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Trevor Brooks is a convicted murderer who served his time, and has founded a new program called Gun Bail. Its purpose is to reduce the supply of “illegal” firearms by allowing criminals to waive their bail amount in exchange for surrendering a gun.
Oh the irony…
As Mr. Brooks recalls the death of his friend during an altercation between himself and the friend, you catch a glimpse of his grief and sincere desire to make a difference. While I believe his intentions are good, the Gun Bail program is severely flawed.
Determining Bond Amounts
Our justice system determines bail amounts by categorizing the type of crime committed. The more offensive the crime, the larger the bail bond amount becomes. This isn’t done out of malice, but to compel the accused to appear at their trial.
For criminals who have a record, and will no doubt have a higher bail set, this is a golden opportunity. Rather than pay $50,000 bail, why not have it waived by paying $100 plus shipping to turn in a gun you can’t use right now anyway? The list of benefits for criminals to pursue this option grows longer.
Taking a look at Gun Bail’s FAQ section, it doesn’t take a genius to realize there are serious flaws. Under Gun Bail’s amnesty agreement, you can turn in a gun and it won’t be investigated for previous crimes, which means previous crimes with it are as good as nonexistent. The person turning in the gun can’t be charged, so you can even have your criminal buddies turn it in for you, with no penalty for helping!
A Question of Legality
While some states do not require any background check or formality when transporting or exchanging firearms between two parties within the same state, most cities where anti-gun laws are heaviest will be in areas where Gun Bail is primarily used. These will be cities such as Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago, Compton, Oakland, etc., where a required background check be conducted to transfer any surrendered firearms to Gun Bail, even if only temporarily.
There seems to be no indication Gun Bail has an FFL, which will land them in hot water. To make matters worse, Mr. Brooks is a felon and cannot legally touch, posses or knowingly be in the vicinity of guns. I’m fairly certain the ATF would frown on an organization, whose founder is a prohibited possessor, even temporarily possessing guns (Much less guns that have probably been used in a crime).
Still Not Fixing The Problem
Perhaps the biggest issue of all is this program does absolutely nothing to solve the problem. It may temporarily reduce the number of “illegal” guns on the street, but it neither diminishes the demand or the means of supply.
There will still be other yet-to-be-incarcerated criminals wanting guns they shouldn’t have, and it doesn’t identify the straw purchasers who look good on paper, but are arming violent criminals for their own profit. Only when the judicial system decides to seriously crack down on straw purchasers will we see a dramatic reduction in the number of “illegal” guns available for sale to criminals.
Until then, straw purchasers like Simone Mousheh will receive $679 in fines, 15 days community service and a year of probation, instead of up to $250,000 in fines and up to 10 years in prison.
Salvage or Scrap It?
Mr. Brooks makes a great emotional appeal for Gun Bail, but sifting emotion from facts reveals many alarming loopholes. Mr. Brooks may have his heart in the right place, but his naivete regarding black market arms is apparent. While the optimist in me would like to believe such a program could be salvaged and useful, the part of me that relies on the cold, hard facts knows it won’t work.
We don’t need to give criminals a way to make bail more easily. We need to solve the issue of activist judges who give out lax sentences for straw purchasers and violent offenders, while pointing the finger at the gun industry.
About the author:
Tyler Capobres has years of experience torture testing guns, knives and gear to their limit. If he’s not writing about gun projects, reviewing products or debating anti-gun zealots on Twitter, you’ll find him at the range. Owner of thegoodgun.com, a website dedicated to all gun and knife enthusiasts.