This column presents facts regarding the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Wisconsin State Constitution, and various other documents in reference to modern topics. Mark hopes to encourage interest in those works so that others can consider whether our government is practicing within its constitutional limits. In the last category, he may indicate his opinion. Mark is a resident of New Berlin. Readers are encouraged to visit the following sites for more information on the United States Constitution and Thomas Jefferson's views on politics and government.
According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, July 4, 2010(full article available on-line)
A Wisconsin congresswoman is demanding federal watchdogs get tougher on gun stores that sell a high number of guns used in crimes, citing a dealer in West Milwaukee that has sold firearms used to shoot six police officers in Milwaukee in less than two years.
U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee) asked the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to explain why a recommendation to revoke the license of Badger Outdoors in West Milwaukee was never pursued - as reported by the Journal Sentinel earlier this year.
In a letter responding to Moore, the ATF said it "diligently reviewed" the findings of the Journal Sentinel article, but said its hands are partially tied by Congress when it comes to examining hidden gun store ownership.
Federal law allows ATF only to investigate the person applying for a gun license, but not the people who may be secretly behind the operation. That is different from other licenses, such as alcohol wholesalers, where the same agency can delve deeply into secret owners by combing business records.
"Quite often proof of hidden ownership can be found in business records that are not the type of records ATF has authority to demand access to under its compliance inspection authority," W. Larry Ford, assistant director of the ATF's public and governmental affairs, wrote in a letter to Moore, who recently released the letter to the newspaper.
At Badger Outdoors, the newspaper reported federal records show the license recommended for revocation was relinquished voluntarily, the players inside the operation took on new roles and a new license was issued to the son of a previous owner, creating what an ATF official called a "clean slate." The store remains open, operating as Badger Guns.
Moore recently sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking if the ATF is using a regulatory tool added to its arsenal 10 years ago, the "demand letter." The letters allow the agency to target potentially law-breaking gun dealers by requiring them to file additional paperwork.
"It's a targeted law enforcement tool that allows ATF to keep better tabs on dealers that may be problematic, without burdening the vast majority of gun dealers," said Arkadi Gerney, special adviser to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a leader in the mayor's group.
"There is a real small pool of actors that are selling crime guns," she said. We need to have to thread . . . "I think we have to build the political will the needle here. We may have to do this piecemeal."
A US Representative vs. The Constitution
US Constitution, 2nd Amendment
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Congressional oath of Office:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
We the People:
How can a legislator take that oath and still work to violate the Constitution?