Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Politico Writer talks about Obama Regulating FFLs... and does not Know what They Are

Wisconsin Public Radio has the Joy Cardin Show  that invites guests to talk on subjects of the day.  On 5 Januray, 2016, the show was about Obama's potential executive orders to regulate guns through Federal Firearms License requirements, and others.  The guest that was invited to the show was Timothy Noah, a journalist from Politico.  Noah wrote a piece in Politico about executive orders.

An activist from Hayward, Wisconsin calls in to the show.  He makes this comment:
These regulations are not necessary and are just grandstanding by the President.  At one time in the Country, getting a Federal Firearms License, commonly known as an FFL, was an easy process.
A little later he adds:
In the mid 90's there were over 220,000 FFLs in the country, just what Obama wants now.  We had a huge number of small time people having FFLs, because it was very convenient to have one. 
For those who do not remember the history, the highest number of FFLs occurred in 1992, just before the Clinton administration.   In 1975, just 7 years after the enactment of the Gun Control Act of 1968, the number of FFLs (dealers and pawn brokers) was 149,242.  By 1992 the number had increased to 259,113.  The Clinton administration announced that there were too many FFLs in 1993.  It was not alleged that the small FFLs were committing illegal acts.  It was acknowledged that the FFLs were extremely law abiding.  The Clinton administration enacted regulations, later written into the statutes by the Congress, explicitly to *reduce the number* of FFLs.  The changes required an FFL to have a store front, to send in proof that they did not violate local zoning regulations, raised the price of an FFL from $30 to $200 (the original cost was $1) and required fingerprints.

The onerous regulations and price increase did what they were intended to do; drive hundreds of thousands of small, part time dealers out of business.  By the end of 2009, the number of FFLs had been reduced to an all time low: 54,184.  By 2014, as part of the Obama gun boom, FFLs had rebounded a bit to 63,563.

Timothy Noah then answers the activist with this startling comment.  Remember, the activist had just stated that "a Federal Firearms License, commonly known as an FFL" on the air.   From Noah:
I don't know what an FFL is, so I am at a disadvantage here.
Everybody is ignorant about some things.  Maybe it is too much to expect that a Politico journalist would know what an FFL is; after all it is only one of the main items  that the Obama administration is attempting to issue regulations about, and it was just defined, by the caller, a few seconds ago.

The gun culture is used to ignorant journalists who feel compelled to comment on things that they are ignorant about.  It is nothing new.  It helps keep subject matter experts in the field busy writing articles.

But there is an obvious disconnect between what it appears the Obama administration wants, and what it is obviously trying to get.

If the Obama administration wants people who sell a few guns a year to have those guns go through background checks, then it would make sense to repeal most of the onerous Clinton era regulations on small time gun sellers.  Reduce the fee for an FFL to $1, to encourage people to get them.  Remove the requirements for a storefront and for local compliance with zoning laws designed for storefront stores.   FFL numbers would go back up into the hundreds of thousands and more background checks would be done.

But I do not believe that is what President Obama wants.   What he would prefer is both onerous regulation and a requirement to have an FFL to sell small numbers of firearms.  That way he ensures that people will not easily be able to comply with the law.  The ideal for that situation to require a $10,000 fee for an FFL, and require anyone who sold more than one gun a year to have an FFL.  Then there would be zero small time legal dealers.

I agree with the caller.  This is political grandstanding.  I recommend that President Obama keep it up, pile on more and more.  The far left statists love it, and there is nothing that motivates people to go to the polls in November more than a renewed push for gun control.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
Link to Gun Watch


Anonymous said...

When I had my FFL I had a store front. I had to pay 10 dollars and take a test on the book of regulations. I made a perfect score on the test. I took the test in my kitchen. the agents scored the test and signed the license. I asked him how long it would take for it to be valid. He said well you could send it to San Francisco but I would be the one signing it there. as of now you are in business because I am the one in charge of the San Francisco office.

Wireless.Phil said...

I watch the speech and the way I understand it is that if you make most of your money selling guns, then you need a FFL.

In states that allow private sales you do not need an FFL, so it does nothing to the private sellers and buyers at gun shows.

For myself, watching that speech was a waste of time and does little, not much has changed.