Monday, September 09, 2019

Midland/Odessa Murderer may have used Homemade Gun

The Midland/Odessa Murderer may have used a homemade gun. He was a prohibited possessor under federal law. This offers one explanation for his firing at police officers during the traffic stop. As a prohibited possessor, in possession of a rifle, he would be subject to years in jail. 

The Wall Street Journal reports that authorities are investigating a person who may have made the rifle and sold it to the murderer. If the person knew the murderer was prohibited from owning firearms, the sale would be illegal. From the
Law-enforcement officials said they have identified a person of interest they suspect of illegally manufacturing and selling the rifle used in Saturday’s mass shooting in West Texas.
Fox news reports the murderer had been ruled mentally unfit to possess a firearm. from
The gunman who killed 7 and injured at least 22 others in a West Texas shooting rampage on Labor Day weekend before he was shot and killed by police was federally banned from owning or buying firearms after a court previously ruled he was mentally unfit to do so, authorities said.
The murderer applied to purchase a gun. He was denied.
"The background check was run through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The NIC system did work. He applied to get a gun. He was denied a gun," John Wester, a special agent for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said at a press conference Monday, according to ABC News.
No one followed up to arrest him for illegally attempting to purchase a gun. This is what happens in nearly all denials of gun sales. It is impossible to follow up all denials, because the many of them are false positives: they prevent people who are legally allowed to have guns from exercising their Second Amendment rights. Many others are simple mistakes, cases where the person has no idea they were a prohibited possessor. If all denials were followed up, the cost in manpower and time would be enormous. It is almost never done

It has always been legal for people to make their own guns. If they are going to make guns for sale, they are required to have a federal license and to put serial numbers on the guns. 

If the firearm used by the murderer in Texas was privately made, it was probably made legally.

If the maker sold it to someone he knew was prohibited from possessing a gun, the sale would be illegal.

It is unknown if the seller knew if the murderer was prohibited from owning a gun. The federal government prohibits private parties from using the NICS system to determine if a person is prohibited or not.

A better solution than NICS would be for the federal government to make available, on the Internet, and by other means, a data base containing all people known to be prohibited from owning guns. All gun sellers could access it to determine if a sale would be legal. The system could then issue a unique identifying number which would be a defense that the seller had checked to see if the sale was legal or not.

No information about the firearm would be needed or kept. This type of system has been proposed for a number of years. Alan Korwin refers to it as BIDS, or Blind Identification Database System.

The BIDS system would allow people to check if a person is legally allowed to possess or buy guns. It is relatively unintrusive. It would allow appeals for  people who believe they are wrongly included on the data base. It would cost far less to maintain and run than the current NICS system.

It is unlikely to pass, because it moves power away from the federal government. It moves money away from the federal government. It eliminates the possibility to turn NICS checks into a registration system.

If the firearm used by the murderer was a homemade gun, it shows most of the federal licensing and tracking system is worthless. The cat is out of the bag, the horse fled the barn, and the milk spilled, for 400 years.

People have been making and using their own guns for the entire period.

U.S. Citizens have always been able to make and use their own guns. California passed a law requiring homemade guns to have state issued serial numbers, starting in 2019. The law is almost certainly unconstitutional.

The entire idea of serial numbers is of severely limited utility. Tracing guns does not aid in solving crimes.  A few guns are returned to people they were stolen from each year. Other than that, virtually no crimes are solved by gun traces.

The current gun trace system, which started with the infamous Gun Control Act of 1968, was a compromise because Congress refused to pass a national registration system. It has been illegal to create a national registration system for decades. Lyndon Johnson wanted one. He did not get it. Instead, he got the useless compromise of the tracing system.

It is time to reform NICS, and switch to BIDS. It will cost less money,  be more effective, and will reduce government control over our lives.

©2019 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch 


ScienceABC123 said...

I wonder what law the pro-gun control crowd will propose to stop a felon, who knows he can't legally buy a gun, from making his own gun, which I believe is already illegal?

Anonymous said...

Bear attack in AK.

Also covered in Anchorage Daily News.

30yearProf said...

No one followed up to arrest him for illegally attempting to purchase a gun.

CORRECT. The purpose of the system is undercut if you punish those who HONESTLY COMPLETE THE FORMS and voluntarily SUBMIT to the NICS check. Such a policy may catch a few but it will drive thousands of other uncertain buyers into the Black Market. The idea is to stop SALES not to punish those who try to comply.

I know of instances where a 50 year-old secondary file finds its way into the NICS data bank. The client was 17 at the time (and was told "everything would be OK" if he signed the paper and he walked out that afternoon), the records at the alleged convicting Court were shredded in the 1980s, no cop, judge, or prosecutor from then is still alive, and the person has been cleared by NICS many times before. Was he ACTUALLY convicted of a disqualifying crime? No one knows. Things are worse re mental health because diagnostic standards have tightened up so much since the 1950s and the same recordkeeping problems exist here too.

Anonymous said...

Paranoia is a mental disorder. Who runs wants and warrants on everyone they know? My ex wife had several mental disorders and refused to take her medications. Have you ever lived with a person that has multiple personality disorder, You never know who you are talking to. Some times she was GI Jane, military trained and a good shot. she had too many problems to tolerate. If her lips were moving she was lying. Figure out what personality she was in and you might figure out the lies. Her father has a very large gun collection. I hear she is on Husband number 12 in the 19 years we have been divorced.

Anonymous said...

Actually you can make your own guns legally you just cant sell them if you do not have a manufacturers license. I recently purchased a lathe unit. I can make any thing I want to with the tools and equipment I have.