Ross: If the gun lobby wants good guys with guns, why keep letting dealers arm the bad guys

Jul 28, 2022, 7:04 AM | Updated: 7:19 am
ATF committee meeting on gun regluation...
(Photo by Jason Andrew-Pool/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Andrew-Pool/Getty Images)

Yesterday, a congressional committee held a hearing on an assault weapons ban, and we heard all the familiar arguments about how that would punish a lot of innocent gun owners.

Which is why I think it makes more sense to keep powerful weapons away from the not-so-innocent.

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We have an agency whose job it is to do that – it’s called the ATF. But at the hearing, it came out that many gun owners do not like the ATF, and one group, the Gun Owners of America (GOA), thinks it ought to be abolished:

One of the congressional committee members, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi-D, displayed a social media post from Antonia Okafor who is a range safety officer, and spokesperson for the GOA.

“Miss Okafor, I have a social media post from your Instagram account. Here we have the seal of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosions,” Krishamoorthi said. “And next to it, you said, ‘we said what we said #AbolishTheATF. That’s what your post says. Correct? Then underneath this ATF seal, your post says in big letters defund, correct?”

“Correct,” Okafor responded.

So, the Gun Owners of America don’t just want to defund the ATF, they want it abolished.

And later in the hearing, we got a hint as to why the ATF is so unloved.

Here’s Representative Andrew Clyde, Republican of Georgia – and a gun dealer himself – going at it with Kelly Sampson of the Brady Campaign, who thinks gun manufacturers should be notified about dealers whose guns too often end up at crime scenes:

“And we’ve seen instances where manufacturers have continued to do business with dealers who have an inordinate amount of traces per year, and the majority of dealers don’t have a trace in a year,” Sampson said. “So if a manufacturer sees the same store, continuing to sell crime guns that should raise an alarm bell to that manufacturer.”

“That manufacturer primarily sells to distributors right?” Clyde asked.

“Manufacturers sell to distributors who sell to dealers,” Sampson responded.

“Okay, so the manufacturer is never going to actually see the dealer sale is he?” he continued.

“Yes, they will. They will understand which dealer the gun came from,” she said

“No, if they sell to a distributor, how would they know?” Clyde interrupted.

“Through the ATF,” she responded.

“But the ATF is s not going to tell them what dealer?” he asked.

“The ATF has actually offered to do that and manufacturers have refused and I detail that in my written testimony.” Sampson concluded.

If the gun industry’s mission is to keep us safe, and they say it is, why would they not want to know which of their dealers have been arming the enemy?

Because if the good guy with a gun is our only salvation – he at least deserves a fighting chance.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Ross: If the gun lobby wants good guys with guns, why keep letting dealers arm the bad guys