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HOUSTON — Convicted murderers were well aware of gun laws they used to commit their crimes but still had no problem getting their hands on weapons, according to a survey of Texas inmates by a Houston television station.
KTRK in Houston sent surveys to every prisoner in Harris County who used a gun to kill someone since 2014.
Incredibly, 63 percent of the guns were stolen, 25 percent were bought illegally off the street, and 13 percent were bought in stores. Ninety percent of those who had a gun were legally prohibited from buying one.
“The convicted killers … were all well aware of the gun laws,” the ABC 13 report found. “Many were previously convicted and knew they wouldn’t pass federally mandated background checks. Others suggested they would never put a family member in a position to buy a gun for them since the penalty for that so-called ‘straw purchase’ is severe.”
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Tod Oberg, a reporter at ABC 13, interviewed some of the prisoners in-person.
“I can buy a gun today,” said Rodney Rachal, who is serving a life sentence for murder.
“How fast?” Oberg asked.
“As fast as I can follow the traffic to the drug dealers, they’ll have some for sale,” Rachal said.
Prisoner Cedric Jones said he regrets his crime – and says the only thing that could have saved him was a job. He sold drugs to make money for his family
“By me having felonies, it’s hard getting a job,” Jones, who was a convict at age 19, told the TV station. “I did try to get a job a couple of times. I tried to go to school for fixing motorcycles because I had felonies. So, what am I supposed to do? Let my kids starve?”
If he had had a regular 9-to-5 job, Jones said, his life “would be completely different.”
“I would love to have a job,” he said. “… I probably wouldn’t be in jail. Having a job would have changed it a lot.”
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