Democrats Introduce Gun Control Legislationby Hugh Holub on Jul. 15, 2011, under gun control, politics
“Stop Gun Trafficking and Strengthen Law Enforcement Act,”
By Katie Pavlich
Democrat Representatives Maloney, Cummings and McCarthy, all members of the Minority on the House Oversight Committee chaired by Republican Congressman Issa, plan to hold a press conference tomorrow to announce new gun control anti-gun trafficking legislation in light of Operation Fast and Furious. The “Stop Gun Trafficking and Strengthen Law Enforcement Act,” is designed to “keep high powered firearms out of the hands of dangerous criminals, including Mexican drug cartels.”
U.S. Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) will join other members and a leading law enforcement organization for an event Friday, July 15th, 11:00 a.m. at the House Triangle to introduce the “Stop Gun Trafficking and Strengthen Law Enforcement Act,” which establishes a dedicated firearms trafficking statute to empower law enforcement to keep high-powered firearms out of the hands of dangerous criminals, including Mexican drug cartels.
Again from Town Hall:
So let me get this straight, democrats want to punish law abiding Americans and impede on Second Amendment rights with new legislation “to prevent gun trafficking to Mexico,” however, aren’t willing to focus on the ATF and DOJ’s role in deliberately putting high powered firearms into the hands of criminals including Mexican drug cartels? It doesn’t matter how many gun control laws we have on the books if the federal government is willing to break them to push a political agenda, however, this is not surprising.
“Allowing loads of weapons that we knew to be destined for criminals, this was the plan. It was so mandated.” –Special Agent John Dodson ATF Phoenix Field Division.
Damning new evidence from Capitol Hill shows that ATF Directors and Justice Department Officials knew about and encouraged the purposeful trafficking of thousands of weapons across the southern border, despite strong objections from ATF agents. Thousands of innocent lives were taken as the result, including those of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and ICE Agent Jamie Zapata.
The announcement of new legislation comes just a day after Townhall obtained emails showing Operation Fast and Furious was designed to promote gun control and four days after the DOJ Deputy Attorney General James Cole, who is under investigation for his involvement in the scandal, released new reporting requirements for multiple sales of certain semi-automatic rifles.
New York Times Editorial July 13, 2011:
It is an open and deadly scandal that at least 70 percent of the weapons recovered in Mexico’s bloody drug war originate in the United States, where shady gun buyers operate freely thanks to loopholes in American law. To its credit, the Obama administration has ordered the more than 8,000 dealers along the border to begin reporting multiple sales of AK-47s and other semiautomatic battlefield weapons to the federal firearms bureau.
Straw buyers have been easily purchasing thousands of fast-firing weapons on the American side to supply the cartels, which deal drugs back across the border. These guns have no legitimate place in civilian life and were banned outright for 10 years until Congress and two successive administrations failed to fight for the ban’s renewal. In Mexico, semiautomatics have been at the heart of a five-year-long drug war in which more than 35,000 people have been slain.
The National Rifle Association, of course, is greeting the new regulation as an unconstitutional outrage against the right to bear arms. But the reporting of multiple sales of handguns is already required of dealers in all 50 states. Gathering information on a buyer of two or more semiautomatic rifles within five days is logical and overdue in the four border states. The rule, issued by the Justice Department, even provides that a report will be destroyed after two years if it produces no criminal cases.
Gun lobby sycophants in Congress are calling the regulation a smoke screen to distract attention from a gun-tracking operation botched by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Known straw buyers made purchases that were supposed to lead to the cartels’ main brokers. But hundreds of guns disappeared into Mexico, and two turned up at the scene of a shootout where an American Border Patrol guard was killed. If anything, the ill-conceived operation, which deserves the fullest investigation, is a measure of the firearms bureau’s frustration in dealing with porous American law.
COMMENTARY: The ATF Fast and Furious scheme allowed thousands of guns to “walk” to the Mexican drug cartels.
Was it our gun laws that allowed this to happen? No.
It happened because ATF overruled its own agents who didn’t want the guns to “walk” and it overruled concerned gun shop owners who reported questionable gun sales to what looked to them like “straw” buyers.
So what is the “solution”: mandatory reporting of gun sales. Was that the whole point of ATF’s Fast and Furious? Seems likely.
And to put this in context…from the Arizona Republic July 15, 2011:
by Max Jarman – Jul. 15, 2011 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
Guns are selling at a record pace this year at sporting-goods stores and specialty shops in Arizona, creating millions of dollars in revenue for retailers.
The ability to carry a concealed weapon without a permit, general apprehension and lingering concerns that the Obama administration could crack down on gun ownership are among the sales drivers.
In Arizona, it is likely that more than 200,000 new weapons will be put in buyers’ hands after background checks this year. That figure doesn’t include firearms purchased at gun shows and through private transactions. Such non-tracked sales are thought to account for 40 percent of all sales, adding about 150,000 guns purchased annually. The estimated sales total: about 350,000 guns per year.
Retailers report that demand for small handguns that can be concealed in a purse or briefcase has soared, while sales of rifles and shotguns have remained flat or declined.
Firearms are widely available at many major retailers in Arizona, including sporting-goods stores such as Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, Sports Authority, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Big 5 Sporting Goods.
