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Monday, October 22, 2012

It Could've Happened Here: Wisconsin Shooter Exploited "Gun Show Loophole" to Buy Weapon the Day Before His Rampage

Posted by on Mon, Oct 22, 2012 at 4:19 PM

Radcliffe Haughton, who shot seven woman Sunday at a suburban Wisconsin day spa, killing three including his wife before turning the gun on himself, had a history of violent, abusive behavior, and was under a court order to surrender any guns. But that didn't stop him from buying one:

Radcliffe Haughton appeared in court Thursday, when a judge issued a four-year restraining order and told him to turn in all firearms to a county sheriff. It's not clear whether he turned in any weapons.

He bought the .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun used in the shootings on Saturday, Brown Deer police said in a statement.

People who buy handguns from gun dealers must wait 48 hours after they have cleared a background check from the Department of Justice to pick up their firearm. There is no such waiting period or background check required in Wisconsin for people who purchase handguns from private individuals, which police say Radcliffe Haughton did.

That is what is known as the "gun show loophole," regardless of whether the sale takes place at a gun show or in a private home. And it is a loophole that exists in Washington State the same way it exists in Wisconsin.

Other states have closed this loophole, requiring background checks on all gun sales, even those between individuals. Washington has not. Which means this tragedy could just as easily have happened here as in Wisconsin.

That tragedies like this happen cannot be disputed. Whether it will take a tragedy like this to happen here before our legislators finally act, remains to be seen.

 

Comments (18) RSS

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Urgutha Forka 1
Ah, another gun post, just what we needed!

Gentlemen start your anecdote engines!!!
Posted by Urgutha Forka on October 22, 2012 at 4:33 PM · Report this
2
That is MUCH better than your previous link, Goldy.
Good job.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on October 22, 2012 at 4:35 PM · Report this
Gurldoggie 3
Never mind "could've." This has happened here, and will again. All you need is one violent prick able to exploit a bullshit statewide law? Do the math - it's only a matter of time. And I predict that even when it does happen our legislators will have zero guts to do anything about it.
Posted by Gurldoggie http://gurldogg.blogspot.com on October 22, 2012 at 4:38 PM · Report this
sperifera 4
I predict 5280 will tell Goldy he is wrong on this one. You just watch.
Posted by sperifera on October 22, 2012 at 4:42 PM · Report this
5
Godly, keep posting the gun stories, even if they rip you up. We need to drive the message that guns are made to kill - not cut up your steack or drive you to the mall - and that if we don't bother about who gets them, these tragedies will happen. Right now, the NRA is controlling the messaging, so these stories are more important than ever. Maybe someday people will stop blabbing reflexively about stupid metaphors and realize that we have a gun crisis.
Posted by floater on October 22, 2012 at 4:56 PM · Report this
evilvolus 6
I really wish people would stop calling it the Gun Show Loophole. It's a Private Seller Loophole. Most of the folks selling guns at gun shows are professional dealers who perform all the appropriate background checks.

Don't worry about the Gun Shows, folks. Worry about the Automobile Trunk Shows.
Posted by evilvolus on October 22, 2012 at 5:00 PM · Report this
laterite 7
Call it the "Craigslist Loophole". Bonus is that the phrase can be applied to many transactions aside from gun sales.
Posted by laterite on October 22, 2012 at 5:02 PM · Report this
originalcinner 8
Who cares what the loophole is called. Loopholes are loopholes and they kill people.
Posted by originalcinner on October 22, 2012 at 5:06 PM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 9
@4: Nope. But he is.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on October 22, 2012 at 5:26 PM · Report this
10
So, a mentally unstable individual broke the law and bought a gun he used to break the law and kill people. And somehow it's the gun's fault.

Look, I'm all for closing loopholes, immediate background checks, a national database for gun owners and criminal files, etc. Lots of gun owners are. But you're not going to stop bad people from doing bad things, any more than you can stop them mixing fertilizer and diesel fuel.

You don't have the right to ban me from using guns. Sorry, but you don't. You can froth at the mouth over it if you like, just as I do for all the incredibly bad drivers who still get licenses, but it won't do you any good. If you could lay off the rhetoric, maybe try to have a reasonable discussion, come up with a feasible plan you might get somewhere. But that doesn't have the nice, refreshing taste of self-righteousness, does it?

