John buys a really nice Glock from a registered dealer, takes all the gun safety classes, keeps the gun locked up when he is not using it for target practice and has a great relationship at the range where he enjoys shooting. He takes the concealed carry class and starts to tote the gun with him.
For ten years, he never takes the gun into a church or business where carrying it would be illegal. He is what everyone knows to be a good citizen, doesn’t speed or even jay-walk. He pays his taxes on time and votes in every election.
The one day, he misses the brake pedal in his car and bumps into the truck ahead of him. He gets out of his car to check on the people in the other car. The driver of the other car jumps out, really teed off that John ruined his brand new F-150 and berates John. It is raining, so the cops do will not show up at a non-injury accident. The other guy starts to lose control some, slapping the hood of John’s Chrysler shouting that he will sue John into oblivion, refusing to provide any identification or proof of insurance and begins making demand of John. Get my truck towed here, get me a rental car. If I lose my job because of being late, there’s more for you.
And on and on and on and then something just snaps and John shoots the guy in the foot to shut him up.
1. Is John now a criminal?
2. Was he a criminal before?
3. It is said that when guns are illegal, only criminals will own guns. Which is/was John?
If we could predict who would become a criminal at the time a gun is sold, like in The Minority Report, this would be an easy thing to do. But we cannot, so we do the best we can. If we do it right, we do not sell weapons to those with criminal pasts or to those with mental instability (should politicians by the very nature of their profession fit this category?), but no matter what, we cannot know who will become a criminal.
This posting is not advocating no private ownership of guns; it is only a response to the mantra I hear all the time: criminals will always find a way to own a gun.
I do not pretend to have an absolute answer for this issue, but know that the mantra cited is not an answer either.