Bradys Bad Mouthing Good Gun Shops

This, rather shocking Philadelphia Inquirer article, shocking in the sense that it’s not virulently anti-gun, tells a tale of a Bucks County, PA (my county of residence, north of the city) gun shop that got wrongly blacklisted by the Brady Bunch:

Which is what happened last month when the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence released a report, “Shady Dealings: Illegal Gun Trafficking from Licensed Gun Dealers.” Tanner’s store was featured as one of the scurrilous.

What the Brady Center didn’t know is that the sale had been a sting, arranged in cooperation with the local office of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The rest of the article goes into more detail. They do get one thing wrong though:

While he considers the fine points, the woman will wander around, utterly uninterested. But when they’re ready to buy, she’ll be the one filling out the paperwork. If it can be proved she bought the guns for the man, it is a “straw purchase” – a felony.

This isn’t necessarily a straw purchase, since you are allowed to purchase firearms as gifts. Even in Pennsylvania, where private sales of handguns are generally illegal, there is an exception for spouses, and immediate family members.

But overall, it’s good to see stuff like this. I will have to send the Philadelphia Inquirer some praise for printing a good, balanced article on the issue. Oh, and Tanner managed to get an apology out of the Brady’s and a retraction, after getting a lot of phone calls from irate customers who read a newspaper article on the Brady’s report. I would have hoped that gun shop patrons would know ahead of time that the Brady’s are full of crap.

11 thoughts on “Bradys Bad Mouthing Good Gun Shops”

  1. I sent this to Melissa:

    Dear Melissa,

    As a regular reader of your newspaper, and long time sport shooter, I was pleased to read your article “After a sting, a gun dealer gets stung”, which I felt was a balanced report on the topic of straw purchases. I’m sure you’re aware that straw purchasing is a serious problem, and I was happy to see you highlight the sportsman’s community working with law enforcement to try to deal with the problem.

    The vast majority of hunters and sport shooters are concerned with ensuring that the laws against straw purchasing are enforced, and that we keep firearms out of the hands of the criminally irresponsible. Your article was certainly a nice contrast to much of the other reporting your newspaper does on the topic of firearms. Keep up the good work!


    Langhorne, PA

    No need to correct the minor error in law. It was a good faith effort, and straw purchasing is a bit of a legal technicality I wouldn’t expect someone not verse in the law to understand. It’s important that reporters get praise when they do good articles, even if it also gives the other side. What we want is for reporters to be fair, we can’t expect them to be pro-gun all the time. They deserve a pat on the back when they meet that standard.

    And I know the more extreme among us will point out that I’ve often complained about the “enforce the existing laws” mantra catching otherwise law abiding people in their net, and that is a problem, but to be honest, I have no problems with the government disbarring violent felons from having access to firearms, nor do I think it runs afoul of the constitution. I will agree that the current “felon in possession” statutes have issues currently, and the legal net on this issue snares far too many people who are not violent individuals, but the basic idea I think is sound, and I support gun dealers working with law enforcement to try to catch the boneheads who are buying guns for violent gang members. That’s something that I think is properly against the law.

  2. Wouldn’t you think Sarah would know better? Didn’t she defend her purchase of gun she gave to her son as a gift? Why! I believe she did. How ’bout dat.

    And she got all irate about being questioned about it too.

  3. One big problem is that it’s hard to define just what a straw man sale is.

    I buy a gun and give it to someone as a gift … that’s OK.

    I buy a gun “for” someone else … that’s forbidden.

    Hard to see a clear line between the two, and ATF itself has tried without too much success to define it. At one point they said that the line was whether the ultimate recipient could not legally possess (note possess, not buy from a dealer, because the underage can’t buy from a dealer but can possess). It was a practical dividing line, but hard to reconcile logically with the statute.

  4. I bought a rifle at Tanners almost two years ago. It is a reputable operation with a courteous and professional staff. If you live near Bucks County and are in the market for a firearm, I can highly recommend them.

  5. I’ll have to keep them in mind next time I’m in the market. Definitely after this, they deserve to have some of my money headed their way.

  6. I don’t know if this is true, but I would think one test of strawman would be whether the actual purchaser was reimbursed for the cost of the weapon by the end recipient. If so, straw purchase, if not, gift. That would be my take on it. perhaps it makes too much sense?

  7. Sebastian~ I’m a college student working on a paper about Gun liability lawsuits relating ot the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. I was wondering if you are aware of any gun ownership statistics particularly for Bucks County. (My paper is to “write our Congressman”) If you can give me any help it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

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