Challenges lie before us

By Tim Inwood

For many years, the enemies of gun ownership have hatched various plots to take our firearms. Outright bans have been met with resistance, and so these folks have had to resort to less overt, but just as nefarious, plots to reach their goals. I have noted that there are several things coming together at this time that are a huge threat to we, the gun owners in
the United States.

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The first threat I will address actually was seeded back in the early 1990s, when the Clinton Administration ordered the Treasury Department
to crack down on America’s federally licensed gun
dealers. The Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder was squarely in their sights,
as they made clear they intended to make life fairly
miserable for them. In 1994, there were 245,628
licensed firearm dealers in the US. California by
itself had over 20,000 FFL holders. The policies
implemented by Bill Clinton and his Treasury
Secretary, the late Lloyd Benson quickly reduced those

Today there are only 50,630 FFL holders in the USA. California is down to a little over 2000. [1] Clearly,
the number of outlets for purchasing a firearm is way
down as a result. In my hometown of Wilmington, Ohio,
I can think of at least six places that sold firearms
when I was growing up. Today within the city limits
there is just one: Ace Hardware. The Wilmington
Wal-Mart gave up their FFL earlier in the year. I
often hear people complaining about the cost of
firearms these days. There are many reasons for the
higher cost, but among them is the loss of outlets to
sell them. Clearly 50,000 dealers can not handle the
volume 245,000 dealers handled a mere 13 years ago. If
this trend continues, the situation will become much
worse. With less production, but having to maintain
huge facilities and upkeep of machines that sit idle,
it is a huge cost for America’s gun manufacturers. Add
factors like the rising price of oil, transport, and
raw material for the guns, and it is no wonder that
costs have skyrocketed, and will no doubt continue to.

The loss of skilled labor is another huge concern. Last
year, I read a depressing article about a tour of the
Colt plant in Connecticut.[2] It sounded as though a
great deal of machinery was sitting idle and few souls
were working there now. A sad fate for a company that
for many years had such a prominent role in arming US
law enforcement, as well as our military forces.

Along the same lines is the fact the number of
gunsmiths has dropped drastically.[3] Break that
treasured firearm and you are going to have a harder
time finding a qualified individual to fix the gun.
With the U.S. population constantly being told by “the
sheep culture” that we don’t need guns, the number of
gun owners has been declining as a percentage of the
population for years. It is hard to make a living in
an industry with demand dropping for your services.
Because of this, fewer young people are learning the
trade of the gunsmith. Big outfits like Novak’s,
Cylinder, and Slide are more into customizing guns,
rather than fixing the mundane shotguns we use for
hunting. We would all be well advised to learn a
certain amount of the gunsmith’s trade and skills as
well as keep spare parts on hand for the firearms we
use the most.

California has a habit of embracing wacky ideas and
making them law. The problem is those weird California
statutes frequently become national law, screwing up
the whole country. For instance, the waiting period
for handgun purchases began there. Now California has
seized on an old, but still crazy idea: serializing
ammunition.[4] Back in the late 1960s, the BATF actually
considered putting serial numbers on ammunition. The
BATF clearly did not think this through deeply as, the
technology of the time would not really allow it. I
remember G. Gordon Liddy writing in his book ”Will” of
how this proposal was considered when he was at the
Treasury Department. He told them it was untenable
idea, only to be ignored. That is, until the day he
came into the office of his supervisor and dumped a
box of .22 cartridges on the desk. He then said that
tens if not hundreds of millions of .22 shells alone
were made every year and where are you going to put
the number? The supervisor picked up a round and
looked it over in frustration for a minute, then
pitched the cartridge back in the pile and said to
forget it.

That was around 1969. Today, the
technology sadly does exist to carry out this
dangerous plan. Micro stamping can be achieved by
computer controlled laser etching on each shell casing
and, I suppose, the bullet itself. The problem is they
want to do it to ammunition and to some part of the
gun, probably the firing pin, so that it leaves a
small number on the spent shell casing when a round is
fired. This way, the gun that fired the cartridge can
also be identified. Some might think this a great
crime-fighting tool, but I see potential for abuse and
will explain how it can be defeated for its stated
purpose easily later in this article.

The firearms industry has said this program of micro
stamping will add $200 to the cost of every firearm.
In an industry where costs have risen and sales have
not, this is a depressing suggestion. It will probably
lead to an even larger slump in sales and possibly the
loss of additional jobs in the firearms industry. One
must remember that the U.S. military relies on the
private gun industry for small arms. Do we really want
to diminish the number of people who know how to build
small arms while we are at war?!

This plan would also mean a return to registering
ammo. We were doing this when I came of age in the
1970s, and I can tell you it was a pain to have to fill
out paperwork to buy ammo. As you can imagine this
will add the record keeping, as well as the costs that
go along with that to anyone who sells ammo, thus
driving up cost of ammunition and the disinclination
to sell ammunition. All this adds up to new headaches
for the American gun owner.

