Underlying the gun and school shooting issue, is a mass network of licensed, firearm manufacturers, distributors, and importers.
Even if the top, most well-known, gun manufacturers and the NRA were somehow disbanded, we’d still be left with a plethora of other manufacturers, prevalent around the country.
The issue seems deeper than enacting new laws — laws already exist and enforcement is a big issue.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (or ATF) is the regulating agency and here are the different types of gun providers:
As of April 2022, there were a total of:
- 17,509 firearm manufacturer licenses (Type 7)
- 81,835 total federal firearm licenses
Quick & Cheap Licensing
It’s relatively cheap, easy, and quick to become a licensed manufacturer, taking only $150 to apply…
with speedy application approvals of 2 months…
There seems to be a history of minimal oversight from the ATF — and minimal punishment for offending license-holders:
The ATF Catches Thousands of Lawbreaking Gun Dealers Every Year. It Shuts Down Very Few.
On Main Street in Man, West Virginia, a woman marched through the front door of Uncle Sam's Loans, a cavernous pawn…
Disclaimer: I am not a professional in these areas. As a citizen, I was motivated by the latest tragic events in my state, to research and understand the systemic issues underlying gun violence, mass shootings, and the prevalence of guns.
Some suggestions that come to mind are:
- Increase Fees — for federal firearm license holders and applicants. this would help with funding for the ATF, increase staffing, and would add friction to the application process.
- Increase Punishment — increase fines and the revoking of licenses for rule-breakers.
- Increase Transparency — create a more interactive, public data portal for license holders. Create a more visible, periodic grading system for licensees, similar to restaurant health inspections.
- Increase Communication — and the exchange of information between departments, agencies, and the public.
My goal was to glean and share further insight into a process (gun manufacturer applications and oversight), that few of us understand or encounter in our daily lives, but that is becoming increasingly relevant to the shootings and bad news that we are seeing.
Your comments are welcome.