I can't wait until the day when we no longer have to think about Richard Poplawski. But as we pass through one of the worst weeks in city history, it might be worth searching for whatever small blessing we can find, no matter how little comfort it brings.
Here's the best I can do: As horrific as the Stanton Heights shooting was ... it could have been even worse.
I first reported on Monday that Poplawski was apparently a member of an online forum hosted by the Pa. Firearm Owners Assocation. (The Tribune-Review confirmed it the next day.) But it took a friend to notice this post, which Poplawski seems to have made on the forum in mid-Februrary:
A group of friends and I are considering purchasing a lot of military surplus rifles from an online retailer. We obviously need to have them shipped to a FFL.
[Ed's note: An "FFL" is a federally licensed firearm dealer; the law requires that people who buy guns over the internet must complete the sale through a licensed dealer, to make sure the transaction is legal.]
The problem so far is that the local shops want to charge us 35-40 dollars per each to transfer them. This is stopping the group buy in its tracks as nobody wants to pay 40 dollars each on a rifle thats worth less than $100.
We are hoping we can find a FFL that can offer us a fair price on the transfer of the entire lot (probably 6-10 rifles) or a lower 'per each' price.
Think about that for a minute. This post went up two months ago. Weeks before three officers were gunned down at Poplawski's home, the alleged shooter may have been trying to buy "a lot of military surplus rifles" for himself and "[a] group of friends."
If you think gun regulations are just a bunch of red tape ...
... that there are too many laws already...
... that none of these laws are really effective at keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people ...
just consider what might have happened, had a group of "friends" not been stopped in their tracks by a $40 charge.