Stop Coddling Corrupt Gun Dealers
Using his finest Orwellian doublespeak, Rep. Howard Coble (R-N.C.) defended his bill gutting the power of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to revoke the licenses of lawbreaking gun shops as a bill to "modernize" the bureau [letters, Aug. 1].
The bill, backed by the gun lobby, was introduced just after the license held by National Rifle Association board member Sanford M. Abrams for his shop, Valley Gun of Baltimore, was revoked for 900 federal gun law violations. Mr. Abrams's shop was also one of the top suppliers of guns used in crimes in the nation. The Justice Department called the store a "serial violator" of gun laws that "endangered the public" by failing to account for hundreds of weapons.
Yet the bill would make it virtually impossible to revoke the licenses of dealers such as Mr. Abrams caught violating federal law. Instead, the ATF would have to meet a new, extraordinary burden of proof to impose a meager $5,000 fine -- an average $5.56 fine per violation in a case such as Mr. Abrams's -- that the bill would then postpone through years of appeals. This is how Mr. Coble's bill "strengthens" the bureau?
Congress must stop coddling corrupt gun dealers and their gun lobby friends and instead give the ATF the tools it needs to crack down on rogue gun shops that feed the gun-wrought carnage in our communities.
DANIEL R. VICE
Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence