New York Congressman Wants To Punish Gun Store Victims

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If there’s one thing you shouldn’t expect from most New York lawmakers, it’s for them to treat anyone in the firearm industry as upstanding citizens. As time marches on, that becomes more and more clear to me.

After all, who else would seek to punish the victims of gun store break-ins? Particularly those who have been targeted multiple times.

Irondequoit Congressman Joe Morelle (D-25) is taking aim at gun stores in new legislation he says would reduce the number of legal guns falling into the hands of the wrong people.

Morelle’s Gun Theft Prevention Act specifically targets gun shops and those who are repeatedly burglarized.

Morelle said his bill would hold gun dealers accountable for failing to keep their inventory safe. Morelle used Chinappi’s Firearms and Supplies in Parma as an example.

Chinappi’s Firearms and Supplies has been burglarized seven times since 2007, including twice in 2018 alone.

Morelle’s bill would grant the authority to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to suspect or potentially even revoke the shop’s license.

However, there’s a key point that Morelle is missing here. In particular, Chinappi’s was the victim here. They were the victims of a crime, and Morelle’s bill is nothing more than victim blaming. It’s an attempt to argue that Chinappi’s was somehow responsible for being victimized. This is called victim-blaming, and progressives are supposedly against such a thing.

Then again, in their minds, anyone in the firearm industry is guilty from the outset, so they probably don’t see any inconsistency here.

Morelle clearly sees gun store burglaries as being the fault of the store.

“If it’s a modest violation, we’ll work with people to repair that and make sure that they meet the standards, but obviously people who willfully violate what those new standards will be are going to be in danger of losing their license and losing their livelihood,” Morelle said.

Rather than look at the store’s trials and tribulations as precisely what they are, property crimes with potential ramifications toward violent crimes–which is precisely what they are–Morelle is ready to blame the gun stores. This is a law enforcement issue, not a legislative one. Not that Morelle nor any of his cohorts in Congress understand the difference.

What they’re going to do, should this pass, is create a burden on gun stores, most of which are small operations with a limited number of employees and a narrow profit margin. Many who have never been targeted by burglars may find themselves deprived of their livelihoods due to Morelle’s bill.

However, Morelle is a New York Democrat. I’m not entirely convinced that’s a bug rather than a feature.

The saving grace is that Morelle’s bill has a snowball’s chance in hell of passing. While his Democratic colleagues will be far more likely to back his cause, it’s unlikely the Senate will do so.

It’s only too bad that Morelle’s first inclination is to order gun stores to act a certain way. There are ways to improve gun store security without threatening people’s livelihood. Low-interest loans for upgraded systems, ATF-provided education on best practices to secure inventory, things like that would probably be a far greater benefit, but no. Morelle wants to punish gun stores for being gun stores. Nothing else.

May 27, 2022 1:15 PM ET