Rep. Jesse Petrea, R-Savannah, wants to penalize people for supplying guns to felons. House Bill 657 would make it a felony for any person to “knowingly and intentionally provide a firearm to a felon.”
This bill comes after data saying in Savannah, only 12 percent of the guns that police confiscated were connected to theft reports, a number that contradicts the widely accepted theory that most weapons used for crime are stolen.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms found that it’s likely that a high number of legally purchased guns come into would-be criminals hands through “straw-purchases.” A straw-purchase is when someone intentionally buys a gun for another person but doesn’t disclose it at the purchase, which is illegal under federal law.
There is also shocking national data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms which says that in 1998, more than 85 percent of gun dealers had zero guns used in crimes traced back to them. However, just one percent of dealers sold the guns that accounted for nearly 60 percent of gun crime that year.
The bureau knows exactly who these dealers are but are not allowed to share that information due to a law passed by Congress in 2003.
Laws that protect the biggest beneficiaries of the “Iron Pipeline” instead of the public are a major reason that House Bill 657 is not enough.
Picking off a few bad gun retailers is a small start, but what about stopping gun leaks right at the source? We must hold irresponsible gun manufacturers accountable and introduce reasonable oversight across the board — from manufacturer to dealer to owner — just as we do with cars or refrigerators or children’s toys.
Turning a blind eye to a gun manufacturers who are blatantly supplying criminals and potential with guns is unacceptable. If we want to reduce violent crime, it has to start with tightened regulations for gun manufacturers, comprehensive background checks for all buyers, reasonable waiting periods and limitations on the type of firepower available to the public.