Maine gun-sale laws under fire

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On the same note as the VT article about MASS anti-gun billboards...

http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/news/state/060806guns.shtml

Excerpt...

For the last five months, a 252-foot billboard near Fenway Park has been warning Boston motorists that Maine and its lax gun-control laws help supply local criminals with their weapons.

Even before the billboard went up, Boston officials had been pointing fingers north, saying that Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont must stop what they said had become a pipeline of illegal guns flowing into the city.

But what neither the huge sign beside the Massachusetts Turnpike nor city officials have revealed is exactly how many people buy guns in Maine to illegally resell in Massachusetts or to commit other crimes there.

No one can answer that question with certainty - and federal law makes it difficult to obtain these numbers.
The best estimate comes from trace data on illegal guns made public by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Massachusetts this spring.

These records show that 8 percent of the illegal guns confiscated in the Bay State in 2005 that could be traced were originally purchased in Maine. That makes Maine the second largest source for out-of-state crime guns coming into Massachusetts, just behind New Hampshire. But by far the largest share of illegal guns in Massachusetts, 37 percent, were traced back to gun dealers within the Bay State.

Like many statistics in the gun-control debate, these numbers are open to widely different interpretations. The top federal law-enforcement official in Maine said she believes the data undercuts any claims that guns from Maine are fueling a crime spree in Boston.

"That's a negligible number," said Paula Silsby, U.S. Attorney for the District of Maine. "When you go to the extent of putting up a billboard blaming crime in Boston on another state, I think the rhetoric has gotten a little heated."

The owner of the Boston billboard, however, said he sees no problem with shaming Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Georgia for their looser gun laws. John Rosenthal, who uses the billboard to promote the message of his gun-safety group, Stop Handgun Violence, points out that the majority of crime guns in Massachusetts come from out of state, and these states top the list.

"Maine's only part of the problem, but they are a part of the problem," Rosenthal said. "I'm hoping that Maine, when they realize what is going on, would try to be of help regardless of whether it's 7 percent or 5 percent or 15 percent."

DIFFERENT STANDARDS

Federal law already calls for purchasers to wait five days and undergo a criminal background check before buying a gun from licensed firearms dealers.

State law in Massachusetts goes further, requiring private purchasers to pass the same background check. Maine and 31 other states, including New Hampshire and Vermont, do not. Rosenthal said his goal is for every state to put in place the same criminal background checks required for all firearm sales in Massachusetts.

In Maine, private sales of guns occur mostly through classified advertisements and at gun shows. Sellers do not file paperwork with the state, as they do in Massachusetts. They are only required to ask potential buyers for proof of Maine residency, which Rosenthal contends makes it easy for criminals to exploit the system and difficult to trace a gun's origins. The real share of illegal guns coming to Massachusetts from Maine and elswhere may be larger than the ATF numbers reflect, he contends, because there is not much of a paper trail to help track firearms coming from states with lenient gun laws.

Whatever the source, many say a surge in illegal guns is having bloody consequences on the streets of Boston. The city's homicide rate hit a 10-year high in 2005 with 75 killings. There were 48 homicides in Boston this year through the end of July, ahead of last year's pace, according to Boston police.

"Urban kids are dying at an incredible rate due to easy access to guns," Rosenthal said.

But as far as the leader of one of the most powerful voices in Maine's gun-control debate is concerned, Massachusetts gun laws haven't prevented criminals from obtaining guns in Massachusetts, and they are certainly no model for Maine.

George Smith is president of the Sportsman's Alliance of Maine, a group with 14,000 members, 500 of whom are from Massachusetts. Smith said he believes criminals will always subvert background checks by stealing weapons or finding other people to buy guns for them. If the laws worked, he said, criminals in Massachusetts wouldn't be finding nearly 40 percent of their guns at home.

"I don't think Massachusetts' very restrictive laws are very successful," he said.

Smith said Massachusetts officials would do better to focus on cracking down on local criminals rather than calling for neighboring states to revise their gun laws. "They're obviously blaming us," he said. "There's no justification for punishing Maine citizens because people in Massachusetts are behaving badly."

See link for the rest...
 
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My comments...

Federal law prohibits releasing gun data seems to be a re-occuring theme.

I didn't realize 37% of illegal guns in the bay state were traced back to MASS dealers. What they didn't say here is almost as important as what they did say. The implication is that many Bay State gun delaers also deal in illegal firearms on the side. [rofl] I assume that 37% "traced back" is due to theft from delaer, theft from individual who purchased from dealer, etc.
 

