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Gun-shop owner loses suit to keep sales private
The Virginian-Pilot ^ | September 20, 2002 | By TIM MCGLONE

Posted on 09/21/2002 8:40:05 PM PDT by SWO

Gun-shop owner loses suit to keep sales private By TIM MCGLONE, The Virginian-Pilot © September 20, 2002

NORFOLK -- The owner of Bob's Gun & Tackle Shop, who claims the government is trying to compile an illegal database of gun owners, has lost a lawsuit to keep his sales records out of federal hands. The federal ruling means Robert Marcus must turn over to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms the make, model, caliber and serial number of each used firearm bought and sold at the store in 1999.

Federal Judge Henry C. Morgan Jr. said in Tuesday's decision that the amount of information sought by the ATF was so minuscule that it would not create a federal registry, which Congress has strictly forbidden.

Marcus, who filed suit against the ATF in November, said Wednesday that he will continue his fight by appealing Morgan's ruling to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeal will put the ruling on hold.

``I certainly appreciate the judge's written opinion. While I don't agree with it, this is the system and we'll go to the next step,'' Marcus said from the Granby Street store where he has worked for 32 years. The shop is located a block from the federal courthouse.

``If they tell me I have to give serial numbers, then I'll give serial numbers,'' he said. ``We have to just be patient.''

The case is being watched closely across the nation by advocates in the fight against gun violence, as well as gun owners and dealers who see it as an infringement on their rights.

At issue is a February 2000 letter Marcus received from the ATF demanding that the shop turn over the make, model, caliber and serial number of each used firearm bought and sold at the store in 1999. The store sold nearly 2,000 new and used weapons that year. Marcus thought that the request violated federal gun laws that prohibit the creation of a gun registry.

This was the first time the federal government was collecting data on gun sales and Marcus' store was at the top of the ATF's list.

According to the ATF, Marcus' shop and 430 other dealers throughout the country were singled out because they had sold 10 or more guns used in a crime within three years of purchase. Marcus disputed that figure in the lawsuit.

The ATF easily can trace a gun from the manufacturer to the first retail seller to the first buyer. Second-hand sales are much more difficult to trace unless the agency knows where to look among the nation's 100,000 gun dealers.

The ATF said it is seeking to close this missing link. The agency contends it would have a better chance of tracing guns found at crime scenes with the list of second-hand sales.

Marcus said he has no problem with sharing his sales data whenever an ATF agent requests the information during a criminal investigation. But now the agency wants information on guns not involved in crimes. That, he said, violates the law.

Morgan disagreed, citing a previous 4th Circuit decision in a Maryland case that said the information the ATF requested was ``a very far cry from the creation of a national firearms directory.''

Marcus' attorney has already filed an appeal to Morgan, but both sides say they expect the judge to uphold his decision.

Marcus said he will appeal to the 4th Circuit because the facts in his case are different from the Maryland case. In that case, the gun dealer had refused to comply with any ATF trace requests.

A dealer like himself, Marcus said, who assists the ATF in criminal cases, should not be held to the same standard.

Justice Department lawyers declined to comment Wednesday.

Reach Tim McGlone at tmcglone@pilotonline.com or 446-2343.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Government; News/Current Events; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: atf; banglist; guns; rhodesia; secondamendment
See also Gun shop owner sues ATF @ http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/583556/posts. And Gun shop owner sues ATF over reports @ http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/584349/posts.

"Federal Judge Henry C. Morgan Jr. said in Tuesday's decision that the amount of information sought by the ATF was so minuscule that it would not create a federal registry, which Congress has strictly forbidden."

You really don't know what to say here. You could try Humor; A minuscule "list" is not equal to a "registry". Therefore; 'Close enough' to no longer than 18 inches of barrel would be OK as it doesn't constitute ‘sawn off'. How about this " It's only a minuscule number of rounds greater in capacity than 10! It's not so many as to constitute actual "High Capacity".

(Anyone else?)

Seriously though, if taken to the legal definitional extreme [a place we go way too often these days] any listing consisting of less than each and every gun in the United States is not a complete registry, which by definition would list them all. So anything less is legal in spite of this clearly written law, or at least that's what this judge's decision seems to imply. You would think though the ATF would be a little embarrassed. Instead they risked being overruled, if they had gone before a literate judge. Wouldn’t it have been better to just let this one shop slide?

