Posted: October 5, 2015 Filed under: Guns and Gadgets, Self Defense, Think Tank | Tags: Ammunition, AR-15, ATF, ATF gunwalking scandal, Background check, Congress, Executive (government), Fast & Furious, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Firearms and Explosives, Gun Show, Gun Show Loophole Myth, Gun shows in the United States, Hillary Clinton, National Rifle Association, Sting operation, United States Border Patrol
The only problem with her gun show loophole proposal is that it would accomplish exactly nothing, because current law already covers her proposal.
“There is zero protection enshrined in law for transactions that happen to occur at a gun show or over the Internet. Zip. Zilch. Nada. The so-called ‘gun show loophole’ simply does not exist. Nor does any sort of Internet gun sale loophole.”
Here’s how Slate described Hillary Clinton’s proposal:
What makes Clinton’s plan particularly noteworthy, though, is her suggestion that she’d be able to go it alone on at least one of the proposals if elected president: the gun show loophole.
And just how would she do that? According to her campaign, even if Congress were unwilling to act, Clinton would be able to use her executive authority to tweak the existing rules to reclassify anyone who sells a “significant number of guns” as someone “in the business of selling firearms”—a distinction that would make those high-volume private vendors who sell guns at gun shows
and over the Internet subject to the same rules as larger, licensed brick-and-mortar retailers. Clinton doesn’t appear to have settled on an answer to the question of just how many guns constitutes a “significant” number, but even if her chosen definition didn’t close the loophole completely, it would at least shrink it.
[Read the full text here, at TheFederalist.com]
Such an effort could face legal challenges in the courts and, at the very least, a guaranteed NRA-led political freakout in Washington. And, even if the effort survived both, it wouldn’t come close to ending gun violence in the United States. But for gun safety advocates and like-minded voters who are desperate for action on a problem that can feel politically impossible, Clinton’s outside-the-box plan will be a welcome start.
[Also see – Don’t Play the Shooters’ Game by Kevin D. Williamson]
Slate’s Josh Voorhees characterized Clinton’s plan as “clever,” which leads me to the inescapable conclusion that neither Voorhees nor Hillary Clinton is even remotely familiar with existing federal gun laws.
“Now, if Hillary thinks Congress should pass a law regulating private transactions between private individuals who reside in the same state, that’s her prerogative. But she should at least be honest about what she’s doing and about what authority the president has to do it. The president cannot by fiat eliminate the existing exemption. It can be done only by Congress.”
For starters, the federal government already has the statutory authority to define who does and does not qualify as an individual “in the business of selling firearms.” It derives that authority from 18 U.S. Code § 921. Here’s how the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) specifically defines whether an individual is engaged in the business of selling firearms and should therefore be subject to federal firearms licensee (FFL) requirements:
Dealer in firearms — a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business
with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or
for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms (18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(21)(C));
[Order John R. Lott’s essential book “More Guns, Less Crime” at Amazon]
Here’s the federal statute from which the ATF derives its existing authority to define who is and isn’t engaged in the business of selling guns:
(21) The term “engaged in the business” means—
(A) as applied to a manufacturer of firearms, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to manufacturing firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the
(B) as applied to a manufacturer of ammunition, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to manufacturing ammunition as
a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the ammunition manufactured;
(C) as applied to a dealer in firearms, as defined in section 921(a)(11)(A), a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms;
(D) as applied to a dealer in firearms, as defined in section 921(a)(11)(B), a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to engaging in such activity as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional repairs of firearms, or who occasionally fits special barrels, stocks, or trigger mechanisms to firearms;
(E) as applied to an importer of firearms, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to importing firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the firearms imported;
(F) as applied to an importer of ammunition, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to importing ammunition as a
regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the ammunition imported.
Contra Hillary Clinton’s campaign, “high-volume private vendors” cannot legally exist under current law. Under the ATF’s existing definition, it is impossible to sell high volumes of firearms without triggering the definition of a dealer in firearms. The “repetitive purchase and resale of firearms” makes you a dealer, not a private individual. Anything other than “occasional sales” makes you a dealer, not a private individual. Unlicensed dealing is against the law. Refusing to conduct background checks as a dealer (licensed or not) is against the law.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 24, 2015 Filed under: Guns and Gadgets, Self Defense, U.S. News, White House | Tags: ATF, Barack Obama, Civil Rights, Emily Miller, firearms, Gun Owners of America, Gun rights, Internal Revenue Service, John R. Lott, National Rifle Association, Second Amendment, The Hill, The Second Amendment, Tim Devaney, United States Congress
The number of pistols made has nearly tripled during the Obama administration, which could reflect more people turning to firearms for personal protection.
Tim Devaney writes: Gun production has more than doubled over the course of the Obama administration, according to a new report from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
“The ATF report confirms what we already know, that Barack Obama deserves the ‘Gun Salesman of the Decade’ award. People have been rushing to buy firearms because they’re afraid that Obama will take away their Second Amendment rights.”