30,000 gun deaths per year, 12,000 of them murders. 50,000,000 registered gun owners. Over 200,000,000 legally owned weapons in the country. Meaning that by even the most generous estimate 0.025% of legal gun owners are involved in a homicide, using 0.006% of those legally owned weapons. And you know as well as I do a significant portion of that gun violence is committed by people who are not legal gun owners. And yet it's the few outliers you focus on, because the truth of the matter is you don't have the slightest idea what to do with all the illegal guns in this country, and legal gun owners make a convenient target for your indignant wrath. Because you like to think of gun owners as ignorant rednecks and violence-obsessed yokels. In other words, you're just as full of it as every bigot equating blackness with criminality, every prude equating sex with sin, every politician equating drug use with drug dealing.

You still don't care of course, Goldy, because what could gun owners possibly know? They're not you. They've got loud, obnoxious, scary people different than you on their side, and you can't stand that. For the record, I don't like a lot of fun owners either. I think every moron who strokes his gun and clasps it to him and thinks the 2nd Amendment is the end all argument needs to get laid a lot more. A lot of gun owners ARE ignorant rednecks. A lot of us aren't, though. But we're all the same to you, aren't we?

It doesn't really matter, though, because as I said you have no plan, no feasible idea what to do about the problem of gun violence. Trying to get rid of legal gun ownership is destined to fail. Illegal guns will continue to pour through the borders or be stolen from legal gun owners. And people will continue to die. That's okay, though. Every time one does, you get to feel justified in your close-mindedness again. And really, isn't that better than actually trying to do something about it? It sure is.
More...
Posted by NateMan on October 22, 2012 at 7:33 PM · Report this
Goldy 11
@10 Blah, blah, blah. I'm talking about closing the gun show loophole here—requiring background checks on ALL gun sales, even private ones—not banning you from using a gun.

So the bulk of your comment is just blah, blah, blah.
Posted by Goldy on October 22, 2012 at 7:46 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 12
Yes, we should make it illegal to sell guns without first performing a background check. That will put an end to that.

While we're at it, let's also make it illegal to shoot people with guns. That would put an end to that too.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on October 22, 2012 at 9:15 PM · Report this
venomlash 13
@12: trololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololo
Posted by venomlash on October 22, 2012 at 9:19 PM · Report this
Free Lunch 14
@12 - If Haughton had bought the gun illegally, would the seller be seen as an accessory to the crime in some way?

I have no idea how the law works in that regard, but if that WERE the case, closing the loophole would stop a lot of these sales.
Posted by Free Lunch on October 22, 2012 at 9:30 PM · Report this
15
@14, the seller wouldn't be an accessory; the seller would be fully breaking the law, because the seller would have sold the gun without ensuring that the buyer had a legal permit. Just as hock shops that buy stolen stuff from fences are breaking the law.
Posted by sarah70 on October 22, 2012 at 11:10 PM · Report this
17
@16 has a good point, how would you enforce it? You could go after the seller AFTER a crime has been committed, but how would you enforce it in a way that prevented crime?
Posted by Westside forever on October 23, 2012 at 9:16 AM · Report this
18
@10, You seem to be saying that since we can't stop all violence we shouldn't stop any violence. How about we look at this and see that he took advantage of a loophole in the law to get his hands on a gun and killed people. Maybe we should close that loophole. That would have prevented him from purchasing a gun legally.

Now, maybe he would have found some gang member who sells guns illegally but most people don't know illegal arms dealers. Maybe he would have broken into a home and stolen a gun but most homes don't have guns in them and those that do are fairly risky to rob. So, why wouldn't we close a loophole (whatever you want to call that loophole) that makes it easy for someone like this to buy a gun?

BTW, I know you gun nuts just love dragging out the "fertilizer bomb" example but if you remember after the Oklahoma City bombing we passed a number of national laws tracking those fertilizer purchases and making it more difficult for criminals to get their hands on it. Since then how many buildings have been blown up with fertilizer bombs?

Nobody here has suggested banning you from using guns. Even most of those who would like to eliminate all guns know that's not realistic. What we're talking about are some relatively minor changes to gun laws that will not stop legal users from getting them but will make it more difficult for criminals to get them.
Posted by Root on October 24, 2012 at 9:37 AM · Report this
19
@17,
The same way we enforce a variety of laws. How do they enforce drug laws? Send out cops to buy illegally and catch them, arrest people who have purchased illegally and track to the source, intelligence gathering to find out who's selling. There are a ton of ways that they've already developed for enforcing other laws that could be applied to this one. It won't catch everyone but it will catch enough to make people think twice before breaking the law.
Posted by Root on October 24, 2012 at 9:44 AM · Report this

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