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A New Deception

Bryan Miller has a new post up, and makes this claim:

These and other Newark initiatives are important because, although the bulk of illegal handguns traced from crime in the city and across the state were originally purchased out-of-state and trafficked to the Garden State (a conclusion reinforced by data published Monday by ATF, which I will analyze more closely in an upcoming entry, see [URL], it is the case that a significant portion of crime guns recovered in Newark were part of multiple sales made by in-state gun dealers.

No doubt Bryan wishes the data linked to by the ATF supported this, because he’s currently trying to get one-gun-a-month passed in New Jersey (and Pennsylvania too, by the way).  But the data does not mention anything about multiple firearms sales.  Multiple firearms sales are something that has to be reported to ATF currently (he won’t tell you that part),  but they don’t combine that data with the trace request data.

12 Responses to “A New Deception”

  1. andrew says:

    It’s certainly possible that a “significant” portion of those in-state guns are from multiple purchases, but you’re right, there’s no way you could know from the ATF trace data. Do they release the “multiple purchases” data elsewhere? The other thing I’m curious about in this article is the bit about the AG instructing local PDs to trace every recovered gun. I was under the impression that most of the guns that don’t show up in the trace data were untraceable, for whatever reason, but this suggests that many PDs just don’t bother submitting the requests. It seems to me that mandating those traces (and funding whatever costs are associated) should be an important goal for people on all sides of this issue.

  2. Sebastian says:

    I have no issues with police having to trace recovered firearms as a matter of policy. Pennsylvania is in the process of passing a similar law with an OK from the NRA.

    It’s possible that a significant portion of the guns come from multiple purchase straw purchasers, but I’m calling out Bryan for suggesting the ATF data supports that when it does no such thing. I’m not sure what the ATF does with the multiple sales records, but I doubt they release the data because the purpose of them is to pursue gun traffickers. I have done multiple purchases in a short period of time, but I have done them with my type 03 (licensed collector) FFL, so reporting wasn’t a requirement. I have a giant stack of the forms the ATF send me with the license (If I transfer more than two firearms out of my possession to a non FFL with a week’s period, I’m required to send that to the ATF).

  3. andrew says:

    Interesting. According to the US Code, local law enforcement has to destroy any records of multiple purchases within 20 days of their reporting. So if the PD wanted to take the initiative to combat straw-purchasing within the state (not trafficked across state lines) they are prohibited from retaining the necessary data to do so. They’d have to go to ATF, and ATF might not allow them to have that data because of the concerns about civil suits or compromising other investigations since data used as part of a criminal proceeding would probably be made public. It’s a terrible bind. I wonder how cases against straw-purchasers are ever made.

  4. Sebastian says:

    It can be pretty difficult to successfully prosecute someone for straw purchasing. Even with a record, it would still be difficult, because it’s not illegal to sell a gun to someone else provided you don’t know that person is a prohibited person. That shouldn’t be difficult to prove, really, in the case of a girlfriend buying a gun for her prohibited drug dealing boyfriend (happens a lot, actually. Go into a gun shop with a woman, and it automatically raises suspicion of the dealer. I’ve gotten some strange looks when I go to a shop with Bitter.)

    The local PD are required to destroy the records because gun owners have traditionally been paranoid about registration. In an different political climate, registration wouldn’t necessarily be something I’d oppose, because I don’t think it’s necessarily unconstitutional and I think the states can use their militia powers to justify the reason for it. However, in the current political climate, we’ll keep opposing it, because confiscation isn’t off the table.

  5. andrew says:

    I’m increasingly embarrassed at how out of touch I am with this issue, but is confiscation really on the table in any meaningful way?

  6. Sebastian says:

    Only in the sense that it’s the end goal of a lot of our political opponents. We’re not close to that yet, but in jurisdictions like New York and Chicago, registration happened first, then confiscation followed. Same thing happened in Australia and Britain .

    We’ve also had machine gun registration and licensing in this country since 1934, and despite the fact that a legally possessed ,registered machine guns had only ever been used once in a crime in the entire history of the program (and that was by one registered to a police officer), Congress still decided in 1986 to end the program, and made it illegal to register any new ones. They didn’t confiscate in this case, but it had reduced the number of collectors down to a small enough amount that they had no political power when a Congressman decided he didn’t see any reason not to ban them.

    The fear is, agree to something like registration now, it will whittle down our political power, and that eventually, there will be few enough of us left that we’ll end up losing the issue entirely, and now the government knows who has them, so confiscation is easier.

  7. thirdpower says:

    Don’t forget New Jersey and the Marlin Model 60 Assault weapons.

    I wonder if the lack of listing of the article is just a programming glitch or if Bryan has realized he’s being skewered and wants to keep it hidden from people like us.

  8. Sebastian says:

    I think it’s a glitch. It would seem the proper response to being skewered would be to stop blogging.

  9. straightarrow says:

    registration is always the first step to confiscation. Even were that not historically accurate, which it is, even in our own country, effective confiscation becomes impossible without registration. That is much more in keeping with our founders’ design than trusting your egocentric politician.

  10. thirdpower says:

    I know it’s probably a glitch. I can hope though. :)

    He can’t stop blogging now, though. That would be a PR victory for us and he can’t have that and he probably doesn’t have control over allowing comments like the Brady Bunch does. Paul’s still going , he’s just not letting us shred him publicly anymore.

  11. PN NJ says:

    BTW, have you noticed that Bryan gets very little support from other gun grabbers in his blog comments section. A promising sign for our side, but maybe they consider the blogosphere irrelevant.

  12. Sebastian says:

    It’s because there aren’t a lot of die hard anti-gun activists out there.

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