One of the many ways gun control activists try to limit law-abiding gun owners’ ability to legally purchase firearms: gun store demonization. Just as Democrats have convinced many of their followers that Republicans are greedy white racists who should be shunned, the antis want the public to view gun dealers as merchants of death. To that end, the Civilian Disarmament Industrial Complex wants to create federal legislation to mandate the Gun Dealer Code of Conduct concocted by The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Only now they’re calling it . . .
the Good Neighbor Gun Dealer Act. The Act requires the government to recognize gun dealers who meet some gun control activist-defined criteria by awarding official, federal “Good Neighbor” certification. What could possibly go wrong? Let’s back-up for a second . . .
Uncle Sam created the Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) system to regulate gun sales. Businesses with a Federal Firearms License are subject to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive’s (ATF) rules and guidelines. The ATF is empowered to enforce these regs either by imposing fines or revoking licenses. The ATF’s regulations are subject to public review. The enforcement process is relatively fair and open process.
A group of Democrats (like Robin Kelley D-IL, pictured above) don’t like the idea of fair and open regulation. What they really like to see: a series of increasingly restrictive regulations designed to make buying and owning guns as difficult and onerous as possible. So, rather than re-working the existing system, they’ve designed this “Good Neighbor” scheme to allow them to dictate these restrictions and certify gun dealers – without any oversight – and shame those who don’t comply.
The Attorney General (in their scheme) would have unlimited power to dictate the terms of that certification without any industry input or other checks and balances. I repeat, under this proposed law, the Attorney General could decide which gun stores meet the “Good Neighbor” test and which don’t – and no one could stop her.
This proposed regulatory autocracy is OK because it’s “voluntary.” Gun dealers don’t have to participate if they don’t want to. But you can see where it’s going. Groups like Moms Demand Action would have a field day picketing and protesting in front of “bad apple” gun stores – just as the hapless Brady Campaign has done.
The Act also empowers the AG to publish “firearms trace data” – information on the origin of a gun identified as a “crime gun.” That provision would apply to all gun dealers, regardless whether or not they’re participating in the Good Neighbor program, regardless of any other variables. ‘Cause good neighbors don’t wear scarlet letters, right?
There’s no actual benefit to the public for a gun store in having a voluntary “Good Neighbor” certification. Any improvement to the existing FFL system can be implemented through existing mechanisms. The only reason why the Good Neighbor Gun Dealer program would exist: to create a back door method to impose increasingly oppressive regulations by regulatory fiat on law-abiding businesses without the ability to contest the changes.
Luckily, there’s almost no chance of this happening. We’re heading into an election year. No one on the anti-2A side really wants to piss-off gun owners enough to get even more of them to the polls. But make no mistake, this is the shape of things to come – if the gun control activists get their way.