Skip to comments.Gun Seller's Case Reveals Hurdles Of Enforcement
Posted on 07/23/2006 2:45:34 PM PDT by MinorityRepublican
PARKVILLE, Md. -- Sanford M. Abrams began selling guns from his shop in Baltimore County in 1996 and almost immediately started losing track of them.
In 1997, he couldn't account for 45. In 2001, it was 133. In 2003, there were 422 firearms missing -- more than a quarter of his inventory -- including semiautomatic assault rifles, 12-gauge shotguns and Glock 9mm pistols, according to federal investigators.
This year, a decade after he started losing track of guns, Abrams's store lost its firearms license. But he still intends to sell guns.
Tale of Abrams and his Valley Gun Shop -- which regulators describe in court records as "a serial violator" that has "endangered the public" -- illustrates the difficulty government regulators face in shutting down even those dealers found to have persistently flouted the nation's gun laws. The controversy is the subject of fierce debate in Congress.
Abrams, a member of the National Rifle Association's board of directors, did not dispute the substance of more than 900 violations of federal gun laws filed against his store. But he called them unintentional recordkeeping errors that posed no threat to public safety and said it is impossible for anyone to comply with all firearms regulations.
Dispute has heightened scrutiny of new federal legislation, strongly backed by the NRA, that federal officials said would cripple their ability to revoke gun licenses. The bill, which would make it more difficult to close down gun shops without evidence of criminal intent, also could allow Valley Gun to resume sales of firearms, the lawmaker sponsoring the measure said.
Even if the bill is defeated, Abrams plans to use a provision in existing law to sell 700 guns left over from his shop's inventory at a soon-to-be-opened store called Just Guns, which will sell them on consignment.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
>.In 1997, he couldn't account for 45. In 2001, it was 133. In 2003, there were 422 firearms missing -- more than a quarter of his inventory -- including semiautomatic assault rifles, 12-gauge shotguns and Glock 9mm pistols, according to federal investigators.<<
Gosh, you would think he's be losing a lot of money losing all those guns.
Having worked in the firearms sales industry myself, this excuse for not keeping records on hundreds of guns is pure BS. The record keeping is pretty much Rule One through Rule Ten in the business, and anyone who doesn't can't be trusted to have a dealer's license, plain and simple. Too bad he's in the NRA, no excuse for violating such important and fundamental rules. It's sort of like a maternity hospital losing track of who and where all the babies are.
90% of the violations are 'bound book' violations - it's not that there's no record of a sale or transfer, it just isn't double recorded into the bound book, which they don't appreciate.
That's a clerical error, not a 'crime.'
Alas, our 25 years of records got munched on by some mice. We offered the records to them anyway, but they didn't think it'd be useful, so we disposed of most of them. Then again, our average for track requests ran about one every year and a half. Seems that lever actions, colts and Sharps aren't typically used in criminal actions.
Didn't a law professor named Sanford Abrams write an article about the Second Amendment quite a few years back?
Is this the same guy?
Disregard my last post, as I remembered incorrectly.
It was Sanford Levinson.
"...Even if the bill is defeated, Abrams plans to use a provision in existing law to sell 700 guns left over from his shop's inventory at a soon-to-be-opened store called Just Guns, which will sell them on consignment...."
Maybe I can pick up a Vacquero Bisley there.
In the US, there's this ancient, little used document I read recently, which had a section very much covering this subject:
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
If you don't recognize that misused and abused old document, you can look it all up on Google under "Second Amendment to the Constitution, ratified December 15, 1791"
Now some say I only have a fleeting comprehension of the English language, and have only studied 5 others in the past, but I have a bit of trouble understanding how one can make the leap from those simple, eminently understandable, difficult to mis-construe words to requiring a Federal government license to own, possess, use, sell, trade or play with "Arms", especially "firearms".
It's sort of like a maternity hospital losing track of who and where all the babies are.
The last time I looked [and I've worked in the healthcare field], a hospital isn't required to have a Federal license to deliver babies. And if they misplace a few, which happens on a regular basis [just ask any PI, ambulance chasing trial lawyer like John Edwards], they have no FEDERAL license to revoke, unlike the above reference gun shop. And I can't for the life of me find in my copy of the US Constitution where hosptals, medical services or similar are required to have FEDERAL licenses. State licenses, yes. Federal, no. [And don't bring up the JCAH because it's not even applicable here.]
I agree that the record keeping could be sloppy, but I'm pretty sure that there is still no Constitutional authority for him to originate, keep and maintain those records and that his problems most likely stem from being with the NRA and a thorn in the jackbooted thugs of the BATFE's side... not his poor recordkeeping.
Note that his shop is "37th" ranked. What are the same JBT's doing about the 1 through 36th shops? Or maybe, they aren't as loud in their objections against the unConstitutional record keeping and licensing requirement, and aren't members of the NRA.
...can't be trusted to have a dealer's license?? He shouldn't have to have one. Or maybe you would prefer to live in the "Your Paperz Pleez" fascist/socialist state instead of a free Constitutional Republic, as this country used to be- before the socialists, with help from people with attitudes like you, turned it.
"Americans have the right and advantage of being armed -- unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms."
"The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed."
"The whole of the Bill [of Rights] is a declaration of the right of the people at large or considered as individuals... It establishes some rights of the individual as unalienable and which consequently, no majority has a right to deprive them of."
--Albert Gallatin (1789)
"A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one!"
Or maybe you would subscribe more to these sentiments:
"We can't expect the American people to jump from capitalism to communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have communism."
-- Nikita Khrushchev, speaking of Roosevelt's "New Deal"
(Go Israel, Go! Slap 'Em, Down Hezbullies.)
