I got my start in the gun business in 1963 or 1964 when I spent a month working for my great-uncle in his junk yard and metal fabricating plant in North Carolina. His company was named the Imperial Metals Company, and he made a little, 22-caliber revolver which he sold to pawn shops for $25 and the pawn shops re-sold to customers for $40 or so.

              Every once in a while, one of Uncle Ben’s revolvers shows up on some website which sells guns, but even if the seller says the gun is ‘used,’ I can guarantee you that it has only been shot once.

              How do I know that? Because the gun was made so cheaply that it fell apart if you fired it twice.

              Uncle Ben’s gun was what we call a ‘Saturday Night Special,’ which is a thinly-veiled racist term applied to guns that were so cheap that they were bought and carried into Black-only honky-tonks on Saturday night and pulled out whenever some argument started up. 

              The 1968 federal gun law, a.k.a., GCA68, put Uncle Ben out of business, because the law set manufacturing standards for handguns to protect American gun makers from cheap guns coming in from overseas. The GCA68 also created our current regulatory system to keep guns out of the ‘wrong hands’ based on the activity and responsibility of the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms (and Explosives) agency, a.k.a., the ATF.

              The ATF’s regulatory activity consists of sending its agents around to inspect gun dealers and make sure that the federally-licensed dealers are following the rules on the transfer of guns to customers as defined by two federal laws: GCA68 and the Brady Bill of 1994. Both laws require a dealer to keep track of gun transfers to retail customers by filling out various paper forms for each transaction, which are then inspected for accuracy when the ATF agents carry out an inspection in a gun shop.

              Incidentally, for all the talk about how Gun-control Nation supports the Constitutional ‘right’ of Americans to own guns, as long as these guns are used in a ‘responsible’ and ‘safe’ way, I have never quite understood how a federal agency gets into the act of retail gun sales at all.

              Granted, I’m no Laurence Tribe when it comes to understanding the Constitution, but I always thought that the Constitution’s ‘commerce clause’ covered the sale and movement of goods over state lines (i.e., inter-state commerce) as opposed to the sale and transfer of goods between individuals who live in the same state (i.e., intra-state commerce). And since a gun dealer can only sell a retail gun to someone who lives in the same state where that dealer happens to be located, why is a federal agency like the ATF involved in regulating the gun business at all?

              Legal nuances aside, the ATF has just announced the revocation of a license to manufacture guns which is held by a company known as Jimenez Arms. This company makes a cheap pistol which keeps showing up in guns picked up by the cops, and apparently has frequently been used in crimes which occur in Kansas City, which sued Jimenez Arms in 2020 for creating a ‘public nuisance’ with their cheap guns. Between 2014 and 2018, the cops in Kansas City picked up 166 Jimenez Arms guns.

              What I want to know is this: How many guns manufactured by Glock did the Kansas City cops pick up between 2014 and 2018? How many guns did the cops in Kansas City pick up that were manufactured by Sig, or by Smith & Wesson, or by Kahr Arms? These companies don’t make cheap guns that retail for $150 bucks.  They make expensive guns that cost $500 or more. But it’s the guns made by Glock and Sig and S&W that are used in the nearly 250 gun homicides which occurred in Kansas City in 2021 alone. That’s not a public nuisance?

              If the government wants to shut down a gun maker based on how often that guy’s guns show up in crimes, going after an outfit like Jimenez Arms is chump change.

              Want to reduce gun violence in the United States? I’ll give you the names of at least a half-dozen gun-making companies that should be shut down today.