Perhaps the most depressing thing of all here is that apparently this shop owner is the only one to challenge the ‘request’

1 posted on 09/21/2002 8:40:05 PM PDT by SWO
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To: SWO
Yeah, this is really crossing the (one of the final) line(s). That this dealer is spending the money it must take to litigate against the gov't is above and beyond the call of duty.
Pleas keep us posted on this. Thanks.
2 posted on 09/21/2002 8:57:45 PM PDT by thegreatbeast
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To: SWO
The case is being watched closely across the nation by advocates in the fight against gun violence,

You mean treasonous gun grabbing liberals

3 posted on 09/21/2002 8:59:56 PM PDT by watcher1
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To: *bang_list
Index Bump
4 posted on 09/21/2002 9:09:46 PM PDT by Free the USA
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To: SWO
Justice Department lawyers declined to comment Wednesday.

That's the same Justice Department run by John Ashcroft.
How disappointing

5 posted on 09/21/2002 9:12:26 PM PDT by watcher1
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To: watcher1
Meet the new boss....same as the old boss.

L

6 posted on 09/21/2002 9:17:16 PM PDT by Lurker
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To: Lurker
I was singing that tune as I typed my first comments
I don't know about you, but I'm getting very, very, tired of it
7 posted on 09/21/2002 9:19:16 PM PDT by watcher1
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To: watcher1
That's the same Justice Department run by John Ashcroft.

Ashcroft respects our gun rights like Bubba feels our pain.

8 posted on 09/21/2002 9:21:06 PM PDT by Grut
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To: Grut
Ashcroft respects our gun rights like Bubba feels our pain.

It's looking that way isin't it?

9 posted on 09/21/2002 9:23:10 PM PDT by watcher1
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To: SWO
"(Anyone else?)"

But your honor! I was only going a little over the speed limit.

10 posted on 09/21/2002 9:23:48 PM PDT by spunkets
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To: *bang_list
Bang
11 posted on 09/21/2002 9:28:24 PM PDT by SWO
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To: SWO
According to the ATF, Marcus' shop and 430 other dealers throughout the country were singled out because they had sold 10 or more guns used in a crime within three years of purchase.

The ATF easily can trace a gun from the manufacturer to the first retail seller to the first buyer. Second-hand sales are much more difficult to trace unless the agency knows where to look among the nation's 100,000 gun dealers.

If it's so hard to trace that they need to compile a registry (sorry, a "list"), how were they able to trace at least 4,300 guns to 430 stores without a list?

12 posted on 09/21/2002 9:35:33 PM PDT by nravoter
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To: SWO
Depressing.

I've been debating on opening up a gunsmith/retail shop in my town. The last guy that did was in business 35 years and died recently.

After reading this, as well as other articles, I'm not too sure I want the hassle.

13 posted on 09/21/2002 9:47:42 PM PDT by bat-boy
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To: SWO
bookmarked
14 posted on 09/21/2002 9:55:13 PM PDT by Stew Padasso
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To: Squantos; Travis McGee; harpseal; pocat; SLB; wardaddy
Disgusted carnivore bump.
15 posted on 09/21/2002 9:55:13 PM PDT by AAABEST
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To: bat-boy; AAABEST
Sadly it has come to this . You run the same risk running a business within the law as you do outside of the laws. BatFags be damned.........

Stay Safe !

16 posted on 09/21/2002 9:59:10 PM PDT by Squantos
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To: AAABEST
Somehow I'm not suprised. Bush has really sent out mixed signals on this issue. First Ashcroft asks local authorities to purge their purchase files as the Brady Bill required as written, then they claim the 2nd amendment means private ownership and not strict militia ordnance but then they challenge the DC challenge and we have the Mexican bullets case. I know it would be worse under Spotted Al and I'm grateful for that but I would prefer some uniformity and purpose here in our direction.
17 posted on 09/21/2002 10:05:57 PM PDT by wardaddy
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To: wardaddy
I just can't help but wonder how long people are going to keep putting up with this type of crap without resorting to violence against the guvment. Not just with this issue, but with everything.
18 posted on 09/21/2002 10:10:20 PM PDT by bat-boy
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To: bat-boy
They come door to door for our weapons of protection and I guess we'll just all have to see. In the meantime, they are coming thru the backdoor. Give them time and if thy enforce all the gun laws they keep piling on and we'll all be dead or in jail anyhow. I think that is the plan.

Don't believe the Dems on Dove Hunts....we know they want our guns. The Pubbies...at least most of them are less enthusiastic.
19 posted on 09/21/2002 10:13:09 PM PDT by wardaddy
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To: wardaddy
The Pubbies...at least most of them are less enthusiastic.

