The Sandy Hook massacre, which occurred on December 12, 2012, brought about the emergence of a national, grass-roots movement to reduce gun violence. Gun-control groups and activities sprang up in state after state, national organizations like Everytown and MOMS got to work on a full-time basis, and the strength and impact of the pro-gun lobby (read: NRA) was challenged and on occasion overcome for the very first time.

            There’s only one little problem, however, with this positive turn of events, namely, both the number and rate of fatal shootings keeps going up. Here’s how it looks:


            Let me put it this way. If I hired someone to run my company and these were how the numbers looked after eight years, my manager would have to make a pretty good argument to convince me to keep him around.

            Now I don’t own any of the gun-control organizations, but I give several of them more than a thousand bucks each year and I’ve been giving them this money for a number of years. Am I getting any kind of decent return for my bucks? I’m not sure.

            Yesterday I received a letter from Brady, which I one of the gun-control groups I support. They asked me to make a donation to a program called Not Above the Law, which will “hold negligent gun dealers accountable” for the flow of ‘crime guns.’

            The Brady letter states that 90% of all crime guns come from 5% of the federally licensed gun dealers, and Brady’s Gun Store Transparency Project shows which dealers are following all the required laws and which dealers are not. By collaborating with ‘activists, residents and violence interrupters,’ Brady will “promote comprehensive solutions that will save lives.”

            Fine. Good. Just what we need. Comprehensive solutions to gun violence.

            Earlier in this column I said that when it comes to gun violence, there’s one little problem. Actually, there’s another little problem too. And the second little problem is that we have absolutely no idea how guns which can only be sold for the first time to someone who passes a background check then end up being used to commit a violent crime.

            Brady claims that 5% of the gun dealers are somehow furnishing most, or nearly all the crime guns. But is just so happens that somewhere between 5% and 10% of all licensed dealers happen to sell somewhere between 80% and 90% of all guns thar are first shipped by gun factories to wholesalers, who then ship the newly manufactured guns to retailers who then sell every, single one of these guns to customers who first pass a background check.

            The gun business happens to be the last retail consumer niche where consumer demand is not met by chain or big-box stores. For reasons of licensing, as well as safety concerns, the gun business is still a two-tier business, i.e., factory to wholesale to retail.

            This is particularly true when it comes to handguns and you’ll find that many sporting goods chains, like Dick’s and Wal Mart stock plenty of long guns, but won’t touch the little ones. And it’s the little guns which are the crime guns.

            Are there gun dealers who flout the laws? Of course. There are also Wall Street guys who don’t follow the rules laid down by the SEC. But believe it or not, a gun dealer who has a good-sized store and sells, say, 30 or 40 guns a week, is going to be a lot more careful than the guy who sells maybe one gun every third day. Meanwhile, it’s the big store whose guns show up at crime scenes for the simple reason that the owner of that store has no control over what happens to the guns he sells after those guns leave his shop.

            I am prepared to send Brady a big check if they would stop fooling around with this transparency nonsense and fund a research project that would explain how legally purchased guns wind up being used in violent crimes.

            If Brady’s interested in supporting this research, they can tell me how much the research would cost, and I’ll set up a GoFundMe so that we can all get involved.