Firearms sales remain brisk to consumers across the nation, as well, and retailers make sure they are stocked up: Nationally, retailers buy more firearms than golf equipment.
The Maryland-based Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association reported that $2.8 billion worth of firearms was sold by manufacturers to sporting-goods retailers in 2010, eclipsing the $2.35 billion in golf equipment sold that year. Only fitness equipment generated more sales for equipment manufacturers, at $3.2 billion.
“Firearms traditionally have been one of the top three sellers at sporting-goods stores,” said Mike May, a spokesman for the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association.
Sales to retailers from manufacturers have risen dramatically since 2007. And even with an 11 percent drop in revenue in 2010 compared with 2009, firearms sales at sporting-goods retailers are up more than 20 percent since 2007, May said.
In addition to major retailers and specialty gun shops, firearms are available at 200 pawnshops in the state. Many pawnshops sell new weapons in addition to firearms that have been pawned and never claimed.
The FBI reports that 123,043 people submitted themselves to background checks to purchase guns in Arizona through June. That puts the state on track to break the record of 215,379 background checks in 2009, the year President Barack Obama took office.
The federal government requires the background checks for guns purchased through dealers licensed by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Although the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, application doesn’t reflect an actual purchase, less than 2 percent of the applicants are rejected, and it is seen as a reliable indicator of gun sales and consumer demand.
In June, the ATF reported there were 1,629 licensed dealers, manufacturers and collectors of firearms and ammunition in Arizona. That compares with 1,589 in January 2011 and 1,566 in June 2010.
In Massachusetts and Washington, two states with populations similar to Arizona’s, there were, respectively, 492 and 1,155 licensed dealers, manufacturers and collectors of firearms and ammunition.
Experts attribute the relatively large number of licensees in Arizona to the state’s strong gun culture and gun-friendly laws.
Most of the license holders are dealers. In Arizona, about 1,200 of the 1,629 licensees are buyers and sellers of firearms. They range from gun shops, sporting-goods retailers and pawnshops to individuals, primarily gun enthusiasts, who hold dealer licenses so they can buy directly from manufacturers.
Walmart, which stopped selling guns at most stores in 2006 because of weak sales, has recently restocked rifles and shotguns at 1,700 of its 3,800 stores, including many in Arizona.
Walmart spokeswoman Ashley Hardy attributed their return to customer demand.
“People depend on us for hunting and sporting goods, and we listened to the feedback and added them back,” she said.
The Walmart stores do not sell handguns.
“We carry sporting firearms only,” Hardy said.
Although background checks are required for guns purchased through licensed retailers, no such screening is needed for guns purchased at the more than 20 major gun shows held in Arizona each year or through private transactions among individuals.
Non-licensed sales, which are hard to track, are thought to represent about 40 percent of the approximately 20 million guns that are sold in the U.S. each year.
Aaron Merchant started selling guns out of his Ahwatukee Farmers Insurance agency but outgrew the space last year and opened Merchant Firearms in Ahwatukee Foothills. Merchant said he expected his business to gross $1.5 million this year.
The shop specializes in higher-end weapons.
“We don’t sell the cheap Saturday night specials that some stores do,” he said.
No permit needed
Firearms sales in Arizona get a boost from some of the nation’s most liberal gun-ownership laws, as well as general angst and lingering concerns about tougher national gun laws.
Arizona is one of only three states where a concealed weapon can be carried without a permit.
Last year, an Arizona law that required gun owners to have permits to carry concealed weapons was repealed, allowing people 21 and older to carry guns out of sight.
Arizona dealers note that demand continues to grow for small handguns that can be concealed in a purse or briefcase, although many believe that most people interested in carrying a concealed weapon already were doing so with a permit.
Andrew Molchan, president of the Professional Gun Retailers Association in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., attributes the increase in gun sales to a number of factors, including general apprehension about the direction of the country, and worries that the Obama administration will tighten gun-control laws, and the fact that more states now allow people to carry concealed weapons, generally with a permit.
“General apprehension is good for gun sales,” he said, noting that sales tend to spike during recessions and times of political unrest.
One of the biggest drivers is fear of tighter gun-control laws. Besides the jumps in gun sales in 2008 and 2009 when Obama was elected and took office, there was a sizable jump in 1994 when President Bill Clinton banned assault weapons.
Sales soared in 2005 when it became legal again to buy semiautomatic rifles and semiautomatic pistols with large ammunition magazines.
Tragic shooting incidents also can spike sales because of similar apprehension about the enactment of stricter gun laws.
Gun sales jumped after the Columbine High School shootings in Colorado in 1999, and Molchan believes the Jan. 8 attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords that left six people dead near Tucson could be driving some of the increased sales so far this year.
A slight uptick
Brittany Hightower, a saleswoman at Bear Mountain Sports in Mesa, noticed a slight increase in sales after the Tucson-area tragedy, as did Dave LaRue, owner of Legendary Guns of the West in Phoenix.
LaRue said he also saw an increase in high-capacity magazine sales after the Giffords shootings because people were worried they may be banned.
The magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition were banned with assault weapons in 1994 and became legal to own again when the ban expired in 2004.
The gunman used a Glock 19 pistol with 33-round magazines in the attacks.
COMMENT: Watch…there is going to be a big surge in buying semi-automatic rifles in the next few days.