Monday, August 28, 2006

Bloomberg Shooting Blanks in War on Gun Sellers

As many of us know, Michael Bloomberg, the *ahem* Republican mayor of New York City, has been on a crusade of sorts against gun sellers in other states, running roughshod over other agencies and even going so far as to jepoardize those other agencies' investigations. And now, via The Gun Blogs, we have this:

Private investigators wore hidden cameras and attempted "straw purchases," where one person fills out the legal forms and makes the purchase for someone else. The scam, prohibited by federal law, is typically used by people who cannot own firearms, such as convicted felons.

The city said the undercover investigators entered stores in teams of two, usually a man and a woman. While the woman roamed the store and acted disinterested, the man made all the inquiries about the gun and made it clear he was the buyer. When it came time to make the purchase, the woman would step up to fill out the paperwork.

The majority of dealers refused the sale, Bloomberg said. In a video from one such attempt, the man behind the counter shrugged his shoulders, apologized and said it would be against the law for him to sell to the woman because she was clearly not the intended user.

The majority of dealers refused the sale. So what does that mean? Well, as a commenter said, "the majority of dealers with a high incidence of gun traces refused the straw sales and appear to be innocent of wrongdoing."
Indeed, even the ATF has said that gun trace data is unreliable when determining if FFLs have sold to prohibited persons (emphasis mine -- ed.): "The appearance of [a licensed dealer] or a first unlicensed purchaser of record in association with a crime gun or in association with multiple crime guns in no way suggests that either the federal firearms licensed dealer (FFL) or the first purchaser has committed criminal acts. Rather, such information may provide a starting point for further and more detailed investigation." (Crime Gun Trace Analysis Reports, ATF, 1998) So it would seem, not that it's any big surprise, that Bloomberg is grasping at yet another straw in his war against the gun industry.