without need of any government paperwork to make it legal.

            I also recently got my license to carry as well. I got a Virginia Non-resident license because I am never in my home state of New Mexico long enough to go through the training there. VA accepted my honorable discharge in lieu of a training course.

            1. Check out Wyoming. Don’t need a permit to carry concealed there. That’s where I envision myself living one day.

          2. Since the summer of 2010 – if you’re over 21 you don’t need a CCW.

            The only real restrictions on concealed carry *without* permit (vice *with* one) is that you can’t conceal carry in a bar without a permit.

            We don’t require a permit to purchase, no firearm registration, no assault weapon prohibitions, no magazine size restrictions, no owner’s license required, no NFA restrictions (over and above the basic federal requirements anyway).

            We allow open carry and the state laws pre-empt local ones (I’m iffy on this one).

            1. Strangely enough, contra to the Brady Campaigns fears our cities haven’t turned into warzones.

              “It’s one thing to carry a loaded weapon in public when your closest neighbor is a mile or 5 miles away,” said Brian Malte, director of state legislation for the Brady Campaign, an interest group that lobbies for gun regulations. “It’s a very different situation when you’re in a densely-populated urban environment.”

              1. Brian Malte does not seem to understand that about half of Arizona’s residents live in the PHX metro area or Tucson. It ain’t all countryside.

                1. He *does* understand – the quote from him is in regard to why its a worse idea for AZ to do this than Alaska.

                  He’s wrong of course, and is just using our greater urban density as a straw to grab onto to keep his gun control argument afloat.

                  1. Wow, I had no idea anybody who *actually* lives in AZ could pretend such a stupid notion would not get laughed down.

                    But then I have not lived in AZ for 20 years so maybe the infestation from CA may be taking root.

          3. Vermont, Alaska, and, as mentioned, Wyoming also don’t require permits for concealed carry.

      2. Disclaimer: I don’t think you should need a license to carry, I am only pointing out a positive aspect of ccw.

        I agree, but it’s a compromise us lawful gun owners were willing to make so that the gun-grabbers would finally go away and leave us alone.

        Look how well that worked out.

      3. I plan to get one for just that reason. I don’t actually intend to buy a handgun in the foreseeable future, but I would like to have that extra evidence of good citizenship, and to avoid any hassle if I’m taking an AK to the range and back.

  4. The only reason it doesn’t work, or so I’ve been told, is because the policies that invariably fail at a municiple or state-level would work wonders if deployed at the federal level.

    There’s no such thing as bad policies, just policies with limited scope.

    1. That’s just a failure of imagination – we need these policies at the world level.

      after all, if there’s no place where its legal to manufacture and sell guns then there’s no way anyone could get ahold of them right?

  5. Standard liberal response is that we just need a concerted national war on guns because those damn redneck states allow the weapons to be carried there and they flow into the gun control states.

    1. Somehow the incentive structure breaks down between the state and federal-level, and profitably supplying back-channel guns won’t make sense in light of strong national laws against ownership.

    2. Of course it would never occur to them that guns can be smuggled into the US just as easily as cocaine which arrives by the ton.

      1. The trick to the black market is finding a gateway. Thankfully marijuana is both ubiquitous and illegal, making it a simple matter to find someone in the black market who may be able to refer you to someone with cocaine or a smuggled firearms for sale. If marijuana were made legal then finding a gateway to the black market would become a relatively difficult task. Perhaps that’s why so many law enforcement are so dead set on keeping it illegal, because low level dope slingers are their gateway as well.

        1. If all guns were made illegal nationwide in the US the existing guns which didn’t get turned in as well as the existing culture would feed a market for some time. At some point ammo would have to be produced and/or smuggled in and that would provide your gateway. More guns would follow that like thunder follows lightning.

          1. You read like you have some personal experience in this. Please feel free to share anecdotes.

            Seriously though, you’ve got a point. If bullets were made illegal like pot, because they are so ubiquitous they would be an easy gateway to the black market.

            1. Well, as my handle implies, I grew up on the Mexican border. I have also lived outside the US for a number of years. So I do have some experience with how illicit items are introduced and distributed across borders.

  6. Just like that kid I own several firearms but have not once submitted to a background check. Inherited a few, and others were purchased from friends and acquaintances. So long as background checks are required for dealing in shops, I wont deal in a shop.

    Besides, shops may be obsolete soon. Better than even a 3D printer, meet the home manufacturing gun mill —…

  7. Camden County Chief of Police (the county has taken over policing duties for the city) Scott Thomson says, “You have this paradox in that New Jersey has arguably the toughest gun laws in the nation yet has a city within it that has gun violence at Third World country rates.”

    That’s only a paradox if you are stupid enough to believe gun laws affect criminals. The comparison is even less paradoxical when some of those violent Third World countries have strict gun control, or outright bans like Venezuela and Mexico.

  8. Sometimes man, you jsut have to roll with it.

  9. On a personal note, just picked up my first, 3 in Taurus Judge.

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