Skip to comments.Concerns about gun stores misguided
Posted on 01/21/2004 11:27:44 AM PST by neverdem
A Washington-based non-profit group called Americans for Gun Safety claims to take the middle ground on gun ownership. I question its neutrality.
As a hunter, target-shooter and gun owner, I've been courted in the past by groups that claimed common-sense positions on firearms. These champions of "responsible use" recruit membership and money from both sides but typically lean hard to one side.
At its Web site, AGS says it is "bringing a new voice to the debate over guns and gun safety, which for too long has been dominated by the far left and far right. Through legislative measures and public outreach, AGS supports the rights of law-abiding gun owners and promotes reasonable and effective proposals for fighting gun crime and keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and children."
Those are fine avenues to explore, but I'm unsure who is at the wheel (calls to AGS were not returned).
A 31-page report (Selling Crime, High Crime Gun Stores Fuel Criminals) issued recently by AGS and reported in Saturday's Chronicle shakes an accusing finger at 120 U.S. gun dealers who sold at least 200 firearms traced to some sort of criminal activity from 1996-2000. (The most recent statistics.)
Note that "traced to crime" doesn't necessarily mean "traced to violent crime." If I report a gun stolen, the store that sold me the gun years ago gets a mark next to its name. If a law enforcement agency runs a routine check on a firearm and turns up nothing, that check may generate a mark against the original seller.
The AGS report opens: "A small number of the nation's 80,000 gun dealers are flooding America's streets with crime guns -- yet Washington rarely investigates, shuts down or prosecutes most of these high-crime dealers."
Flooding the streets with crime guns? A firearm sold in accordance with current federal guidelines is not a "crime gun." Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal, but I have yet to hear the new automobiles on a dealer's lot described as "crime cars."
Actually, several dealers on AGS' bad-guy list have been cited for violations after random inspection by agents of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The clear majority of those citations, however, 52 of 67 issued to the seven most-cited dealers as tracked from January 2000-May 2003, were for record-keeping mistakes. Not for peddling assault rifles to terrorists or dealing Saturday-night specials to street thugs, but for clerical goofs.
Firearms sellers should be held to high administrative standards, but linking typographical errors and back-door gun running is a stretch.
I concede that some of the dealers on AGS' list appear shady and warrant closer, more frequent inspection, but I disagree with the foundation's inference that each of those sellers is somehow directly responsible for violent gun crimes. Many of the named dealers merely are high-volume retailers caught in a statistical web that makes them victims of their own success.
Consider that a busy gun store often sells more than 10,000 firearms annually, and a few shops on AGS' list move twice that volume of hardware. Multiply that by 10, 15 or 20 years in business and throw in a system that is quick now to trace a gun's history. Even the AGS recognizes that booming business might have landed honest dealers on its "high crime gun store" roster, which includes a California dealer who had 1,000-plus guns stolen during Los Angeles riots.
AGS wonders why the ATF so rarely "shuts down or prosecutes ... high-crime dealers." Maybe that is because even the most-cited dealer on the list had just 13 ATF violations from 2000-2003 against 483 crime-gun traces from 1996-2000. The shop that had 2,294 crime-gun traces, second highest of all, received only one ATF citation through the same time windows.
The anti-gun movement's efforts to blame firearms makers for gun violence has failed in the courts. Since they could not defeat gun manufacturers and lack the strength to tackle gun owners, the logical targets are small companies and individuals who sell guns.
AGS claims to be the Switzerland of gun politics, but its report waves a different flag.
Criminal use of guns is rampant, but we never will rebuild our nation's damaged framework until we quit blaming the hammers and the hardware stores for bad carpenters.
Doug Pike covers the outdoors for the Chronicle. His column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, and he hosts Inside the Outdoors from 6-8 a.m. Saturdays on KTRH (740 AM).
Unmentioned in all this is that a dealer who can be traced to a number of "crime guns" is a dealer whose record-keeping is good enough and whose adherence to ATF regulations is scrupulous enough. It's the ones who can't be traced at all that are the problem.
Yeah these grab-groups screech and squeal and a few municipalities act up, but it hasn't gotten much past that. In fact we've won a few with CCW etc. in many areas. Let's hope that the AWB goes away, I'd love to tweak out a few of my toys.
It's nice to be left the hell alone once in a while. As I said once things settle down a bit and I square things away I'm going to have you over.
I couldn't help but notice your comment, so allow me to offer my take on Dean and Vermont. Vermont lacks diversity and the concomitant crime problem, therefore Vermont, with a substantial number of hunters, never had a need to think about gun control. Hence, the NRA gave Dean a grade of A.
Stay safe, stay armed,
Yeah, so nicely written and balanced that I am amazed it appeared in the Houston "Communistical".
I went to their website, and it reminded me a lot of the old Communist disinformation technique. When one sees a pix of McCain, without some obvious disclaimer or used in a negative context, one knows that there is something rotten in Denmark--LOL---
What really scares me about this site is the fact that it ISNT vitriolic, the way most of the grabber's sites are, and its not "preachy". It would APPEAR, at first reading to be a legitimate site with "centrist" views. That being said, however, I worry that "average citizen" who encounters this site will be lulled into security by just such the absense of the aforementioned vitriol and preaching, and actually think this site was created by a self-defense advocacy group. These little buggers (the Dumbocrat/gungrabber/socialist-communist alliance) is getting smarter as time moves on.
Convincing the unknowing public of the Right To Keep and Bear Arms is significantly more difficult when they have been "educated" by such devious websites. I can picture having to debate with someone who gained knowledge from this site, as they will believe that the site is harmless and actually provides good information. Having debated people who buy into the "reasonable" theory before, I know what a heck of a time one can have trying to get any ideas across, for even the simplest RKBA arguments come off as extreme to someone thus informed.
Again, thanks for the heads up, it is now, more than ever, necessary to "Know Your Enemy".
Keep the Faith for Freedom
Then too, the '94 elections sent a lot of the worst of 'em home for good, and the survivors remember what happened, and how Sarah Brady was nowhere around when the Gun-owners came knockin'!
Yes. Gun control propaganda techniques are derived straight from Marx and Lenin.
About Tides Center
Tides Center is part of the Tides family of organizations--a group of nonprofit organizations linked by a commitment to positive social change, innovation, and environmental sustainability. The Tides family--which includes Tides Center, Tides Foundation, Thoreau Center for Sustainability, and Groundspring.org--collaborate as partners, sharing ideas, technical systems, and an office complex.
And there is this tidbit from another site...ActivistCash.com
Now comes the Tides Foundation and its recent offshoot, the Tides Center, creating a new model for grantmaking -- one that strains the boundaries of U.S. tax law in the pursuit of its leftist, activist goals.
"Anonymity is very important to most of the people we work with." Tides Foundation founder Drummond Pike, quoted in The Chronicle of Philanthropy
I'm seeing. It's hard to believe, but there it is. Maybe others will see too.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.