Everytown Takes on the ATF and Gets It Wrong.


              When the Pandemic began its relentless spread in 2020-21, there was also a serious uptick in shootings. Of course, everyone knew ‘for a fact’ that the two trends were in some way or another related. 

              And the assumption that there was a link between Covid-19 and gun violence was obvious: more and more people were buying guns.

              Now the fact that there was never one, single study which attempted to figure out the provenance of all those guns that were used in shootings during the months when the Pandemic raged, didn’t in any way make any of the experts mention the possibility that maybe, just maybe we were looking at coincidence without any connection between illness and gun violence based on cause.

              That was then, this is now. And now we find that even as the Pandemic appears to be fading, gun violence, particularly multiple shootings in the same place at the same time seem to be going along at full speed.

              So now who do we blame? We get the answer from the people who do research for Everytown, and have just published their findings right here. And what they have found, or at least they believe they have found, is that the nonending cycle of gun violence can be connected to what goes on inside the retail stores where guns are sold.

              Everytown sums it up like this: “Dealers play an important role in stopping the flow of guns from legal to illegal markets. Understanding who is licensed to manufacture and sell guns is vital to ensuring licensed gun dealers play their part in building safe communities.”

              That’s all fine and well except for one little thing, which is nowhere in this entire article do we learn the connection between all those gun dealers and all the guns which wind up being used improperly or illegally in the street. Since every gun first moves into the hands of someone who can pass a background check, obviously something is going on inside those 78,000-gun shops which is making it easier for the ‘bad guys’ to get their hands on guns.

              In fact, there aren’t 78,000 locations which are selling guns. The federal firearms license simply allows the license-holder to receive guns from other federal licensees. In order to resell those guns to any Tom, Dick or Harry who wants to buy a gun, the federal dealer must at the very least have the federal license approved by the CLEO (chief law enforcement officer) in his jurisdiction, and he must also meet whatever licensing requirements are imposed in his location to operate any kind of retail establishment.

              I operated a retail gun shop in Massachusetts from 2001 until 2015. Not only did I need to secure a federal firearms license, but I also needed to be issued a state dealer’s license, along with a town license to operate a retail store, and an approval both from the police chief and the town government which issued zoning permits.

              Now Massachusetts happens to be a state which imposes all kinds of regulations on every aspect of commercial behavior. When you get down South or out to the Mountain States, the attitude towards small retailers and guns is more laissez-faire. But I am still waiting for the first attempt by any of the so-called gun research groups to try and figure out what that awesome number of 78,000 federal licenses really means.

              The fact is that most guys who hold a federal license are collectors and hobbyists who like to buy, own, and play with guns. The same gun that would cost me $500 in a retail shop will run me about $350 or even less if I used my license to buy that gun direct from a wholesaler or from the factory where the gun was made.

              The gun industry doesn’t like me using words like ‘hobbyist’ to describe the people who buy their products, because the industry is heavily invested in promoting the idea that everyone should keep a gun handy under the pillow because you never know when some ‘bad guy’ will try to crash through your back door.

              But I can tell you from my own experience selling more than 15,000 guns to customers over the 25 years I owned retail shops in three states, that most of the buyers bought guns simply because they liked guns.

              Why do you think that women buy shoes? They like shoes. Men like guns, okay?

              Which brings me to another issue, one of many, which the Everytown researchers just don’t get. In this respect I’m talking about the vaunted time to crime data assiduously collected by the ATF, which is then utilized to figure out which dealers are selling guns, as we say in the trade, out the back door.

              What the article says is that “the shorter the time to crime, the more likely it is that the gun was purchased with the intent of being used in a crime.”

              But the ATF calculates time to crime (TTC) from the date that the gun is first sold to the date that the ATF receives a tracing request on a gun picked up by the cops. And since most gun shops have an inventory which is comprised of 50% used guns, the TTC calculation made by the ATF has no relationship to reality at all.

              One more issue and then I’ll sum up. The researchers claim that more than 10,000 guns disappear from gun shops every year. The result? “This amounts to a rate of 28 guns per day likely moving from legal to illegal markets where they can be trafficked to be used in crimes.”

              Now in fact, there is absolutely no data which can be accessed to connect guns which are solen or lost from gun shops to guns that are used in crimes. But the fact that the Everytown researchers assume that guns which are ‘lost’ end up in the street, tells you how much these researchers know about how the ATF operates and how it regulates the commerce in guns.

