Richmond Times-Dispatch

Criminals don’t buy their guns in stores



Mark Sprowl [“How many guns are enough?”] cited the recent slaying of a Hanover teen by another teen as a case against the repeal of Virginia’s one-gun-a-month law. In our state, one cannot purchase a handgun in a store below the age of 21. Therefore, logic would dictate that the shooter (who was 19) acquired his gun illegally, through a private seller, or by presenting false identifica­tion to the store clerk.

Regulation­s do not stop criminals from getting guns; they simply prevent law-abiding citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights. Criminals generally obtain their weapons from friends and acquaintan­ces or by stealing them because any gun bought in a store can be easily traced back to its original buyer. Although there are special cases (like that of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords) where criminals purchase their weapons through stores, most criminals won’t make that mistake.

A 2004 study by Jim Kouri, the fifth vice president of the National Associatio­n of Chiefs of Police, interviewe­d prison inmates who divulged where they obtained their guns. Only 8 percent said they bought them in stores, while 39 percent said they obtained them illegally and nearly 40 percent claimed they had bought them from friends or family.

Sprowl’s heart is in the right place, but most guns aren’t bought in stores. If criminals aren’t buying their guns in stores, how would stricter gun regulation preclude incidents of violent crime? ZACHARY L. EDWARDS.


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