Stephen Henderson, Detroit Free Press -The average miscreant wreaking havoc with a gun likely didn't buy that gun from a legal dealer or go through the necessary background checks. But someone else did. And heightening the level of responsibility for the legal seller and purchaser of that weapon is one of the best ways to stop the flow of guns into hands that ought not wield them.
Daniel Webster is the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. There aren't many people who've spent more time or energy thinking about the link between legal and illegal gun ownership in this country.
"A study of ATF gun trafficking cases found that the largest conduits of gun trafficking involved illegal straw purchases (someone buying the gun for someone who can't) and corrupt licensed gun dealers evading gun sales laws," Webster told me last week.
"A separate ATF study found that over half of guns recovered from criminals and crime scenes were traced to 1% of licensed dealers. I've conducted several studies demonstrating that when there is greater regulation and oversight of gun dealers, and when they are vulnerable to civil and criminal penalties if they do not obey gun sales laws, far fewer guns flow into the illicit gun market where criminals obtain their guns."
...Guns may be a permanent part of American culture; I can accept that, even if I don't like it.
But if we focus on heightening responsibility for gun ownership and gun sales, we might just make a dent in the madness that makes getting an illegal firearm too easy for any civilized society.