By: Teresa Mull
It’s a narrative we hear time and again: mass shooter carries out heinous crime, liberals call for increased gun control, then we find out the gun control we have in place already did nothing to stop the shooter in the first place.
The AP reports this week that Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, the suspect who killed 10 people in a shooting rampage at a King Soopers supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, passed a background check to acquire his murder weapon.
“Colorado has a universal background check law covering almost all gun sales, but misdemeanor convictions generally do not prevent people from purchasing weapons,” reports the AP. “…If Alissa had been convicted of a felony, his gun purchase would have been prohibited under federal law.”
Alissa, like so many recent mass shooters, became a first-time felon when he opened fire last week and committed his senseless crime. Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland shooter, passed a background check. So did the Fort Hood attacker, the Navy Yard shooter, the 2018 shooters who murdered innocent people in Orlando and Las Vegas, the Texas Church shooter of 2017, and on and on (The Chicago Tribune has compiled a list of “how they got their guns,” which you can read here).
The point is, many of these shooters plot their murders in advance and know how to get their hands on a gun. If they aren’t able to purchase a gun the traditional way, they will steal a firearm – like Adam Lanza, the Newtown, Connecticut shooter did. In fact, the DOJ found in 2019 that “…[S]ome 43 percent of criminals had bought their firearms on the black market, 6 percent acquired them via theft, and 10 percent made a retail purchase – 0.8 percent purchased a weapon from a gun show,” according to Fox News.
Another chunk of the criminal population acquires weapons through straw purchases – getting a friend or relative to buy a firearm for them. In all of these instances, of course, background checks are ineffective in preventing crime.
Criminals don’t care about laws, by definition, and passing more gun control legislation will only hamper – and endanger, the law-abiding members of society.
Teresa Mull (firstname.lastname@example.org) is editor of Gunpowder Magazine.