Sunday, April 27, 2014

Bureaucratic Nightmare Makes Front Page!

So, Mrs. Drang decided to see if the Seattle Times' subscription department has improved since I ditched them years ago.  (Verdict so far: No.  They're still incompetent.)

Today's front page headline: Skagit County gun shop may have been worst in U.S.

No value judgment there.

So, it seems that the nearly-legendary Kesselring's gun store in Skagit County, WA, was poorly run for years.  They seem to have never heard of modern record keeping or accountning, and, quite possibly, have had only a nodding acquaintance with the laws, rules, and regulation governing gun stores.

Thing is...

How is it possible for a gun store to have routinely made millions a year without ever experiencing an ATFEieio visit? I dunno, maybe that's common, but it sounds like their bank was an envelope or envelopes handled by Mom...

And I have a couple of issues with the list of "infractions", as reported.  (Realizing the reporter probably knows diddley/squat about guns.)

  • 2000+ "unaccounted for" guns.  Poor record keeping.  Yes, really an infraction under government rules, but I take issue with ruining a business -- or lives! -- over technical violations with no evidence of criminal intent.
  • "Unsecured 'explosive' powder", presumably black powder.  How much, how was it stored, and for how long?  
  • "Red Flag" gun sales.  Whole lotta arbitrary rule making there, it seems to me. Why three years?  And why 10+?  Shouldn't the number be based on sales?
  • The reporting requirement for multiple handguns in one sale is also arbitrary to me.  Maybe the ATFEieio can substantiate their claim it's an indicator, and they surely will do so in Congressional testimony...
  • Poor record keeping, or complicity?: Failing to ensure forms are fully filled out, failing to record the results of NICS checks.

Some of the infractions are so obvious anyone should have known better.  Sales to non-residents of Washington State, for example.

For such a profitable business it certainly sounds like Kesselring's was poorly run for the last decade or two it was in business. But, frankly, it seems to me that most if not all of the infractions they are charged with were violations of bureaucratic fiat.  That is, these crimes were acts that are primarily malum prohibitum, not malum in se. The article, of course, does not distinguish between the two; note claims that Kesselring's was "hindering police efforts to trace any guns found at crime scenes, putting the public at risk."

Or, they were simply lousy businessmen, who at a minimum should not have been held to a strictly cash basis.

I'm not saying  that none of the missing guns were stolen, or that they weren't involved in crimes.

But I do think that the hand-wringing over the poor, hapless ATFEieio's inability to properly police the evil Merchants of Death in the article is over done.

EDIT: Minor correction in third paragraph from end to make it read what I meant to say...

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