Kentucky boy buys & brings gun to "no-guns" high school; Media fret about where he met the seller

by Chad D. Baus

On Friday, October 11, a 15 year-old Kentucky boy brought a pistol to his high school. According to media reports, the boy never pulled the gun, but instead showed it to other students about two hours before Friday night's homecoming game. The boy's friends quickly informed their coaches and he surrendered the weapon and ammunition to school officials with no dispute.

Several days later, the local sheriff informed the media that the boy obtained the pistol from an Ohio man. From The Daily Independent, in an article misleadingly entitled "Gun brought to football game was purchased via Internet":

The youth charged with bringing a gun onto Greenup County High School grounds before a football game Friday bought the weapon from an Ohio man he contacted on the Internet, Greenup County Sheriff Keith Cooper said.

Cooper has interviewed the man, but on Monday afternoon was not sure whether he would face any charges.

The man contacted authorities after seeing a newspaper story Sunday, Cooper said. "He saw the story and had one of those 'oh s---' moments," he said.

Really? An 'oh s---' moment when he read about the boy taking the gun to school? That moment should have occurred far, far sooner.

Let's be clear about what has happened here. This man has admitted to committing several felonies by breaking several gun control laws. While the The Daily Independent saw fit to mention just one broken law - that it was illegal for the boy, who said he "just wanted to look cool," to bring the firearm to the school, here are a few other broken gun control laws they left out of their article:

It is illegal to sell or transfer a handgun to a minor.
It is illegal to sell a handgun across state lines.
It is illegal for a minor to be in possession of a handgun.

And yes, it is illegal for this boy to bring a handgun to a school zone.

Yet in a transparent effort to drum up support for proposals to mandate background checks on transactions between private individuals, or to ban the advertisement of guns online, the headline ("Gun brought to football game was purchased via Internet") and media focus are on the fact that the buyer and seller first made contact through the Internet.

The misleading headline creates an image of a boy ordering a gun online and having it shipped to his door step, no questions asked. But that isn't what happened. The seller had to have met the boy face to face, rather than shipping the gun, because shippers must deliver guns to Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs), who must then conduct a background check on the buyer before he takes possession of the gun. This boy and the seller had to physically meet somewhere to conduct the transaction - a practice that will be able to continue no matter how many gun control laws are passed.

The bottom line is this - despite all of gun control laws already in place, some numb-skull apparently decided to sell a handgun to a 15 year-old boy across state lines. He knew (or should have known by asking to see ID) the boy was under-age and not from Ohio. Given these facts, what difference does it make if the buyer and seller found one another on the Internet, at a gun show, at Grandma's house or on a street corner? Do the media really believe passing another law mandating that a background check be performed on transactions initiated on the Internet would have made a difference in this case? Do they honestly think this man, who admits to have broken so many other laws, would have taken his 15 year-old illegal buyer to get a background check done if such a law were in place?

Of course not.

The truth is, no matter what they claim, those who support mandating new gun control laws or background checks on sales initiated on the Internet are either grossly ignorant of what the law currently requires, or they know they aren't going to be able to stop illegal transfers and are simply using it as a smoke-screen while secretly looking to make it as difficult as possible for legal transfers of firearms.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.

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