              When a dealer is inspected by the ATF, he must supply full and complete paperwork to show the movement of every single gun in and out of his shop – where the gun came from, to whom it was then sold. If the dealer is unable to produce the requisite paperwork, he must call the lady in ATF’s Atlanta office who runs the ‘missing-stolen’ list and report the guns.

              When I was inspected in 2014, I could not produce the paperwork on 3 guns which were no longer in my shop. Were these guns stolen? Had I sold them to ‘persons unknown?’ Not a chance. I simply couldn’t dig up the requisite 4473 background-check forms (out of the several thousand that were inspected by the ATF inspection team), and I had forgotten to list the transfers in my Acquisition-Disposition book. Big, friggin’ deal.

              Talking about paperwork, when my inspection was concluded, I received a notice that the inspectors had found more than 800 mistakes in my documentation, which meant that I was facing a permanent suspension of my dealer’s license. Under the GCA68 law, which created the current regulatory authority of the ATF, each of those mistakes constituted – ready? – a felony for which I could be given serious jail time.

              Know why the ATF found more than 800 mistakes in my paperwork?  Because every week we received 20- 30 guns from the same wholesaler who had been in business for 50 years and had been inspected numerous times by the ATF. So, when the guns came into my shop, I abbreviated the name of the wholesaler to save some time because otherwise I would have spent all day filling out the stupid A&D form instead of selling guns.

              The ATF didn’t bother to discipline me for my serious failure to follow the rules, because they knew that if I showed up in court to be sentenced for my egregious failure to obey the law, that the judge would shut the case down even before it would begin.

              How does Everytown want you to understand the lack of regulatory energy represented by the slipshod methods of the ATF? Here it is: “In sum, the frequency of violations and the rarity of inspections allow the possibility that thousands of dealers are violating federal gun regulations each year without any corrective action by the ATF.”

              To quote Aesop – the mountain roars and out comes a mouse.

              Much of the Everytown report appears to be based on research that was done and published by the ATF back in January and February of this year. Back in 2015, the Center for American Progress released a 200-page report which proposed that the ATF become a division under the FBI. Many of the recommendations in that report can be found in this new Everytown iteration as well.

What I find interesting about both of these documents is that in neither instance did the individuals involved in preparing these reports bother to interview one single gun dealer. Not one.

How do you conduct a detailed study about the activities of a regulatory agency without spending one second talking to the people whose business activities are the sole subject of what that agency exists to regulate and control?

If the SEC conducted a detailed study on how the financial industry conducts its business affairs, it would never dare publish such a work without first asking representatives of various financial institutions to review what they were going to say.

But this is the gun business, and it is standard operating procedure for this particular industry to be studied and discussed by so-called research experts who know absolutely nothing about the gun business at all.

Matt Gaetz – The ATF’s Best Friend.


              I never thought I would ever agree with any legislative proposal promoted by Matt Gaetz, particularly anything having to do with guns. This is because when he was a State Senator in Florida, he introduced a bill that would allow someone shot in a public space that was declared to be a gun-free zone, to sue for damages against the individual who owned that space. The bill went nowhere, by the way.

              But this week Gaetz got back into the gun thing big time by introducing a bill that would abolish the ATF. And while his reason for wanting to do away with the federal agency which regulates the gun industry is a nonsensical response to an ATF proposal which actually makes a lot of sense, I wouldn’t mind seeing the baby flushed out with the bathwater and the ATF be put to bed.

              The problem with what the ATF does or doesn’t do can only be understood if we first examine what regulating the American gun industry is all about.  The United States is the only country with a regulatory system covering guns which focuses on the behavior of people who own guns, as opposed to the design and use of the guns themselves.

              As a result, a law-abiding individual can buy and usually carry around any kind of gun as long as it doesn’t fire in full-caliber mode. To own what is called a machine gun, you have to go through a long, detailed police check, which is why the last time someone killed someone else using a machine gun in a criminal event was 1947 or maybe 1948.

              On the other hand, anyone who thinks that a semi-automatic gun is much less lethal than a full-auto gun, doesn’t know very much about guns. The kid who killed 25 children and 5 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School committed all this carnage in maybe 3 minutes or less. And the rule being developed by the ATF which has provoked the wrath of dumb-ass Gaetz, would make these semi-automatic guns even more lethal than the gun used at Sandy Hook.

