Our view: Fixing flaws in the gun-tracing system

Our view: Fixing flaws in the gun-tracing system

A recent state report pinpointing the origin of many guns used in crimes and seized by police in 2016 left a lot to the imagination. The report showed that more than one-third of these “crime guns” were originally sold legally by Massachusetts firearms dealers. But highlighting that detail to make a case about tougher gun laws or more enforcement of legal firearms sales doesn’t hold water. As one gun shop owner pointed out, holding a licensed, law-abiding gun dealer responsible if a gun is eventually used in a crime is like holding a car dealer responsible if someone buys a new car, drives off the lot and rams it into a crowd of people. If the gun dealer follows the laws and does the required verification of a buyer, the future uses of that weapon are out of the dealer’s hands. You would think a national database of gun sales that could be used to quickly trace a gun’s origins would be useful in following the trail of owners from the sale by a gun dealer or private party to the point where a gun is stolen or turns up at a crime scene. But, because of a federal law passed in 1986 under pressure from the National Rifle Association, there is no searchable database of gun types and serial numbers, much less a database of gun owners. There are paper records and some electronic, microfilm records housed at the National Tracing Center, a division of the federal Bureau […]

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Our View: Fixing flaws in the gun-tracing system

Our View: Fixing flaws in the gun-tracing system

A recent state report pinpointing the origin of many guns used in crimes and seized by police in 2016 left a lot to the imagination. The report showed that more than one-third of these "crime guns" were originally sold legally by Massachusetts firearms dealers. But highlighting that detail to make a case about tougher gun laws or more enforcement of legal firearms sales doesn’t hold water. As one gun shop owner pointed out, holding a licensed, law-abiding gun dealer responsible if a gun is eventually used in a crime is like holding a car dealer responsible if someone buys a new car, drives off the lot and rams it into a crowd of people. If the gun dealer follows the laws and does the required verification of a buyer, the future uses of that weapon are out of the dealer’s hands. You would think a national database of gun sales that could be used to quickly trace a gun’s origins would be useful in following the trail of owners from the sale by a gun dealer or private party to the point where a gun is stolen or turns up at a crime scene. But, because of a federal law passed in 1986 under pressure from the National Rifle Association, there is no searchable database of gun types and serial numbers, much less a database of gun owners. There are paper records and some electronic, microfilm records housed at the National Tracing Center, a division of the federal Bureau […]

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This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.