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This is the second article I've read that disputes Rosenthal and his thesis that other states are to blame for Massachusett's crime problem (not gun problem), but which seem to rely on him and his Brady-buddies for the same erroneous background information on Massachusetts and federal gun laws. Both mention the non-existent federal 5-day waiting period and Massachusetts background check for private sales. You'd think that when you believe the other guy is wrong, you would look for some other source of information for your articles. Of course, that would require journalists.

Ken
 
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My take on the 37% figure:



I hope the pic shows up.

More here.

I'd expect that 63% to be much higher, actually. Given the geography involved here and the total number of guns privately owned throughout the country, frankly, I'm surprised such a low number of crime guns are found to be coming in from out of state.

But, for Rosenthal to raise a stink over this "statistic" is like saying there's some troubling significance to the fact [note: I'm pulling figures out of my ass now, but you'll get the point] that 92% of the people arrested in Boston this past year were born elsewhere. And, the map above is only taking the fifty states into account, as far as alternate sources for "crime guns" are concerned.

Now, stick that 37 percent number for Massachusetts onto a map of the world, and then tell me whose problem it is that our local officials can't get a handle on the rising tide of gun-related crime and violence in the Commonwealth.
 
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I wonder how many MA origonated guns end up involved in a crime in ME, NH, and VT?
I wonder how many MA originated PEOPLE end up committing crimes up here ... Look at our local police blotters and you'd think you were looking at the Police Logs from Lowell based on the arrestee's home addresses.
 
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The problem, as I understand it, is not in the purchase of new firearms. A person from another state must have it shipped to his FFL dealer. What they point their fingers at is the resale laws. I know in New Hampshire, I can resell a firearm to anyone that wishes to buy it. I don't need to background check the person or anything. As long as he has a driver's license, he can buy my firearm. The person could be a terrorist for all I know. I see this as a real potential problem with the law. I have posed this to the NH State Police. They recommended that I only sell to people I know, or are aquainted with. They also said I could call them with a license or SS number and they would do a background check. Of course, I could do the transaction through an FFL dealer. I personally, would not sell a firearm to anyone I don't know, or don't get checked out. The problem is that there is no requirement to do so, so a criminal could buy a dozen guns privately and use or sell them for criminal activities. I'm no advocate for more requirements, but I see the problem here.
 

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Of course to gun-grabbing pinheads like Rosenthal, the problem is always going to be 'the guns' and their availability.

If Maines lax gun laws are creating a problem, why isn't Maine experiencing the same level of crime and gun related violence that Mass (Boston) is?

Like.... uhmmm... maybe it's the gang-banging, inner city shitheels that are the problem? But no, taking action at that level would be politically incorrect and deemed racist to the liberal mindset that runs the MA legislature and Boston city hall.

Some interesting stats and gun related crime rate figures here...

http://muskie.usm.maine.edu/justiceresearch/Reports.htm

A few examples...

1,277,284 population
• 1,250,122 total guns
• 1 gun per person
– 71% long guns (rifles,
shotguns, etc.)
– 29% handguns
– At least one firearm in
almost half of the 626,000
households

Overall chance of being a firearm victim
Percent of violent crimes w/firearmTotal # of firearm crimes


1 in 853 27.5% 252,645 United States*
1 in 4,823 21.3% 184 New Hampshire
1 in 6,212 19.4% 77 Vermont
1 in 14,136 8.6% 92 Maine


"Maine reported the second lowest rate of firearm
use in violent crimes in the country in 2004. As of
2004, only 105 violent firearm crimes were committed
in Maine. This total ranked fourth lowest in the na-tion
behind North Dakota (24), Vermont (75) and
South Dakota (99). As a percentage of violent crime,
Maine has the second lowest rate of firearm use in the
country at 10.0 percent, just behind North Dakota
(7.7 percent). Maine’s low rate of firearm violence is
twice as low as New Hampshire (20.0 percent) and
Vermont (19.4 percent), and nearly three times less
than the national average of 27.0 percent".
 

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Statistics can easily be twisted!

Reading the info in the article:

- It's possible that the FIRST sale of a gun was in ME, NH, VT, FL, etc. and the person moved to MA with it legally. If it was later stolen, it would statistically be reported as a ME (NH, VT, FL) gun.

- A lot of people have hunting/skiing/Summer cottages in the Northern States. LEGALLY if they are spending the Summer or Winter there, BATFE allows them to buy even handguns as a "Resident" of their Summer/Winter home. Again if stolen from anywhere, it was a <insert Northern State here> gun.

