Did ATF go "easy" on gun stores breaking laws?

AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, File

For places like Chicago, there’s always going to be a certain amount of friction between them and gun stores in other states. I mean, what else can you expect when a city likes to blame everyone but themselves for their inability to deal with violent crime?

For Chicago, though, it actually makes sense. Why not blame people who can’t vote for your opponents?

But the problem is that officials in the Windy City actually believe this. They’re constantly trying to illustrate how other states are to blame. The same for those who want to support this line of BS.

The latest example is to blame the ATF for going easy on gun stores supposedly linked to Chicago guns.

Over the last two decades, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives let some of the Midwest’s most notorious gun sellers off the hook for serious violations of federal law, including selling to straw purchasers, transferring guns without background checks and doctoring sales records.

The Trace, a nonprofit newsroom, and USA TODAY obtained ATF inspection records for 13 gun dealers singled out by the city of Chicago as suppliers of a disproportionate number of guns used in city crimes. The records show the agency found more than 120 violations of the federal Gun Control Act of 1968 at these stores. Only one store passed its inspection with no violations.

In 2017, on the heels of a record-breaking surge in homicides in Chicago, then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel published a sweeping Gun Trace Report, which identified the sellers of thousands of guns recovered by Chicago police between 2013 and 2016. It showed nearly 1 in 4 guns picked up by city police came from just 10 stores located across Illinois and northern Indiana. The top three stores together accounted for some 2,000 crime guns.

The Trace and USA TODAY requested inspection documents for the gun dealers named in this report. They reveal the ATF routinely issued softer penalties than warranted under agency guidelines when it discovered violations at these stores — in step with a pattern of conciliatory inspections the media organizations first uncovered last year.

That investigation found that between 2015 and 2017, the ATF regularly downgraded penalties for lawbreaking retailers across the U.S. The review of more than 2,000 gun dealers showed that many dealers had brazenly flouted federal laws, selling weapons to convicted felons and domestic abusers, lying to inspectors and falsifying ledgers to hide their misconduct. When the ATF discovered these violations, it often issued warnings, sometimes repeatedly, and allowed stores to stay open.

Except, the review didn’t show anything of the sort.

What it showed was that the initial investigation was on more serious offenses, but the fact these were downgraded suggests the investigators found the firearm dealers did little or nothing wrong.

However, when USA Today partners with a heavily biased organization like The Trace, you kind of know what to expect.

Let’s remember that The Trace is an anti-gun journalistic organization. Their mission is to basically push for anti-Second Amendment reuglations through biased reporting.

Now, I respect The Trace more than CNN because they at least wear their bias on their sleeves, which means you know what you’re going to get from them. Yet that doesn’t negate their bias.

For USA Today to issue a report classified as news while in league with such a blatantly biased organization and to pretend it’s an unbiased report is incredulous.

I mean, it isn’t like USA Today ever wants to team up with the NRA or GOA for a story, so why is The Trace special?

The truth is, The Trace’s report has already been debunked more than once as trying to make mountains out of molehills. Now, they’re just teaming with a biased newspaper that still pretends it’s neutral to make those mountains.

And Chicago is loving it.