Sunday, January 3, 2010

Badger Guns ATF investigation

I've always maintained that Badger Guns' current owners should be given the benefit of the doubt regarding their business. With the vilification from Wisconsin blogs and newspapers from Madison and Milwaukee, they deserve a fair hearing in my opinion.

Now comes a comprehensive article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Wiped Clean - Facing federal scrutiny, gun shop got new lease on life with simple ownership change dredging up a 2006 ATF investigation of the previous owners (there is some connection to the current owners)
Federal investigators recommended revoking the license of Badger Outdoors gun shop after a 2006 inspection - a rare move that could have closed the West Milwaukee business, a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation has found.

But there was no revocation and the store remains open, operating as Badger Guns. Federal records show the license recommended for revocation was voluntarily relinquished, the players inside the operation took on new roles and a new license was issued, creating what one federal official called a "clean slate" for the store.
The paper complains that most of the records the ATF handed over had been redacted but they did find this:
But in an interview, a top ATF official said inspectors found "inventory discrepancies" during the November 2006 inspection and added that his agency doesn't recommend revocation for minor violations.
I'm going to repeat my skepticism regarding Badger Guns. There has been no report of when the crime guns were purchased. If the guns are recent purchases and the store was culpable in transferring the guns then yes, go after the current owners.
Since Badger Guns began operations Sept. 1, 2007, the ATF has uncovered more violations, documents show. A warning letter was issued May 30, 2008, telling Adam Allan he may face revocation if the agency finds more violations.
If these were serious violations, wouldn't the ATF had shut them down?

The article goes on about the overworked ATF investigators and the practically non-existent regulations regarding delving into a dealers operation. Something I find hard to believe after having talked to dealers I know.
"In 99.9% of the time, it doesn't need to be adversarial. We are all working toward the same goal," said Sherry Duval, an ATF spokeswoman. "Our business is not to put them out of business."
Tell that to Red's Trading Post.
Critics of the ATF said that the agency's oversight of gun dealers is lax compared to other businesses.

"I think it has been watered down to basically where there is no regulation," said Gerald Nunziato, who retired from the ATF after 29 years. "It is a perfect industry to do whatever you wish."

The National Rifle Association, which lobbies on behalf of gun owners and dealers, argues just the opposite. It says some gun shops have been harassed by the ATF.

"There are some ATF agents who do a good job, and some are overzealous in their efforts," said NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam. "If firearms retailers are involved in criminal conduct, they ought to pay the price, but if not, they ought to be left alone."
The current owners have worked with local law-enforcement and has called on their help to nab some crooks. (see earlier posts) So it would appear that they are attempting to be good neighbors in the community.

Overall, it's a fairly balanced article, although I think dredging up investigations of previous owners to paint the current owners with the same brush is bad form.

(Previous posts here: BTR - Badger Guns Posts)

No comments: