SPRINGFIELD, VA -(Ammoland.com)- Gun Owners of America (GOA) has uncovered what documents Anti-gun groups have requested from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIAs) request and provided the documents to AmmoLand News.
GOA filed a FOIA request with the ATF to get the FOIA request by Giffords, Everytown for Gun Safety, Brady, the Trace, and others. AmmoLand News and this writer dug into the request to analyze the uncovered information and further investigate why these groups FOIA’ed what they did. AmmoLand News believes we have a reasonable theory of the purpose of the request.
Most of the request is information about various gun stores. Most of the gun stores the anti-gun groups asked the ATF about are within 50 miles of major cities. Notable cities include Chicago, Baltimore, New Orleans, and Los Angeles. All the towns have high rates of crime. It appears that the anti-gun groups are trying to tie crimes involving firearms to nearby jurisdictions with less gun control.
The anti-gun groups asked for inspection records of the gun stores. The groups wanted to see what violations these gun stores had in the past. They also asked if any of these stores were recommended by an Industries Operations Inspector (IOI) for the revocation of their federal firearms license (FFL). The groups seem to be digging for the dirt on these stores. These investigations also include big chain stores like Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops.
The Anti-gun groups also requested records for other gun stores around the country. AmmoLand News was able to tie some of these stores to well-known shootings. We reached out to some of the other gun shops that these groups investigated, and one thing was common among them, every one of the stores had responded to an ATF trace request in the past. The anti-gun groups seem to be focusing on stores that sold guns to someone and those guns were used in a crime.
The anti-gun groups also requested information on Jimenez Firearms and JA Industries. Jimenez Firearms produced a small cheap pistol that groups like Brady claimed was a favorite of criminals. Jimenez Firearms was sued by several cities and was forced to dissolve the LLC to avoid the lawsuits. The company reformed as JA Industries and once again started producing its cheap pistols.
Anti-gun groups lobbied the ATF to revoke the FFL of JA Industries, most likely by using information obtained through the FOIA process. The ATF relented and revoked the FFL of JA Industries, effectively putting the company out of business. Revocations of FFLs have increased by 500% in the past year.
The anti-gun groups also requested information on the products that they do not like. To no one’s surprise, they asked for all information on the approval letters issued to Polymer80. These groups have long claimed that 80% frames and receivers are firearms under the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA). The ATF has never held that belief. The groups also wanted information on binary triggers, the approval process the ATF took on the triggers, and letters issued to Franklin Armory, which was explicitly named in the FOIA.
Finally, the anti-gun groups FOIA’ed the FOIA request of various other groups, including the American Suppressor Association. The anti-gun groups seemed to be doing the same thing that GOA and AmmoLand News set out to do in this FOIA, but for the gun control side.
The FOIA was an interesting look at the thinking of the anti-gun side of the gun control debate. It can help us counter the arguments by helping us determine what their idea will be for the gun rights discussion.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.