Earlier today, I cautioned readers that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive (and Really Big Fires) labels ANY GUN submitted by law enforcement for an ATF trace a “crime gun”—regardless of whether or not it’s been used in a crime. The recent media reports—specifically and egregiously The Washington Post’s series The Hidden Life of Guns—accepts and perpetuates this profoundly misleading definition. I forgot to mention that this is a new definition, a stark change from previous agency usage. Click here for the official ATF document on the subject from 1989. Here’s the money shot . . .
ATF emphasizes that the appearance of a Federal firearms licensee (FFL) or a first unlicensed purchaser of record in association with a crime gun [i.e. traced gun] or in association with multiple crime guns [i.e. traced guns] in no way suggests that either the FFL or the first purchaser has committed criminal acts. Rather, such information may provide a starting point for further and more detailed investigation.
And now gun dealers with more traces are now more guilty of corrupt sales. What’s that all about? Hint: the ATF’s fight for prestige, power, funding and survival.