- Since 1986 (IIRC) anyone can buy a long gun in any other state from an FFL(per BATFE), as long as state law allows it. This is true even if on a one-day drive. Again, whatever happens to that gun, it was a Northern States gun.

- Lots of folks retire to other states, if gun is stolen, it's reported as <state where bought> gun for the kind of stats the anti-gunners use.

These "studies" are pure BS, designed to inflame and get more restrictions passed, nothing more and nothing less.
 

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Buffalo Bill said:
The problem is that there is no requirement to do so, so a criminal could buy a dozen guns privately and use or sell them for criminal activities. I'm no advocate for more requirements, but I see the problem here.
Yeah, and he could also buy a dozen guns from a dozen different FFLs using
readily availiable fake identification or a stolen identity. (and pass NICS
quite readily each time.) So please enlighten me as to how forcing
everyone through NICS (or some other background check) dramatically
improves the overall situation? (And FWIW, some of these stories
mentioned recently here have involved FFLs and fake identification, so obviously the
NICS system had very little bearing on what transpired. )

Frankly I think any laws regulating the purchase/sale of guns are pretty
much rediculous. I could fathom laws saying that you can't knowingly
sell a gun to a -known- violent criminal or a minor, but anything beyond that
is absurd. (And frankly, anyone who we know has a tendency to misuse a firearm
shouldnt be allowed to roam around in public, anyways...)

The other problem I have with gun laws is we lead dangerous
double standards with this stuff. In the US it's perfectly fine to sell an
automobile or a truck to a terrorist, but somehow guns are
"special"? If BG checks are good with guns, then anyone buying anything
that can potentially kill another person should require a background
check. If you think that BG checks on guns are a good idea, then we
should make people fill out 4473s when they buy gasoline in small
containers, propane canisters, or knives which aren't plastic, amongst
other things. [rolleyes] I think you can even rent moving vans
without a background check, and we all know what the terorrists like
to do with those. All vehicles larger than a self powered bicycle or
skateboard should require a 4473. [rolleyes]


At best, most gun control is a half-assed attempt at trying
to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, and at worst, which it always
is, it's just another device for the government to use in stomping on your
civil rights.

In order for what you're suggesting, to even have a chance to possibly
work, gun laws would have to be tightened considerably. All transfers
would be pushed through an FFL. All gun buyers and sellers would have
biometric security type IDs, linked into a large database, and all transferred
guns would be registered. Then even after all of that, criminals will still
be freely buying and selling guns on the street, because they don't
really obey the law to begin with, and the thought has never crossed
their mind. Not to mention none of these laws also prevent anyones
"highly regulated to death" firearm from being stolen. Increased gun
control may even motivate criminals to seek out weapons through means
they ordinarily may not have used, such as theft. Then theres the
whole illegal importation thing, that I discussed earlier. Make "domestically
legal" guns near unobtainium, and guess what happens.... some cheap
pistols start coming in along with the crates of drugs from south
america that seem to flow freely into this country. The only reason
guns arent brought into the US that way is the profit margin isnt
high enough... but if demand increases, watch out. (Not to mention the
burden increase on law enforcement... have fun trying to trace a gun that
was made in a foreign country and never legally imported into the US).

-Mike
 
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Yeah, and he could also buy a dozen guns from a dozen different FFLs using
readily availiable fake identification or a stolen identity. (and pass NICS
quite readily each time.) So please enlighten me as to how forcing
everyone through NICS (or some other background check) dramatically
improves the overall situation? (And FWIW, some of these stories
mentioned recently here have involved FFLs and fake identification, so obviously the
NICS system had very little bearing on what transpired. )...

-Mike

Doesn't MIRCS help here with the fingerprint ability?
 

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MIRCS will indeed help here in ~6 years when everyone has the new LTC. Mine (2/2005 effective date) was still the old style . . . until 2011.
 

drgrant

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Doesn't MIRCS help here with the fingerprint ability?

Well, I kind of covered that point above. Even if states have "fully
vetted" retarded levels of gun control, they still cannot stop criminals
from getting firearms with these measures. Suffocating accessiblity on
the front end will only create a black market, as it's done in the past
for other things that have such a demand.

