News and Commentary

Yes, The San Bernardino Suspects Got Guns Legally

The San Bernardino shooters used two AR-15s and two handguns, all of which were reportedly obtained legally.

Farook passed background checks, which buttresses the idea that background checks do a terrible job of keeping guns out of criminals’ hands.

In order to obtain an AR-15 in California, people must undergo “expanded background checks” as well as registration. There are some reports suggesting that Farook may have gotten the AR-15s from someone else.

National Review‘s Charles Cooke gave a brief overview of California’s gun control laws:

Reason magazine has a more comprehensive overview of California’s gun control laws, including:

  • You can’t have a gun if you have a committed a violent crime, ruled as insane, or “a mentally disordered sex offender.”
  • Prohibitions on gun ownership for committing various misdemeanors or put into a mental health facility
  • In order to get a handgun, people need to obtain a Handgun Safety Certificate , can only get one handgun every 30 days and only transport them if they’re unloaded.
  • Concealed carry licenses are incredibly hard to obtain and they’re banned on college campuses
  • Using a gun for self-defense is not legal if someone is attacking you with their fists, “unless the person being assaulted believes, and a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances would also believe, that the assault is likely to inflict great bodily injury.”

California’s gun laws are as strict as possible short of complete gun confiscation, which doesn’t work.

This hasn’t stopped the left from calling for more gun control. President Barack Obama has called for “a law to prevent individuals on the ‘No Fly List’ who are barred from boarding commercial flights from legally purchasing firearms.”

Farook passed background checks, which buttresses the idea that background checks do a terrible job of keeping guns out of criminals’ hands.

John Lott, president of the Crime Research Prevention Center, pointed out the problems with the “No Fly List” proposal:

While some people on “no-fly” lists are there because they are suspected of terrorist activity, you can also get added because you are a suspect in a criminal case, made controversial statements or tweets unrelated to terrorism, are the victim of a clerical error, or refused to become a government informant.

Not only do the terror watch and no-fly lists target many people who aren’t really threats, they stop a lot of people who aren’t even actually on the lists. The late Senator Ted Kennedy was stopped from flying five times because someone with a similar name was on the no-fly list. Other prominent individuals such as The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes have also run into this problem.

It’s hard to see how any new gun control law would have prevented this shooting from happening.

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