Friday, August 6, 2010

More on Shawano Guns and Loan

JSOnline has another report on one of the shadiest gun shops around.

A judge has ruled that a Shawano gun dealer should lose its license for repeatedly failing to keep accurate records and for making suspected straw gun sales, supporting the action a federal agency took nearly three years ago.

Despite the ruling from U.S. District Judge William Griesbach in Green Bay this week, Shawano Gun and Loan continues to sell guns - and might be able to do so for months or even years depending on a possible appeal.

Griesbach issued an order that supported the revocation issued by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in October 2007.

The ATF took the rare step of revoking the Shawano store's license after repeatedly warning the owner about missing records and other violations.

The most amazing thing, as we saw so clearly in the comments the last time we discussed this story, is the strong support among gun owners. I really find it amazing that they, who continually claim to be responsible and law abiding, do not raise their voices above all others in denouncing gun shops like this.

The agency moved to revoke 64 licenses in fiscal year 2009 stemming from more than 11,000 inspections - the most recent figures available.

Now there's a small precentage for you. The first thing that comes to my mind is that crooked gun dealers can so easily conceal their criminal activity that the number of requested revocations was only 64. The second thing that comes to mind is that those 64 must really be bad. You'd think everybody would rejoice when those guys were put out of business, but I'm afraid it doesn't work like that.

Revoking a license can take years because of a law that allows a so-called "de novo review" by a federal judge - a fresh look at the matter that may result in a trial. In the Shawano case, Griesbach did not hold such a trial, yet the case still took 18 months to conclude as each side submitted hundreds of pages of documents.

When, after years of accumulating violations and evidence, the ATF finally succeeds in closing down this criminal enterprise, they'll just do what Badger Outdoors did.

That would be similar to a case in 2006, when ATF investigators recommended revoking the license of Badger Outdoors in West Milwaukee.

There was no revocation and the store remains open, operating as Badger Guns. 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 one federal official called a "clean slate," a Journal Sentinel investigation found earlier this year.

To me, one of the strongest indictments against gun owners in general is their, not only turning a blind eye to this nonsense, but actually supporting it by protecting criminal gun dealers. It not only taints them all with guilt, it undermines their attempts to be accepted as responsible citizens exercising their rights.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.


  1. I don't know much about the case as it is in another state and its really not any of my business. Unless the store is selling guns across state lines, it is not much of the fed's business either as far as I'm concerned.

    Is that the apathy you were looking for in gun owners?

  2. How about criminal gun users?

    Hey, here is a great idea, lets require criminals to keep paperwork of their gun misuse, and if an audit reveals they don't keep good records, then revoke their criminal license!

  3. MikeB: “Now there's a small precentage for you. The first thing that comes to my mind is that crooked gun dealers can so easily conceal their criminal activity that the number of requested revocations was only 64.”

    Come on Mike, you are not being fair. You see a number that doesn’t meet your liking and all you can say is “I don’t believe it. That must mean there are a lot of criminal dealers getting away with it. No way there could be 10,936 legitimate gun dealers out there.”

    Second, revocations does not mean malicious criminal activity. It could mean laziness, disorganization/poor bookkeeping. Not that they deserve to stay in business, but they are on a different moral plane than the criminals you are trying to paint them as. I am not saying that is the case with Shawano- they could be crooked as hell, in which case the ATF did their job.

  4. TS, i thought it was a pretty fair observation, especially the part that the ATF is so disorganized and understaffed and leaderless that they would only spend resources on the worst of the worst. Even in this article there's evidence of their inability to do the job properly. After finding problems, they did not come back for FIVE years.

    Do you really think if the ATF were a top notch organization, flush with money and manpower, there's be that few requests for revocation? I don't.

  5. Mike, these were 10,936 dealers that PASSED inspections, not because the ATF did not have the resources to do the inspections. What more do you want? Crooked agents that will go to any length to “dig up” something?