Books and Glocks

So the President made yet another inflammatory statement recently regarding the ease of getting guns in the United States: “We flood communities with so many guns that it is easier for a teenager to buy a Glock than get his hands on a computer or even a book.” Even Politifact declared that statement to be “Mostly False“.

And I agree with that conclusion.

In terms of legal ability, it is certainly easier to buy a book than a Glock. Right now I can go online and purchase a Glock pistol and a copy of Barack Obama’s book. The difference, though, is I can have Obama’s book shipped right to my door. I can’t do that with a Glock pistol. Books you can have shipped anywhere. Guns? Not legally, at least.

But there’s an underlying question to the President’s blanket statement: are there places in our society where a teenager can more easily get their hands on a gun than a book? Unfortunately yes. It’d be naive to say otherwise.

And we’re talking about places where lawlessness prevails, where standing laws are not only ignored by the community, but sparsely enforced by the police and local governments. We’re talking about places where crimes are largely not investigated and arrests are infrequent. Where crime is rampant. Where young black men especially are at highest risk of dying young.

It is already against Federal law for a person under 21 to possess a pistol, and for a person under 18 to possess a long gun — you’re not seeing much of those on the streets though. And it’s against the law for someone without a tax stamp to possess an NFA firearm, and against the law for any member of a “prohibited class” to possess any firearm.

But when the laws either are not being enforced or cannot be enforced, lawlessness will prevail. So yes there are areas of the country where guns are easier to find than books, easier to get than books. At the same time, though, these are likely places where the people would rather have guns than books. And that is what needs to be addressed.

And there are organizations trying to address that concern.