              The ATF has its eye on something called a pistol ‘stabilizing brace’ which attaches to the grip of a handgun and turns it into a rifle because now the gun can be balanced against the shooter’s shoulder which means less recoil and more control. But if the barrel of this stabilized gun remains 4 or 5 inches in length, then the gun is being used as a rifle except it’s still, legally speaking, a handgun.

              Under federal law, a rifle must have a barrel at least 16 inches long. But the whole point of attaching a stabilizing brace to a handgun is to give the gun the aiming and shooting characteristics of a long gun so – voila! – all of a sudden someone has taken a Glock pistol and turned it into an assault rifle.

              Despite what some of the media has been saying, the ATF isn’t saying you can’t buy or own a stabilizing brace. They are saying that a stabilizing brace should be considered like a machine gun, which can be purchased only after a long and very detailed background check.

              On the other hand, what would be what Grandpa would call the ‘gefailach’ (read: big deal) if we got rid of the ATF? Most of their work consists of going into gun shops and conducting inspections which invariably turn up a couple of guns for which the paperwork is either missing or incomplete.

              The last time the ATF inspected my gun shop they found more than 500 documents which contained errors that were all defined as ‘threats’ to community safety and needed to be immediately corrected in order to make sure that we were operating the shop on the up and up.

              Know what the error was? It was that in the space on the 4473 form where you list the buyer’s home county, the kid running the shop put a two-letter abbreviation for the county instead of spelling it out. Oh…my…God!

              When the ATF inspectors began noticing this mistake, you could see the gleam in their eyes. Now they could justify the fact that they went out each day during the audit and treated themselves to a nice lunch for which I’m sure they were reimbursed.

              It’s very simple. All we need to do to get rid of gun violence and all the crimes committed with guns is to stop making and selling the types of guns that are used in violence and crimes. I’m talking about semi-automatic, bottom loading pistols and rifles which are chambered for military-grade ammunition like 9mm or .223 rounds.

              Those guns and that ammunition were designed specifically for military use, and I don’t know a single military action which has anything to do with hunting or sport.

              Too bad that a bill to eliminate the ATF is the brainchild of a schmuck like Matt Gaetz. Nobody’s going to take him seriously which makes him the best friend the ATF ever had.

The ATF Needs to Go – Part 2.


              On Saturday I posted a column about the ATF and said that rather than appoint a new Director, that the agency should be shut down.  Wow! I got some interesting responses, most of them not only negative, but pissed-off negative too.

              So, rather than just leave well enough alone, I want to add a few points to my argument about why the ATF is no good and should join the dodo bird in the pantheon of things that no longer exist.

              For starters, you might want to begin by reading this report.  It’s the work of the Center for American Progress (CAP), which is the DC think tank that produces research to support legislative and governmental initiatives for the Democrats and was asked to study the ATF in 2015 when Obama was considering the possibility of folding the agency under the FBI.

              What got Obama started on the idea of closing down ATF was a program called Fast and Furious, which at the ATF ran from 2009 through 2013. The idea was to interdict guns that were purchased in gun shops in Arizona and then smuggled to Mexico and delivered to the cartels. All in all, ATF was involved in the movement of some 2,000 guns, many of which were assault rifles that were purchased in ‘straw’ sales.

              The purchasing was done by a bunch of gun ‘walkers,’ i.e., the men who smuggled the guns across the Rio Grande. Not only did the ATF know about these sales, but they encouraged dealers to break federal laws by not reporting or preventing these sales. After a U.S. Border Agent, Brian Terry, was shot and killed in 2010 by a guy using one of the ‘straw-sale’ guns, the program was shut down and the Department of Justice Inspector General issued a report.

              You can download the report here but get ready to read almost 500 pages.  Add that to the 150+ pages of the report from CAP, and you’ve got some serious reading to do. I’m willing to bet that I’m one of the very few gun-control advocates or writers in America who has read these two reports. Because if you read them, you’ll think twice about wanting to have anything to do with keeping the ATF alive.

              It’s not that the staff who managed this effort both in D.C. and Phoenix made endless mistakes. It’s not that of the 2,000 guns that were walked to Mexico, law-enforcement agencies interdicted and prevented maybe 100 of the guns from crossing the Rio Grande. It’s not that ATF senior management approved this crazy scheme because their primary motivation was to convince a federal judge to issue ATF it’s first-ever federal wiretap, which would have put the agency on a bureaucratic par with FBI and DEA. It’s not that one of the guns was used to murder a Border Patrol agent – getting shot is a risk that all cops take.

