Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Buying guns online

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns released a new study about buying guns online.  Bloomberg has drawn the ire of many conservatives and gun owners for advocating for federal laws that would require background checks on ALL gun sales.  According to the study, which looked at an online gun seller called Armslist, found that 1 in 30 of the buyers who selected want to buy had felony or domestic abuse records that would not allow them to pass background checks.  Most firearm purchases on Armslist are actually bought through the "want to sell" option, which was not a part of the study.  There is an obvious case to be made to not allow those who have domestic abusers to have guns.

A report in the journal, Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, found that domestic assaults were more than 12 times more likely to end in a death if a gun was involved.   We can look at states like Texas, that have more lax gun laws, and see that they have the highest rates of domestic violence homicides, according to David Adams author of Why Do They Kill?: Men Who Murder Their Intimate Partners.  Keeping guns away from domestic violence perpetrators not only protects from partners who are being abused, but also law enforcement officials.  Police have described domestic violence calls as being particularly dangerous and unpredictable.

An argument that is often made by gun right activists is that having a firearm in the house will make people feel more safe.  Not surprisingly, those who are being abused do not feel the same way.  A survey of female domestic violence shelters found that 36.7% reported being threatened or harmed by a firearm.  Over 79% of the respondents reported that having a firearm in the home made them feel less safe.

With the guns right activists openly complaining that nobody is trying to stop criminals from buying or owning guns, we see an opportunity where we can stop criminals from owning guns.  With a requirement that background checks should be required for gun sales online, we may be able to prevent people from owning guns by making it a little tougher for them to own guns.  Adams asked perpetrators of domestic violence that ended in death if they would have used another weapon if guns were unavailable.  The perpetrators said no.

Michael Bloomberg and Mayors Against Illegal Guns provide an interesting study on gun sales online and it's one that we should heed.  

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