Gun control is a very controversial subject in the United States with the National Rifle Association (NRA) on one side and the Brady Act followers on the other. The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act is an act that instituted federal requirements on firearm purchasers in the United States. It was signed into law by then President Clinton on November 30, 1993, and went into effect on February 28, 1994. The Act was named after James Brady, who was shot by John Hinkley during an attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981.
Most guns used in the commission of a felony such as murder, robbery and assaults are either stolen or obtained from private owners for profit. This is the flaw in the Brady Act that specifically excludes a private sale. Firearms transfers by unlicensed private sellers that are “not engaged in the business” of dealing firearms are not subject to the Brady Act, but may be covered under other federal, state, and local restrictions. In the State of Florida, there are no local laws prohibiting the transfer, or sale, between private parties. In Florida, any person owning a handgun can sell it to another person without a background check or reporting it to the Federal Bureau of Alcohol and Firearms.
During the month of June 2012, three murders have occurred in Tallahassee with a firearm that was either stolen, or obtained through a private sale. The suspects involved were individuals with criminal records that had the Brady Act been adhered to would not be approved for a weapons transfer. Stolen guns are huge problem in the United States and no act of Congress can prevent them from being used in a crime. However, laws could be passed to punish legal gun owners for not properly securing their guns from theft and also for selling a handgun to persons without first obtaining an approved background check.
Every firearm legally sold in the United States can be traced to the store, pawn shop or Federal licensed dealer through the requirements of the Brady Act. The gun used in a crime has a serial number and through the records of National Crime Information Center (NCIC) can be traced to the initial purchaser, or owner, of the handgun. If this owner reported it stolen, there is a record of the report. The question is was the gun really stolen or sold to a person who could not pass the same requirements in the Brady Act. Here lies the problem in the United States. Criminals will pay up to four times the value of the gun to by-pass the requirements in the Brady Act.
Guns do kill people despite the belief that it is not the gun, but the person who uses it. It is also true what the NRA protests is that any gun control punishes the responsible gun owner and not the criminal who steals it and uses it in the commission of a criminal act. This was the same argument used prior to the now mandatory seatbelt and motorcycle helmet laws. Some control is necessary to ensure that handguns do not get into the hands of the documented criminal. Straw man. or third party selling or transfers must be monitored to ensure that the resale falls under the Brady Act and that any violation will be prosecuted. The police need to investigate all reported stolen handguns and charge the person for failure to secure and also failure to report stolen weapons. Guns in the hands of responsible owners do not kill people with the exception of it being involved in a dumb careless accident.