              Know how many ATF managers were fired, lost their pensions, and might have had trouble getting another law-enforcement job?  None. Not…one.

              How do you justify or even come up with a scheme that has the people whose business behavior you are supposed to regulate and make sure are following the laws consciously break the law because they are doing what you told them to do? And by the way, the entire scheme unraveled not just because of the investigation into Brian Terry’s death, but because comments were beginning to appear on the internet – where else? – which may have been posted by disgruntled ATF agents, pissed-off gun dealers, or both.

              One of my friends who is supporting the nomination of a new ATF Director told me that this issue gave him an opportunity to “f*ck the NRA.”  I understand his frustration and I understand his concern about wanting to do something that will blunt the power and influence of the gun lobby.

              But it seems to me that you don’t challenge the NRA’s presence and power by supporting a gun-control organization which has demonstrated consistently that it is as corrupt and useless as the organization whose pro-gun stance you would like to come to an end.

              When you do that, you’re helping the NRA stay afloat.

Don’t Defund the Cops. Defund the ATF.


              I just received an email from one of the gun-control groups telling me to make sure I contact my Senators in D.C. and tell them to confirm Steve Dettelbach to be the Director of the ATF. Joe’s last nominee, David Chipman, couldn’t get past the Senate because he was employed by Gabby Giffords and that’s an absolute no-no as far as Gun-nut Nation is concerned.

              Dettelbach has a strong track record as a federal prosecutor in Ohio and has gotten positive notices from both sides. The NRA is opposed to his nomination, but the NRA would be opposed to anyone named to head the ATF by a Democratic President. Even Mother Theresa would be seen by our friends in Fairfax, VA as a threat to 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’

              I don’t usually take public issue with my friends at Brady, Giffords and Everytown, but when it comes to supporting the ATF, I have to draw the line. As far as I’m concerned, you could take the entire agency, give them all a six-month severance deal and let them go get jobs as cashiers in a convenience-store chain.

              By the way, one of the issues about how we regulate the gun business which never seems to get discussed, is that we have a federal agency which spends most of its time looking at intra-state commerce, i.e., the transfer of guns from dealers to gun shop customers who can only receive the gun if both the customer and the dealer are located in the same state.

              Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 of the Constitution, the ‘commerce clause,’ gives the federal government authority to manage the transfer of goods and commercial activities which move from state to state. So how is it that I used to sell every, single gun in my shop to folks who lived in the same state where my shop was located, yet it was the ATF that came in to examine the paperwork covering those sales?

              Which, by the way, is basically what the ATF does, go into gun shops and make a big deal about paperwork and in the process consciously lie about what they can and cannot do. Because if you listen to the ATF, they will tell you they could do a much more effective job if they weren’t prohibited from only examining the paperwork which covers the initial sale of a gun. The whole point of doing gun tracing is to create an unbroken path from when the gun was manufactured until it winds up in the hands of the guy who shouldn’t be able to get his hands on a gun.

              Except this happens not to be true and the ATF knows it’s not true. The paperwork inspected by the ATF in a gun shop isn’t the property of the dealer. He’s just the custodian of those 4473 background-check forms and the Acquisition-Disposition book. The ATF owns the data, they can enter a gun shop at any time without prior notice, and they can take as long as they like to examine and validate every, single scrap of paper created for every gun sale.

              And in case you didn’t know it, if the ATF finds a single error in any form, even so much as an abbreviation for the name of a state or a field that has been left blank, the dealer can be charged with committing a federal felony which carries a sentence of five years.

              Is every, single gun dealer in America operating on the up and up? Of course not. You’ll find bad apples in every group. Gee – what a surprise! But the reason why the ATF is so ‘lenient’ and lets gun owners continue to operate even after their license has been suspended is because the ATF knows that these so-called felonies are nothing more than Mickey Mouse mistakes.

              The average gun shop sells between 10 and 20 guns a month. Just about all the customers are folks who live within 15 miles of that store. The average cop gets paid $200 a day. How long do you think it would take that cop to do an inspection of the gun shop in his town every six months?  Two days? Three days?

