MORE ON GUNS….As long as we’re on the subject of guns, Glenn Reynolds complained a few days ago about a Washington Monthly article by Brent Kendall that criticizes Republicans for weakening the enforcement of gun laws. After spending an entire post complaining that the headline writer called John Allen Muhammad’s gun a “sniper rifle” instead of an “assault rifle,” the next day we get to the meat of his complaint: he says the article writer thinks the gun shot those folks in D.C. all by itself without any help from Muhammad!
Yeah, yeah. Of course, the article says nothing of the sort, it simply uses the D.C. sniper case as an anecdotal lead-in to a story about how the power of the BATF to enforce existing gun laws has been systematically gutted over the past couple of decades. “I don’t know if this is true,” Glenn says, but then quotes a long letter from Dave Kopel saying, well, it is true, but for good reason:
The important thing that the Wash. Monthly leaves out from its description of why Congress limited BATF’s enforcement powers was BATF’s egregious abuse of civil liberties under FOPA.
….The fundamental thing wrong with the article is that he complains that the sniper shootings were caused by the Republicans/NRA because BATF didn’t shut down [the] Bulls Eye [gun shop]. (Of course there’s the absurd presumption that the killers would not have been able to obtain a gun from another store, or from somewhere else.) But if Bulls Eye is in fact guilty of everything that the author charges, then BATF had full power to have Bulls Eye’s FFL revoked.
But that’s exactly what the article said: BATF doesn’t have the funding, authority, or (apparently) the competence to enforce the law. Unfortunately, Glenn seems to think that’s OK. With a trademark “Indeed,” Glenn then excerpts this comment from a reader:
Maybe Mr. Kendall ought to consider the possibility that an awful lot of us find the idea of more “felony record-keeping charges” a lot scarier than the occasional armed nut.
Usually conservatives feel that if people are getting away with criminal activity, the answer is stronger law enforcement. But not when it comes to guns. In this one case, apparently, the occasional armed gun nut is just the price we pay.
Gun enthusiasts keep telling us that what we really need to do is enforce existing laws, not create new ones. Then shouldn’t we reform the BATF and give them the power and funding they need to enforce the law? Or do we only do that for laws that we like?