Following the tragedy that occurred in Orlando, Florida when a mass shooter claimed 49 lives and wounded 53 others using a high-capacity firearm, the question of how mass murderers get ahold of these weapons continues to loom over the devastated country.
Philly.com reporter Helen Ubiñas took the initiative to find the answer to this question by going to a Philadelphia gun shop and discovering firsthand how easy the process is to legally purchase an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.
“The AR-15 is on display in the window of the gun shop. It is being promoted as the gun of the week,” Ubiñas wrote in her column. “'What will it take to buy one,' I ask the sales guy. Did I have identification? Yes. Was I a U.S. citizen? Yes. ‘Bingo,’ the friendly gun-shop sales guy said. ‘All we have to do is fill paperwork out.’ I’ve filled out more paperwork at the doctor’s office for a routine checkup than I did Monday afternoon.”
Ubiñas said the whole process took only seven minutes. She provided an I.D., filled out a form, and paid her $759.99; just like that, she became the owner of an assault rifle.
“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,” she wrote.
While Ubiñas admitted feeling “squeamish” for not being honest with the gun salesman about who she really was and what she was doing, she felt her overall mission was more important.
Ironically, after buying the gun and deciding to turn it into a local police station because she didn't want the disgusting thing, she learned that it takes much longer to turn in a gun than it takes to buy one. (Go figure!)
While Ubiñas' experiment only confirms what we already know which is that, it is entirely too easy to purchase a firearm in the United States, her detailed account of the smooth experience — even in the wake of a huge tragedy— speaks volumes.
The salesperson didn’t think twice about sending her off with a semi-automatic rifle, no questions asked, less than a day after a similar weapon was used to destroy so many lives.
Ubiñas included a profound statement in her column that boldly condemns the country’s lax gun purchasing process: “If it wasn't so appallingly easy to get a gun in this country, it wouldn't be easy for the next gunman to deliver the kind of carnage that's as much a part of this country as the American flag.”
Banner Photo Credit: Twitter @4danlopez