It took a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter seven minutes to purchase an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, the same “weapon of war” used on Sunday to kill 49 people in Orlando and tens of others in San Bernardino, California, Aurora, Colorado, and Newtown, Connecticut.
When the paper’s columnist Helen Ubiñas drove to the gun shop in Philadelphia, she wrote that she attempted to come up with a convincing explanation for why she would want superfluously deadly machine. It turns out, she didn’t need one—it was on display in the window as the gun of the week. After confirming she had ID and was a U.S. citizen, the salesman said, “Bingo. All we have to do is fill paperwork out.”
I felt a little squeamish about not telling him who I was and what I was trying to do, but this wasn’t about them; they weren’t doing anything illegal. The truth is that I could have bought the gun as easily in any gun shop in Pennsylvania. I just didn’t realize how easily.
Go to a licensed gun store. Fill out about a page and a half of forms. Wait (if that’s really the right word for it) for an instant background check, and then pay the man. I told the guy I was on a budget, so I got an AR-15 for $759.99. God bless America.
No need for a concealed carry permit. No mandatory training, though the guys did give me a coupon for a free day pass for a local gun range. No need for even a moment to at least consider how gross all of this felt as relatives of the dead were still being notified.
After buying the gun, she immediately drove to a police station to turn it in, where she was met with confusion about what she was trying to do. Ultimately, it took longer to hand the weapon over to the police than it did to purchase it.
Read the full column here.
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