-Biometrics cannot stop what the state considers a non criminal from
strawing guns to someone who is. (EG, girlfriend of criminal gets cajoled
into getting LTC, ends up supplying criminal and his buddies with guns), even
though she is breaking the law, all the electronics in the world won't stop
her accomplishing that. Last I knew MIRCS couldnt tell if someone was
about to commit a criminal act or not before they bought a gun.

-Black Market for firearms will be increased. Worst case, they'll start
importing them, if the demand is high eneough where they can get enough
cash to justify doing so.

-Guns can still be stolen from someone who bought them legitimately, this
happens all the time in many states. You know how many "my car got
broken into my gun got stolen" posts there are on various gun boards? If
theres a lot on the internet, then it happens a lot in general.

-Natural disasters will cause guns to end up on the street. Katrina is a
shining example of this. Hundreds if not thousands of guns were probably
"set loose" as a result of the looting, and many of those guns will be
essentially untraceable. A lot of good NICS did in that case.
 

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For get about "statistics" for a minute. Let's pretend that the numbers actually mean something. If BATFE ever ran a trace on one of my guns, there's a better than even chance that that it would show up as from California. So what exactly does that tell anyone? Did some gun runner bring it here from California? Since I don't believe in selling, I wouldn't qualify for that distinction. Is is possible that some people have moved to Massachusetts, bringing their guns with them from Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Georgia, wherever? Of course things like "reality", "truth", "intellectual honesty", and those pesky "facts" never seem to enter into the argument.

Ken
 
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The point..............

Yeah, and he could also buy a dozen guns from a dozen different FFLs using
readily availiable fake identification or a stolen identity. (and pass NICS
quite readily each time.) So please enlighten me as to how forcing
everyone through NICS (or some other background check) dramatically
improves the overall situation? (And FWIW, some of these stories
mentioned recently here have involved FFLs and fake identification, so obviously the
NICS system had very little bearing on what transpired. )

Frankly I think any laws regulating the purchase/sale of guns are pretty
much rediculous. I could fathom laws saying that you can't knowingly
sell a gun to a -known- violent criminal or a minor, but anything beyond that
is absurd. (And frankly, anyone who we know has a tendency to misuse a firearm
shouldnt be allowed to roam around in public, anyways...)

The other problem I have with gun laws is we lead dangerous
double standards with this stuff. In the US it's perfectly fine to sell an
automobile or a truck to a terrorist, but somehow guns are
"special"? If BG checks are good with guns, then anyone buying anything
that can potentially kill another person should require a background
check. If you think that BG checks on guns are a good idea, then we
should make people fill out 4473s when they buy gasoline in small
containers, propane canisters, or knives which aren't plastic, amongst
other things. [rolleyes] I think you can even rent moving vans
without a background check, and we all know what the terorrists like
to do with those. All vehicles larger than a self powered bicycle or
skateboard should require a 4473. [rolleyes]


At best, most gun control is a half-assed attempt at trying
to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, and at worst, which it always
is, it's just another device for the government to use in stomping on your
civil rights.

In order for what you're suggesting, to even have a chance to possibly
work, gun laws would have to be tightened considerably. All transfers
would be pushed through an FFL. All gun buyers and sellers would have
biometric security type IDs, linked into a large database, and all transferred
guns would be registered. Then even after all of that, criminals will still
be freely buying and selling guns on the street, because they don't
really obey the law to begin with, and the thought has never crossed
their mind. Not to mention none of these laws also prevent anyones
"highly regulated to death" firearm from being stolen. Increased gun
control may even motivate criminals to seek out weapons through means
they ordinarily may not have used, such as theft. Then theres the
whole illegal importation thing, that I discussed earlier. Make "domestically
legal" guns near unobtainium, and guess what happens.... some cheap
pistols start coming in along with the crates of drugs from south
america that seem to flow freely into this country. The only reason
guns arent brought into the US that way is the profit margin isnt
high enough... but if demand increases, watch out. (Not to mention the
burden increase on law enforcement... have fun trying to trace a gun that
was made in a foreign country and never legally imported into the US).

-Mike
I was making is in a private sale a citizen has no duty to even check the driver's license, or do a background check. Of course a terrorist with fake ID'S could buy a cache of guns from a dozen FFL dealers, but they are REQUIRED to do a background check, so the ID'S would HAVE to be fake. In a private sale it makes no difference, because no check of any kind is required. Theoretically, an escaped convict COULD buy a firearm in a private sale as long as has a driver's license, even though it has been revoked. He could also have a Pistol/Revolver license that has been revoked. If no check, who's to know? Believe me, I'm not in favor of increased regulations. I just see the problem.
 
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