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View Full Version : Why Are There Fewer Gun Dealers?


btown02
03-14-2006, 01:27 PM
By Alexandra Marks, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
Tue Mar 14, 3:00 AM ET



NEW YORK - The United States has more gas stations than gun dealers. "News flash?" you might think. But a decade ago, businesses licensed to sell firearms outnumbered gas stations 245,000 to 210,000. Since then, the number of licensed firearms dealers has declined almost 80 percent, according to a recent study of federal data.



The reason: changes in regulations in the 1990s that, among other things, required federally licensed gun dealers to comply with zoning laws and report certain information to local police.

Gun-control advocates contend that this dramatic reduction is a victory for "sensible" gun-control policy that has made it harder for criminals to get guns. They believe the reduced number of dealers makes it easier for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (known commonly as ATF) to police the "bad apple" dealers who divert guns onto the illegal market. ATF studies have shown that a disproportionately large number of those bad apple dealers were small businesses. And while gun-control advocates acknowledge there's no empirical evidence, they believe the reduction was one element that added to the dramatic decline in crime during the past decade.

"This is a major policy success of the Clinton administration, because the gun distribution system has been out of control for a long time," says Dennis Henigan, director of the Brady Center, a gun-control advocacy group in Washington.

The National Rifle Association has a very different response: "So what?" says Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesman for the NRA in Fairfax, Va. He contends the changes only drove out individuals who may have gotten a license so they could buy guns at wholesale prices for their personal use.

His explanation for crime being at an all-time low is very different, but also anecdotal: During the past decade NRA membership has almost doubled, the number of firearms sold has increased, and a majority of states now have laws allowing individuals to carry concealed weapons.

"It's a stretch to make the claim that this reduction in dealers had any impact on the reduction in crime," Mr. Arulanandam says.

These two dramatically different takes on what was clearly an effective social policy - like it or not, it did decrease the number of gun dealers - illustrate the hot- button nature of the gun-control debate. They also show widely different perceptions of the nation's current gun laws: While one side says the regulations are inadequate, the other says they're already too onerous.

But there are a few things that both sides in the debate can agree on, such as the reasons for the decline in gun dealers. During the Clinton administration, three major changes took place: ATF tightened up regulations, the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act passed in 1993, and the next year the 1994 crime bill passed, which also tightened gun regulations. As a result, the cost of a federal firearms license jumped from $30 for three years to $200 for the same duration. In addition, dealers were required to be photographed and fingerprinted, and they had to provide that information to the local police. They also had to comply with local zoning laws and prove they were engaged in "the business" of selling firearms.

"If there are fewer licensees to monitor, then the workload may be more manageable, but the question still remains: Does the ATF have the power and resources to find the bad apples and then go after them?" says James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University in Boston. "You still have a small percentage of dealers linked to a high percentage of guns traced to crime."

While the ATF does not release the number of inspectors it employees to monitor gun-dealer compliance, sources within the agency say there are "only hundreds of them" to inspect an estimated 54,000 dealers nationwide. As a result, less than 5 percent of gun dealers are inspected each year. A July 2004 inspector general's report estimated that with the ATF's current resources, it would take 22 years to inspect every licensed gun dealer in the country. It recommended a series of reforms to streamline the inspection process. The bureau has already implemented many of those changes, but an agency source says that more inspectors are what's really needed, as well as increased authority to fine and penalize dealers that are out of compliance - something recommended by the inspector general. But ATF officials will not publicly comment on any of these issues, because whatever is said "can be taken out of context" by one side or the other in the gun-control debate.

"We're like the punching bag in the middle," says the source. "Whatever we say, one side or the other will bash us, so we just focus on enforcing the gun laws, whatever they are."

Gun-control advocates are concerned that some of the progress made in reining in the number of gun dealers will be lost because Congress has been quietly attempting to roll back some of the reforms implemented in the 1990s. For instance, in an amendment attached to the ATF appropriations bill at the behest of the NRA late last year, Congress forbid the ATF from suspending a firearms license because of lack of legitimate "business activity."

"What we really don't want to see is a return to the early '90s, when there was just horror story after horror story of people who were using their license to buy huge numbers of guns and then traffic them illegally into urban areas with strict gun-control laws," says Kristen Rand, legislative director of the Violence Policy Center, a nonprofit gun-violence prevention organization that conducted the study of the decline in gun dealers.

