Inside the Federal Bureau Of Way Too Many Guns

Photo from GQ

Photo from GQ

Due to NRA lobbying, there’s a federal law that restricts having a searchable gun owner database. This is just nuts:

There is no national database of guns. We have no centralized record of who owns all the firearms we so vigorously debate, no hard data regarding how many people own them, how many of them are bought or sold, or how many even exist.

What we have instead is Charlie.

“Can I go smoke a cigarette while we discuss it?”

Anytime a cop in any jurisdiction in America wants to connect a gun to its owner, the request for help ends up here, at the National Tracing Center, in a low, flat, boring building that belies its past as an IRS facility, just off state highway 9 in Martinsburg, West Virginia, in the eastern panhandle of the state, a town of some 17,000 people, a Walmart, a JCPenney, and various dollar stores sucking the life out of a quaint redbrick downtown. On any given day, agents here are running about 1,500 traces; they do about 370,000 a year.

“It’s a shoestring budget,” says Charlie, who runs the center. “It’s not 10,000 agents and a big sophisticated place. It’s a bunch of friggin’ boxes. All half-ass records. We have about 50 ATF employees. And all the rest are basically the ladies. The ladies that live in West Virginia—and they got a job. There’s a huge amount of labor being put into looking through microfilm.”

I want to ask about the microfilm—microfilm?—but it’s hard to get a word in. He’s already gone three rounds on the whiteboard, scribbling, erasing, illustrating some of the finer points of gun tracing, of which there are many, in large part due to the limitations imposed upon this place. For example, no computer. The National Tracing Center is not allowed to have centralized computer data.

“That’s the big no-no,” says Charlie.

That’s been a federal law, thanks to the NRA, since 1986: No searchable database of America’s gun owners. So people here have to use paper, sort through enormous stacks of forms and record books that gun stores are required to keep and to eventually turn over to the feds when requested. It’s kind of like a library in the old days—but without the card catalog. They can use pictures of paper, like microfilm (they recently got the go-ahead to convert the microfilm to PDFs), as long as the pictures of paper are not searchable. You have to flip through and read. No searching by gun owner. No searching by name.

Father Accidentally Shoots Son Dead at Gun Range

From CNN:

He also enjoyed shooting, a skill he learned from his father, William Clayton Brumby. Target practice was one of those things Stephen was poised to surpass his father on at the gun range.

Because their parents keep guns in the home for self-defense, each of the seven Brumby children learned gun safety at an appropriate age, Clayton Brumby said.

“We wanted our kids to be aware of guns,” he said. “I wanted them to be comfortable around them and understand them.”

Nothing Stephen knew about guns, it seems, could have prevented his father from accidentally shooting him dead Sunday at a Sarasota, Florida, gun range.

Gun TV: Home Shopping Channel Aims to Sell Weapons to Viewers

From The Guardian:

A new home shopping channel will launch in the US early in 2016. It will be called, simply, Gun TV.

TV home shopping is synonymous with flashy jewelry, home décor and bargain accessories you never knew you needed. But Gun TV’s specialty will be exactly that: guns. It will also sell ammunition, accessories such as concealed-carry holsters and clothing, such as hunting jackets.

Like established channels such as QVC and Home Shopping Network, Gun TV will feature personable experts explaining and demonstrating the channel’s wares. If viewers see a weapon at a price they like, they can just click online, or pick up the phone and dial a toll-free number.

(via Death and Taxes)

South Carolina 2-year-old shoots grandma in the back after finding .357 revolver in car

If only granny had been armed:

A South Carolina woman was recovering on Monday after her 2-year-old grandson reportedly shot her in the back.

Rock Hill police reported on Sunday that officers responded to the call on Sunday and found that a 40-year-old woman in the front passenger seat of an orange Chevrolet Camaro had suffered a gunshot wound to the back.

Police said that a 4-year-old boy had gotten his hands on the revolver and discharged it as the car was going through the intersection of Ogden Road and Heckle Boulevard. The driver of the car, who was the child’s great aunt, said that she heard the shot and then turned to see the boy holding the pistol with both hands.

Texan Attempts to Stop Carjacking with Gun. Shoots Carjacking Victim in the Head.

And THIS is exactly the reason why it would be a nightmare having everybody walking around with a sidearm waiting to get all John Wayne the moment they smell an incident occurring.

Houston police say that an armed man’s attempt to stop a carjacking went terribly wrong on Saturday night when he shot the vehicle’s owner in the head, then fled the scene.

According to KHOU Channel 11 News, the shooting took place around 11:15 p.m. at a Valero gas station in north Houston.

Police officials say that two men jumped the owner of a Chevrolet pickup truck and absconded with his vehicle.

As the men struggled with the car-owner, a passerby produced a gun and fired multiple shots, missing the thieves but striking the victim in the head.

The shooter quickly gathered up his shell casings from the pavement and fled the scene.

The injured man was rushed to a nearby hospital where he is currently in stable condition.

Man Accidentally Shoots Himself, Crashes in Road Rage Incident

Florida…. It happened in Florida:

ESTERO, Fla.- A man is in the hospital after shooting himself and crashing his car in a road rage incident.

Deputies say the confrontation began near Constitution Boulevard and U.S. 41. A woman was attempting to write down a male driver’s license plate number when he pointed a handgun at her vehicle.

Once the two cars neared the Corkscrew Road intersection, the sheriff’s office says the man then appeared to point a rifle at the woman.

The man continued heading down Corkscrew Road when he ended up crashing into the guardrail and somehow shot himself.

“The white male suspect did point what appeared to be a rifle at the female victim. Somewhere in that exchange, the suspect sustained a self-inflicted gunshot wound which resulted in the scene you see here,” said Lt. Scott Lineberger.