              If we took the money being pissed away on the ATF and reimbursed local police departments for conducting inspections of local gun shops, we’d not only save a lot of taxpayer dollars, but if anything, a dealer who knew he would be inspected by the local cops would probably be more careful about selling guns because after all, the local cops usually know the identities of the good guys and bad guys in their town.

              Don’t get me wrong. I’ll support effective gun regulations every time. But you’re not going to reduce gun violence whether the ATF has a Director or not. This bunch has done next to nothing over the past fifty years except pat themselves on the back and promote their agency as an important cog in the crime-fighting machine.

              Nothing could be more wrong.

The ATF Shuts Down a Gun Maker Because They Make Guns.


              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.

Does ATF Gun Tracing Help Explain Gun Violence?

Leave a comment

 What is the relationship between guns and crime? Or better yet, is there any relationship between guns and crime? This question has been the focal point of the gun debate for almost thirty years. On the one hand, we have pro-gun advocates (Kleck, Lott) who say that the more guns owned by civilians, the less crime we experience, i.e., guns are a positive social device. On the other hand, we have gun-control advocates (Hemenway) who claim that we have more violent c rime than other countries because we own so many guns.

What we do know is that from 1994 through 2000, violent crime in the United States dropped by more than 50% at the same time that we were adding millions of guns to the civilian arsenal every year. Since 2000, on the other hand, violent crime rates were more or less steady until the Pandemic, but the number of privately-owned guns has continued to climb. So, which is which?

Answer: WTFK?

Our friends at The Trace have just given us a new perspective on this issue. Using the ATF’s ‘time to crime’ (TTC) data for 2020, it appears that guns retrieved by the cops in 2020, to quote The Trace, “were more likely to wind up at crime scenes within a year than in any previous period.” The average TTC in 2020 was 7 months or less for more than twice as many guns as in any previous year since 2010.

It would thus appear to be the case that more guns equal more crime, right? Except there’s only one little problem, or I should say, two little problems with the argument being made about gun sales and crime rates.

First, and most important, the ATF has been lying about how the true meaning of TTC since they first started calculating it when they began tracing guns back in 1968. They are lying because they know, and every gun dealer in this country knows that the first transfer of a gun over the counter is often not the last transfer of that gun. The gun business happens to be unique in the world of retail commerce for the simple reason that the products produced and sold in this business don’t wear o

I own a Colt pistol manufactured in 1922. It works as well as it worked when it left the Colt factory for the first time. How many people owned this gun before I bought it from another dealer back in 1994? Who the hell knows?

The inventory in my gun shop was usually 60% new guns, 40% used guns. When Garen Wintemute did his vaunted study of gun retailers he didn’t bother to inquire about the breakdown between new and used guns. Of course, Wintemute knew all about the gun business, right?

But the ATF is supposed to know all about the gun business. After all, they are the regulators of the gun business. And the fact that they only use the first transfer of a gun between dealer and customer to calculate the TTC data is a bald-faced lie.

As far as I’m concerned, you could take that entire, goddamn bunch of ATF employees who go around doing those stupid and useless dealer inspections and tell them to go out and find another job. Except they’re probably unemployable, which is why they are on the payroll of the ATF.

The second problem with the article in The Trace is the assumption that when a police department sends a trace request to the ATF, that this request represents a gun that was ‘retrieved’ because it was somehow connected to a crime. Not true. Not true at all.

The author of The Trace article, Champe Barton, is aware of the fact that police departments aren’t required to submit trace requests to the ATF. But perhaps he doesn’t know that when the cops submit a request for a gun to be traced, they have to designate a specific reason for their request.

There happen to be 64 different reasons why a law-enforcement agency might want to know how, when and where a gun was initially sold. Know what the fourth most-common reason is? Try this for size – ‘found firearm.’ In 2020, more than 10,000 traces were performed on guns used in suicides. I love the tracing category known as ‘sex crimes,’ although less than 1,000 traces were performed for sexual misconduct last year.

In other words, using ATF traces to tell us anything about crime, particularly crime involving guns, is a risky proposition at best.

After I post this column, I’m going to send a donation to The Trace and I think everyone concerned about gun violence should do the same. And I’m going to donate to them even though I know that young Mister Barton won’t take the trouble to go back to his story and correct the mistakes.       

The good news about The Trace is that its appearance reminds us that gun violence still needs to be better understood and more work needs to be done. I certainly can’t say that about the messaging I get from the NRA.

Why Is The 2nd Amendment So Important?


