Last Sunday, Deputy Director Thomas E. Brandon appeared on CBS’ Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood. Mr. Brandon was the ATF official who oversaw the discipline or, more accurately, the complete lack of accountability for the ATF’s extra-legal anti-gun-running gun-running operation Fast and Furious. His role has been detailed in the americanthinker.com:
According to outgoing Director Jones’s sworn testimony of April 2, 2014 before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Mr. Brandon was the person who determined disciplinary punishments for all of the ATF personnel involved in Fast and Furious. Brandon was “the ultimate decision maker.” Director Jones confirmed that Thomas Brandon did not fire a single person for participation in Fast and Furious.
Here’s the testimony where Jones is forced to admit that no ATF personnel were fired over Fast and Furious, and that it was the Deputy Director who made those decisions. The Deputy Director at that time was Thomas E. Brandon. From Committee on Oversight and Government Reform 2 April, 2014
Chairman Issa. Director, I understand. I am only asking did you influence or have an input into that call of his not being fired, his continuing to draw a paycheck and eventually retire at his high pay as an SES?
Mr. Jones. I did not.
Chairman Issa. You did not. Did your number two have that influence?
Mr. Jones. The process involves the Bureau deciding official and the ultimate decision-maker is the Deputy Director with appeal to me should the employee not be satisfied.
Chairman Issa. But the employee was satisfied and number two made the call, is that fair to say for the public record?
Mr. Jones. That is fair to say.
Deputy Director Brandon has now debuted as the public face of the Obama administration’s push for “universal background checks.” From cbsnews.com:
Yet, Brandon says, not having the database hurts. Indeed, after the San Bernardino shootings, it took 12 hours to find out who owned the guns used in the attack. He says a computer database would have helped, and adds that not having one simply doesn’t make sense.
“There’s a lot of things that don’t make sense in this town, you know?” Brandon tells Schlesinger. “And, so, yeah, would it be efficient and effective? Absolutely. Would the taxpayers benefit with public safety? Absolutely. Are we allowed to do it? No.”
Setting aside the Constitution-related reasons why Brandon and his undisciplined ATF colleagues are prohibited from establishing a national gun registry (to call it by its real name), his statement raises a question: what’s the point of determining where the gun came from? Why is that information considered worthwhile?
Tracing a gun’s origin is an attempt to close the barn door after the horse has bolted. In theory, the ATF could use the information from a national gun registry to identify and eliminate the source of a “crime gun” and, again in theory, prevent further illegal sales.
In practice, we already have a national gun registry. All new firearms sales must go through a Federal Firearms Licensee (FLL). These licensed gun dealers are required to file an ATF form 4473 containing all the buyers’ information. When the ATF wants to trace the original owner of a “crime gun” they have a paper trail with which to do it.
In practice, the information is of little value. Last year, the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab study interviewed 99 inmates at the Cook County Jail to establish the source of their “crime guns.” As politifact.com reported, “of the 70 inmates who had possessed a firearm, only 2, or 2.9 percent, had bought it at a gun store.”
Brandon and his gun control allies want a “proper” national gun registry. A computerized system keeping track of all firearm sales and transfers. All legal firearms sales and transfers. Obviously, any such system won’t keep track of illegal sales. Which, at a stroke, reveals the inherent futility of “universal background checks.”
Before the Gun Control Act of 1968 was passed — a bill which specifically prohibits a national firearms registration system — President Johnson sought to do exactly that. The bill preceding the GCA 1968 legislation called for one. From Lyndon Johnson’s speech after the passage of GCA 1968 ucsb.edu:
Congress adopted most of our recommendations. But this bill–as big as this bill is–still falls short, because we just could not get the Congress to carry out the requests we made of them. I asked for the national registration of all guns and the licensing of those who carry those guns. For the fact of life is that there are over 160 million guns in this country–more firearms than families.
If guns are to be kept out of the hands of the criminal, out of the hands of the insane, and out of the hands of the irresponsible, then we just must have licensing. If the criminal with a gun is to be tracked down quickly, then we must have registration in this country.
The current tracing system was a political compromise to prevent “complete” registration. As tracing does not aid in crime prevention, why keep it?
Why not devote resources to keep guns out of the hands of specific individuals who have been shown to be irresponsible, rather than attempting to track all gun sales and all gun possession, 99.9 percent of which is harmless or beneficial?
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Gun Watch