(Go Israel, Go! Slap 'Em, Down Hezbullies.)
Maintaining firearm records is a time consuming hassle - been there, done that many, many times. If it's not done properly the dealer loses his license, and complaining about the constitutionality of any and all gun laws doesn't help a bit. Step One is not getting yourself into a vulnerable position. Having a defiant attitude in the face of people who can, and will, ruin your whole day is not very smart.
There are a number of ways, mostly futile, of getting gun laws changed. Staging a "resistance" movement at your place of business, your livelihood, is not smart. The BATF will gladly swoop down and make you very sorry you did.
I don't know if this guy is genuinely careless and lazy, or if he has a chip on his shoulder about how he's going to personally deal with the BATF. Whatever his problem is, he will almost certainly lose big time. In the process, he will add even more anti-NRA, anti-gun fuel to the fire. We don't need boneheaded jerks making things worse.
"Gun shops are subjected to pointless paperwork and nothing has proven it deters crime in any way."
IMO, detering crime is not the point. The paperwork and laws are making it hard to stay in the business which is their purpose.
"That's wrong in a free country. "
They are working on that as well.
I grew up in the 60's. In 1967, with little significant gun control, a little kid could bicycle through large areas of most big cities without any worries. That's because we concentrated on keeping bad guys in jail, instead of trying to make the world a big playpen for psychopaths
You are absolutely correct. Most gun laws don't have any effect on crime. Years ago there was a requirement to keep log books on ammo sales. I don't remember now how or why that record keeping requirement got dropped. Recently a cop shop I used to work in went out of business, and a friend there gave me the old ammo log books as a souvenir. I went through them remembering names and faces from years past, and found a lot of my own entries in those books. I keep them as a reminder of how screwed up thinks can get, like the proposal some idiot in Congress made to put serial numbers on bullets.
The point I'm trying to make is that an individual dealer cannot, absolutely cannot, try to push and shove the BATF into seeing things his way. The dealer cannot, absolutely cannot, break the rules 900+ plus times and expect to prevail against the BATF.
Try to convince a state trooper not to give you a ticket after he clocked you at 100 mph, with no driver's license, no insurance card, and an open beer in one hand. It's the same kind of situation, and no amount of attitude and chutzpah is going to save you from getting whacked.
So no, you are not going to be able to really get much objective information on "if this guy is genuinely careless and lazy, or if he has a chip on his shoulder". That just won't promote their anti-gun stance like making this guy sound like a raving lunatic who gives away gunnnnz to every crook and gang member in town.
And notice where his shop is located. Baltimore County, MD. What are the odds of any gun sold by his store in the last 10 years being tracked to a crime, as opposed to guns sold from a store in Whitefish, Montana?? Geeez, I'm sure there'll be a bunch tracked back to him just 'cuz of his being in a socialist, gun-control area, high crime rate area. He could've had every paper for every gun he ever sold, in addition to copies of all background checks, and the guns would still have turned up in crimes. That's just how it is in high crime areas.
"In the process, he will add even more anti-NRA, anti-gun fuel to the fire. We don't need boneheaded jerks making things worse."
I can agree somewhat on the general sentiment, but again you have to consider the source of this piece of garbage. This guy could be one of the true Apostles, rescuing every stray dog and kitten, giving his earnings away to orphanages, and supporting his invalid mom and he'd be portrayed as a weirdo, off-his-meds psychopath by the Compost. I doubt he would have gotten to the position he has with the NRA if he was in fact as deranged as they try to make him out to be. After all, even the NRA is political and, as you say, doesn't "need boneheaded jerks making things worse". But the story sure tries to make it seem that way, doesn't it? Especially if NRA and pro-gun people like you are raising the question in so many words... 'nuff said.
So I doubt he neither was nor has been staging a "resistance movement" at his place of business. Just taking the source of this wild pro-gungrabber story into consideration, I'd say just the opposite and the JBT's are out to get him.
If you wonder why I say that, I just have a very vivid memory of some "news" video locally here that showed heavily armed, body armored, helmeted, - and yes, jack booted - thugs arresting a local doctor and confiscating his office records. Why? He was said to have been prescribing too large of dosages of vitamin B to his patients. I kid you NOT!
So I can surely just imagine what they would be doing to a guy who sells eeeeevil guns and who's not exactly a vocal cheerleader for the BATFE.
Call me paranoid or whatever...
I'm behind you 100%. Don't get me wrong...
You're calling a man defending his right to sell guns without being hassled by bureaucrats a boneheaded jerk. --- It's pretty easy to 'get you wrong'.
Once again, you're right. I'm with you all the way. BUT, if a gun dealer wants to keep his license and stay out of prison, he has to obey the laws as they currently exist. If a gun dealer carelessly or willfully disobeys the gun laws that apply to him, he's going down. The obvious answer is to stay within the law and comply - until such time as a gun law or city ordinance can be changed. This is all Step One stuff, and this guy apparently didn't follow through. That's the only point I'm try to make - don't make yourself vulnerable by being stupid.
Thanks for writing the post I was trying to formulate, while wondering if it would result in my being targeted for numerous "inspection's" by BATFE!
I firmly believe "shall not be infringed" means exactly what it says. I think most gun laws are unconstitutional. However, if I want to operate as a licensed gun dealer I know I'm going to have to comply with a lot of bullcrap I don't like and don't believe in. If a person doesn't want to comply with those laws AND wants to stay out of prison, he's pretty much limited to a few casual sales out of his basement or at gun shows. If a licensed dealer blows the compliance requirements, he's going down. So ---- don't blow the compliance. That's Step One.