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ETpro's avatar

Did Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev buy their 9 mm Ruger legally?

Asked by ETpro (34216 points ) May 4th, 2013

The news media up to now has been unable to settle on a consistent story. Apparently reporters have just been guessing, or listening to authorities who were just guessing. The Tsarnaevs could not have legally bought a firearm in Massachusetts, a state with strict gun safety laws. Dzhokhar was too young, and Tamerlan did not have the required ID, nor was the weapon registered as required by Massachusetts law. Also, due to a domestic violence charge against him, he should have been unable to pass a criminal background check in his home state.

But it is a short drive to get to New Hampshire, where gun laws are next to nonexistent. We know the Boston Bombers drove to New Hampshire to buy the mortar style fireworks they disassembled to obtain the black powder for their bombs. Such fireworks can’t legally be sold in Massachusetts either. Tamerlan could have certainly legally purchased a firearm in New Hampshire even though he was on the terror watch list and had a history of criminal violence. How did he get the gun?

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21 Answers

woodcutter's avatar

Someone probably gave it to him. A drug connection maybe.

Mr_Paradox's avatar

I live in New Hampshire and own multiple firearms. Even traffic violations show up on those done through the federal background check system. Tamerlan could almost have never legally obtained a gun because of federal law. He most likely obtained it through either a friend or a “street” source.

ETpro's avatar

@Mr_Paradox That could be. Given it has the S/N filed off, he may have bought it from someone he met dealing drugs.

@Mr_Paradox There are no background checks at gun shows or parking lot sales between private parties outside same in New Hampshire.

woodcutter's avatar

@ETpro Very few under the table deals happen at gun shows in NH or other places. There is the ever present threat of under cover LE watching these go down. You roll the dice there.

ETpro's avatar

@woodcutter Only federally licensed firearm dealers are required to conduct criminal background checks at gun shows under New Hampshire law. Non licensed dealers can sell at shows with no such requirements. Parking lot sales between private parties are common place, but only actually legal when both persons are New Hampshire residents. Also, it Tsarnaev did buy the Ruger in New Hampshire, he committed a felony bringing it back into Massachusetts without the proper permits to do so, which he could not have qualified for it our system was working correctly. I am sure much mre is to follow as we actually get all the facts.

woodcutter's avatar

@ETpro What you have there is fact however, you tell me, what gun seller is going to want to risk selling to a prohibited person who is being watched by LE? It isn’t worth the hassle. Those guys we saw do it on CNN were not criminals. The sellers knew this. If methhead Mcdroopy pants approaches a private seller wanting to buy something there is a good chance they will hesitate, even if it is legal. Both sides end up loosing their stuff and possibly go to jail.

ETpro's avatar

@woodcutter Isn’t that putting the cart before the horse? If you don’t do any sort of background check, you have no way of knowing who is being watched by law enforcement, or who’s on the terrorist watch list. Private parties do not go to jail for selling because there is no law that says they can’t. Hell, they could deliberately arm everyone on the Terror Watch List in their state and unless authorities could prove they conspired to do so, they would have broken no law.

Mr_Paradox's avatar

@ETpro every single reputable gun show requires background checks, even though they are not required by law. Even if bought through a private dealer at the show.

dabbler's avatar

@Mr_Paradox Doesn’t that depend on the state laws? Seems like some gun shows have been in the news for having very little requirements for private sellers.
Also there is the parking-lot trade. Apparently guns bought by a private individual, with the buyer passing all required checks, in most states can be resold out in the parking lot with no oversight.

bkcunningham's avatar

What does it matter?

ETpro's avatar

@Mr_Paradox I watched an ABC investigative reporter go through a gun show and buy numerous semi-automatic assault rifles, ultra-high-capacity clips, and thousands of rounds of ammo, all with not a single background check. And that was all on the show floor, not out in the parking lot.

woodcutter's avatar

The number of criminals obtaining guns from gunshows are minimal to the point of being moot. If they are felons they will risk going to prison for just being there. It won’t matter if they get possession of a gun. They can’t even be near one. I wouldn’t want to be the guy trying to sell to one of these people. The gun in question is taken as evidence and you can kiss it goodbye. For gun owners that means something. Even if there are no charges brought against the seller. Would you feel ok about loosing a 1500 dollar AR to the cops?

ETpro's avatar

@woodcutter I’ll let this clip speak for the arguments against any effort to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, terrorists, the insane, and spousal abusers.

rooeytoo's avatar

There are shootings in Australia every day. There are gun shops in every city. What John Howard said was interesting, suicide by gun has decreased and homicide by gun has decreased since he had the big gun buy back, but does that mean suicide and homicide in general have decreased? I’m not sure if the decreases are relevant unless we know the whole story.

