Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Instead of New Gun Law, Let's Enforce the Ones We Have

In Providence, Rhode Island one police detective is tasked with tracing the history of every firearm seized by the police department. His findings will be reported to local and state government next year, but what he's learned so far is troubling.

A member of the Oriental Rascals gang shot and wounded a member of the Tiny Rascals gang in the West End in April. The Oriental Rascal had legally purchased his gun in Cranston; the Tiny Rascal was carrying a gun last sold to someone in West Virginia.
A convicted felon who had been tailgating two officers in the violent crime task force in Elmwood in June tossed a 9mm pistol into a trash barrel. The gun was linked to a homicide investigation in Boston.
Kyle Machado, 38, died Sept. 12 during a fight on Trenton Street. The Ruger .357 revolver used to kill him was found wrapped in a T-shirt on Smith Hill less than a week later. It had been reported stolen in Cranston in 1997. Where it spent the next 18 years is anyone's guess.
How do so many weapons end up in irresponsible hands? Part of the problem might be inconsistent or unenforced guns laws.

State law requires people to report their firearms lost or stolen within 24 hours, but many go unreported. The crime is a felony in Connecticut. In Rhode Island, the penalty is a $50-to-$100-fine — far less than the $500 fine for parking illegally in a handicapped spot.
Unquestionably, a major contributor to the problem of untraced guns in circulation is a lack of gun registries. In Rhode Island, for instance, state gun registries have been prohibited by law since 1959.

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