Gary W. Bornman, a felon being held in a federal “Supermax” prison in Colorado, penned an op-ed on Thursday thanking the National Rifle Association for killing a bipartisan gun bill to expand background checks earlier this year. Bornman, who is serving a 20-year sentence for bank robbery, wrote to the Hartford Courant explaining how easy it would be for him to get a gun even though he is legally banned from buying one:
As a lifelong career criminal, although I no longer enjoy the right to keep and bear arms, I’d like to take a moment to express my appreciation to the National Rifle Association for nonetheless protecting my ability to easily obtain them through its opposition to universal background checks.
Upon release in a few years from my current federal sentence on bank robbery and weapons charges, I fully anticipate being able to stop at a gun show on my way home to Connecticut — where new laws have made it nearly impossible for a felon to readily purchase guns or ammunition — in order to buy some with which to resume my criminal activities.
And so, a heartfelt thank you to the NRA and all those members of Congress voting with them. I, along with tens of thousands of other criminals, couldn’t do what we do without you.
Bornman racked up 81 convictions over his life, leading one judge to declare, “It does not appear you can be rehabilitated, nor does it appear you can be deterred.” Even after this grim pronouncement, Bornman is mostly right. Although he could not purchase a gun from a federally licensed gun dealer without undergoing a background check, he can easily avoid a background check by taking advantage of the many loopholes NRA-friendly lawmakers refuse to close — such as by purchasing a gun through a private seller at a gun show or online. As a result, many criminals, domestic violence offenders, and mentally ill people who are technically banned from buying or owning guns are able to get them without detection. Indeed, many infamous gunmen obtained their weapons because of the holes in the federal background check system.
Background checks are overwhelmingly popular with Americans all over the country, including gun owners and NRA members. Senators who voted against the proposal have seen their approval ratings plummet as a result.
During his last conviction, Bornman wrote another editorial denigrating the prison system’s refusal to give him mental health care, despite his multiple pleas for therapy. Bornman warned, “In all probability I’ll commit murder, perhaps even mass murder.”