For now anyway. They'll turn against us in a heartbeat if it will keep them in power.

20 posted on 09/21/2002 10:16:23 PM PDT by bat-boy
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To: bat-boy
That's a possibility but there is no third rail yet. Don't be fooled. You'll hand the reins straight to the Dems just like the Greens did for us 2 years ago.
21 posted on 09/21/2002 10:19:53 PM PDT by wardaddy
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To: SWO
While I disagree with any infringement of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and would be against any registration attempt, this is NOT THAT. From my reading of the article, the ATF is not requesting a list of WHO bought guns but rather a list of WHAT guns were sold without a link as to who bought them.

The rationale seems to be that they want to compare the list of sold firearms with a list of weapons confiscated from who knows who. Once they find a gun on both lists, apparently they will go to the gun shop and demand the sales record and only THEN learn who bought it.

This may be a legitimate law enforcement tool... but only if the names of the buyers ARE NOT INCLUDED on the list of make, model and serial number.

22 posted on 09/21/2002 11:28:13 PM PDT by Swordmaker
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To: Swordmaker
Then why not just bring in a list of confiscated weapons, and ask the Dealer to check his records to see if he sold any of them, and who they were sold to?

Same thing, no one's privacy is violated, job gets done.
This is a "fishing expedition", and once a certain number of dealers start complying, a "history of use" concerning this "regulatory power" places it in the domain of Legal Actions.
There is a history of regulatory powers, especially within the federal government, that have evolved from the simple failure of any citizen ever challenging them.

23 posted on 09/22/2002 12:43:11 AM PDT by Drammach
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To: Drammach
Well, one thing comes immediately to mind. They have a gun. Nothing about the gun tells them where it was sold last. How do the know WHICH shop to go check the records? One gun, thousands of shops.

Mind you, I am not agreeing with them. Only if you accept their argument that "certain dealers" are supplying arms to felons does this approach have any validity.

On the other hand, they could be just attempting to return a stolen gun to its legitimate owner... in a pig's eye do I believe that!
24 posted on 09/22/2002 2:13:23 AM PDT by Swordmaker
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To: Swordmaker
how do they know which shop..?

How about placing priority on shops in the area where the crime was committed, and who have sold weapons previously involved in a crime?

If the gun was confiscated in Detroit, then You check Detroit and the surrounding environs.
Place priority on gun shops in that area that have been known to have related sales.
Additionally, check for reports of stolen weapons.

Anything else, as I said before, is just a "fishing expedition" until those search parameters have been met.

25 posted on 09/22/2002 2:30:17 AM PDT by Drammach
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To: AAABEST; Squantos; Travis McGee; harpseal; pocat; wardaddy
I have always thought Ashcroft was a wolf in sheep skin. This is why I always try for a private purchase rather than going to a "licensed" dealer.
26 posted on 09/22/2002 4:09:40 AM PDT by SLB
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To: watcher1
Told you so.
27 posted on 09/22/2002 6:03:12 AM PDT by Maelstrom
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To: wardaddy
I would prefer some uniformity and purpose here in our direction.

Yes, These people seen to forget very quickly who put them in power.
It was gun owners who made the difference in the last election
We haven't gotten any uniformity and purpose in our direction since Ronald Reagan passed the Firearm Owners Protection Act in 1986

All it would take to put these RINOcrats out of power is for us to stay home on election day

28 posted on 09/22/2002 6:24:32 AM PDT by watcher1
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To: SWO
Not only are guns violent, but they seem to suffer from the same malady most criminals suffer from, they are not the brightest bulbs on the block. Why any selfrespectingviolentgun would allow itself to be found at a crime scene, is enough to boggle even the smallest of minds.
29 posted on 09/22/2002 7:24:55 AM PDT by wita
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To: wardaddy
they challenge the DC challenge and we have the Mexican bullets case

More info on this? I must have missed something. Thanks.

30 posted on 09/22/2002 7:37:28 AM PDT by pocat
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To: SLB
Cache on hand will prevent such a first time suprise IMHO............RKBA efforts are keeping the grabbers out of the public eye these days before the elections and post 9-11. But I suspect, as the cockroaches they are , they won't stay in the dark long...

Ashcrofts and GW's lack of effort to stop or reverse stupid revenue based gun laws that do nothing to change a select group of firearms ability to function as designed clearly sends a signal that is troubling to me.

Such as the AR-15's. If it has a bayonet lug and was made after november 94 (?) then ya go to jail...........I have to agree on that one as I have seen a drastic reduction in drive by bayonetings :o) < / Sarcasm >

Stay Safe !