— Erich Pratt, spokesman for the Gun Owners of America
The manufacturing boom has come in the face of the president’s push to expand background checks and place new restrictions on guns in the wake of high-profile shootings like the recent mass-killing in Charleston, S.C., and the 2012 massacre at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school.
Pistols are the most popular type of gun, accounting for 4.4 million of the firearms made in 2013, according to the report. Meanwhile, gun manufacturers produced 3.9 million rifles and 1.2 million shotguns.
The numbers paint a picture of gun owners who are concerned about new restrictions on their Second Amendment rights, activists say.
“President Obama has been relentless in his attacks on the Second Amendment, and it’s not shocking people are frightened and want to protect themselves. He’ll stop at nothing to strip people of their constitutional rights to self-protection.”
— National Rifle Association spokeswoman Jennifer Baker
[See John R. Lott’s More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws at Amazon]
“The ATF report confirms what we already know, that Barack Obama deserves the ‘Gun Salesman of the Decade’ award,” said Erich Pratt, spokesman for the Gun Owners of America. “People have been rushing to buy firearms because they’re afraid that Obama will take away their Second Amendment rights.”
“President Obama has made it very clear he wants to strip away our gun rights, so people are going out and purchasing more firearms and ammunition.”
— Joe Neville, director of political affairs at the National Association for Gun Rights
The ATF’s annual firearms commerce report tracks the number of guns manufactured in the United State, which provides an indication of gun sales around the country.
“The gun lobby seizes on those fears and uses scare tactics and doomsday rhetoric in order to sell more guns.”
— Mark Prentice, spokesman for Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun safety group run by former congresswoman Gabby Giffords
[Order Emily Miller’s book “Emily Gets Her Gun” from Amazon]
[Also see – Editorial: Americans Seem to Embrace Idea of More Guns, Less Crime]
The number of guns manufactured increased by 18 percent during the George W. Bush administration, while the Clinton administration actually saw a 9 percent reduction. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: March 11, 2015 Filed under: Guns and Gadgets, Politics, Self Defense, U.S. News, White House | Tags: 5.56×45mm NATO, Ammunition, AR-15, Armor-piercing shot and shell, ATF, Barack Obama, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, Firearms and Explosives, Shooting sport, tobacco, United States
Philip Bump reports: On Monday afternoon, while the attention of the political media world was focused on events at the United Nations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives announced that it was dropping plans to reclassify a particular form of ammunition. It was a rare success for a letter-signed-by-most-Republican-senatorsthis week, after Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) got most of his colleagues to sign on to a missive that captured an already-bubbling sentiment among conservatives. (That opponents of gun control measures won a victory, of course, is anything but a rare success.)
If you want the full back story, it’s here. But what we want to focus on is the phenomenon that has frequently resulted when the administration has either threatened new gun control measures or when the public has been worried that it might, as it did in the wake of the ATF’s recent announcement: Firearm sales skyrocket.
As soon as Barack Obama won the 2008 election, gun sales spiked. The number of background checks (a point of data linked to gun sales numbers) increased by 50 percent over the rest of that year in November and December. (December figures are often higher, we’ll note, due to the popularity of giving weapons as Christmas presents.) The Aiken Standard in Aiken, S.C., wrote about spiking sales that December, quoting an employee at a local gun store: “There’s been a definite increase. It’s because a Democrat is in office, in my opinion.” Not quite in office, but you get the point.
To measure how big the Obama Gun Boom has been, we turned to the National Shooting Sports Foundation. It uses data on excise taxes collected by the government on weapon and ammunition sales to estimate the total market for those products. It provided its estimates from 1982 through the third quarter of last year to the Post.
Overall, the estimates look like this. We’ve shaded in the Obama Era as encompassing 2008 through 2014, due to the spike at the end of 2008. (That plays into our projections later, so bear that in mind.) Notice the spike in 1993, as well, the last time a Democrat assumed the presidency. And, of course, backed the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which is precisely the sort of thing gun advocates fear. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: March 10, 2015 Filed under: Breaking News, Guns and Gadgets, Self Defense | Tags: ATF, Bullets, Civil Rights, firearms, Gun control, Guns, media, news, Rifles, Second Amendment, The Hill, Tweet, Twitter
The Hill on Twitter
Posted: March 21, 2014 Filed under: Guns and Gadgets, Law & Justice | Tags: ATF, B. Todd Jones, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, Darrell Issa, United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Rep. Darrell Issa has subpoenaed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for information about what he calls a “dangerously mismanaged” program, which originally was launched to get crime guns off the street.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which Issa chairs, has been looking into complaints about the program for months. Under the operation, ATF agents set up storefronts in multiple cities to try and entice criminals to sell their crime guns, unwittingly, to the government so they could be traced. But their tactics and missteps, including using mentally disabled people, drew criticism.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: March 17, 2014 Filed under: Guns and Gadgets, Law & Justice, U.S. News | Tags: AR-15, ATF, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, California, Firearm, Henry Waxman, Receivers, TheBlaze
For TheBlaze, Becket Adams reports:
Federal agents on Saturday executed a search warrant on a gun parts store in California, despite the store owner filing a temporary restraining order against their agency.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had demanded thatDimitri Karras, the CEO of Ares Armor in National City, Calif., turn over the names of nearly 5,000 customers who had purchased an 80 percent lower receiver that reportedly failed to meet ATF specifications.