The NRA says it supported the amendment limiting the ATF's enforcement abilities because some individuals don't sell guns in a regular retail manner, and it believes they shouldn't be penalized for that. The organization also argues that the gun distribution system is not out of control. In fact, it believes the current ATF regulations are already too onerous.

"The [ATF] can conduct annual checks on any [federal firearms licensee (FFL)], and if in the course of one of these audits, ATF finds any discrepancy, it can literally move in to the place of business and set up shop and go over their records with a fine-toothed comb," says Arulanandam. "You add to that the regulation that any FFL is required to maintain a record of any transaction for 20 years. That's a requirement that even surpasses IRS standards."

Nosferatu
03-14-2006, 01:42 PM
"What we really don't want to see is a return to the early '90s, when there was just horror story after horror story of people who were using their license to buy huge numbers of guns and then traffic them illegally into urban areas with strict gun-control laws,"

I'd like to see some examples of this. While I don't doubt it happened and still happens, she makes it sound like every other FFL is engaged in this.

btown02
03-14-2006, 02:44 PM
I have never heard of a dealer doing it. The only gunrunners that got caught were not FFL holders. Another example of the press and bad information.

Paratrooper117
03-14-2006, 07:30 PM
That is just the sort of reporting we have come to expect from the legacy media. They are anti-gun and take every opportunity to bash legal gun owners, because to them we are ALL criminals just because we own firearms, legal or not.

panzermk2
03-14-2006, 08:04 PM
beet me to it, Para also don't forget that ffl holders kill children, stomp puppies to death and worst of all they don't hold their forks in their left hands at all times

Evan Stevens
03-22-2006, 11:34 PM
Well if Hillary is elected in 08 it will get worse. FFL will go from $300 to $3000, and to make up for this cost the dealers will pass it on to us with higher prices on everything in their shopp. I am concerned with the 06 election also. At least we got the lawsuit reform bill through. Will Bush veto bad gun legislation when it goes to his desk? I hope so if to just spite the dems. We need to make gun control an issue this year and again in 08 as this is the issue the dems want to stay away from. Hillary will not lie and say she is a gun owner or a hunter like Kerry, she just wants to avoid the issue until we are stuck with her for the next 4 years.

I got a little side tracked from the topic, I am concerned. The FFL dealers have to put up with enough crap as it is. Less dealers = less competition = higher prices. This is one way the dems think they can control guns by making them unaffordable by the common man/woman. Get as many guns as you can now, before it is too late. I seen a preban ar15 that sold for $700 before the ban go for $2100 a year after the ban. I will not sell any of my guns anyway and think gouging is disgusting. The big thing to get is all the Hi Cap mags as possible as this is the first thing that will go. Why, crime has droped since the sunset of the AW ban. Hopefully we can show this when the gun hatters go after our tools.

jmz5
03-23-2006, 10:46 AM
I agree with that, firearms will only get more expensive

Medula Oblongata
03-23-2006, 06:28 PM
Well if Hillary is elected in 08 it will get worse. FFL will go from $300 to $3000, and to make up for this cost the dealers will pass it on to us with higher prices on everything in their shop... Less dealers = less competition = higher prices. This is one way the dems think they can control guns by making them unaffordable by the common man/woman...

What everyone has to understand about anti-gunners (not all liberals are anti-gun, just most) is that they understand that they will not be able to stop all firearms posession, so they will try to make it too expensive for the average person to own. Case and point: Many California cities have enacted "saturday night special" bans targeting inexpensive weapons. The reason for this is to prevent low income families from getting ahold of a firearm. There is no other reason. Inexpensive guns, legally purchased and posessed, ARE NOT used in crimes in a higher percentage than "expensive" guns.

Pasadena CA has actually banned certain wonderful revolvers (Charter Arms, NAA, Mosin-Nagant) and autoloaders (Hi-Point, Astra, Bersa, Makarov, Star, etc.) because they are "Too cheap and anyone can afford to buy one. This means more guns on the streets...and it makes a more dangerous working environment...for police and city officials." I guess your family is only worth protecting if you can afford to spend $500 or more on a gun, because in many of these cities, police response is 40+ minutes for burglary and similiar crimes.

