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"walls of the city" logo conceptualized by Oleg Volk and executed by Linoge. Logo is © "walls of the city".

the way the government works

I have briefly touched on how ludicrous and excessive the restrictions and regulations imposed by the National Firearms Act are, but today I give you this outstanding graphic courtesy of Silencerco that should really drive the point home:

silencercoform4s

(Note: they mislabeled the "Total Form 4" block for 2010, but that does not significantly change the validity of the graphic.)

For those of you who prefer a bit more text to your information, the short story is that there were 12 NFA examiners in 2007, and there were 12 NFA examiners in 2011, but in that time, the number of forms submitted to the BATFE for NFA item transfers has increased by over a third:

In 2010 there were 34,037 form 4 transfers processed by the NFA branch. There are only 12 examiners employed by the NFA branch to process those forms. That means that there are roughly 2,837 form 4 transfers to process per examiner. Assuming there is 250 workdays in the year (260 business days in the week minus 2 weeks of vacation time), that means each examiner has to process 11 to 12 form 4 transfers per day.

So you really think it is feasible for a single person to perform 12 background checks, 12 firearm history traces, and give full attention to all of them through the course of a single eight-hour day? Of course not. That is why my little counter off to the left is steadily ticking up over four months with nary a word from the BATFE, when the turnaround time five years ago was in the four week range (in rare, but possible, circumstances).

But there is another side to that coin as well – remember how you had to fork over a check for $200 when you sent in your paperwork to the BATFE? And remember how that bill has not changed since 1934 (when it was designed to put NFA-regulated items out of the reach of pretty much everyone)? And remember how the number of employees has not changed in the past three years? So…

In 2007 the NFA brach brought in $6.9M in revenue from tax stamps, in 2010 they brought in $9.7M. Where is this money going? Surely it does not cost $9.7 million dollars to pay 12 peopleʼs salary and pay rent and utilities for the building they occupy. Where is our hard earned money going? Is it going to fund Fast and Furious? Or pad Eric Holderʼs pockets? All Iʼm saying is it just doesnʼt add up.

(Note: the revenue numbers also include the taxes firearm fabricators have to pay to produce an NFA-regulated item, as well as the taxes necessary to be permitted to make them to begin with.)

To echo Silencerco’s concerns, where on God’s Green Earth is almost $10,000,000 disappearing to? Sure, in the grand scheme of governmental malfeasance, a paltry $10mil is hardly even worth noticing, but inquiring minds want to know.

But of course we will never know, and that is part of the problem. The petty tyrants at the BATFE have an increasingly secure stream of revenue simply because our duly-elected representatives once upon a time decided that rifles and shotguns of a certain length simply are not acceptable for the common riff-raff to own. While the peons are rightfully getting less and less interested in what their self-appointed overseers in Washington want or do not want, the money just keeps rolling in… and unquestionably rolling out into projects like Project Fast and Furious / Gunwalker, framing agents who have credible threats against their lives, and other such illegal activities.

You just have to love a government agency that not only charges you for the "privilege" of exercising an individual right, but also turns around and probably uses those funds for under-the-table operations expressly designed to undermine those rights.

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