Maybe The Law Should Be Stricter To Encourage Compliance And Effectively Penalize Straw Purchases
A local Texas CBS news station did an undercover sting in Texas gun stores. What they found was disturbing: some of the employees gave the undercover team advice about how to break the law.
It is illegal for people to purchase guns in order to later transfer those guns over to a known felon. These so-called straw purchases can land shoppers in big trouble, especially if the felon uses the firearm to commit a crime. In some states, straw purchasers are considered to be just as responsible as the person who committed the crime.
The CBS reporters tested the ethics of gun store employees by attempting to lure them into allowing a straw purchase. The reporters entered the stores in pairs. One of the reporters claimed that she might not be able to pass a background check, and asked if it was acceptable for the other person to buy the gun for her.
Fortunately, many of the store clerks flat-out refused. Several of them even explained that purchasing the gun for a known felon was illegal. One of the six clerks who rightly refused the purchase said, “No, we can’t do that. It’s considered a straw purchase.”
Other store clerks, however, didn’t pass the test. One clerk said, “If you wouldn’t have told me that [you’re a felon], maybe yeah.” The implication there is that the store doesn’t have a problem with straw purchases as long as everybody stays quiet. That clerk’s manager later approved of the purchase.
At least four other stores offered to sell the firearms. One said, “But [the ATF and the FBI] don’t really ‘check check’ that hard.” Another simply said, “Sure” to the proposition.
One of the biggest problems with straw purchases is that it creates a conflict of interest for gun distributors. The law states that it is illegal for them to make the sale, but at the end of the day gun stores don’t make any money by denying purchases.
The video demonstrates just how easy it is to make a straw purchase. If a criminal can’t make a purchase at one store, all he has to do is keep trying until he finds a clerk who’s interested in making a quick buck.
By Dabney Bailey, Wed, May 15, 2013