Law Shield notes with some disdain that U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York is making noise about using the federal government’s leverage as a massive purchaser of guns and ammunition to alter existing legal structures for gun sales.
The U.S. government, including military and law enforcement agencies, makes up 25 percent of the gun market and, as the nation’s number one buyer of guns from major manufacturers, may have the leverage to force gun makers’ to alter longstanding, legal distribution practices.
For example, the Department of Defense is soliciting proposals from gun manufacturers for a $580 million contract to replace the current aging handgun models used by service members. As part of the purchase, Schumer wants the federal government to pry out vital business information from gun makers that can’t be had, legally, any other way.
Senator Schumer said, “Our plan is a smart way to use the federal government’s market power to force gun makers to change and to improve the safety in neighborhoods. Our plan will push the gun makers to make smarter guns – innovations that make it harder for these weapons to be used in crimes – and we will push the gun makers not to distribute through dealers who are supplying guns to people who have not passed a background check.”
Law Shield would note that the bulk of sales to dealers occur through gun wholesalers, not factory-direct to dealers.
Specifically, Schumer is calling on the U.S. Army to amend its currently-open $580 million contract for small arms to include provisions that require bidders to supply information about what they are doing to produce so-called “smart guns,” which don’t exist in any production numbers anywhere in the world.
Further, Schumer is urging the Army to select a gun contractor that agrees to only sell on the civilian market to gun stores that require completed background checks.
Of course, this stands existing law on its head. The law enabling the instant-check FBI system doesn’t allow the agency to sit on check requests indefinitely. If Schumer wants this provision he can introduce it as a revision to existing gun laws. But he knows he can’t make that happen, so this is a workaround.
Schumer’s plan won’t help get crime guns off the streets and won’t help reduce gun violence at all. All his plan does is politicize a procurement process that should be focused on getting the best firearms in the hands of our military.