Helen Ubiñas, a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, was so horrified by the massacre in Orlando on the weekend and by America’s gun control laws, or lack thereof, that she decided to test the system on her own and see just what it takes to buy a weapon.
It took her seven minutes to walk into a gun shop and buy a gun. Seven minutes to buy a similar weapon, AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, that was used in the deadliest mass shooting in American history.
Not only did she buy a gun in under seven minutes, but she was also mortified to discover that the assault rifle she was about to buy, similar to the one used by Omar Saddiqui Mateen, was being promoted as “the gun of the week” and on display in the gun shop window.
A columnist goes to a gun shop to see how long it takes to buy an AR-15. Seven minutes. https://t.co/k13sJgb6VR
— Andrew Katz (@katz) June 14, 2016
She recounted her experience and the ease in which she was able to buy a gun just days after 49 innocent people lost their lives, and her experience was jarring.
“Seven minutes. From the moment I handed the salesperson my driver’s license to the moment I passed my background check… It’s obscene.” she wrote.
Ubiñas expected that she would be able to purchase a gun as she is an American citizen and does not have a criminal record, but then again, these are the same credentials that Mateen gave before he shot 49 people in Orlando, so she thought it would be a little harder than two main questions:
“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 buying a gun was as easy as going to the doctors. You walk in, fill out some paperwork, pay the man, and leave. All for less than $800.
“I told the guy I was on a budget, so I got an AR-15 for $759.99. God bless America,” Ubiñas wrote.
Despite there having been at least 1,000 mass shootings in the U.S. since Sandy Hook in 2012, guns are still easy to buy. In fact, it is easier to buy a gun than it is to hand one over to the police. After Ubiñas bought the weapon, this is exactly what she did. Unsure what to do with her new gun, she drove to the Philadelphia Police Department’s Sixth District and recounts the event.
“Spoiler alert: It takes longer [to hand over a gun] than it does to buy a gun.
“As an officer prepared the paperwork, I noticed a sign that hung on one of the walls.
“United We Stand, it read.
“My God, I thought, what a lie.
“While we’re mourning the dead, let us mourn the national loss of humanity that is to blame for this world we have created.
“And let us take more than seven minutes to do it.”
— igorvolsky (@igorvolsky) June 14, 2016
Helen Ubinas addresses more than just the issue of ease in buying a gun and acknowledges that the problem is also about homophobia, radicalism, and mental illness. But there is no doubt that all these issues are made worse when it only takes seven minutes to buy a gun. She also noted that it will take more than seven minutes to read out the names of those affected by the Orlando shooting.
“It likely will take more time than that during the forthcoming round of vigils to respectfully read the names of the more than 100 people who were killed or injured.
She said the whole experience left her feeling squeamish and wondering why she did not need training or a permit to carry a concealed weapon, especially when the relatives of the Orlando shooting victims were still being notified about the dead.
Orlando readies for a wave of funerals as families, friends bury their loved ones https://t.co/e9cPiqQNEQ
— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) June 16, 2016
[Photo by George Frey/Getty Images]