Indiana Factory Shooting
Highlights Need For Improved Oversight of Kitchen-Table Gun Dealers
tragic shooting yesterday allegedly perpetrated by Indiana kitchen-table
gun dealer Robert Wissman at the Nu-Wood Decorative Millwork factory in
Goshen, Indiana, highlights the need for improved oversight of such dealers,
the Violence Policy Center (VPC) stated today. Wissman was a Federal Firearms
License (FFL) holder and ran Bob's Gun Works from the home he shared with
dealers are individuals who hold FFLs and conduct business out of their
homes or offices but do not operate actual gun or sporting-goods stores.
Federal Firearm License holders are exempt from state and federal waiting
periods and background checks, and are able to purchase firearms from
wholesalers at discount and in unlimited quantities. The Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) has identified kitchen-table dealers as a key
source of firearms in criminal gun trafficking.
The November 2000
VPC study Less Gun Dealers, Less Crime: The Drop in Federally Licensed
Firearm Dealers in the Midwest found that the number of gun dealers
in Indiana had dropped 66 percent, from 5,872 in January 1994 to 1,970
in January 2000. This decline is largely attributed to new licensing and
renewal criteria contained in 1993's Brady Handgun Violence Prevention
Act and 1994's Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, as well
as enhanced ATF enforcement. As a result, by 1998 56 percent of FFLs nationwide
operated out of residential premises, down from 74 percent in 1992.
"While much progress
has been made in reducing the number of kitchen-table dealers, and thereby
reducing criminals' access to guns, yesterday's shooting highlights the
fact that there is still much more work to be done," said VPC Policy Analyst
To continue to build
on FFL reforms, the VPC recommends the following actions:
- All federally
licensed firearms dealers should be required to operate from a storefront
business, not a residence. Licenses should be limited to businesses
devoted primarily to the sale of firearms. Gun shops should be conspicuously
identified to the public as such.
- ATF should have
the authority to suspend a dealer's license or assess civil penalties�
in addition to revocation authority�when a dealer violates the law.
- ATF's ability to
inspect a licensee's premises to ensure compliance with recordkeeping
and other requirements should be expanded from once a year to at least
four times per year.
The Violence Policy Center is a
national non-profit educational foundation that conducts research on violence
in America and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals.
The Center examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research
on firearms violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related
death and injury.
Friday, December 7, 2001
Violence Policy Center
(202) 822-8200 x105