Anti-gunners are elitists, plain and simple. What is good for them is NOT good for you. Take this example: Tom Haden and Jane Fonda (married at the time) call the CHP for help (1972 or 73) with an intruder in their home. My great uncle Joe responded with several other patrolmen. Upon entering their multi-million dollar home they discovered BOTH Hayden and Fonda in posession of UNLICENSED machineguns!!! Although the Lt. in command declined to even site them for unlawful posession, he did ask them about it. He asked "aren't you guys against private gun ownership?" and Fonda replied "thats just for everyone else, we have people who hate us and would like to hurt us." My uncle even showed me a crime scene picture of Fonda holding a ?Beretta? 9mm machine pistol.

How about California state senator David Roberti (co author of the Roberti-Roos semi-auto ban) who gleefully states that "there is no individual right to bear arms in the constitution" but posesses a CONCEALED HANDGUN PERMIT? When asked by a reporter at the signing of the Roberti-Roos act about his CCW he said "as long as they are legal to posess I will carry mine, but I don't want some stupid untrained CIVILIAN to have his, then he could use it on me." Need I mention that there is NO training requirement in CA (they are issued at the county level) and Roberti was never even required to undergo a background check? NOT only that, he carries a G25 compact with 15 round magazines (both the pistol and magazines are ILLEGAL in CA (post-ban), but apparently the law doesn't apply to him).


The liberal elitists think that they should be allowed liberties we are not because they are "smarter" or "more compasionate" sometimes even just plain "better than us." Fortunately they are still a little afraid, and will be, until they get all our guns and still have theirs. Fear the day when we are unarmed and they are not...

sraynor
03-23-2006, 06:46 PM
Fear the day when we are unarmed and they are not...

They're not taking my guns until all of my magazines are empty.... :D

btown02
03-23-2006, 06:58 PM
Good read MO.

rips31
03-23-2006, 07:25 PM
+1 mo. of course, you would single out my state w/o mentioning that my city has just banned handgun ownership. :mad: :D

btown02
03-23-2006, 08:06 PM
+1 mo. of course, you would single out my state w/o mentioning that my city has just banned handgun ownership. :mad: :D
I'm sure someone will correct that soon.

Medula Oblongata
03-23-2006, 08:08 PM
+1 mo. of course, you would single out my state w/o mentioning that my city has just banned handgun ownership. :mad: :D
I didn't feel the need to add any more insult to your injury by mentioning that fact...

I might mention that the reason I singled out California (other than the obvious) is that I was born and raised in the So. Cal Mojave desert and most of my family still lives there. I take an interest into what happens there, even though I choose to live far, far away. I remember what a cool place California was in the 70's and 80's, and wish it were still that way.

I hope that every other state learns from CA, er, I should say I hope the residents of other states learn from what the anti-gun Nazi's are doing there and refuse to elect liberal elitists to their own legislatures.

Evan Stevens
03-24-2006, 12:04 AM
The stupid CA gun laws ran me out of there in 1997. When I was discharged from the service I decided to go to the Antelope Valley. Beautiful place everything to do ski, boating, dirtbikeing, ect.. Decided I wanted to get a few guns and went ot the gunshop. The owner looked at me as if I was crazy. You cant have that here!! (AR15) I didn't say a word, just left. I lookes on the web for a few hours and found that California has some of the worst laws in the world. I rented a U-Haul and drove back to Ohio. I vowed I would never live in a state with gunlaws stricter than Ohio ever again.

jmz5
03-24-2006, 09:38 AM
Thats a good success story :D glad you got out of the PRK

Medula Oblongata
03-24-2006, 12:32 PM
The stupid CA gun laws ran me out of there in 1997. When I was discharged from the service I decided to go to the Antelope Valley. Beautiful place everything to do ski, boating, dirtbikeing, ect.. Decided I wanted to get a few guns and went ot the gunshop. The owner looked at me as if I was crazy. You cant have that here!! (AR15) I didn't say a word, just left. I lookes on the web for a few hours and found that California has some of the worst laws in the world. I rented a U-Haul and drove back to Ohio. I vowed I would never live in a state with gunlaws stricter than Ohio ever again.


