The National Shooting Sports Foundation issued a statement earlier this week regarding Chicago’s gun trace report. It seems the gun rights organization takes particular exception to the study, and they have a strong point. After all, the study apparently makes assumptions about gun purchases, rather than possessing hard facts.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry, today issued the following statement.
Gun Trace Report 2017 issued at the direction of the Chicago Mayor’s Office outlines a comprehensive public safety strategy, certain elements of which the firearms industry would endorse including increasing the number of police officers on the street and tough sentences for criminals who use guns. The bulk of the report, however, starts from a purposely misleading premise and represents what we have heard before as a political narrative from the administration of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
As to the premise, a tracing request is simply a law enforcement tool. As the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) ATF has repeatedly stated, “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).
An excellent point.
Now, I’ve written about the report and taken their finding at face value, but primarily because I haven’t read the study itself. I have wondered about whether or not they made any logical leaps to link the end use of the gun to the initial purchase without cause, and it sounds like they have.
When someone buys a gun at a gun store, they’re not saddled with that gun for all time. Guns are like anything else and possession can be lost through various means, and none of them intentionally nefarious.
Hell, the original purchaser could simply sell his gun to someone else, who later sells to someone else, who later sells to someone else and so on. All it takes is for one person to be wrong about the person they’re selling the gun to–and it’s not illegal to be wrong, mind you–and a gun ends up in a bad person’s hand.
But that fact won’t stop Illinois politicians from trying to create new regulations. The NSSF statement addressed that as well:
Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) are already heavily regulated. Additional laws on the state level would be redundant and burdensome without doing anything to enhance public safety, only serving to impede the lawful commerce in firearms and ultimately affecting only law-abiding citizens.
The areas of Chicago affected by the criminal misuse of firearms are under siege from criminal cartel and gang activity involved in the trafficking of illegal drugs. Even when apprehended and convicted these repeat criminals are often treated leniently by the criminal justice system. Taking criminals off the street is the only way to stem this violence.
They’ve got a point.
As for the trace report itself, it has been making the rounds, as if proving everyone’s point about how gun control is desperately needed, but these anti-gun zealots forget that even if the report is 100 percent accurate, it’s already illegal to straw buy.
Not that reality has any place in these people’s arguments anyway.