How Criminals Get Guns to Commit Crimes
Criminals have an uncanny ability to figure out how to get what they want. That mostly is due to their willingness to do things illegally and take risks. Much of that willingness arises from desperation. Like: How to get firearms to commit criminal acts against others.
The solution to obtaining firearms when the law says you can’t own or possess them is pretty simple. Criminals just do what they always do and steal them. The Department of Justice surveys prisoners in jail involving guns. They report that 43% of criminals report getting their guns on the black market. This means they are buying, stealing or borrowing them.
When criminals steal them, they usually either come from one of three place. The first one is they stole them while committing another crime. For example, while robbing a home they find and take the homeowners firearm.
It’s also been found that a good number of criminals steal them from gun stores or armories. Both sources have proven very lucrative to thieves since before the days of Bonnie and Clyde.
The most recent example is a North Carolina gun store that saw its second late-night theft occur in six months. Thieves simply rammed an SUV into the gun store’s brick wall, entered through the hole, and left with whatever they could carry with them. A teenager drove an SUV into the gun store’s brick wall six months earlier. Accomplices made off with several firearms, and the teen took the rap for the crime.
The multiple thefts at the North Carolina gun store are a repeated across the nation. Such thefts have occurred at gun stores and military armories. Bonnie and Clyde infamously armed themselves with firearms, including Browning automatic rifles (BAR) by knocking off National Guard armories. A quick Google search indicates National Guard Armories remain a popular target for firearms theft. Many just break in during the night and make off with fully automatic firearms that are true assault weapons.
Thieves also love targeting gun stores after hours. They enter by ramming walls with vehicles, through ventilation systems, and cutting holes in rooftops, among other methods. Gun stores and National Guard Armories are surprisingly lightly protected against theft. There are no laws requiring gun stores or armories to store firearms in a manner that would make theft more difficult. That seems to make them ideal sources of after-hours theft.
A recently published article in The New Yorker interviewed a local criminal whose specialty was knocking off gun stores. The thief said it was easy money to simply go to gun in another state and break into it. They smash the glass cases holding pistols and steal all they can before returning to the highly gun-restrictive northeastern U.S. In states like New York and New Jersey, where firearms ownership mostly is discouraged, the stolen arms fetch a high price due to very high demand.
Apparently, criminals can obtain firearms quite easily by going around the restrictions placed on law-abiding U.S. citizens. And, the best place to sell those illegal arms are in cities and states that make it very difficult for residents to buy and own firearms. The more the local unit tries to prevent law-abiding residents from owning firearms, the more money thieves make by selling stolen guns to criminals.
The tacit lesson is obvious: If you want to reduce gun crimes, make them more accessible to law-abiding citizens. If you want to make a local population prey to criminals armed with stolen arms, make it nearly impossible for law-abiding residents to buy and possess firearms. Even if the Second Amendment were repealed, every privately owned firearm confiscated, and all gun stores closed, criminals still would rob armories. Bonnie and Clyde did it, and it still happens these days.