“Florida has more gun manufacturers than any other state except Texas,” naplesnews.com reports, “after a surge of nearly 350 percent in licenses for gun makers fueled by the nation’s growing demand for firearms.” And this is a problem because . . .
The increase in gun manufacturing licenses since 2009 has strained the resources of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — the federal law enforcement agency that monitors the nation’s gun sales and distribution. As the number of licenses to make firearms grew nationally by nearly 250 percent from 3,040 licenses in 2009 to 10,503 last year, the number of special agents watching manufacturers has increased only 30 percent, from 623 in 2009 to 811 in 2015.
And this is a problem because . . .
The spike in the number of gun makers in Florida and elsewhere piles more work on the agency and leaves many manufacturers unchecked for years by federal agents who try to ensure firearms are documented and made properly.
“I hate to say this, but they’ve adopted a sort of triage method that goes after the bigger gun dealers — the guys out there who may be more likely to get in trouble,” retired ATF special agent David Chipman said. “They’re not going to pay attention to those smaller guys making a handful of guns here and there.”
“Pay attention” in what sense? Wait for evidence of criminal behavior then investigate or descend on a gunmaker like the proverbial plague to make sure they’re not engaging in criminal behavior? Your guess is as good as mine.
In California, which has the nation’s third-most firearm manufacturing licenses at 526, enthusiasts find parts with ease, turning production of high-power rifles into social events. That trend is eroding the control the ATF had on the gun manufacturing industry, said Adam Winkler, a constitutional law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and author of the book “Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America.”
“You have clubs out here that get together to have AR-15 building parties — that’s how easy it is to find parts these days,” Winkler said. “You no longer have to be an ironsmith to put these guns together.”
Wait. Are journalist Arek Sarkissian and go-to anti-gun guy Adam Winkler suggesting that “build parties” for “high-powered” rifles at a licensed manufacturer’s digs are illegal? Some kind of conspiracy to end-run federal regulations? Yes, that’s what they’re suggesting. Are these activities illegal? Part of a conspiracy? No they are not.
So what of 3D-printed guns, or the fact that it’s easy enough to make a gun, period? Apparently, that’s what really worries the ATF.
The old days of machining gun parts like a receiver or a trigger group in an industrial warehouse have given way to more portable technology that is easy to use.
“And that’s where the ATF will get into trouble when it becomes easy enough to make those weapons that anyone can do it,” Vizzard said.
Silver Beard Firearms of Tallahassee owner Charles Bisbee said he makes only high-end AR-15 rifles that shoot long distances and usually cost $3,400. His guns are meant to perform in the sport of long-distance shooting, but there isn’t much of a market compared to the rapid-fire assault rifles everyone wants, Bisbee said.
“Everyone wants that gun that sprays bullets, but do you really need those? Will you really use that in the real world?” Bisbee said. “The good thing about what I do is I get to choose who I sell to.”
Bullets aren’t what’s being sprayed here.