ATF Arrests for 2014, 2015, 2016; Four Crimes, Tiny Numbers

ATF Arrests for 2014, 2015, 2016; Four Crimes, Tiny Numbers

Dean Weingarten

Arizona -( In a recent Government Accounting Office report to Congress, most have focused on the firearm owners who refuse to commit crimes or fall for stings created by the ATF.

Buried in the report is a chart showing how incredibly few legal gun owners are arrested each year for gun violations.

The chart shows the number of arrests made in three years, 2014, 2015, and 2016, for four crimes. The number of arrests are tiny, showing how law-abiding gun owners are.

The four crimes are these:

  • Dealing firearms without a license
  • Unlawful interstate transfer of firearms
  • Sale to prohibited individual
  • Prohibited person in possession of firearm

The chart below shows the numbers.

ATF Arrests for 2014, 2015, 2016; Four Crimes, Tiny Numbers

Dealing firearms without a license average 107 arrests a year. There are about 125,000 federal firearms licenses in the United States of various types. There are about a hundred million firearm owners (30 percent of the U.S. population). The chances of a firearm owner being arrested for dealing without a license is roughly one in a million per year.

Unlawful interstate transfer of firearms averages about 18 a year. It is hardly noticeable.

Sales to prohibited individuals are in between, about 68 a year. Far less than 1 per million firearms owners.

These are only Federal arrests, not state arrests. Most states have a number of categories of prohibited possessors. These categories may differ significantly from the Federal categories. Some states will mirror the Federal rules, some will not.

My suspicion is the vast majority of prohibited possessor arrests and prosecutions are done at the state level, but almost no state prosecutions are done for dealing firearms without a license or unlawful interstate transfer of firearms. Most states do not require a license to sell firearms.

There may be a significant number of state prosecutions for sales to prohibited individuals. Some states have a prohibition on those sales. But the offense is hard to prove, while illegal possession is relatively easy.

Firearm dealers and legal firearm owners are extremely law-abiding.

The numbers draw into question the rationale for the gun control act of 1968. A large number of violations occur with people who are prohibited possessors, and that is a crime in most of the states, without federal law.

When the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA 1968) was passed, crime increased. It was only after states started implementing shall issue carry permits that crime rates started to drop. Today, crime rates are back to the levels they were before GCA 1968 was passed.

Maybe we do not need a BATFE to regulate firearm sales. The ATF did not exist before 1972. They have a built a bad reputation since then.

Focusing on the weapon used is based on false assumptions about reality.

Weapons do not create crime or motives. It seems the number of guns in society have little to do with the number of crimes in society. To reduce the number of crimes, reduce the number of criminals, or keep them locked up and separate from the rest of the population.

Keeping weapons out of the hands of those prone to violence may do some good. As the arrests show, the most effective way to do this is to focus on the offender, in this case, the prohibited possessor.

Several programs have shown the removal of a small but very violent number of career criminals, can have a dramatically lower the homicide rate. Project Exile is an example.  David Kennedy is worth reading to show how it can be done.

2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30-year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

  • 14 thoughts on “ATF Arrests for 2014, 2015, 2016; Four Crimes, Tiny Numbers

    1. 13,165 is the indicated as the three (3) year total for all those arrests. Be curious to know the conviction rate as well. Further, it would be curious to know the cost per conviction based on the ATF’s annual budget for those years. Would also be VERY curious to know the conviction rate AND average federal sentence for felon is possession of a firearm or crimes committed with use of a deadly weapon. For icing on that cake, it would be very informative of the ATF’s and Fed’s commitment to crime reduction to know how many of said arrests and convictions included plea bargaining down jail time for felon in possession or committing a crime using a deadly weapon. Use of a weapon in commission of a crime is a specific offense insn’t it? If not, why not? Just sayin’.

    2. Problem is AG refuses to enforce the law re attempting to illegally procure. In most cases the local district attorney offices plea down criminal cases rather than prosecute because of lack of judges, cells, and prosecutors.

    3. Those numbers don’t look good for Pelosi.

      20,000+ plus laws on the books, feds giving guns away ( fast and furious) ignoring all of the 20,000 laws on the books.

      And 4 arrests?????

      What tha ratio

      1. Another example of a government bureaucracy spending taxpayers money to solve a non-existent problem.

    4. BATF uses Administrative Law to create regulations and statutes that have the same effect as Legislative Law (the ONLY Constitutional method of making new laws). As such, most of BATFs regulations only serve to make previously law abiding citizens into criminals for owning a prohibited part, ammo or weapon. Since these previously innocent folks have jobs, homes, families and are easy to find, BATF can arrest them and claim that they have apprehended criminals and get a budget increase from Congress. Apparently, now BATF has become so stupid and incompetent that they can’t even do that any more and their real actions and worthlessness is blatantly apparent. BATF should be disbanded and their agents returned to where they came from; crossing guards and mall cops.

    5. Ron,
      The biggest problem is that a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction makes you a prohibited person for life
      Misdemeanor d.v. here in Florida includes putting you open hand out to keep you wife away while she spits and screams at you
      You don’t even have to strike the person
      The courts here in Florida are biased in favor of women to an incredible degree
      They make knowingly false accusations of domestic violence and child abuse as bargaining chips in divorce proceedings
      You then have to agree to unfair terms in the decree and they drop the accusations
      You can fight and win but the expense is extremely high
      There are no repercussions for making multiple false accusations to the court
      I am against domestic violence
      But there is no reason a single misdemeanor domestic violence conviction should make you a prohibited person for your entire life
      The only way to restore your gun rights is to get a pardon from the governor

      1. Organized misandry based upon the political correctness of the day, also known as direct democracy, but better as mob rule. In the original law there was supposed to be a method for rights restoration. However, Chuck Schumer keeps getting that funding gutted every year.

    6. Show me “Prohibited Person” in the Constitution. The entire concept of unalienable rights is that we can’t be separated from it without due process. Sure, incarcerate someone and limit their Rights. Once that person is no longer housed and fed in the penitentiary, shall we limit their 4th, 6th, 8th Amendment Rights? Somehow we hang a lifetime Keep and Bear Arms BAN sentence on people who have “served their time”. Furthermore, we pro-2A people cheer the injustice.

      I’ll put up “shall not be infringed” against “Prohibited Person” every day of the week, but it justifies a budget, right?

      1. Maybe it is time to press the issue in the courts…
        ** Denial of your civil rights under color of law is a federal offense under 18 USC §241 and 18 USC § 242**:
        The Gist: Anyone who, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, custom or regulation, willfully deprives any person of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, shall be fined, or imprisoned for up to one year, or both.
        If bodily injury results, or if the violation includes the use or attempted or threatened the use of a dangerous weapon, explosive or fire, the prison term rises to up to ten years. If death results, or if such acts include kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, attempted aggravated sexual assault, or an attempt to kill, the violator may be fined, imprisoned for any term of years up to life, or put to death.

        1 – Courts have ruled that Police have no legal duty to protect you
        2 – Authorities routinely respond only after an event to mark the chalk outline
        3 – When seconds count, the police are just minutes away

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