How effective is a law that’s not enforced? Not very. There are many who say we don’t need more laws, we need those we have to be enforced. What we really need is both. There are areas where we certainly need better, common-sense gun laws, and we also need the laws on the books to be upheld. How do we do this?
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is required to routinely inspect gun dealers. But, as with many government agencies, the ATF could use more resources for staff to conduct these and follow up if violations are found. Because (thanks to the Tiahrt Amendment) the results of ATF inspections are no longer publicly published, Brady filed a Freedom of Information Act and the ATF was required to make these documents available to us. Incredibly, we have found that even the most serious violations rarely result in a dealer’s license being revoked. More often, they receive a warning with little follow up. Citizens must demand oversight and resourcing of the ATF so that it can do its job.
Did you know that the gun industry has special protections no other industry has? The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) has given the gun industry special immunity from being held accountable when their products are used by dangerous people to do harm. We are working with Congress to repeal PLCAA and send a message that the gun industry is not above the law.