              Back in the 1980’s when the gun industry decided that being a patriot was a better way to sell guns than being a hunter, all of a sudden the 2nd Amendment became a big deal. Nobody ever cared about it or talked about it when I was growing up.

              Then a group of conservative lawyers decided to make a big deal out of pushing an ‘originalist’ approach to the Constitution, which means that the country should be run the way it was run before the Industrial Revolution. So, they got their buddy, Tony Scalia, to write an opinion about the 2nd Amendment in 2008 which said that Americans could keep a handgun around for self-defense.  Then the 2nd Amendment became a revered and iconic totem for Gun-nut Nation today.

              Is there any connection at all between the existence of the 2nd Amendment and the fact that Americans appear to be using guns to kill and injure each other right now at an extraordinary rate?

              In a word: Nope.

              Yet I keep getting emails from well-intentioned members of Gun-control Nation who believe that the way to reduce gun violence is to either rewrite the 2nd Amendment so that it no longer gives Constitutional cover to owning guns for self-defense or junking the whole thing altogether.

              Frankly, I think either approach would be a waste of time and here are the reasons why.

              `First, most of the guns that Americans own do not play any role in gun violence events. You don’t take Grandpa’s old shotgun off the wall and use it for a drive-by shooting at a bunch of people waiting to get into a club.

              Second, the 2nd Amendment lets you keep a handgun in your home, but it doesn’t say anything about what you need to do to buy that gun. And the courts have held again and again that jurisdictions can decide what kind of guns you can own in that jurisdiction, rulings that are challenged by Gun-nut Nation but are upheld every, single time.

              When the town of Highland Park passed a law requiring town residents who owned an AR-15 to either get rid of the gun or live somewhere else, the challenge went all the way up to the Supreme Court and the so-called ‘conservative SCOTUS refused to even hear the case.

              We passed our first federal law that defined the 2nd Amendment in 1934. This law (NFA34) allows the government to decide whether certain guns are too lethal to be sold without all kinds of regulatory constraints. Which is why there hasn’t been an injury due to the intentional use of a machine gun since 1946.

              If we stuck bottom-loading, semi-automatic pistols that shoot military-grade ammunition on the list of guns that are too lethal to be sold with just a background check, we’d get rid of gun violence right away. 

              The reason that countries like Italy, France and Spain don’t have gun violence is because you can’t just walk into a gun shop in Rome, or Paris, or Madrid and come out ten minutes later with a Glock. These countries all passed gun-control laws which copied our NFA34, but the reason they made handguns verboten is because they wanted to protect the government from armed political threats from the Left or the Right.

              Notice how many of the great patriots who stormed up the Capitol steps on January 6th were carrying guns. One? Two? For all the talk in Gun-nut Nation about the 2nd Amendment protecting us from government ‘tyranny,’ I notice that the Proud Boys and Three Percenters and all those other schmucks left their guns at home.

              Want to end or at least reduce gun violence? Get rid of the guns that are used to cause the violence. In fact, putting semi-automatic pistols on the restricted list that was created by NFA34 doesn’t even require a new law at all.

              When David Chipman takes over the ATF, he can publish such a directive in the Congressional Record, give Gun-nut Nation 60 days to bitch and moan, get Joe Manchin to shut up, and that’s the end of that.

Do We Need A New ATF Director?


When Gun-control Nation thinks about the organizations which promote guns, the first one that always comes to mind is the National Rifle Association because, after all, the NRA has been the group which has been leading the gun charge for more than one hundred years.

There’s also the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which runs Gun-nut Nation’s annual trade SHOT show.

The group whose activities really determine how the gun industry behaves, however, is a small and not-so-public group known as the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers, or NASGW. This outfit represents the 30 wholesalers who are responsible for selling and moving just about all the guns and ammunition made in America which wind up on the shelves of the retail stores that sell guns.

There isn’t a single gun-control advocate or a single gun-control researcher who is a member of the NASGW other than me. But why bother to learn anything about the industry that you want to regulate just because you want the industry to operate in a more responsible way?

Yesterday I received an email from the NASGW asking me to sign a letter opposing the nomination of David Chipman to head the ATF.  I received a similar email from the NRA, except the NASGW letter is going to be sent directly to Joe Manchin, whose vote on any issue before the Senate has now become the litmus test for what Joe Biden will get done and what he won’t get done.

