While most of us rolled our eyes and chuckled at Joe Biden’s inept performance at the White House on Wednesday, the president’s rambling remarks are no laughing matter to the firearms industry. They know that, no matter how much Biden may stumble and mumble through his prepared remarks, the administration itself is clear-eyed in their desire to target the firearms industry, and Biden’s proclamation of a “zero tolerance” approach to what he described as rogue gun dealers is another attempt to do just that.
On today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, National Shooting Sports Foundation senior vice president and general counsel Larry Keane says that the Biden administration didn’t invite the firearms industry to be a part of its roundtable discussion on violent crime this week. Instead of taking a collaborative approach to working with the industry, Biden and officials like Attorney General Merrick Garland are taking a combative stance towards gun makers and sellers. Keane says it’s just a preview of what we can expect if gun control activist and former ATF agent David Chipman is confirmed as permanent director of the agency overseeing the nation’s gun laws and regulations.
“The ATF has [previously] said they’re going to focus on violations that impact public safety, and that’s appropriate. But that’s not what’s going to happen under a Chipman-led ATF and under this administration. They are going to look to put scalps on the wall and revoke licenses of dealers and put them out of business to ‘send a message’. They’re going to deal with the problem of crime, and they’re not going go after the bad guys and prohibited persons and do things like Project Exile that actually works. They want to come after the industry.”
Michael Cargill, who owns Central Texas Gunworks in Austin, agrees. He tells Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co that it’s almost impossible for a firearms retailer not to have a paperwork error or two, but that should be no reason for the administration to put a target on the back of gun store owners like himself.
“Our intentions are good. We’re not trying to make mistakes. I don’t think anyone wants to make a mistake with all this stuff. And it’s a lot of stuff, a lot of work, a lot of processes that we have to follow. So for this president to say something like that, I’m concerned. I think it’s going to get rid of some of your mom-and-pops. I’m concerned about the little guy, the little mom-and-pop gun stores who are going to say ‘hey, I’m done with this.’ They’re going to just turn around and leave.”
Of course, gun control activists and the Biden administration would be fine with that too. Why go through the rigamarole of trying to shut down a gun store when you can just run them out of business instead?
Other gun store owners say that, far from reducing the number of guns sold, Biden’s semi-coherent remarks are likely to lead to an increase in customers.
“Anytime there’s more gun control, it always sells more guns. That’s the way it is,” Dan Kessel, a licensed gun dealer in South Charleston [West Virginia], said. “Anytime they want to talk about ‘there’s to many guns out there,’ that make’s people want to buy more guns.”
Kessel’s Spring Hill Rod and Gun shop saw sales double during the pandemic, civil unrest and Joe Biden’s promise of gun control during the election.
… “More regulations on a dealer, I don’t see anything that that’s going to fix whatsoever,” Kessel said.
Kessel said background checks rejected only five customers out of hundreds last year at his store, and about half of those flagged by the system were eventually cleared to purchase a gun.
If the Biden administration was serious about addressing violent crime, they’d be talking to people like Keane, Cargill, and Kessel. Instead, the firearms industry is denied a seat at the table and is made the target of the White House and executive branch agencies. Why, it’s almost like Biden and his gun control allies are more interested in curtailing the Second Amendment rights of American citizens than in curtailing violent crime in American cities.