So the on-again, off-again, on-again long gun registry is off-again. And this time it looks officially official. And the official making the announcement is not the man in charge (hint: the guy above). It’s Meg Reilly, a spokeswoman for Office of Management and Budget (OMB). According to msnbc.com, Ms. Reilly’s department reached the surprising conclusion that the ATF’s “emergency” regulation requiring some 8500 border-sniffing American gun dealers to report purchases of more than two mag-fed rifles at a time wasn’t based on an emergency. “Lawyers for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) concluded that the provision was really intended for natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, not for events such as drug violence south of the border.” So . . . the long gun registry is dead right? Wrong . . .
“We felt that it was important to move this notice of information collection through the standard review process to provide adequate time for the public to weigh in,” Ms. Reilly explains in an email to msnbc. “Our objective is to ensure that any information collection in this area is as informed and effective as possible – and public comment is critical to that outcome.”
Critical eh? Our sources reveal that emails of support for the ATF’s registry number in the single digits. All that oppose, including your humble correspondent, tot-up to the hundreds. But does that matter? This isn’t The People’s Choice Gun Regulations Awards Show. As I said earlier, you can’t kill the federal bureaucracy with a stick—although God knows I’d like to try.
Meanwhile, the ATF is responding to the simmering scandal known as Gunwalker with the usual FUD. kpbs.org gets straight from the horse’s, uh, mouth:
[Semi-Permanent Acting ATF Head Kenneth] Melson said a lack of agents means many investigative leads fall by the wayside. He said just 600 agents inspect the nation’s more than 120,000 guns shop and review everyone who applies for a firearms license.
“So, you can just see by the ratio, the numbers, that we’re not going to be able to do the job we should be doing,” he said.
The primary way smugglers run guns south, said Melson, continues to be through border crossings in private vehicles.
“There are thousands of guns going across the border. We’re not able to respond to every investigative lead that we have. So, like any agency, we could always use more help. But, we rely on the President to determine the appropriate amount we have,” Melson said.
ATF investigations are also hampered because gun shops don’t have to tell the authorities when someone buys multiple semi-automatic weapons.
Riiiight. The ATF doesn’t have enough agents but they’re hampered because they don’t have enough information to process.
More importantly, that “many investigative leads fall by the wayside” crack is extremely telling. To anyone familiar with Gunwalker scandal—wherein the ATF stands accused of allowing weapons fall into criminal hands—it sound like Melson’s building a foundation for an accidentally on purpose defense. Or, if you prefer, a Zevon (Poor Poor Pitiful Us).
And then there’s this “we got 10,000 guns” stat, which keeps cropping up in all ATF external comms. Well, in the reportage of unquestioning camp followers like fronterasdesk.org anyway . . .
About 55,000 guns found in Mexico were traced back to the United States between 2006 and 2010, according to Ken Melson, director of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). Melson said during the same time period, agents in the U.S. seized 10,000 guns headed for Mexico. That’s less than a fifth of the U.S. guns confiscated in Mexico.
Ten thousand? Two thousand a year? Actual guns? Let me put it this way . . .
Last week, I spoke to Rick Pauza, Spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (South Texas region). Pauza said that his section made three firearms seizures from October to November of last year. It confiscated 13 guns in October, 14 in October and 14 in November. Forty-one guns in all.
The ATF stands accused of enabling up to 3000 guns. If true, that would account for their 10,000 gun stat. Of course, critics have speculated that pumping-up confiscation stats was the main reason the ATF allowed the guns to get through to Mexican drug criminals in the first place. And now they’re using them to defend themselves? How messed-up is that?
Hey guys: show us the guns.