Op-Ed: Gun store owners - a thankless job

Published Wednesday, July 26, 2006, in National Review Online

By John R. Lott Jr.

It is tough operating a gun shop under harassment from the federal
government and unjustified media attacks. But the harassment might
soon get a little better, as today the House Judiciary Committee
starts marking up a bill by Representatives Howard Coble and Bobby
Scott to ease the burden on gun merchants.

According to Justice Department numbers, since Bill Clinton was
elected president in 1992, the number of federally licensed firearms
dealers in the United States has plummeted by 80 percent. Kmart no
longer sells guns, Wal-Mart just recently stopped selling guns at a
third of its stores, and tens of thousands of other gun shops have
gone out of business. With all the talk of the recent legislative
success by gun owners, they have been winning some battles but
possibly losing the war. Gun-control advocates may be the ones
winning where it really counts.

Part of the drop in licensees has been due to fees imposed by the
federal government. Many license recipients were in the business of
selling only a small number of guns, and the fees made that practice

The constant breakdowns of the “instant” background-check system
during the Clinton administration halted guns sales for hours or even
days at a time, costing stores untold sales and raising their costs.
Even by the end of the Clinton administration, from September 1999 to
December 2000, the system was down about one hour for every 16.7
hours of operation. The breakdowns often came in big blocks of time,
the worst during a period covering 60 hours during two weeks in the
middle of May 2000. Try running a business where neither customers
nor sellers are ever informed on how long outages are expected to last.

Fortunately, the background-check problems are now fixed. And there
are no new fees. So why are gun shops still going out of business?
There were about 100,000 license holders at the end of Clinton’s last
term. By today that has been cut almost in half.

The Washington Post’s front page on Sunday illustrated the problems
with both the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
abuses as well as the media’s out-of-control attacks...

Click here to read the entire op-ed.

Help us fight for your rights!

Become a member of Buckeye Firearms Association and support our grassroots efforts to defend and advance YOUR RIGHTS!

Subscribe to our FREE Newsletter

Get weekly news and instant alerts on the latest laws and politics that affect your gun rights. Enjoy cutting-edge commentary. Be among the first to hear about gun raffles, firearms training, and special events. Read more.

We respect your privacy and your email address will be kept confidential.


Buckeye Firearms Association is a grassroots organization dedicated to defending and advancing the right of citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities, including self-defense, hunting, competition, and recreation. Read more.