“Searching is fun! Paper work sucks.”
— ATF Agent
Karras, a former U.S. Marine, agreed to turn over the receivers, but refused to reveal the names of his customers. He then filed the restraining order.
Federal agents responded by obtaining an ex parte order, meaning they did it without Ares being present, giving them permission to execute a “lawful search.”
The ATF “is conducting a lawful criminal investigation of the illegal manufacture, distribution, sale, and possession of AR-15 variant lower receivers, which are considered firearms under the Firearms Control Act,” the federal agency said in its ex parte application, dated Friday.
Here’s more amateur video of the search:
It’s worth noting that the ATF application refers to the receivers in question as “firearms,” which would seem to be an incorrect application of the term. Outgoing Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) introduced a bill last August that would define 80 percent lower receivers as “firearms,” but the legislation has not passed.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 9, 2013 Filed under: Guns and Gadgets, Law & Justice, Self Defense, U.S. News | Tags: ATF, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, Developmental disability, Milwaukee, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Raquel Rutledge
Documents, interviews show agents employed tactics similar to those used in Milwaukee
John Diedrich and Raquel Rutledge report: Aaron Key wasn’t sure he wanted a tattoo on his neck. Especially one of a giant squid smoking a joint.
But the guys running Squid’s Smoke Shop in Portland, Ore., convinced him: It would be a perfect way to promote their store.
They would even pay him and a friend $150 apiece if they agreed to turn their bodies into walking billboards.
Key, who is mentally disabled, was swayed.
He and his friend, Marquis Glover, liked Squid’s. It was their hangout. The 19-year-olds spent many afternoons there playing Xbox and chatting with the owner, “Squid,” and the store clerks.
So they took the money and got the ink etched on their necks, tentacles creeping down to their collarbones.
It would be months before the young men learned the whole thing was a setup. The guys running Squid’s were actually undercover ATF agents conducting a sting to get guns away from criminals and drugs off the street.
The tattoos had been sponsored by the U.S. government; advertisements for a fake storefront.
The teens found out as they were arrested and booked into jail.
Earlier this year when the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel exposed a botched ATF sting in Milwaukee — that included agents hiring a brain-damaged man to promote an undercover storefront and then arresting him forhis work — ATF officials told Congress the failed Milwaukee operation was an isolated case of inadequate supervision.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 7, 2013 Filed under: Censorship, Crime & Corruption, Politics, U.S. News | Tags: American Civil Liberties Union, ATF, ATF gunwalking scandal, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, Dodson, Drug Enforcement Administration, John Dodson, Special agent
ALICIA A. CALDWELL reports: The Obama administration is blocking a federal law enforcement agent from publishing a book about the failed “Fast and Furious” gun-smuggling sting operation because of concerns that the book would negatively affect morale, the American Civil Liberties Union said Monday.
The ACLU charged that the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is worried that the book proposed by an ATF agent would hurt relationships with other U.S. law enforcement agencies.
In a six-page letter to ATF Deputy Director Thomas Brandon, the ACLU said the bureau’s decision to block the book proposed by Special Agent John Dodson was a violation of his First Amendment rights. The ACLU described Dodson as a whistle-blower.
According to the letter, the ATF denied Dodson’s request to try to publish a book about his version of the Fast and Furious scandal because the bureau predicted it would have “a negative impact on morale in the Phoenix (Field Division) and would have a detrimental” impact on ATF relationships with the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The ATF didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 25, 2013 Filed under: U.S. News | Tags: Associated Press, ATF, ATF gunwalking scandal, B. Todd Jones, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, Informant, Jones, United States Department of Justice
WASHINGTON (AP) — Stephen Braun reports: Government agents acting without authorization conducted dozens of undercover investigations of illegal tobacco sales, misused some of $162 million in profits from the stings and lost track of at least 420 million cigarettes, the Justice Department‘s inspector general said Wednesday. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 13, 2013 Filed under: Mediasphere, Science & Technology, Self Defense | Tags: ATF, Belt (firearm), Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, CNN, Innuendo, Machine gun, Nancy Pelosi, Slide Fire
Gun enthusiasts, however, embrace the technology, are more informed about the law, and well, like to blow stuff up. They point to confirmation by ATF spokesman Christopher Amon: the Bureau stands by its ruling. “I can confirm that ATF did approve the device…the SlideFire is legal,” he said.
Is this news? Not really. Bigshooterist documents this in April 2012. “In this video we examine how to properly use a Bump Fire Stock and test the practical accuracy even with long bursts or mag-dumps. A little history of the 1986 ban on Machine Guns for individual ownership and the reason they are so expensive now compared to their semiautomatic versions. Direct comparisons are made between performance and price and a simple test is conducted to determine if bump fire can be a reasonable alternative to a registered fully automatic firearm for your personal collection…” Read the rest of this entry »