If you were in the Antelope Valley (my old alma mater) you probably went to "The Gun Shop" on Sierra Hwy. Ron, the owner who bought the store from Jack First, is a real piece of work. He has to be one of the biggest jerks and know-it-all's I have ever seen, as well as being contemptous of everyone and everything. I admit that I occaisonally buy supplies from him when I am in the area, but his prices are high and service is worse than terrible (and the lighting in his range is the worst I have ever seen and ventilation is non-existant) The only reason he is still in business is that he is the only real dealer in the area (even though most of his inventory is heavily used and overpriced) and he has the only range of any kind within an hour drive (LA county made all centerfire target shooting illegal outside of hunting in approved areas and shooting ranges, which there are 3 in the whole county).

I still take my AR with me when I head out there (I keep it on my family's ranch and shoot it only there) but I am very careful as to where I take it. I plan my trips there around "certified assault rifle" shoots and competetions so that in the event I am pulled over I am in compliance with CA law on non-resindents bringing "assault weapons" into the state. FYI for anyone that is interested. Federal law allows you to transport any federal legal firearm on federally funded roads and within 5 miles of those roads. Its called an "intracity zone", although some cities and counties will still ticket you and force you to fight it out in court.

My advice to our California bretheren, move somewhere where there is still freedom and leave california to the wacko likeral elitists and mexican seperatists. They deserve each other. Together they can run that whole state into the ground and I wouldn't care one bit.

rips31
03-24-2006, 02:12 PM
I didn't feel the need to add any more insult to your injury by mentioning that fact...

I might mention that the reason I singled out California (other than the obvious) is that I was born and raised in the So. Cal Mojave desert and most of my family still lives there. I take an interest into what happens there, even though I choose to live far, far away. I remember what a cool place California was in the 70's and 80's, and wish it were still that way.

I hope that every other state learns from CA, er, I should say I hope the residents of other states learn from what the anti-gun Nazi's are doing there and refuse to elect liberal elitists to their own legislatures.
lol...no insult would have been taken. you always have the most eloquent diatribes, so it would have been a pleasure to read. :)

it's kind of a shame that kali lawmakers will not see past their noses and look a the crime statistics from places like fl/tx/wa and wash dc/chicago to see how well anti-firearm legislation works. but, since they're elected officials, they must know something i don't.

btown02
03-24-2006, 02:16 PM
since they're elected officials, they must know something i don't.
No. I don't think that they do. :)

rips31
03-24-2006, 02:38 PM
No. I don't think that they do. :)
lol...the forum filters must've stripped out my sarcasm. :rolleyes:

btown02
03-24-2006, 02:41 PM
No, I got it. If they knew about half of what you and the other gun owners know they wouldn't be passing so many silly gun laws. That is one State I don't miss.

rips31
03-24-2006, 03:47 PM
No, I got it. If they knew about half of what you and the other gun owners know they wouldn't be passing so many silly gun laws. That is one State I don't miss.
lol...i'm sure they know, they just only believe what they want to believe. guns kill ppl, ppl don't kill ppl. who cares if cars kill more ppl than firearms? lol...then again, the us gov't mandates mufflers for cars but makes it dang hard for us to get cans for our guns. :D

Medula Oblongata
03-24-2006, 04:34 PM
At the turn of the last century, Sears and Roebuck included suppressors with many 22rmf rifles. I have a couple of posters of women all dressed up for church plinking with their Sears (winchester) gallery guns, supressor attached, with the caption of "finally; shooting without the noise."

Many cities REQUIRED the use of supressors when dealing with varmints in the garden. I personally think the EPA and Dept. of Labor should require the use of supressors on ALL firearms, thus protecting our fragile ears from damage due to the concussion, and protecting the fragile environment from noise pollution. In fact, I think I will sue the Fed's for hearing damage that I have because I had to shoot without a supressor because of stupid federal and state laws...

I wonder if the *new* supreme court will ever make a definative ruling on the constitutionality of federal and state firearms prohabitions. Lets all remember that Cheif Justice Roberts wrote in a 1988 ruling that the NFA was unconstitutional (dissenting opinion) as were most state firearms laws. I would love nothing more than to see the NFA go the way of the Do-Do bird...

rips31
03-24-2006, 04:49 PM
At the turn of the last century, Sears and Roebuck included suppressors with many 22rmf rifles. I have a couple of posters of women all dressed up for church plinking with their Sears (winchester) gallery guns, supressor attached, with the caption of "finally; shooting without the noise."

