THE BLOG
05/28/2013 11:39 am ET | Updated Jul 28, 2013

How the NRA Makes Sure Criminals Have Guns

"Criminals don't follow laws," and they are armed is the NRA's surefire, sanctimonious marketing position. We good guys need to be armed because the bad guys are!

But scratch the surface of the laws the NRA blocks and ones that it has pushed through behind the public' s back and you see that sales to criminals are a big part of gun dealers' booty. Yes, the NRA literally makes money for manufacturers by enabling gun sales to criminals and then more money by proclaiming that criminals have guns! The NRA may talk patriotism and constitution but it is nothing but the trade group for gun manufacturers, no different than the trade groups for the insurance or soft drink industries. Its only goal is product sales.

One way the NRA helps criminals is a rider included in the 2004 Tiahrt amendments that blocks the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from requiring dealers to conduct an annual inventory. "This is not an idle concern," says the Center for American Progress. "During the inspections that ATF is able to conduct with its limited resources, tens of thousands of guns are discovered to be lost or stolen each year."

Since there are only around 600 inspectors to monitor roughly 60,000 federally licensed firearms dealers, five years will often elapse between inspections. An inventory that accounts for "every gun that has passed through" a dealer's doors is the only way to discern guns that have been diverted and are unaccounted for -- an inventory that cannot, by law, be required. Thank you, NRA.

Would requiring such an inventory make a difference in gun violence? Yes! Riverview Sales, the gun dealer where Adam Lanza's mother legally purchased the guns used in the Sandy Hook attack in Newtown, has a history of losing track of weapons in its inventory and gun thefts by employees and customers, reports the Center for American Progress. "In 2011 ATF discovered that nearly 18,500 guns were unaccounted for during the course of 13,100 firearms compliance inspections. In 2012 the inspection of just one gun dealer revealed that 997 guns were unaccounted for and an additional 93 guns had not been logged in as inventory, a sign of illegal sales."

Blocking of inventory requirements is just one way in which NRA-driven laws enable dealers to feed the criminal market, make money for gun manufacturers and escape prosecution. A bartender who over serves a customer is more closely regulated! Does anyone believe the NRA wants to keep guns out of criminals' hands when it pushes through laws that help dealers do the opposite?

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