Naturally, we are being told this is to fight crime.
By serializing ammo and small parts on guns, they say
they can solve the misdeeds of miscreants. But what if
a criminal with murder on his mind is smart enough to
think about covering his tracks? Let’s assume he he
is. So, beforehand our killer goes to a gun club range
and manages to find a few spent casings laying about
the grounds. He finds some casings in a caliber he
has. He goes out and kills his victim, picks up the
casings he fired from his gun and then leaves the
spent cartridge cases he found at the range. Next
thing you know, Mr. Joe Smith, owner of a Glock 17
that left number X-3476987-22 on a casing, and
purchaser of a box of ammo that matches the casing,
finds that he is a wanted man. After all, he obviously
must be the killer!

The whole idea that gave birth to this scheme is
loopy and, as I described above, can be defeated with
ease. I am sure the anti-gunner does not understand
how easy it is to lose some brass at the range. Give
it some thought. Last time you went to your gun club,
how much of your brass did you find in the grass? I
might find 60%-80% on a good day. You must now know
this is a crazy idea that will accomplish nothing, but
the California State Senate has already voted on and,
to my great dismay, approved this law. The saddest
part is that this may be in all our futures.

The pessimist in me suspects that this is not so much
a proposal for crime control but another veiled gun
control scheme designed to deter gun ownership. Those
who do not care for us owning guns are always
conceiving new ways to reduce our numbers. Let’s face
it, the fewer gun owners there are, the easier it is
for them to pass a new ridiculous gun law, leading
another step closer to that day that Senator Diane
Feinstein looks forward to, and we should all strive
to prevent. She has already said she can’t wait to
look into the camera and say “Mr. and Mrs. America
turn them all in.” Their ultimate goal is, and has
always has been, a total prohibition of firearms
ownership by private civilians. Anything they say to
the contrary is pure rubbish.

For some time I have written about the dangers we
face brought to us by the “Culture of Sheep”, and I
have praised those outlets that have ridiculed these
people. But it is not enough to have Neal Boortz or G.
Gordon Liddy talk about it on their radio shows. We
all need to do our part to make sport of the “sheep”.
We must all do battle with those who detest our
ability and means to defend ourselves. We must take
it upon ourselves to educate and convert family and
friends to our way of thinking. A heady task, when you
consider how they are brainwashed almost every night
with network broadcasts attacking gun ownership and
gun owners, blaming us for the crime caused by their
policies of disarming victims! At the beginning of
this article I described how they successfully cut the
number of gun dealers by 79% in this country a mere 13
years. They have so diminished gun ownership that
those in the trade and related fields are finding it
less profitable to work. Believe me when I say this
micro stamping idea, if it comes to fruition, will
indeed cause innocent people to go to jail. This is an
idea to be nipped in the bud now and not permitted to
fester. I know this proposal is in California, but
what you can do now is inform family and friends
living there what is going on so they can fight this
before it reaches Governor Schwarzenegger’s desk. Then
we need to call our Representative and Senators in
Washington D.C. and make clear this is unacceptable
and we will vote based on how they handle this subject
and any other case when our rights are called into

Several years ago, California began
requiring gun makers to include a spent casing from
every gun sold in that state. Other states jumped on
that bandwagon. How many crimes have been solved by
this requirement? None. Maryland even cancelled this
program when they realized it was so pointless. This
new proposal for micro stamping will be just one more
of layer of bureaucracy and cost added to make gun
ownership more expensive and less attractive to our
fellow Americans. I suggest we all tell the powers
that be, the way to solve crime is going after
criminals and stop treating us, the law-abiding
American taxpayer, as though we are the problem.

In the mean time, we must all act to counter the
issues I have brought up today. Our culture of
self-reliance and our ability to protect ourselves is
certainly threatened by these issues. Our action is
required if we are to preserve our rights in the
You need to work on friends and family, as well as
with pro gun organizations, like NRA, GOA, and BFA,
that keep you informed of the dangers that lie ahead
of us.

Earlier this year, many of you made phone calls and
wrote letters that stopped OSHA from enacting
regulations that would have put a stranglehold on
outlets selling ammunition. You can do the same now in
stopping micro stamping from becoming law. But, we
must act now, my friends, or the enemy will have one
more foothold in their efforts to take away our
freedom and security.

This bill is going to the Governor's office this
week so please call Governor Schwarzenegger and
respectfully, but firmly urge him to veto AB1471.
Governor Schwarzenegger can be reached by phone at
(916) 445-2841, fax at (916) 445-4633, or via the
internet at to send
him an email.

Tim Inwood is the current Legislative Liaison and Past
President of the Clinton County Farmers and Sportsmen
Association, an Endowment Member of the NRA, Life
Member of OGCA, and a volunteer for Buckeye Firearms

Roanoake Times, Number of U.S. gun dealers has plunged

Colt Factory Tour by CTSigLover

USA Today, Gunsmiths bemoan decline

Hartford Business, Number One With A Bullet

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