IPFS Chip Saunders

More About: Gun Rights

ATF Approved Sales to Mexican Gun Runners

 If you have been paying attention to the news about American guns ending up south of the border in the hands of drug thugs, you have likely heard the charges laid out by the BATF -Bureau of Alcohol, Tobbaco and Firearms - that this is occurring because of irresponsible and less-than-diligent firearms retailers in the border states like Arizona and Texas, whom they claim just take the cash and hand over the hardware to nearly anyone without hardly even taking more than a cursory glance at the required documentation and ID. To hear the Feds say it, gun retails stores give in to greed and look the other way, leaving blood on their hands in the violent battles in Mexico and here at home.
But as people who actually work in the gun retail business have known for some time, the real story is a bit different than that. They are fully aware of their potential liability if they knowingly sell - or have reasonable suspicion to believe they are selling - guns to smugglers or other violators. Like any business that can have their license to operate jerked out from underneath them, gun shops are very carefull to alert authorities when they believe there might be a customer in their store that is up to no good. It is not unusual at all for a shop to call the local BATF office when they think something is fishy or downright improper.
As is finally becoming more widely reported in the mainstream media, such has been exactly what has been going on, even in the establishments recently rated as "the worst of the worst" in regards to traced firearms confiscated in Mexico that have been traced back to their original retail sales points.
Here in Arizona, the number 1 highest seller of guns that end up in Mexico is LONE WOLF. But many don't realize that LONE WOLF has been in business for decades, and as one of the highest volume sellers in the southwest due to excellent prices and sales promotions, it only makes sense that ANYONE in the Phoenix metro area - including covert buyers for other parties - who might buy a gun at an inexpensive price, ended up at LONE WOLF. In Texas, the situation is similar with CARTER'S COUNTRY, who, with multiple outlets in the state, is the single highest volume seller of firearms in Texas.
But CARTER'S COUNTRY is sick of the black eye it is getting in the public arena. And rather prudently, is concerned that being named one of the "worst of the worst" will make them a magnet for harassing civil lawsuits. So they have retained noted celebrity firearm attorney Dick Deguerin to address and speak out upon a crucial element of all this that many people are unaware of or are outright ignoring;....retailers have been notifying BATF while unusual customers are still in the store attempting to make suspicious purchases, but (and here's the news) BATF has been telling dealers to go ahead with the transactions anyway. Sometimes the BATF will actually ask the retailers to non-chalantly follow the buyers out into the parking lot and take down license plates and such. Something the observent proprietors are usually quite willing to do.
CARTER'S COUNTRY in particular is getting miffed about all the insinuation that they are irresponsible, since they have in their records information that some of the transactions and purchasers they have reported to BATF and gathered information on for the federal agents, have been directly linked to some of the recovered weapons from Mexico for which CARTER'S is being labelled "the worst of the worst". Yet these transactions occurred precisely because the federal agency tasked with monitoring and policing gun sales INSTRUCTED retailers to go ahead with them, even encouraging them to do so, so that information on the purchasers could be gathered.
All of this is only now beginning to come to general awareness in the public, just as the White House is rumored to be preparing a long-expected major gun control push in the next few weeks, seeking to capitalize on the Giffords shooting in Tucson. Just last month, there was an administrative rule announced by the BATF that would have required all purchases of  2 or more "assault weapons" by an individual in a single transaction or day be reported. Yet, strangely for the BATF, that administrative ruling was shelved and put on hold indefinately, by the urging of the White House, if rumors are to be believed. Could it be that someone realized the hypocracy and duplicity that would be evident in such a directive, when held in contrast to news of how BATF has been ALLOWING suspicious purchasers to proceed with their questionable acquisitions?!
Here is Arizona, LONE WOLF has made no comment about their cooperation with BATF, or any plans to be be hiring any attorney spokesmen. However, in the gun retail community, who are all recently returned from the 2011 SHOT SHOW in Las Vegas - the yearly industry exposition where manufacturers, distributors and regulatory agencies gather - it is widely known from their conversations with each other that they are all uniformly frustrated and angry with BATF for intentionally obfuscating and obscuring from the media the degree to which the industry actually goes out of its way to comply with the agency and federal law, not to mention pro-active in assisting and reporting. Normally not a group seeking to cross swords with the agency that oversees and regulates them, they are openly considering amongst themselves how to wage an awarenes offensive about their working relationship with BATF.
As this develops, we will keep you posted.