New-AFP-Web-Header2 Amazon

Institute for Truth Studies



Gun stores, manufacturers being wiped out


By Mark Anderson

Senate confirmation of Michael Sullivan as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been put on hold amid controversy over the agency’s treatment of gun dealers. Sullivan’s confirmation was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Sen. [Larry] Craig put on hold his confirmation,” said Ryan Horsley, the family owner-operator of Red’s Trading Post in Twin Falls, Idaho, a popular fourth-generation gun store that has been under the heel of BATFE audits. Bureaucrats have nitpicked the store’s few and minor clerical errors in its files while draining its funds via legal expenses.

This store is one of many that fits into a pattern of BATFE behavior that strongly suggests the war of attrition against Red’s is part of a larger agenda to close down firearms sellers—and indirectly, manufacturers—by threatening to withdraw sellers’ federal firearms licenses over so-called “willful” clerical errors.

“Since 2002, 85% of American firearm manufacturers have been forced to close their doors,” said Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.). Shooting Sports Retailer Magazine says the number of revocations of licenses is up nearly six times from 2001-2006.

And the number of gun dealers in America has dropped by 190,726 since 1994 according to a new study by the Violence Policy Center in Washington. The study found “that the number of Type 1 federal firearms licenses (FFLs) plummeted

78%: from 245,628 in 1994 to 54,902 in 2005. (The Type 1 FFL is the basic federal license required to sell guns in America.)

Sullivan already is acting head of the BATFE but wants the full director job. Because his confirmation by the Senate has yet to take place, Horsley is sounding the alarm. He believes Sullivan’s background and outlook spell big trouble, including a report in Boston Magazine which said Sullivan is leaving behind his job in the U.S. attorney’s office in Massachusetts with things in disarray: sloppy legal briefs; missed deadlines and patronage.

Sullivan is described by the magazine as “moonlighting” by working as acting BATFE director while also working as a U.S. attorney.

Gun Owners of America went on record against the appointment, though the National Rifle Association allegedly has not been as aggressive and is seen by some as lukewarm about this matter.

The 19 members of the Judiciary Committee include Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican; and Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer of New York, Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and Dianne Feinstein of California. These Democrats are known as three of the most the most anti-gun in all the Senate. Presidential candidate Joe Biden (D-Del.) also is on the committee.

“Please get the word out. There have been well over a thousand letters written to senators to deny [Sullivan’s] confirmation,” Horsley said in an email news bulletin. (The Capitol switchboard to contact any senator or House member by name is 202-224-3121.) Go to online for more information.

AFP corresponding editor Mark Anderson can be reached via email at

(Issue #51, December 17, 2007)

Please make a donation to American Free Press

Not Copyrighted. Readers can reprint and are free to redistribute - as long as full credit is given to American Free Press - 645 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Suite 100 Washington, D.C. 20003