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Dotting I’s and Crossing T’s

See background on Sandy Abrams loss of his FFL here. Via PGP, comes this bit by John Lott in the other biased Washington Paper:

The Washington Post’s front page on Sunday illustrated the problems with both the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives abuses as well as the media’s out-of-control attacks. The article examined the supposed abuses by Sandy Abrams’ gun shop in Baltimore, a shop he took over from his father in 1996. The second paragraph points out that “there were 422 firearms missing — more than a quarter of his inventory.” The count listed guns as missing if there were simple paperwork mistakes (e.g., two digits in a number transposed).

Taking all these mistakes since Sandy Abrams took over the store in 1996 and comparing them to his current inventory, not the 25,000 guns that he has sold over the last decade, borders on journalistic malpractice. It surely doesn’t provide readers with an accurate understanding of what is happening.

So, what is the right number of missing guns? Mr. Abrams claims it is 19. Nineteen out of 25,000 isn’t perfect, but .076 percent is a lot less scary than 25 percent — a difference of 329 fold. More importantly, the government has apparently never connected any of those guns to crimes committed. As Mr. Abrams notes, “we have had the paperwork and successfully traced every gun whenever [the government] asked.”

Is this the type of gun dealer who should lose his license? The BATFE thinks he is a prime candidate. Nine hundred rules violations over 10 years certainly sounds impressive — that is until you realize that violations include writing “Balt.” instead of “Baltimore” or that his government-approved ledger was apparently missing a column. Of course, the information the column was supposed to record was redundant anyway.

He has some other background info on how tough it is to be a dealer:

It is tough operating a gun shop with harassment from the federal government and unjustified media attacks. But the harassment could get a little better with legislation by Reps. Howard Coble and Bobby Scott which may fix some of the problems.

Since 1992, when Bill Clinton was elected president, the number of federally licensed firearms dealers in the United States has plummeted by 80 percent. Kmart no longer sells guns, Wal-Mart just recently stopped selling guns at one-third of its stores and tens of thousands of other gun shops have gone out of business. With all the talk of recent legislative success by the National Rifle Association, it is winning some battles but may be losing the war. The gun-control movement may ultimately be winning where it really counts.

Part of the drop in licensees was simply due to fees imposed by the federal government. Many licensees used the licenses only for their own personal purchases or only for selling a small number of guns, and the fees made that unprofitable.

The constant breakdowns of “instant” background-check systems during the Clinton administration halted gun sales for hours or even days at a time, costing stores untold sales and causing them to raise their costs. Even by the end of the Clinton administration, from September 1999 to December 2000, the system was down about one hour for every 16.7 hours of operation. The breakdowns often came in big blocks of time, the worst during a period covering 60 hours during two weeks in the middle of May 2000. Try running a business where neither customers nor sellers are ever informed of how long outages are expected to last.

It’s tough to be a dealer. It’s tough to design guns and stuff too. I, for example, have an idea for a rimfire suppressor that I honestly figure I can make for about $20. And sell it for $50. That means a buyer could add the $200 tax stamp and transfer fees and get in a suppressor for less than three bills. But for me to do that, I have to:

waive my fourth amendment rights
spend $500 for a special occupational tax
spend $150 for federal firearms license
I’d have to actually rent a location to have my ‘store’ because FFLs aren’t given unless you comply with zoning requirements
Notify the local police

When, honestly, this is something I could do in my garage. But, gotta stay legal or risk 10 years in federal pound me in the ass prison.

2 Responses to “Dotting I’s and Crossing T’s”

  1. the pistolero Says:

    The gun-control movement may ultimately be winning where it really counts.

    It’s all in how you look at it. The article is no longer online, but Nicki over at The Liberty Zone blogged about it here:

    Americans spent more than $2 billion on guns and ammunition in 2005, showing the nation’s fascination with firearms is not fading despite concerns raised by gun-control advocates.

    The Newtown-based National Shooting Sports Foundation on Monday touted a U.S. Department of Treasury report that said sales of firearms and ammunition increased by 2.6 percent in 2005…
    In 2005, Americans purchased 4.7 million new guns, the NSSF said, bringing the estimated total of citizen-owned guns to 290 million….

    Fewer places to get guns, but Americans are spending more on them. I guess it’s a win-lose situation, but I would think at least some of that has to do with the rising cost of both guns and ammo. I was at a Beaumont, Texas gun shop yesterday, and I asked one of the clerks about the new Taurus 1911. They said they were really hard to get because of the supply and rising costs of materials, and the same for the Springfield 1911s.

  2. ben Says:

    I’d love to make gun stuff too, what with being an engineer and all, but the feds make it not even remotely approachable. ARgh!