As we’ve reported, the civilian disarmament industrial complex is preparing to mount a major assault on gun dealers. Sorry “bad apple” gun dealers. This on the heels of the recently introduced Gun Dealer Accountability Act, a piece of legislation that defines “bad apple gun dealers” as “federal firearms licensees who have transferred a firearm unlawfully or had 10 or more crime guns traced back to them in the preceding 2 years.” As you may have guessed, the “unlawfully” bit would make what’s already a crime more criminal. As for the “10 or more crime guns” stipulation, that’s self-evident, isn’t it? Not really . . .
The Act defines “crime guns” as “guns used in crimes.” In practice, the ATF defines any illegally possessed firearm as a gun used in a crime (illegal possession). If the ATF or other law enforcement agency recovers a stolen gun – even without a criminal attached – it’s a crime gun (theft). If the police bust someone with ten illegally obtained or possessed guns, all of them are counted individually as “crime guns.” There is no time limit on recovery time; a “crime gun” could be a firearm stolen decades earlier.
Bottom line: many if not most if not all gun stores will fall afoul of the “10 or more crime guns” caveat simply by force of numbers. If a gun store sells a thousand guns in a year, the police would only have to trace one percent of “crime guns” to the dealer to green light the ATF’s “extra” attention. [Note: my relatively small Austin gun dealer – Sportsman’s Finest – sells over a thousand guns a year.]
The ATF would be able to subject these “bad apple” gun dealers to “temporarily greater scrutiny.” Strangely, the Act fails to define “temporarily.” So we’re talking an indeterminate number of unannounced inspections at the gun stores under review, including a physical inventory of the dealer’s firearms, for an indeterminate amount of time.
Notice I used an example of a gun store selling a thousand guns in one year where law enforcement classifies one percent of guns sold as “crime guns.” If a gun store sold two thousand guns in two years – the period specified by the Act – they’d have the ATF up their you-know-what if one half of one-percent of their sales were classified as “crime guns.”
What are the odds? No odds. It’s a certainty. Which is, of course, the idea: hassling gun dealers out of existence.
The Act is highly discriminatory. If a legal business – any legal business – sells a legal product legally, why should they be held accountable for a legal purchaser’s illegal use of their legally purchased product? Would the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles swoop down on a car dealer if ten drivers used the dealer’s car while driving drunk (a crime) over two years of sales? Would a stolen car be considered a “crime car”?
How can anyone justify this inherently discriminatory legislation? trblive.com has the answer:
PA State Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery County, welcomed the bill and said more scrutiny is needed.
He has led several efforts in Pennsylvania to reduce gun violence. If 10 crime guns have been traced to a single dealer within two years, that’s “more than bad luck,” he said.
“These are people who at the very least should be looked into further,” Leach said. “Straw purchasers are responsible for much of the slaughter we see on our streets.”
Gun dealers are the people who need more scrutiny? How about looking into the straw purchasers? Speaking of which, how many times do law enforcement agencies follow-up on buyers who lie on the FBI background check form (a crime)? politifact.com tells us that “of 80,000 people who were denied a firearm in 2012 due to a failed background check, only 44 were prosecuted.” Not all successfully, either.
There is but one silver lining: Congress has kept the ATF’s budget from expanding. Although Congress blessed the ATF with $1.18b for its annual operating expenses (2014), it employs “just” 780 industry operations investigators. There are approximately 140,000 licensed gun dealers in the US. In short, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives doesn’t have nearly enough manpower to enforce the Act.
The Republican-led Congress is unlikely to increase the ATF’s funding or let the Act pass out of committee. But its introduction and promotion shows you the level to which the anti-gun rights movement will stoop to disarm and destroy Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. In case you didn’t know.