Joe Biden
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
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By Emily Taylor

Recently, President Biden announced his new strategy to combat the rise of gun violence in the United States. This plan seeks to make federal funds available to local law enforcement, school programs, and programs designed to help former prisoners reintegrate into their communities after serving their sentences.

The plan also “implements preventative measures that are proven to reduce violent crime, and attacks the root causes—including by addressing the flow of firearms used to commit crimes” and indicates that the government intends to “[s]tem the flow of firearms used to commit violence, including by holding rogue firearms dealers accountable for violating federal laws.”

This begs the question: If “rogue firearms dealers” are such a nationwide issue as to warrant being mentioned in the administration’s new strategy to reduce gun violence, why weren’t they already being held accountable?

Biden’s Plan Ignores the Numbers

During his speech, President Biden made the statement that “90% of illegal guns found at crime scenes were sold by 5% of gun dealers.” According to a U.S. Department of Justice special report released in 2019, only 8.2% of all state and federal prisoners purchased guns from a licensed firearm dealer at a retail source; 1.2% purchased them from private sellers; and 89.9% did not purchase or trade guns at a retail source at all.

criminals felons with guns source
Courtesy US Department of Justice

Using the U.S. Department of Justice’s own data, we can see that the vast majority of criminals are not getting their guns from dealers. Keep in mind, these are just the numbers of guns that end up in the possession of criminals, not the numbers of guns that are used in actual crimes. If we dig deeper into that same data, it shows us that only 1.3% of the guns used during the commission of a crime were obtained from a retail source.

Remember, these are the government’s own numbers. While it is certainly possible that the discrepancy between President Biden’s statement and the Department of Justice’s numbers is simply the result of an honest mistake or lack of clarification on the part of the President, it is also possible that the President purposefully cited numbers from an over 20-year-old study that itself cautioned “traces to a dealer do not necessarily indicate illegal activity by the dealer or its employees,” simply to mislead the American public and bolster support for a plan that is ultimately unlikely to impact a criminal’s ability to obtain an illegal firearm.

No matter which reason you choose to believe, such discrepancies undermine the overall credibility of the argument being made.

Accountability

One of the major points of President Biden’s speech was “accountability.” In this instance, the focus is on holding “rogue firearms dealers” accountable for passing illegal guns that are presumably used by criminals to commit crimes.

A United States Government Accountability Office report dated September 2018 found that of the 25.6 million background checks processed through the NICS system in 2017, 181,000 were denied because the individuals attempting the purchases were prohibited from possessing a firearm under federal or state law. As of June 2018, only 12 out of the 181,000 denied by the NICS system were prosecuted by United States Attorney’s Offices.

Merrick garland attorney general
Attorney General Merrick Garland takes questions from reporters before attending a listening session on reducing gun violence at St. Agatha Catholic Church in Chicago. Garland traveled to Chicago to announce an initiative to crack down on violent crime and gun trafficking. The Justice Department’s 93 U.S. attorneys are likely to be central to that effort. (Samuel Corum/Pool via AP)

Put another way, just .007% of the people caught attempting to illegally purchase a gun in 2017 faced federal prosecution. The federal government’s failure to prosecute felons who attempted to purchase firearms was not mentioned in the President’s speech or in the comprehensive strategy that was released.

An Attack on Gun Owners?

Given the data that is currently available, it is difficult to see how the measures contained in the President’s strategy will have much, if any, impact on the overall rate of gun violence in this country. The dichotomy between what the data appears to show versus the message being relayed by certain political figures is a driving factor behind the opinion that law-abiding gun owners are unfairly targeted.

Some people found the tone and overall message of the speech particularly demeaning to gun owners, including attorney and gun rights activist Colion Noir, who was quoted saying:

It’s a very sad day in our country’s history when you have a president of the United States basically telling the American people that, ‘Hey, look, we’re the government, we can do anything that we want to you and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it.’ He’s not talking to us like a group of people. He’s talking to us like we’re an invading force. People don’t want these firearms so we can take over the government. We want these firearms so that we can protect ourselves.

This and other factors, such as the President’s nomination of gun control activist David Chipman to head the ATF, make it appear that despite the data, the President views law-abiding gun owners and legal guns as a significant part of the “problem.”

 

Emily Taylor is a partner with Walker & Taylor, PLLC

 

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30 COMMENTS

  1. Supported by data? The fascists want us disarmed. It’s easier to put us in cattle cars that way.

    As for biden. He doesn’t know any more than what his handlers order him to do. Most days he doesn’t even know that. Boil away all the other crimes the fascist left are guilty of and you still have elder abuse for what they’ve done to demented joe.

  2. Well gee Mr Prez, stopping the rogue gunm dealers would put Russia as #1 instead of the U. S. , but that’s your thing.
    From experience, I can say none of the firegunms of the “people” I used to know were bought through an FFL holder. All were stolen.

  3. RE: “During his speech, President Biden made the statement that “90% of illegal guns found at crime scenes were sold by 5% of gun dealers.”