Many cities REQUIRED the use of supressors when dealing with varmints in the garden. I personally think the EPA and Dept. of Labor should require the use of supressors on ALL firearms, thus protecting our fragile ears from damage due to the concussion, and protecting the fragile environment from noise pollution. In fact, I think I will sue the Fed's for hearing damage that I have because I had to shoot without a supressor because of stupid federal and state laws...

I wonder if the *new* supreme court will ever make a definative ruling on the constitutionality of federal and state firearms prohabitions. Lets all remember that Cheif Justice Roberts wrote in a 1988 ruling that the NFA was unconstitutional (dissenting opinion) as were most state firearms laws. I would love nothing more than to see the NFA go the way of the Do-Do bird...
i would like nothing more than kali's moronic 10-/30-day waits and awb to go the way of the gremlin. :D

kamo
03-24-2006, 05:39 PM
At the turn of the last century, Sears and Roebuck included suppressors with many 22rmf rifles. I have a couple of posters of women all dressed up for church plinking with their Sears (winchester) gallery guns, supressor attached, with the caption of "finally; shooting without the noise."

Many cities REQUIRED the use of supressors when dealing with varmints in the garden. I personally think the EPA and Dept. of Labor should require the use of supressors on ALL firearms, thus protecting our fragile ears from damage due to the concussion, and protecting the fragile environment from noise pollution. In fact, I think I will sue the Fed's for hearing damage that I have because I had to shoot without a supressor because of stupid federal and state laws...

I wonder if the *new* supreme court will ever make a definative ruling on the constitutionality of federal and state firearms prohabitions. Lets all remember that Cheif Justice Roberts wrote in a 1988 ruling that the NFA was unconstitutional (dissenting opinion) as were most state firearms laws. I would love nothing more than to see the NFA go the way of the Do-Do bird...

again MO... very good post.

Paratrooper117
03-25-2006, 01:20 PM
MO, as usual, another great post. We can only hope that Robert, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito can change the direction that the court had been flowing. I think we have finally got a court that is more gun friendly then it has been in years. Keep your fingers crossed guys.

Prolix
03-26-2006, 02:35 AM
I didn't jump into this post earlier because I had to grab the URL of this one article first. It ran recently and is on the same subject. Didn't read the other replies though, so excuse me if I throw the conversation off.

Unfortunately the Star Tribune is a subscription-based website, but someone on a local forum turned the article into a PDF file you can read here (http://pakratus.com/upload/Nation%20sees%20a%20sharp%20drop%20in%20gun%20dealers%203-22-06.pdf).

Got the heads-up on it thanks to Mark being the guy I got my Five-seveN from (http://www.fivesevenforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2421). He is getting a bit of press thanks to the city of Murderapolis trying to close him down. He meationed on a local message board that this story was coming.

I have actually spoken with Sherry of the ATF (about SBR issues) who's quoted in the article. I guess what she said is not the most anti-gun statement ever made by the ATF, but it's kind of sad that what I inferred is she believes there are plenty of illegitimate FFL dealers out there for them to go after. Myself, I don't believe that is true. Although I guess however many illegitimate dealers are out there, shutting them down would be within the scope or charter of the BATFE, if anything is.

Not that I even believe that's what they focus on doing, but at least one agent knows that that is their job. Hopefully she doesn't think they have a bunch of other, less friendly jobs too.

hk91666
03-30-2006, 03:05 PM
ditto on the Kali opinons ; I never relaly realized how much I gave up moving here 6 years ago unitl I look for firearms to buy.

Evan Stevens
04-09-2006, 01:16 AM
If that is the one in Palmdale on Seirra HW then, yes. I loved living in the desert, so many things to do. Such a nice state, such bad laws. I only went to one gun shop while I was there and it drove me to Ohio. I could shoot thousands of yards if I wanted as there was the open room what an nice place for a 50, too bad they cant have them anymore. That plain sucks. I get very angry thinking some politican could dictate to me where I would live. If Calli changed their gun laws tommorow I would move back the next day. I always wanted to be a CHP on a motorcycle. I don't think I ever will though. It seems like they have more problems with fleeing and eluding than any gun grime, why not ban cars.