A robber shoots a young woman in a hold-up, and the gun got to him through a straw purchase (The Blacklist, Season 7, E 15, April 17, 2020). The shooting is particularly tragic because the young woman has literally just learned that she has gotten admitted to the college of her dreams.
This episode of The Blacklist, which was the most watched TV show during the 8 PM time slot on Friday with 4.83 million viewers, focuses on this handgun being “the gun of choice for violent young criminals” because it is the “cheapest 9mm on the market. . . . it is a readily available affordable weapon for street-level criminals.” The evil gun maker is trying to “flood high crime neighborhoods with cheap guns.” When the news media blames the gun maker for the young woman’s death, they think that the solution to their PR problem is to wrap themselves in the 2nd Amendment and put out a press release saying that they are going to give another $250,000 to the NRA. The FBI starts to investigate what they call a “classic straw purchaser,” and they even have the gun maker recorded as being warned that there is a straw purchase occurring, but he demands that it proceed.
The episode abounds with cliches about the evilness of gun makers. Poor people, particularly poor minorities, who are the most likely victims of violent crime, also benefit from being able to purchase relatively inexpensive guns. Poor blacks are the most likely victims of violent crime, and they benefit the most from having the option to be able to protect themselves and their families. As far as flooding high crime neighborhoods with cheap guns, where do people think that the demand for poor law-abiding citizens to have guns for protection is going to be highest? In poor, high crime neighborhoods, so who is going to be hurt the most if it is illegal to sell guns in those areas. If you ban the sale of guns in an area, who is most likely to obey the law? Presumably, most law-abiding citizens will be the ones who obey the law.
Besides, drug gangs, which are responsible for a large percentage of murders in these high crime urban areas where gangs fight against each other to control drug sales, are not the type who will try to buy the least expensive guns.
The show has an FBI agent (Donald Ressler played by Diego Klattenhoff), who claims to be and NRA member, talking about the purpose of the 2nd Amendment being to protect a “well regulated militia.” People can judge for themselves whether gun dealers knowingly sell large number of guns to straw purchasers. We also can’t find any press releases where a gun maker tries to curry favorable press coverage by announcing a large gift to the NRA. If someone knows of even one such case, we would be very interested in learning about it.
The evil gun maker does reference some arguments that have been made by Dr. John Lott, such as whether gun makers are any more responsible for the crimes committed with their guns than car companies are for crimes committed with their cars.
“Every product has illegitimate uses. Once legitimate products get assailed because they have a well-know downside, its hard to see where the process will stop.”