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Premium Member
8,460 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Don't put a lid on gun sales data ... dguns.html

The major problem I have with this story and the situation itself is...
New York City sued several gunmakers in 2000, seeking to force manufacturers to prevent illegal weapon sales by suspect dealers. Last month, a federal judge ruled that New York City's suit could proceed despite the shield law, which President Bush signed in October.

However, the success of the suit depends on data from the Bureau of Alchohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which shows that just a few rogue gun dealers are responsible for a large proportion of illegal gun sales. The suit alleges that gunmakers could have and should have identified those rogue dealers and refused to sell them any more firearms, thus saving a lot of lives and heartaches.
Most of you are aware that the federal limited liability law was passed last year. This New York City lawsuit was specifically cited as a trial that would not be allowed under this new law. A known activist judge has allowed it to continue dispite the new law (an appeal is on-going).

However you may not know that the key "data" from the ATF does not say anything close to "a few rouge gun dealers are responsible fore a large proportion of illegal gun sales". Which is a major reason why the information is no longer availible.

The "data" from the ATF simply says the name of the Gun Dealer and how many gun traces they received in a 4 year span, 1996 thru 2000. The information was provided by the ATF to the National Economic Research Associates. Normally this information is not given but it was required for a civil lawsuit filed by the NAACP. That lawsuit failed.

The anti gun group Americans for Gun Safety used this data to release a flawed report called selling crime.
The 2 notable quotes from that flawed report that I have now seen or heard several times in the media are:
"Gun dealers located in 22 states supplied nearly 15% of guns recovered in crime between 1996 and 2000 and that most of the stores remain open for business, even those that committed repeated legal violations"

"The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) has shown that less than 1% of gun stores are the source of nearly 57% of firearms traced to crimes nationwide."
The second quote seems to be where the "few rogue gun dealers are responsible for a large proportion of illegal gun sales" comes from in the AJC editorial. Some of you already know that where there is a report or study by an anti-gun group there is a lie, well the same is true here.

All this information is based on gun trace data. First a trace is done for a wide variety of reasons, many involve people that never came in contact with the gun dealer or the person who originally bought the firearm. Example: I buy a firearm from Roman Guns. I keep it for a year and sell it to my friend Jim. Jim changes his mind and sells it to Pete. While in town Pete's car is broken into and the gun is stolen. A year later a Drug Dealer is busted and a firearm is found on him. A trace is run and found the gun was sold to Roman Guns. The local police then go to Roman Guns and they report they sold it to me. The local police then have to track me down, and I would tell them Jim has it, they track down Jim and he says Pete has it. They track down Pete and he tells them he reported it stolen. To the ATF all they know is 1 trace was performed and the record came back Roman Guns. Neither the Store, I, Jim, nor Pete broke the law. (a California dealer who had 1,000-plus guns stolen during Los Angeles riots was included in the list)

In a typical year about half of all traces are started by the ATF and the reason for that trace is known. The other half are local LEO's running traces and the reason for that trace is not known. If the reason for roughly half of all traces are not known, it is IMPOSSIBLE and WRONG to say or imply that a trace represents a crime or wrong doing. Not including the fact that firearms that are traced by the ATF (and the reason why is known) may not be charged with a crime or found not guilty.

Last but not least is the fact that the lawsuit says the "gunmakers could have and should have identified those rogue dealers and refused to sell them any more firearms." That is funny because that is what the ATF is charged to do. What does the ATF say about these rouge dealers? Every report about trace data has to include a disclaimer that says "Most importantly, they(traced guns) do not necessarily reflect typical criminal diversions of firearms or the typical acquisition of firearms by youth, juveniles, and adults."

ATF uses trace data to hint at who could be trafficking guns, they then have to use other investigational tools to determine if that hint is real or misleading. They know a trace is not proof of trafficking and because of the unknown factors can never be proof in and of itself. The lawsuit claims that it is proof. If anyone is at fault for putting a lid on gun sales data it is the Brady Bunch and AGS for misusing information. (by the way, the above is just one lie of many in that AGS report)

So to sum up, the AJC Editorial is based on lies by the Brady Bunch and AGS, NOT the "data" the ATF uses (and still uses, however they no longer can provide it to lawyers). Nice of the AJC editor to imply otherwise.

Lawyer and Gun Activist
29,598 Posts
Two Problems

One of the problems with trying to identify "rogue FFL dealers" is that some "violations" could be purely technical and trivial, the way that each major airline has thousands of safety-related violations every year with the FAA. Not all "violations" are fundamental, serious acts of negligence with endangering the public as a consequence.

