North Carolina Home to Fifth Worst Gun Dealer In America
5/24/2006 3:07:00 PM
To: State Desk
Contact: Peter Hamm, 202-898-0792 (Washington); Lisa Price, 919-403-7665 (Chapel Hill); Gail McNeill, 336-721-9150 (Winston Salem), all of North Carolina Million Mom March Chapters of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and North Carolinians Against Gun Violence
CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 24 /U.S. Newswire/ -- In a rare release of information the gun industry has tried to keep secret, the Justice Department has revealed data naming the gun dealers who rank as the five leading sellers of guns traced to crimes, and one the top five in the nation is Hyatt Coin & Gun Shop, Inc., here in Charlotte.
"It is outrageous that a gun store should supply criminals, youthful gang members and others who cannot legally own guns," said Lisa Price, president, North Carolinians Against Gun Violence. "This gun store is an embarrassment to our state and gives a bad name to law-abiding gun stores."
Each of the five dealers, as recently released court documents show, had an average of more than one gun recovered in crime every day of the year in 2005. Hyatt Coin & Gun came in as the fifth worst dealer in the nation, with 405 crime guns. By contrast, 86 percent of gun dealers in America have no crime guns traced to their stores in a typical year. Just 1.2 percent of gun dealers supply 57 percent of all crime guns recovered across the nation.
The dealers named: Badger Outdoors, West Milwaukee, Wisconsin: 537 Crime Guns; Trader Sports, San Leandro, California: 447 Crime Guns; Elliot's Small Arms, Jefferson, Louisiana: 442 Crime Guns; Don's Guns and Galleries, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana: 431 Crime Guns and Hyatt Coin & Gun Shop, Inc., Charlotte, North Carolina: 405 Crime Guns. A chart of these dealers can be found at http://www.bradycenter.org
The crime gun data is in court papers filed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), a unit of the Justice Department, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in a lawsuit brought by the second worst crime gun dealer, Trader Sports, seeking to prevent revocation of its federal firearms license. Although ATF revoked Trader Sports' license in 2004 after citing it for "thousands of violations" of federal law, weak federal gun laws have allowed the shop to stay open since then.
In an effort to protect gun dealers from scrutiny, the gun lobby is pushing federal legislation, H.R. 5092, to gut ATF's authority to revoke gun dealers' federal firearms licenses. The legislation would make it virtually impossible to shut down rogue dealers and would require courts to allow dealers like Hyatt Coin & Gun and Trader Sports to continue operating after their licenses have been revoked, through years of additional litigation.
"Rather than hiding the truth and gutting ATF's ability to enforce federal law, Congress must give law enforcement officials the tools they need to quickly identify the rogue gun dealers who do such damage to our communities by supplying firearms to gun traffickers and criminals who cannot pass background checks," said Gail McNeill, president, North Carolina Million Mom March Chapters of the Brady Campaign.
In a report issued last week, Without A Trace: How the Gun Lobby and the Government Suppress the Truth About Guns and Crime, the Brady Center disclosed internal ATF documents stating that "sales volume alone does not account for the disproportionately large number of traces associated with" high-trace dealers. ATF also reported that high-trace dealers had a high incidence of federal Gun Control Act violations. The report is available at www.bradycenter.org
. The gun industry has tried to argue that a dealer's high number of crime gun traces may simply reflect high sales volume.
On March 30, 2006, the Brady Center launched a new Campaign Against Illegal Guns. As part of this campaign, the Center inaugurated Gun Industry Watch, a comprehensive research effort to monitor the gun industry and expose industry practices that endanger innocent lives. Without A Trace is the first special report issued by Gun Industry Watch.
The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence is a national non- profit organization working to reduce the tragic toll of gun violence in America through education, research, and legal advocacy. The programs of the Brady Center complement the legislative and grassroots mobilization efforts of its sister organization, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and its network of Million Mom March Chapters.
North Carolinians Against Gun Violence (http://www.ncgv.org
) works to make North Carolina safe from gun violence through the education of the public about preventing gun violence, the enforcement of current gun laws, and the enactment of needed new laws.