In December, former Cornell student Aaron Reynolds ’19 pled guilty to illegally purchasing a firearm in 2017. The weapon was bought for Maximilien Reynolds ’19, a friend of Aaron’s who is serving time in prison for stockpiling unregistered weapons.
Last week, Cornell narrowly escaped becoming the latest entry in a list on which no school wants to appear. After a timely tip from Walmart, Ithaca police and the FBI were able to seize weapons, ammunition, and explosive materials from a former student’s Collegetown apartment, according to court documents unsealed Friday. Cornell is lucky, but that a very flawed system worked this one time is not a consolation, nor should it be used as evidence that America’s gun problem is anything less than incredibly dire. It is not right for a 20-year-old to be able to obtain an assault rifle, significant amounts of ammunition, tactical gear and bomb-making materials — all of which amount to what IPD called a “specific recipe for large scale destruction.” It is not right that the only thing illegal about Reynolds’ possession of that rifle was that he obtained it through a so-called “straw purchase,” wherein he paid another man to buy it for him. We must consider whether anyone, regardless of method of purchase, should be able to hoard such weapons.