Another problem is that not all neighborhoods have the same crime rates. What if we find out that Joe's Shooting & Fishing Emporium located in the affluent suburbs of Metropolis has an upscale clientele who keep their guns in $800 gun safes and never allow them to fall into unauthorized hands, whereas Rufus' Pawn and Gun in the rough ghetto neighborhood of South-Central Metropolis also does a brisk business, but many of his customers are "prohibited persons" with fake I.D. or with straw purchasers who do a good job of convincing Rufus that they are in fact the real purchaser of the weapon, and on top of this, many of Rufus' customers are poor people who can't afford safes or alarm systems, and whose homes and cars are regularly broken into, and whose possessions (including firearms) are regularly stolen and thus introduced into the black market of illegal weapons...

Should we shut down Rufus? He's doing his best to comply with the law, but he can't help it so many of the people in his neighborhood are not legal and responsible gun owners. Should gun and pawn shops in poor areas be shut down? When big banks wanted to shut down their inner-city branches due to frequent robberies and employee's cars being repeatedly broken-into, the federal government stepped-in to forbid banks from closing too many inner-city locations, arguing that such an action was race-based discrimination. Why should people who are potential gun store customers be treated any differently than people who are potential bank customers?

Premium Member
8,460 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That first post was getting rather long so I stopped there. However I have a lot more. Such as AGS states that "Therefore, [gun trafficking] traces in this survey thus represent the majority, but not all, of the guns that came from these high-crime dealers."

I made a copy of an anti-gun media report that gave out actual data about a dealer's gun sales to see how far off AGS was. Quite shocking how far off they really were.

Valley Gun Shop on Harford Road in Parkville Mayland is listed as a high-crime dealer. (Only dealer I could find in media reports that stated both yearly sales and number of traces)
The store, in business for 50 years, sells 2,000 to 3,000 guns a year, and traces were done on 483 over what you think is 4 years but is not. The report says 4 years of traces, not 4 years of sales. So a gun sold in 1994 that was traced in 2000 counts. Just starting in 1994 when record keeping became manditory, means that you have 7 years of selling guns showing up in the 4 years of tracing.

(here comes the math)
AGS states a majority (over 50%) of the guns high crime dealers sell are trafficked guns.
# of Traces is greater than 50% of total guns sold in 7 years
# of traces > .5 X (total yearly sales X 7)

Now plug the figures in for Valley Gun shop
Low Sales for Valley Gun Shop
483 > .5 X (2,000 X 7)
483 > .5 X 14,000
483 > 7,000
483 is not greater than 7,000
Statement is incorrect (AGS is lying)

High Sales for Valley Gun Shop
483 > .5 X (3,000 X 7)
483 > .5 X 21,000
483 > 10,500
Again Statement is incorrect (AGS is lying)

So in 7 years Valley Gun Shop has sold between 14,000 and 21,000 firearms with only 483 having been traced in that 4 year window. If it was not a majority of firearms they sold, what percent of sales are traced?
483 / 14,000

483 / 21,000

Roughly 2% - 3.5% of guns they sold over 7 years were traced. Quite a far cry from being a majority of sales.

Premium Member
8,460 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
As an example of lax enforcement AGS says "Even when a store is shut down or prosecuted, the punishment is often lax. For example, Baltimore Gunsmith, which ranked 12th on the high crime dealer list with 794 crime gun traces, was shut down after the owner, Tony DiMartino, had his dealers’ license stripped by ATF in 2001. However, the store remains open selling firearm accessories and firearms at weekend gun shows. The store is operated by Tony’s son, Larry DiMartino, the store’s website brags 'Tony’s still around so stop in and say hello!!'"

However a check into Baltimore Gunsmith shows that neither Larry nor Tony have an FFL because the ATF denied renewal. The ATF was sued by Baltimore Gunsmith for non-renewal and lost in 2001. Larry DiMartino says "Baltimore Gunsmith will remain open selling archery equipment, antique firearms, air guns, hunting accessories and other outdoor sports supplies-items which do not require a federal firearms permit to sell".

Being denied a license to sell doesn't sound like lax inforcement to me.

The statement about selling firearms at gunshows is misleading as well. Maryland has closed the "gun show loophole" so any sales at a gunshow has to be reported.

The 12th highest ranking dealer has been shut down for being a high crime dealer by the ATF before this report was ever done.

Surprising AGS could not find this out on their own. Took Google and I about 5 minutes.
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