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June 24, 2024

Gun Control Politician Embarks on Shameful ‘Name-and-Shame’ Agenda

By Mark Oliva

There seems to be no limit to how far some gun control politicians will go in their effort to smear the firearm industry. Instead of actually holding criminals accountable for their horrific crimes when they criminally misuse a firearm, apparently, it’s just easier to shift the blame. They would absolve criminals of their wrongdoing and hang the proverbial noose on an industry that actually follows the law.

U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) introduced H.R. 8764, the Clean Firearm Procurement Act. Despite its misleading name, it is a case study for all that is wrong with Washington, D.C.’s political gun control agenda. The legislation proposes that the U.S. attorney general disregard current law that prohibits the disclosure of sensitive firearm trace data and publish a public list of the firearms most-commonly misused by criminals when they commit violent crimes.

It gets worse.

The bill would then enable the attorney general to block any contract with firearm businesses that are listed as the manufacturer, distributor or seller of those firearms. The legislation ignores that firearms are manufactured, distributed and sold lawfully by federally-licensed companies. All retail transfers take place in a face-to-face transaction and are completed with a signed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Form 4473.  This form requires that the person obtaining the firearm is not a prohibited person and then is verified by an FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) verification.

Absurd & Dangerous

This legislation is as absurd as it is dangerous. It would weaponize firearm sales to federal agencies and potentially block federal funding to law enforcement agencies to satisfy a political gun control agenda – all because criminals commit horrific crimes. It would also bypass the Tiahrt Amendment that prohibits the ATF from sharing sensitive firearm trace data outside of law enforcement for investigations.

That would deprive federal agencies – including the FBI, ATF, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Protective Service, U.S. Marshals Service, Central Intelligence Agency, State Department, Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Internal Revenue Service, National Park Service, U.S. Capitol Police, U.S. Secret Service and even the U.S. Postal Service (yes… they have a federal law enforcement function) from procuring firearms to sustain their missions all because criminals misuse certain firearms in the commission of their crimes.

Rep. Raskin is pitching this ill-planned bill as a means to go after “bad-apple gun dealers.” The truth is that’s not what this bill does. Not even close. It saddles the criminal misuse of firearms on manufacturers and retailers that have no connection whatsoever with the horrific crimes that criminals commit. That’s called “blameshifting.” It is intellectually lazy and ignores those who actually cause harm and commit crimes and instead assigns that culpability to a remote third party that is in no way associated with that crime.

That would be like telling the U.S. Attorney General that he must publish a list of all vehicle manufacturers and dealers of the cars, trucks and SUVs that are used in vehicular homicides, manslaughters and criminal negligence and then tell the federal government they cannot procure those vehicles. The auto industry isn’t responsible for criminal misuse of the product they make and sell. They are no more responsible for crimes committed with their products than the firearm industry is for when the products they lawfully make and sell are later criminally misused.

A closer look at the shortsightedness of this legislation is apparent when scrutiny is applied to who Rep. Raskin is attacking with this legislation. The bill would rely on the ATF’s Demand 2 program. To be placed on this program, a retailer must have received 25 trace requests from the ATF within a calendar year, where the time from retail sale to trace is three years or less (what ATF calls “time-to-crime”). The release of this list disclosed data – who received a trace, how many traces and the time to crime – that comes exclusively from the ATF’s National Tracing Center (NTC) Firearm Tracing System (FTS). Because the ATF already violated the Tiahrt Amendment when they willingly handed over sensitive firearm trace data to USA Today, the American public knows that the Washington, D.C., Metro Police Department is on that list.

For a short period, there were no commercial federal firearm licensees (FFLs) in the District of Columbia. To avoid a legal mess, the Metro Police Department became the sole FFL, facilitating firearm transfers until private businesses obtained a license to do so. During that short time, D.C. Metro Police was required to report Demand 2 information to the ATF.

That’s not because anyone at the D.C. Metro Police Department did anything wrong. It’s because criminals later misused firearms that were legally transferred.

What’s more is that the ATF has published reports that demonstrate that licensed firearm retailers aren’t the problem. The ATF’s report found just 136 cases of illegal firearm trafficking tied to an FFL over a five-year period. That’s just 1.6 percent of all 9,700 cases. To put that into more specific perspective, there were 134,516 FFLs at the end of 2021. That equates to just 0.1 percent of all FFLs being implicated in allegedly illegal firearm trafficking before President Joe Biden instituted his whole-of-government crackdown on the firearm industry.

Let’s Talk ‘Bad Apples’

A closer look at who is responsible for likely the most ever firearms falling into the wrong hands puts the blame squarely at the feet of President Joe Biden. President Biden ordered the hasty withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. That rushed exit resulted in $7.12 billion worth of military equipment in the hands of the Taliban – a known terrorist organization that has repeatedly targeted the United States and its citizens. That included 258,000 rifles, including M-16/M-4 and AK-47 variants, 56,000 machine guns and 31,000 rocket propelled grenade launchers, according to a report by Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas), who was then Ranking Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.

That doesn’t account for the 1,845 60mm and 82mm mortar systems, over one million mortar rounds, 224 122mm howitzer artillery systems, 180,000 “air-to-ground” munitions, 18,000 precision and non-precision “gravity” bombs and 160,000 precision and non-precision aviation rockets. That’s also not counting the military aircraft, armored vehicles or 17,400 sets of night vision devices.

That’s also not taking into consideration the U.S. government’s fault in allowing firearms to cross the border into Mexico during the ill-fated Operation Fast & Furious scandal that cost the life of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and innocent lives in Mexico. President Biden was serving as Vice President when this scandal occurred.

The bill is a political ploy to make an end-run on the Tiahrt Amendment. That’s the law that prevents politicians like Rep. Raskin from misusing sensitive firearm trace data for political purposes. Former ATF Acting Director Michael Sullivan recently wrote a Newsmax op-ed, decrying overtures to rescind the law that would only serve political agendas and put active and ongoing investigations, and potentially the lives and safety of law enforcement in danger.

Rep. Raskin isn’t serving the people of Maryland or the rest of the United States when he proposes this legislation. He’s serving special interest gun control groups and he’d do it at the risk of depriving federal agencies the tools they need to protect the American public from threats abroad and criminals within. His “name-and-shame” bill is shameful from its inception.

You may also be interested in:

ATF’s Tiahrt Violation Enables Media “Name and Shame” Campaign

ATF Firearm Trafficking Report: Licensed Retailers Aren’t the Problem

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