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Prosecution by Information

The US Attorneys have released the information associated with the prosecution of Colosimo’s gun shop.  They have also issued a press release as well. What strikes me is the complaint against them doesn’t really offer any evidence that his paperwork was a willful violation, it just states that is the case. Paperwork errors are not that uncommon in a high volume gun business. Few FFLs can get everything right 100% of the time. The question still remains why ATF allowed him to keep operating all these years if he was engaging in willful violations of the condition of his license. When was the last time ATF inspected the records of Colosimos?  What violations were found? These are key questions in this case, that I think the public ought to know.

But the fact is, if this is a deal where Colosimo’s Inc. is going to plead guilty, the District Attorney doesn’t need to bring forth detailed evidence, since the defendant will admit he is guilty . He will not force the state to meet its burden, and so it won’t bother.

I can’t say I would entirely blame James Colosimo, at age 77, if he agreed to plead guilty rather than risk financial and personal ruin trying to fight charges in front of a jury. But it should be understood that by admitting to such actions, he will not get to enter retirement with his dignity, and in the right. He will have admitted his shop was engaged in criminal activity, and that’s not something I’m going to support. Everything the anti-gun folks have said about Colosimo’s will have be admitted to as true. Whether that’s just a matter of legal fact, rather than actual fact, I don’t think is important. Colosimos will be a criminal gun shop, and that’s how it will be remembered. James Colosimo might get to retire in peace, but that will be little comfort for the next gun shop that ends up in the crosshairs.

This is one of those businesses, when you get too tired to cross every ‘t’ and dot every ‘i’, and even more importantly, when you lose interest in standing up for what’s right, it’s time to give up the FFL, close up shop, and get out of the business.

10 Responses to “Prosecution by Information”

  1. Robb Allen says:

    it’s time to give up the FFL, close up shop, and get out of the business

    I’d say that is the ultimate goal.

  2. Sebastian says:

    Fewer, larger competitors is the feature of any regulated industry. Guns unique in the sense that the government has chosen to regulate what is largely a cottage industry. There’s really not many other entities out there that adequately compare, except save for food production, and that’s increasingly shifting to smaller numbers of very large players.

    To some degree the firearms business can’t shift to the oligopoly that heavily regulated industries tend to shift to, because the regulatory structure makes it next to impossible.

    But if you regulate a cottage industry, it has negative side effects. One of those side effects is few players, and since they can only get so big, you end up with fewer and fewer. Some who advocated this certainly knew what they were doing, but it happens any time you regulate an industry.

  3. Robb Allen says:

    And I’d not put it past some of the larger manufacturers to be behind some regulation. Here in Tampa, we have idiot photography studios who have been pushing to ‘regulate photographers’. Not because a blurry, poorly composed shot has killed millions of children, but because it prevents competition from springing up.

    Then you have things like “Minimum Advertised Pricing” which the larger gun dealers force manufacturers to implement so that smaller shops can’t compete easily.

    The free market functions best when it’s truly free. Alas, this isn’t the reality of life.

  4. Sebastian says:

    Interesting. If you go to ATF’s FFL EZ Check, and enter the FFL number listed in the information from the US Attorney, it still shows as a valid FFL. It just seems very odd to me they’d proceed straight to prosecution without seeking administrative remedies first.

  5. Sebastian says:

    And I’d not put it past some of the larger manufacturers to be behind some regulation.

    That’s how we got the importation restrictions in GCA ’68. That was total rent seeking on the part of the gun manufacturers. Cheap imports were killing their business.

  6. Sebastian says:

    One interesting thing you don’t see too much of in the gun business is regulatory capture, which is a feature of nearly every other highly regulated industry.

  7. Harvey says:

    If, in fact, the basis of all this is minor paperwork errors, it’s ironic that they (the BATFE), as well as any other LE organization can make “good faith” errors in warrants, searches, etc. and it’s okay. No double standard here.

  8. Diomed says:

    So what would ATF look like as a captive agency?

  9. Sebastian says:

    You’d have large retailers and distributors working closely with ATF to craft the regulations to push smaller competitors out of the market.

  10. Diomed says:

    That’s what I thought.

    Of course, now you have ATF acting on its own to craft regulations to push smaller companies out the market. Along with customers.

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