Thursday, February 3, 2011


Not quite "all linky, no thinky", but...

Before the annual SHOT Show, RUMINT abounded that the BATFE was going to announce that the popular Saiga shotgun, which is based on the venerable Kalashnikov design, was going to be banned from import under the "sporting purpose" clause.
Well, not quite, but close:
The consensus among in the gun culture is that the ATF gets to define "sporting purpose" to mean whatever it wants.  So if you take up a sport for which, for example, a semi-auto, box-magazine fed shotgun is particularly well suited, and the ATF decides that it isn't really a sport, tough luck, get over it, taxpayer, who do you think you are, our boss?

Meanwhile, the ATF seems to have gotten caught playing shady games:
Readers Digest Condensed Version:  As part of ongoing investigations into gun-running into Mexico, the ATF has been allowing same.  With the results, apparently, that the recent murder of a Border patrol agent was committed with, you guessed it, a gun the ATF knowingly allowed to be smuggled south of the border...

Not surprisingly, it seems that this is  having repercussions:
I've spoken to folks in the firearms industry who have said that they deal with good people with ATF all the time.  I believe 'em. The paper shufflers may very well be decent folks.

I also won't argue that government regulation is of absolutely no good whatsoever, but it often turns onto proof of the old adage that the first goal of any organization is the continued survival of said organization...


elmo iscariot said...

...get over it, taxpayer, who do you think you are, our boss?

Unfortunately, one of the biggest problems with delegation is that the taxpayer isn't the ATF's boss; Congress is. And Congress signed that unconstitutional "sporting purposes" standard into law, and tasked ATF with enforcing it.

Their position, "if we count practical shooting as a sport, then the law means nothing, and it obviously wasn't passed to mean nothing, so we can't count practical shooting as a sport" is a pretty rational one, from a legal perspective. It would be inappropriate for a government agency to interpret its statutory mandate in a way obviously incompatible with the intent of the statute.

The ATF too often treats its mandate as an instruction to wage war against gun rights, but in this particular case I have some sympathy for their position. The sporting purposes language is bad law, and needs to be fixed in the legislature or the judiciary; ATF frankly doesn't have the legitimate authority to fix this one.

D.W. Drang said...

They certainly do have the legitimate authority to interpret sporting purposes to include practical shooting sports. It's not like there'd be nothing for them to do if they did so.