31 posted on 09/22/2002 9:20:00 AM PDT by Squantos
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To: SLB
This is why I always try for a private purchase rather than going to a "licensed" dealer.

Amen...we need a new acronym like BLOAT for that one!

32 posted on 09/22/2002 9:49:54 AM PDT by wardaddy
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To: watcher1
Staying home will be even worse....you already know that. If we have a DEM POTUS, senate, and congress.....man I can't even think about it. It could trigger events that could easily spin out of control.
33 posted on 09/22/2002 9:52:09 AM PDT by wardaddy
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To: pocat
This is loose memory here but:

A) Ashcroft instructed the USA in DC to appeal a decision from concerning felonious gun possession that related to DC's handgun ban being unconstitutional. DOJ explained that they thought this particular case where the lower court judge had already rule favorably to our side should be appealed by DOJ to the next level.

B) The Mex bullet case involves a man with a pissant prior non-violent felony from 20 years ago being caught in Mex with pistol bullets by the Mexicans and this being used as grounds for him being violated here on firearm statutes

Additionally Ashcroft has kept the ban open that was implemented by Clinton in 94 that defunded the US Marshall services granting special firearm waivers to prior felons upon review for hunting or work related needs. Now, one may only apply to a seated Fed judge for such a waiver and Ashcroft has said he will also challenge that.

It's all part of their enthusiatic endorsement of Project Exile which while it may have been well intended...lol...really it was intended to appease the gun grabbers. Exile has the potential to make felons out of a lot of folks for petty offenses and mandates draconian penalties for those who violate it. Imagine you get in a fight at 20 and pick up a simple assault charge. You plead out to probation and expungement. Now ten years later you are caught with one bullet and you could possibly recieve 20 years. It could be assault, or failure to pay taxes, DUI, possession, restraining orders...whatever...we're not talking about armored car bandits here. Several states are already trying to use certain misdemeanors as a reason to ban gun rights, while some states restore gun rights to those non-violent felons upon completion of parole/probation. Meanwhile the Feds loom over all of it with emminent jurisdiction. Scary....nearly 1 in 12 of all adult American males has some record beyond traffic offenses already....it's simply a ruse to grab more guns and it's disguised as law and order.

34 posted on 09/22/2002 10:09:18 AM PDT by wardaddy
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To: wardaddy
bttt
35 posted on 09/22/2002 2:59:46 PM PDT by Travis McGee
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To: wardaddy
Staying home will be even worse....you already know that.

Yes, I know. I have voted Republican my whole life and I don't think I have ever missed an election.
BUT WHERE IS THE PAYOFF?

Even when the Republicans are in power they do little if anything to defend the 2nd Amendment.

Isn't the definition of insanity "doing the same thing over and over, getting screwed, yet doing it again expecting a different outcome?"

36 posted on 09/23/2002 3:40:40 AM PDT by watcher1
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To: watcher1
The payoff....somewhat bittersweet....is to allow your imagination to run for a second and think about how it would be if you and many others had not voted for the flawed Pubbies and we now had AL, Dasshole, and Gepper to contend with ....not to mention their media puppet master Hillary!

It ain't perfect. I wish all Pubbies were DeLays and Helms but there are not enough folks like us to vote those types of folks into office in large numbers so we have to fight a game of winning in increments or stalling losses.
37 posted on 09/23/2002 9:52:01 AM PDT by wardaddy
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To: wardaddy
we have to fight a game of winning in increments or stalling losses.

A sure strategy for long term defeat
They take us for granted and pay us in lip service.
I say give'm one more election cycle ( like this one) then let them know we will not be their lap dogs anymore and stay home or vote 3d party

38 posted on 09/23/2002 1:21:27 PM PDT by watcher1
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To: nravoter; SWO
I believe the mfg's know what deal/person they shipped each gun to and they let the ATF know if they are requested to trace the gun by ATF. Then the dealer knows who he sold it to by the paperwork. Guns get traced when they turn up in a crime or are found abandoned or "dropped' someplace.
39 posted on 09/23/2002 7:07:11 PM PDT by mnmoose
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To: watcher1
I'm not sure the RKBA battle can be won politically short of cataclysm either from within or from without.....and on the latter it's painfully obvious the average American sucking at the nipple of the nanny state has quite a short memory....in other words...it looks ominous from here.
40 posted on 09/23/2002 9:05:49 PM PDT by wardaddy
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Comment #41 Removed by Moderator

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