Or to put it another way, what Joe Biden will do to wreck the United States. That’s the way that Biden is being described by Donald Trump. Remember Donald Trump? He used to be a tenant in a very nice apartment located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, D.C. Now he’s just a blowhard and a schmuck. Anyway…

So, the battle lines are forming over the Chipman vote, with all my friends in Gun-control Nation certainly hoping that his nomination will be approved. After all, this is a guy who retired from the ATF and then went to work for the gun-control gang! He’s still employed by Gabby Giffords, and he’s also said some nice things about Mayor Mike.  In other words, to quote Grandpa, he’s nisht gut – no good.

Leaving all the sturm und drang about Chipman aside, I still don’t understand what difference it makes who is Director of the ATF when it comes to reducing the 125,000 fatal and non-fatal injuries each year caused by the illegal or inappropriate use of guns. This is because I have yet to understand the connection between a bunch of overpaid clerks who wander into a gun shop and spend a couple of weeks making sure that every piece of paperwork is filled out exactly right and the decision by roughly 7% of the guys who try to kick the sh*t out of someone else and do it by using a gun.

The ATF would like to consider itself a federal law enforcement agency on a par with the DEA and the FBI. It’s not. It’s job and most of its budget is used either to provide technical services to other agencies or to pay these so-called Industry Operations Investigators who first must spend 10 weeks becoming “experts in firearms and explosives federal laws and regulations.” They are also trained to “analyze trends and recognize patterns of trafficking and diversion schemes.”

There’s only one little problem with all this training going on at the ATF. When it comes to guns, there doesn’t happen to be any Federal law which either defines or tries to prevent gun trafficking. In fact, Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is the latest in a long line of Members of Congress who have introduced gun-trafficking bills over the last few years. Know where these bills end up? Three guesses and none of them count.

I like David Chipman and I hope his nomination goes through. But If all he’s going to do is manage a government agency which is responsible for enforcing a law that doesn’t exist, to quote Grandpa again, gai gezinta hai (read: who cares?)

Who Says I Can’t Protect Myself With An F-15?


              Now that Joe is moving his attention into what has always been sacred GOP territory, i.e., crime control, he’s also taking on the so-called gun lobby over the issue of how the ATF tries to regulate guns. And here’s the key sentence from yesterday’s speech: “The point is that there has always been the ability to limit — rationally limit the type of weapon that can be owned and who can own it.”

              Wait until Gun-nut Nation figures out how to respond to that one. Here’s the President of the United States saying that we can pass laws to regulate not only who can own guns, but what kind of guns they can own. That’s not just a violation of the 2nd Amendment, it’s an infringement on our God-given ‘rights’ to defend ourselves or whatever else we want to do with an adult toy that we refer to as a ‘gun.’

              And who is going to make sure that these beloved 2nd-Amendment ‘rights’ are no longer so beloved or even allowed to be thought of as ‘right?’ The ATF.

              And what is the ATF going to do to make sure that the 2nd Amendment will sooner or later completely disappear?

              They will go after all those ‘rogue’ gun dealers who are, to quote Joe, the “merchants of death” who are “breaking the law for profit.”

              To back up Joe’s decision to send the ATF out to all those gun dealers who are ‘willfully’ selling all those guns to all those guys who use those guns to commit crimes, Joe cited an ATF  study published in 2000 which found that 90 percent of illegal guns picked up at crime scenes were sold by 5 percent of gun dealers.

              Actually, what the study really showed was that 4.2% of all retail dealers accounted for 72.5% of all guns that were traced by the ATF, whether the trace was done for a gun connected to a crime, or for any other reason. It should be noted, by the way, that less than 25% of all traces conducted by the ATF each year are for guns which were used to commit a serious crime.

              What all this data being used to spot those rogue dealers does not explain, however, is the degree to which the gun dealers who receive most of the trace requests also happen to be the gun dealers who sell most of the guns. Know the old 80-20 rule which says that 20% of retailers make 80% of all retail sales? 

In the gun business, the rule is closer to 95-5. That’s right. Most gun ‘dealers’ are retired guys who rent a small retail space because the wife got fed up one day with him just sitting around the house and said, “Why don’t you take all those friggin’ guns out of the house and open a shop?”

So, the guy goes into town, finds some empty storefront that is available for a couple of hundred bucks a month, and now he can sit there all day long, shoot the sh*t with his friends and oh, by the way, he doesn’t have to do all those chores around the house because, after all, he’s got a business to run.

