If you want the same kind of rifle used in mass shootings in California, Colorado, Newtown and elsewhere, you can get one from a private seller in Florida without so much as showing your driver’s license.
But walk into Walter Philbrick’s 911 Store in Hollywood, and you’ll have to undergo a background check before walking out with the $1,000 AR-15-style rifle he is selling.
That’s because Philbrick is a licensed federal firearms dealer.
And he says all firearms buyers should undergo background checks, which are supposed to weed out felons, some people with mental illness and others with disqualifying histories.
“You can go to a gun show right now and people walk around with these guns strapped to their back - for sale - meet him in the parking lot, give him $1,000 cash and you got the gun,” Philbrick said, describing the so-called “gun show loophole.”
The rifles used in many mass killings are modeled after the AR-15.
“High velocity, high impact. It’s what you would use to kill somebody,” Philbrick said.
The NRA says they are the most popular long-arm in the United States.
President Obama – as he has after other mass killings – Thursday implored that we can “take basic steps that would make it harder, not impossible, but harder for individuals to get access to weapons.”
But Philbrick doesn’t think tougher gun control laws will make society safer.
“I say it wouldn’t help at all because bad guys carry guns anyway because they commit crimes,” he said.
California, for instance, has one of the nations’ toughest gun control laws, including an assault weapons ban that makes some AR-15 style weapons illegal to possess or sell.
Authorities have not yet said whether the California killers’ weapons were illegal under California law, but they said they were purchased legally years earlier by someone other than the killers. How they wound up with the hands of Syed Farook and his wife is not known.
The two handguns used were purchased by Farook, who was able to pass a background check because he had no criminal record or other disqualifying incidents in his background.