Sunday, January 2, 2011

The ATF Should Be Dismantled

I missed this excellent piece by Kevin D. Williamson in the National Review December 29, 2010 entitled Traver Off Target. I haven't read that much of Williamson's stuff, but if it is generally like this, I will read more. He says things that need to be said without resorting to politically correct euphemisms. An example:

All of which is rather beside the point, since rifles as a category, from Granddad’s deerslayer to Uncle Nasty’s assault rifle, are used only rarely in crimes. Even for a gangster in sagging jeans, it’s hard to walk around casually with Elmer Fudd’s blunderbuss in your shenanigans, and those .50-caliber competition-grade rifles they’re soiling themselves over in California go for about 15 grand, putting them out of the financial range of Joe Crackhead. Rifles just aren’t where the action usually is, crime-wise.

Which is not beside the point. What Traver and those philosophically aligned with him are engaged in is the opposite of law enforcement. We might call their business anti-policing, inasmuch as they seek to restrict the actions of law-abiding citizens — lawful gun owners, licensed firearms dealers — while largely leaving actual criminals untouched. If that sounds like I am overstating my case, consider the evidence.
Williamson goes on then for two more pages detailing the evidence.
The truth is that law enforcement is fundamentally unserious about prosecuting straw purchasers, and about keeping guns out of the hands of criminals broadly speaking. Doing so is, to put it bluntly, too much work for a unionized American government work force, whose idea of a good anti-gun program is the buyback: offering up taxpayers’ dollars in the hopes that criminals will bring the guns to them. (Way to work that shoe-leather, Joe Friday.) From the police’s point of view, criminals are an inconsiderate bunch: no fixed address, very little record keeping, no scheduled hours of operation, etc. Criminals do not keep appointments or offer even minimal cooperation. It is a lot of work keeping tabs on a Carail Weeks, or on an Eric DeShawn Floyd, a felon with at least 17 priors on his rap sheet who was involved in the fatal shooting of Philadelphia police sergeant Stephen Liczbinski during a botched bank robbery. (I wrote about the case here.) It’s a real challenge. Some cops are heroes; 100 percent of them are government employees.

It is easy to get lost in the evidence presented, and miss the point that Williamson is advocating the dismantling of the BATFE. Frankly, it is about time. I also think it is about time someone at National Review take up the cause. After all, the Second Amendment is one of the 10.

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