That said, I keep changing sides on this question. I don’t know what is going to make the problem disappear. I don’t think Australia is safe from mass shootings because of its gun legislation, I think it just hasn’t happened for a while. I think people who are hell bent on killing people will get a gun no matter how difficult. I know a lot of people I don’t consider stable who have guns. Also, what will happen when some immigrant in the USA wants to buy a gun but doesn’t have proper id, then the ACLU or someone will be screaming about the discrimination. Or if you can’t get the gun, you build a bomb, put it in your bookbag and sit it under a table in the school lunch room??? I don’t know the solution and I don’t know that the options on the table are going to make a difference.

bkcunningham's avatar

@rooeytoo, you should participate in this conversation.

rooeytoo's avatar

@bkcunningham I saw that question. The same people say the same things every time. The holier than thou types, tell how superior their countries are because they have different legislation. They seem to ignore what they hear in the news everyday because the shootings only involve one or two at a time or is the criminal element shooting at each other (when guns are outlawed, etc.). Really this subject rears its ugly head mostly when there is a mass shooting. But what the heck, I will copy and paste!

woodcutter's avatar

@ETpro Heh…well I’m going to have to shamefully admit to all the members here that my PC is an old second hand windows XP and it has a bad sound card so I’m told so….I cannot really watch vids or, that’s all I can do is watch. So now it’s out.;( I can either guess what that vid was all about or trust you will provide a transcript for same.
Not one person that I’m aware of ever has advocated for letting bad people have guns. If it can be done without harassing the people who are not inclined to bother people, I could get behind an idea. Guess what….even the civil liberties watchdog came out against the latest botched attempt at gun regulations. You have heard of ACLU? Yup totally not in favor of this bill. If they are speaking out against it you know there is a reason. This is an unlikely opponent of this to say the least. Also I would like everyone to take a deep breath and stop pretending we don’t already have background checks.

If there is one thing I have learned is to be very skeptical of foreigners’ opinions of our gun laws. There can often be no good coming of them. From my research, the strict gun laws from down under have hardly produced a gun-death free utopia. Seems all it has done, looking from a regular guy’s point of view is, that these laws have made ordinary people there disadvantaged and the same ol bad guys who were bad before the laws, even more bad after because who do they fear?....Not much. This is a bad situation, when bad guys are not afraid they are instead emboldened. This makes me worry for them. And I don’t like to worry….about shit like that.

ETpro's avatar

@woodcutter Despite your well articulated, and not unreasonable fears for our Aussie friends, the facts are that gun violence and gun suicides have steadily declined since the 1996 gun buyback and whereas they had a mass shooting almost ever year in the 17 years before that move, they have not had a single one in the same period since.

woodcutter's avatar

Well, of course mass shooting never happen, until they do. Trust, there is enough firepower in country down under for anyone with a gun(s) to do one. We should all know just because it’s been a while since somethings happened doesn’t mean it won’t. We all hope they wont.Thats all we can do is hope. No law will stop these ever. Your statement seems to corroborate what many of like minded folks have said. It’s the tragic news- worthy events that rile people enough to want to do something but when its a slow steady drip of the same…goes pretty much unnoticed. If some one is killed in Australia their loved ones will be just as infuriated as all the Newtown parents put together. It doesn’t make their loss less tragic. So gun murders continue there. Wonder how many Aussies wish they had something like we legally can own to stop someone. Somehow the comparisons with Australia and the US seem apples and oranges but maybe you can shed some light there. I don’t think they are as multi cultural as the US is. Being multicultural tends to have its drawbacks when these different walks are crammed into tight areas. Where most of theirs wide open space with fewer people. And lets not forget the newest justice Dept report showing violent crime here in the US declines yet again a few percentage points despite the fact Obama has helped sell more AR-15’s and AK-47 rifles/ standard capacity magazines/ ammo than any other president in our history. Gun ownership waaaaaay up to almost obscene levels and gun crime down even more. You need not be a statistician to see what is happening or…not happening. Don’t let rare lone wolf mass shootings corrupt your numbers man.

rooeytoo's avatar

I tried to make the point before that density of population has a definite effect on violence, gun and otherwise. I do think that is one reason why Australia is “less violent.” Australia is about the size of the USA but has a population of 22 million as opposed to 313 million In USA. It is very multicultural but once out of the few major cities, people are very spread out. And I agree with @woodcutter, it just hasn’t had its one crazy take out a group. There was a bombing here today. I keep saying that too, take away the guns and they build bombs!!!

woodcutter's avatar

Holy crap a bomb? See, the minds behind those are the same as people who open fire on unsuspecting people they have never seen before. There is definitely something wrong with these kinds of people and it is so easy to say we should put them all in prison if only we knew beforehand what they were up to. Its impossible to stop. Well, not entirely impossible as we have learned there were plenty of signals that these unsteady people were among us.

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