Think I’m kidding? Next time you drive past Joe’s Gun Shop, park your car and walk in. I can guarantee you that 95% of the members of Gun-control Nation have never been in a gun shop, not even once.

I have yet to see a study of all those rogue gun dealers selling all those crime guns which compares the shops getting most of the trace requests to the shops which just happen to sell most of the guns. Until someone at the ATF figures that one out, the idea that we know which dealers the ATF should go after because so many guns from their shops wind up in the ‘wrong hands’ is just so much talk.

That being said, Joe’s speech was still a good speech, particularly when he told the jerks who claim they need an assault rifle to fight the government that what they really need is an F-15.

Keep it up Joe, keep it up.

Please join my new Facebook group: Celebrate the Steal! | Facebook

Want To Go Into The Gun Business? Machine Guns Are Fetching A Good Price.


              There’s a guy down in Texas who’s my kind of guy.  He’s 73 years old and still trying to make a living in the gun business. I’m 76 years old, so this guy’s in my league when it comes to sticking around in Gun-nut Nation until you croak.

              The guy’s name is William Scott Simms, and he lives in McAllen, TX, which is all part of the problem. Because McAllen happens to be located right smack dab next to the ol’ Rio Grande, which means that the town’s southern border happens to be Mexico. Which means you just walk down ol’ South Depot Road a bit, hop across the railroad tracks and you’re in the land of tortillas and fried beans.

              You’re also in the land where Americans have been selling machine guns that allegedly fetch a better price over there than over here, at least this is what the U. S. Government is saying is the reason they arrested ol’ boy Billy Simms. He was indicted back in May for getting’ ready to take eleven machine guns that he manufactured and sell them south of the border for – ready? – $10,000 apiece! 

              That’s a hundred grand for sittin’ in the kitchen, slapping together some plastic and metal parts that you can buy online for a couple of hundred bucks, then plopping a full-auto sear into the metal band above the trigger, attaching the sear to a loading spring and you’re good to go. In case you’re interested folks, I just told you how to make a machine gun.

              Billy Boy Simms was not only charged with the possession of ‘unregistered’ machine guns, which means the guns didn’t have serial numbers, which means they are so-called ‘ghost guns,’ he is also charged with exporting these guns to Mexico, which is a violation of export laws.

              As to the fact that the guns didn’t have serial numbers, the DOJ press release says that “On April 8, President Biden issued executive orders specifically targeting the manufacturing and transfer of ghost guns.” Uh-oh. Our man Simms is now in real deep doo-doo because he’s going up against a regulatory system which finally is going to get rid of those ‘ghost’ guns.

              Except the statement happens not to be true. Joe can issue all the executive orders he wants to issue about ghost guns or anything else, but if the order requires a change in the Federal code or the wording of any Federal law that defines the behavior of any government agency, such a change can only be made after a 90-day period which allows for the public to make comments about the new text has elapsed.

              When it comes to illegally exporting guns to Mexico, the Federal Government has machine guns on the brain.  You may recall that between 2006 and 2011, the ATF forced gun dealers in Arizona to make illegal sales of semi-automatic rifles which were then allegedly turned into full-auto guns in a car repair shop in Phoenix that would then be sold in Mexico as machine guns, i.e., the ‘Fast and Furious’ mess.

              The whole thing turned out to be nonsense, not a single machine gun was ever found anywhere, and if the Republicans sitting on the Senate Judiciary Committee hadn’t been so ga-ga about using their investigation to embarrass Obama and instead done some clean-up of the ATF, maybe we’d actually have a government agency responsible for regulating the gun business that would get something done.

              These days, everyone seems to have machine guns on the brain. The Associated Press just ran a story about how almost 2,000 military guns seem to have disappeared, including more than 1,000 rifles, all of which are full-auto guns. And here’s the headline: Some Stolen Military Guns Used in Violent Crimes.” Except if you actually read the story, you discover that a) we have some 2 million military guns sitting around so how could we not be missing a few, and b) the only military gun used in crimes is the Beretta M9 pistol, which is a semi-automatic gun.

              Now how come I can’t seem to find the full-auto sear that I want to plop into my AR-15?

Gun Trafficking in America (Guns in America) (Volume 5): Weisser, Mr. Michael R.: 9780692386125: Amazon.com: Books

Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: