An article in the publication In These Times describes a thriving illegal trade in which guns from Vermont are exchanged for heroin from New York state. The thrust of this piece is that although the gun laws in Vermont are frequently lauded and tied to the state’s low crime rates, there are victims of these laws—New York residents who are being flooded by illegal firearms.
There are major problems with this argument, however. First of all, straw purchases are liable to happen anywhere criminals are present—that’s why they’re called criminals. More importantly, why place the blame squarely on Vermont for not heavily regulating guns? Aren’t the restrictive laws in New York actually causing the demand for illegal firearms? With historical hindsight, we can recognize that Prohibition spurred the dangerous liquor bootlegging trade; why not apply that same reasoning to guns?