My favorite Merchant O'Death emailed me a link to an article in GQ Magazine, illuminatingly titled Inside the Federal Bureau Of Way Too Many Guns, a cri de coer for a computerized firearm registration system, a searchable database of all firearms records, period. Excerpt:...one blatant truth remains: There are too many guns.And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what every single one of us who believes in the right to arms must never forget:
The Other Side BELIEVES THIS. Absolutely. Without question.
It is their single article of faith.
And it is why we cannot trust them when they assure us that they "don't want to take our guns away," because if the "one blatant truth" is that there are "too many guns," then the only answer is to reduce the number of guns.
This is simple logic.
If the single tenet of the gun control faith is that there are too many guns, the end purpose of "gun control" must be to eliminate them, or - at a minimum - reduce the number to some arbitrary "this is OK" level which I suspect must be significantly close to "nobody but the police and the military can have them" as to be indistinguishable from zero.
The National Tracing Center is not allowed to have centralized computer data.And THAT is reason enough for me to be a paying member of the National Rifle Association.
“That's the big no-no,” says Charlie.
That's been a federal law, thanks to the NRA, since 1986: No searchable database of America's gun owners.
Now, I'm FASCINATED by the emphasis that is placed on high-profile shootings mentioned in the article:
The San Bernardino case was an urgent. The Boston Marathon bomber case was an urgent. Gabby Giffords: urgent. Charleston. Aurora. Fort Hood. Columbine. Washington Navy Yard. Sikh temple. Just figure every crime you ever watched endless horrifying footage of on TV involved somebody here in Martinsburg searching through a rat's nest of records and then experiencing a moment of jubilance upon seeing that, yes, this is it, here is the 4473 that belongs to that lunatic. (Or his mother. Or his uncle. Or the pawnshop dealer who sold it to someone else. Tracing the gun beyond the initial point of purchase is on the cops.)And:
“The day of the Newtown shooting,” Urrutia says, “I was the whole day here. A day and a half. When I sleep? I slept here.”But what did tracing the firearms really do for "solving" those crimes? Damned little. In the San Bernardino case it got them a possible accomplice, that's all. The article notes:
That's the one I hear most about. Everyone I meet eventually wants to tell me what that day in 2012 was like.
“Newtown was traumatic,” Charlie tells me. “People were bawling and tracing and bawling. Everybody's going, ‘Oh, my God, somebody's done what? It's a kindergarten class? Who, what, how many?’ There's confusion. We start to get a little bit of stuff. Everybody's jumping around, waiting for anything they can get. We gotta get this, you know, right? We gotta do something, we gotta do something, we gotta do something. C'mon, c'mon, let us, give us a chance, right? Put us in. You know? Give us, give us—give us a way to contribute. Let us do our part. Because that's, you know, that's what I get out of this whole thing.
Sixty-five percent of the time, workers at the tracing center are able to successfully trace a gun used in a crime back to the original purchaser.What is curiously not mentioned is the fact that the original purchaser may have sold it on, or had it stolen, and the trail goes dry there. No metric for that event is given. In fact, no mention is made at all of private gun sales. The closest the author gets is:
Just figure every crime you ever watched endless horrifying footage of on TV involved somebody here in Martinsburg searching through a rat's nest of records and then experiencing a moment of jubilance upon seeing that, yes, this is it, here is the 4473 that belongs to that lunatic. (Or his mother. Or his uncle. Or the pawnshop dealer who sold it to someone else. Tracing the gun beyond the initial point of purchase is on the cops.)But that paragraph is followed by this:
This is the maddening, inefficient way gun tracing works, and there is no effort afoot to make it work any better. For all the talking we do about imposing new limits on assault weapons, or stronger background checks, nobody talks about fixing the way we keep track—or don't keep track—of where all the guns are.Of course, the "gun lobby's" concerns are poo-poohed:
The NRA, which, in the words of its CEO, Wayne LaPierre, regards the ATF as “jackbooted government thugs,” demands that Congress keep an eye on things.Now this part was interesting:
“Hitler and Stalin, like every dictator who perpetrated genocide during the 20th century, assiduously confiscated guns before starting the genocide,” wrote gun-rights activist Dave Kopel in a recent NRA publication.
“Registration. Confiscation. Extinction. Each step makes the next step much easier.”
None of which has anything to do with what actually happens here. People here are trying to help cops on the street nab bad guys. “We are a factory producing investigative leads,” says Charlie. That is the point of the place in its entirety, despite anybody's worry.
“They say, ‘They've centralized the records. We're comin'!’ ” Charlie says. “Checking all different angles. ‘Are you keeping—you know, how are you keeping information? Are you collecting information you shouldn't be? Are you accessing information you shouldn't have access to? Has the computer world at the tracing center gone too far? We might need to back you off a little bit.’
“You go, ‘Back us off? Back us off?’”
On just one of the days I visited the tracing center, there were 5,000 trace requests in the hopper awaiting attention. There would be about a thousand more the next day.No, Obama gave the trace center a pile of make-work so it looked like he was "tough on crime." Instead he threw a monkey wrench into a system that doesn't work all that well to begin with, and so media outlets could once again paint the NRA as the boogeyman.
In 2013, recognizing how important tracing is for solving crimes, and for providing intelligence regarding patterns of illegal gun trafficking, President Obama asked for more of it: He signed a memorandum demanding that all firearms recovered in the course of criminal investigations be traced.
But Congress didn't give Charlie any funds, or manpower, to accommodate an influx. In fact, his budget has been flat since 2005.
This is all part of the Gun Control Trifecta - a "Universal Background Check" - so that all (legal) transfers have to involve a Form 4473. A computerized national registration system so that, after a few years, the government has a list of most of the (legal) gun owners out there, and at least most of what they own, all done without instituting a Canadian style registration system (which failed, as you'll recall). Once registration has reached an acceptable threshold, then they can do something about "the number of guns."
After all, the one blatant truth remains: There are too many guns.