The NRA has lots of fans in Congress and — if you believe this letter to the Hartford Courant — it has a least one fan in a federal Supermax prison:
As a lifelong career criminal, although I no longer enjoy the right to keep and bear arms, I’d like to take a moment to express my appreciation to the National Rifle Association for nonetheless protecting my ability to easily obtain them through its opposition to universal background checks.
Upon release in a few years from my current federal sentence on bank robbery and weapons charges, I fully anticipate being able to stop at a gun show on my way home to Connecticut — where new laws have made it nearly impossible for a felon to readily purchase guns or ammunition — in order to buy some with which to resume my criminal activities.
And so, a heartfelt thank you to the NRA and all those members of Congress voting with them. I, along with tens of thousands of other criminals, couldn’t do what we do without you.
Gary W. Bornman,
The writer is an inmate at the federal “Supermax” prison in Florence, Colo.
We can tell you that there is a Gary W. Bornman who is currently incarcerated at The United States Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum Facility in Fremont County, Colorado.
The NRA argument against comprehensive background checks is that criminals will always get their guns illegally. The Daily Beast‘s Matthew Parker argues that that is easier said than done:
I’m a convicted felon who lives in the Bronx. Despite the nonviolent nature of my crimes—my convictions range from counterfeiting to felony shoplifting to possession of narcotics and drug paraphernalia—I cannot legally purchase a firearm. But given my somewhat shady past (not to mention the Bronx being the Bronx), I’m fairly certain that I could find a shady character close to home who will sell me a gun illegally—with three caveats: I’d risk being sent back to prison if caught, I would be putting my life in danger, and the price of weapons bought in such deals can be in excess of five times their retail cost. To put this in perspective, the assault weapon that Adam Lanza used to murder 20 children and six adults in Newtown, Connecticut, last December, which has a retail value of between $1,000 and $2,000, could cost between $5,000 and $10,000 on the streets.
My point is that purchasing firearms illegally should be an ordeal, and that effective background checks would be the first step in making it so. But what’s also pertinent is that Lanza was not a shady character with a long criminal history, and so would have had no experience moving in illicit circles. Background checks may have forced him to do so—to risk being arrested, robbed, or even killed in some dark alley for the substantial sum he’d have needed in order to buy a gun illegally.
So making guns available without background checks does seem to make life easier for criminals.
AP Photo/Steve Ueckert