Unlike law-abiding citizens who obey gun purchasing laws, a gang of thieves went through great pains to do things the cheap, easy and dishonest way—infiltrating a UPS facility in an elaborate scheme to steal guns to sell on the criminal marketplace.
To get their hands on the large gun shipment, the thieves traveled from Texas in October 2017 to the parking area of a UPS facility in Springfield, Mo. The guns, awaiting cross-country shipment, were secured and awaited distribution to a Bass Pro Shops retail outlet.
The trucks containing the firearms shipment were parked in the UPS freight lot in a manner thought to discourage unauthorized access to the trucks' doors. The UPS trucks had been parked back-to-back, with their roll-up doors facing each other. However, the six crooks infiltrated the UPS facility, hot-wired trucks, and gained access to the vehicle doors to steal the guns.
The thieves netted 600 Beretta .380 caliber handguns and 54 12-gauge shotguns, subsequently sold to other criminals. Law enforcement officers apparently used cell-phone data among other evidence to link the men to the theft.
Recently, all six defendants faced a judge to be sentenced for their crimes after they all pled guilty to federal crimes. One 35-year-old man was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison. Three others also received seven-year sentences plus three to six months each. The remaining two defendants also discovered that crime does not pay. One defendant was handed a term of six years in federal prison without parole, while the other netted eight years and four months in federal prison without parole.
The U.S. Chief District judge, who passed sentences on some of the crooks, called the crimes “shocking” and “breathtaking,” according to a local news report. She also ordered the thieves to jointly pay $206,000 in restitution.
Meanwhile, the guns are still out there and available to a wide variety of sneaky and dishonest people who want to use them.
So far, only 73 of the stolen guns have since been recovered—from across several states and in other criminals’ hands. Attorneys say most of the stolen guns remain “in the stream of commerce” for criminals and will probably be used to commit violent crimes on the street. One gun, found in California, was discovered when police raided a marijuana dispensary.
Those who naively advocate passing harsher restrictions on gun sales as a Utopian method to stop gun crime are blind to the fact that criminals are deviants who disobey legal restrictions and steal rather than legally purchase guns from stores like responsible citizens.
Restricting legal gun purchases will inevitably punish law-keepers and reward law-breakers in our society. Before venting idealistic frustrations on honest gun owners, anti-gun radicals should take a closer look at some of the dishonest gun owners in society—and recognize that there is a great difference between citizens who obtain guns legally for honest purposes, and those who do not.