The fact that the Violence Policy Center's rabidly anti-gun executive director Josh Sugarmann has a Federal Firearms License (FFL) is old news. For some reason, it didn't occur to me until this past weekend to wonder how he has persuaded the BATFE to let him have and keep the license, since--under rules pushed by the VPC--it is required that licensees be "in the business" of firearms commerce. They can't, in other words, just be "hobbyists."
After very little checking around, it became obvious that I was way behind the curve in wondering about that, and that many others have already wondered the same thing. So much for that planned blog post.
While looking into it, though, I came across this little gem, in a VPC "report" (pdf file) about the huge decline in FFL holders (specifically, about efforts to reduce the number of what the VPC calls "kitchen-table gun dealers"--FFL holders who operate out of their homes):
Even with a national drop of 78 percent in the number of gun dealers, FFLs—both “kitchen-table” and stocking dealers—are still a key supplier of guns to criminals. As noted earlier, up to 56 percent of FFLs still operate out of residential premises. Thirty-one percent of FFLs had not sold a single firearm in the previous year, a disturbingly high percentage for a class of people who purport to be “engaged in the business” of selling firearms.So in other words, small-time gun dealers selling a lot of guns would be bad news because, well . . . it's a lot of nasty guns being sold. At the same time, small-time dealers not selling guns is bad news, because that lack of activity is just evidence that they're lying, and selling guns off the record.
[ . . . ]
While at first glance it may seem that an FFL holder who sells few if any firearms is not a threat to public safety, it must be remembered that this reflects only sales reported to ATF. Many sales by “kitchen-table” and corrupt stocking dealers take place “off the books” without the licensee logging the guns into their firearms acquisition book or confirming the identity of the purchaser as required by law.
I talked about something kinda like this before, where we see gun dealers complying with federal law, and turning away would-be customers because of failed background checks, touted as evidence that the dealer is selling a lot of "crime guns."
In both cases, lack of evidence of wrongdoing is represented as . . . "evidence" of wrongdoing!
Where have I seen that kind of "logic" before?
By the way, I still wonder how Sugarmann is exempt from the requirement to be "engaged in the business" of firearms commerce.