The Milwaukee Star-Tribune, a paper whose editorial position is far enough out that many locals call it the Red Star Tribune, is bemused enough to publish an Associated Press article on gun sales in Wisconsin.
As always, RTWT, but the basic take-away is that guns are flying off the shelves, and that more of the buyers than ever before are first-timers seeking training — including women, who are still a small minority of gun buyers but who may be the fastest-growing segment of the market.
Wisconsin’s gun sales follow a national trend, and businesses say the rising demand is being driven by various factors, from Wisconsin’s concealed carry law to presidential politics.
“It’s incredible,” said Steve Lauer, owner of Lauer Custom Weaponry, which manufactures firearms, firearm coatings and accessories in Chippewa Falls. “We can hardly keep up.”
Exact figures on firearms sales don’t exist, but based on the number of calls made to the FBI and Wisconsin Department of Justice for background checks related to firearms purchases, more guns are being sold this year than ever, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/KuIrD8) reported Sunday.
The 16,000 calls to Wisconsin’s handgun hotline in February were a record. This year, the hotline has handled more than 53,000 calls and it’s on pace to surpass 2011, when the hotline handled nearly 90,000 calls.
Rather typically for the AP, the story goes on to quote an anti-gun lobbying group, but no gun-rights lobby. It’s sort of immaterial, though, because so many gun-store owners are quoted in the article. Comparing their claims to the handgun-hotline calls, an increase of 20% for the state seems conservative.
The Obama administration’s hostility to gun owners is credited for at least some of this growth. The Houston Chronicle reports from Washington that Representative Denny Rehberg (R-MT), believes that “The Obama administration fundamentally dislikes guns, and more importantly it distrusts gun owners. They also know that a frontal assault on the Second Amendment would be political suicide, so instead they’ve sought to undermine gun rights more subtly” by by threatening gun owners who buy multiple guns with criminal investigation. A recent ATF press release described the first fruits of this basic strategy: 3,000 preliminary investigations, 120 criminal investigations, 25 cases recommended for prosecution, and — zero, so far, prosecuted. The other 2,975 investigation subjects have the chilling effect of permanent ATF files, among other things.
All the 7,300 guns from that 3,000-name record trawl have been entered in the two de facto registration databases maintained by the executive branch, despite a Congressional ban. Those are the ATF’s Suspect Gun Database and a parallel and much larger Small Arms Intelligence Program database that’s run by Naval Intelligence to keep it out of the reach of Congressional limits on the Departments of Justice and Treasury. While the Navy runs the database, it serves no naval or military requirement; as designed, its principal users are the ATF and FBI.
The largest of the cases the ATF uses to justify its rule involves nine defendants and 28 rifles. Meanwhile, the ATF and DOJ deliberately provided over 3,000 modern rifles directly to Mexican drug-trafficing organizations, producing at least 400 deaths (and counting) of Mexicans, many of them Mexican cops, and three (and counting) American law enforcement officers. Leaked emails revealed that the ATF’s William Newell, William Hoover and Mark Chait and DOJ officials like Ronald Weich and Dennis Burke hoped to amplify Mexican DTO violence to justify a crackdown on US gun dealers and owners. The ATF officers responsible for the loss of the 3,000 guns and the resulting wave of homicides have been promoted; Burke has resigned and lawyered up; Weich was named dean of an embattled bottom-tier law school. Mess up and move up.