Carjacked Congresswoman wants ATF to harass firearms businesses

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool

Insanity is making the same mistakes repeatedly and expecting different results each time. There has been an undeniable surge in violent crime in the past few years, especially in Philadelphia. You would think that someone who has not only witnessed the rise in crime in her district, but has herself been the victim of it, would support going after violent criminals and their accomplices. But it takes a special kind of willful blindness, or perhaps insanity, to sic the administrative state on lawful businesses instead.

Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), who was carjacked at gunpoint in broad daylight a few months ago in Philadelphia, appears to not have learned her lesson from being the victim of a crime. I have already pointed out Rep. Scanlon’s long history of gun control, her endorsements by Everytown, Moms Demand, Brady et al, and her sponsorship of several Second Amendment-infringing bills in Congress. It turns out that the lesson that Scanlon drew from her carjacking wasn’t the need to do a deep dive into gun laws, their ineffectiveness, and how those laws didn’t prevent teenagers from getting guns and using them against her. It was that the ATF isn’t doing enough to harass ordinary businesses!

On Monday, Scanlon fired off a letter to Marvin Richardson, the Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, complaining about the drop in FFL inspections in 2020, and a corresponding drop in revocations and denials of licenses. Her office published the below press release:

SCANLON DEMANDS ANSWERS FROM THE ATF REGARDING LIMITED NUMBER OF FEDERAL FIREARMS LICENSES INSPECTIONS IN RECENT YEARS

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05) today led a letter to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in response to a sharp decline in federal firearm licenses (FFLs) inspections in 2020 and the extremely low number of revocations or denials of FFLs. Joining Rep. Scanlon on the letter are Congressman Brendan Boyle (PA-02), Congressman Dwight Evans (PA-03), and Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (PA-04).

The drop in inspections in 2020 is explained by a very tiny 0.1 micrometer-sized reason called the Coronavirus. The country was pretty much shut down, including gun shops in some states. Government agencies were also working remotely, avoiding in-person contact as much as possible. That should explain the big drop, but when gun control is your goal by any means necessary, that drop wasn’t borne out of unique and unprecedented circumstances, but out of nefariousness.

Crime guns come from multiple sources, but one clear way to cut off the supply of illegal guns is for FFLs to do all they can to prevent guns from being acquired by straw purchasers and gun traffickers while shutting down the rogue gun dealers who skirt the law. 

FFLs can only do so much to prevent straw purchases. And without FFLs’ help and cooperation, the ATF would have a much harder time identifying straw purchasers and gun traffickers. Scanlon is so blinded by ideology that she sees ordinary businesses as the enemy, and their harassment by the ATF is a sort of “How dare you!” tax.

Another important point that Scanlon is missing is that following up on identified straw purchasers is the job of prosecutors. I have not seen anything from Scanlon asking the Department of Justice what it’s going to do about straw purchasers. I haven’t seen any follow-up from her about how her teenage carjackers, aged 19, 14, 13, 15, and 16, got guns, and what’s being done to make sure they don’t become repeat offenders. Nor have I seen anything from her questioning what Philadelphia’s local government and District Attorney’s office is doing to combat crime.

Scanlon’s got a hammer in her hand and that’s gun control. Everything looks like a nail to her, and that unfortunately includes our constitutionally-protected freedoms.