I may be wrong, but I believe the only consumer product which requires someone to become a federally-licensed dealer in order to sell that product is a product called a gun. In fact, getting licensed from the federal government to sell guns was the reason that the government enacted its second national gun law in 1938, the first gun law enacted in 1934 defined what kinds of guns could be bought and owned.

              The 1938 law required that anyone who wanted to sell guns in some kind of businesslike transaction had to pass a background check and had to keep some kind of record or document which contained the name and address of the customer who bought a gun. When the government then passed the 1968 gun law and designated the ATF to be the agency that would regulate the gun business, that law required the ATF to design the requisite forms that would be used to create documentary proof of purchase, sale and transfer of guns, documents which then were expanded and revised when the feds passed their last gun bill requiring background checks in 1994.

              In addition to requiring gun dealers to utilize certain forms to hold information about the movement of guns (A&D Book, Form 4473), the 1968 law also mandated that this information could be verified and validated by the ATF with a visit to each and every gun shop. What was left unchanged in the 1968 and 1994 gun laws, however, was a definition of the word ‘dealer’ which made the ATF’s mission and responsibilities rather vague.

              Was a gun dealer someone who sold one of his personally-owned guns to someone else? Was a dealer someone who had to do a background check on himself when he purchased a gun for personal use? Could a dealer stop buying or selling guns even if he wanted to renew his federal gun license?

              These questions weren’t answered in any of the federal gun bills enacted to date, and from the text of the bill which received enough votes today to prevent a filibuster and now moves forward to a Senate vote, the questions are still unanswered in the soon-to-be fifth federal gun law.

              This is not an unimportant issue, for the simple reason that nobody can manufacture and then sell any kind of gun to the public unless that gun is first shipped to a federally-licensed dealer whose license then allows him (or her) to transfer that product to a customer in a retail sale. And what we keep hearing from Gun-control Nation is that much of the behavior which produces 125,000 intentional deaths and injuries from guns each year occurs because too many federally-licensed dealers don’t operate in conformity with federal gun laws.

These ‘rogue’ dealers sell guns to individuals who can’t pass a background check, they don’t list every gun that come into their shop, they don’t manage their inventory properly and somehow guns wind up where they’re not supposed to wind up – in the ‘wrong’ hands.

The problem, however, is that if I walk into a gun shop this afternoon, buy a gun and then a day or a week later decide that I don’t particularly like the gun and sell it to someone else, even if I lose money, I have still met the legal requirements for being in the gun business, whether I know it or not. In fact, in my state if I sell more than four of my personally-owned guns in a year, even if each transfer takes place in a gun shop and a background check is performed, I am considered a gun dealer and must hold both a state and federal license to sell guns.

Under Obama, there was an effort to define un dealers by setting a minimum number of guns that said individual would sell over a calendar year. Like all the other Obama gun-control schemes, this one went nowhere fast.

A redefinition of gun dealer happens to be included in the new bill. Under current law, someone is defined as a gun dealer if he sells guns “with the principal objective of livelihood and profit.” Under the new law, the relevant phrase will read, “to predominantly earn a profit.”

What if I open a shop selling motorcycles and sell guns at a slight loss in order to bring customers to my shop to buy a bike? After all, bikers tend to be gun nuts, so wouldn’t they flock to Mike’s Biker Shop if they could also buy a gun at a cheap price?

I’m being a little silly here but just want to prove a point. And the point is that Congress has perhaps done us a great favor in funding expanded mental health programs through this gun bill. What they haven’t done is made any serious change in the regulations governing the sale and use of guns.

Oh well, oh well.