    Well Jim Crow Crow Gun Control joe if you use a firearm to commit a felony you will not acquire another through a FFL. Or will any individual in their right mind put a firearm in the hands of an azzhat prone to misuse it. Doing things like that is along the lines of throwing your car keys to a drunk.
    In other words it takes a criminal to accommodate a criminal so you are once again talking out your lying drama queen behind. C’Mon Man…What do say we settle it behind the gym tough guy?

      • “Youd beat up Grandpa? Poor old guy,
        Wow your mean.”

        Some guys like them a little on the *mean* side :

        “She might get out a nightstick,
        And hurt me real, real, bad.
        By the roadside, in a ditch.
        It’s got me under pressure…”

        R.I.P., Dusty Hill… 🙁

        • Great song. ZZ Top is the best. 😀

          But dammit, not Dusty, too… 🙁

          I had a hell of a lot of fun playing those ZZ Top songs back in the day. They had some great ones to learn on; simple enough for a relative beginner to follow along with, but when you get your chops and come back to them, and especially if you’re playing them live, you realize there’s a big difference between following along and playing those songs *well.* And Dusty also had a way of making tricky little licks and difficult timing seem deceptively easy. There were a few of their songs I never did get a handle on.

    • Doncha know? Granpa Joe said in one of his speeches he beat up a thug called “Corn Dog” with a length of chain. Granpa Joe is America’s Vladimir Putin!

  4. Did the Boogie men hiding under every bed in the United States armed with an weapon of war get that weapon of war from a ‘Rogue’ Firearms Dealer? This BS is so thick it can be used to make chitt sandwiches.

  5. Biden is a Democrat with advanced dementia. In other words, he doesn’t have a clue what he’s lying about.

  6. If they actually have hard evidence of “rogue” gun dealers then they need to just shut them down. There is no point in public proclamations. If they don’t have such evidence then they need to shut up and move on.

    This is the crap that makes everyone’s life so stressful.

  7. The given stats don’t address straw purchases that are later sold on the street. Are there dealers that are purposely not running checks? I doubt it, unless they are very dumb and want to get caught. Their ledger would either not match their inventory, or they would show sales without checks. Either gets their licenses pulled and possible jail time. There’s more likely some dealers who have been compromised and are turning a blind eye to straw purchases, but they can’t be huge contributors to the illegal gun pool. As a seller, a standard straw purchase is hard to prove unless you see one person telling another person what to buy and giving them the money. It’s not unusual for an experienced friend to accompany a new gun buyer to a store and give them advice. A good seller might be able to spot something out of the ordinary, but an experienced crew will give the buyers a shopping list and money ahead of time and have them go in solo. In the end, “rogue dealers” are something flashy to talk about that won’t result in a crime drop, convictions, or pulled licenses. It’s just an excuse so they don’t have to say the spike is coming from Dems’ policies of race baiting and defunding police that have reduced the morale and ranks of police officers that were fighting crime.

    • “The given stats don’t address straw purchases that are later sold on the street.”

      Actually, they probably do. That’s how you get the “rogue” 5%, is when they’re able to trace an illegally possessed firearm to its original purchaser. Except that they’re not rogue, they’re just doing business in areas where straw purchasing is prevalent.

      As you noted, all any dealer can really do to prevent guns from going to people who are prohibited is to run the background check; if it’s clean, the sale goes through. There’s no way to know whether any given buyer is going to hand off that purchase to some criminal on purpose, and no way to stop it.

      Which is also why all that piffle about universal background checks is so frustrating. There’s NOTHING that can force the already criminal-minded to quit handing guns off to each other in private. It makes no difference to them at all. In the end, all “gun control” really does is put law-abiding people in a vise and crank it tighter and tighter.

  8. If the past year and a half has taught us anything, it is that data (and “science”)only matters (and only gets publicized) when it can be used as a justification for the government to do whatever it wanted to do anyway the whole time.

    This is not about truth. It’s about power (and, sometimes, money).

    All the available data seems to support this conclusion. It’s just not a question most people seem to like to ask.

  9. “Biden’s Push Against ‘Rogue’ Firearms Dealers Isn’t Supported by the Government’s Own Data”

    But, if the campaign shuts down only one rogue dealer, it is worth it.

  10. ROGUE , ROGUE 1 , STAR WAR THING , RIGHT ?

    O GO ROGUE IT UP YOUR ‘ WHERE THA SUN DON’T SHINE .

    RIOTERS SHOVE THEM UP THERE ALL SO .

  11. Sad to note, but Mr. Biden never told the truth about crime, criminals and firearms as a member of The Senate, and as president, no changes are in view. As for the current Attorney General, and those who preceded him in that office, have any of them ever fully utilized existing federal law in combating armed crime and armed criminals? Sadly none have really utilized existing law to combat armed crime and criminals. Seems like the current AG will not be an improvement.

    • As political appointees, U.S. Attorney Generals tend to spend their time and resources protecting their “Appointer” (President) from the mud, shyte and criminal actions that aggregate around Presidents.

      The current A.G. has his hands full protecting the Harris/Biden Administration from their many faux pas and patently illegal acts. He has no time or resources left to actually combat organized crime, cartels, street gangs, AntiFa terrorists, etc.

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