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Licenses To Build Guns Skyrockets In Florida

From Naples News: TALLAHASSEE — Flori­da has more gun man­u­fac­tur­ers than any oth­er state except Texas, after a surge of near­ly 350 per­cent in licens­es for gun mak­ers fueled by the nation’s grow­ing demand for firearms.

The increase in gun man­u­fac­tur­ing licens­es since 2009 has strained the resources of the Bureau of Alco­hol, Tobac­co, Firearms and Explo­sives — the fed­er­al law enforce­ment agency that mon­i­tors the nation’s gun sales and dis­tri­b­u­tion. As the num­ber of licens­es to make firearms grew nation­al­ly by near­ly 250 per­cent from 3,040 licens­es in 2009 to 10,503 last year, the num­ber of spe­cial agents watch­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers has increased only 30 per­cent, from 623 in 2009 to 811 in 2015.

The agency is out­matched, and that’s a pub­lic dan­ger when police depart­ments across the coun­try rely more fre­quent­ly on the exper­tise of the ATF to respond to gun vio­lence, two for­mer ATF spe­cial agents said.

With­in 12 hours after Omar Mateen shot 49 peo­ple at an Orlan­do gay club in June, ATF spe­cial agents traced the Sig Sauer MCX assault rifle and the Glock semi­au­to­mat­ic hand­gun he used to a St. Lucie Coun­ty gun deal­er.

But the spike in the num­ber of gun mak­ers in Flori­da and else­where piles more work on the agency and leaves many man­u­fac­tur­ers unchecked for years by fed­er­al agents who try to ensure firearms are doc­u­ment­ed and made prop­er­ly.

I hate to say this, but they’ve adopt­ed a sort of triage method that goes after the big­ger gun deal­ers — the guys out there who may be more like­ly to get in trou­ble,” retired ATF spe­cial agent David Chip­man said. “They’re not going to pay atten­tion to those small­er guys mak­ing a hand­ful of guns here and there.”

The sit­u­a­tion is par­tic­u­lar­ly crit­i­cal in Flori­da, where the num­ber of firearm man­u­fac­tur­ing licens­es more than quadru­pled from 155 in 2009 to 691 in May, accord­ing to ATF data. Texas tops the list at 1,103 licensed gun mak­ers, a 404 per­cent increase from the 219 report­ed in 2009.

Maybe we are on the edge of a point where the ATF will not be able to keep up any­more,” for­mer ATF spe­cial agent William Viz­zard said.

The fed­er­al licens­es allow the man­u­fac­tur­ing of firearms and ammu­ni­tion for sale or dis­tri­b­u­tion. Estab­lished gun shop own­ers and firearms enthu­si­asts are using their man­u­fac­tur­ing licens­es to obtain parts and assem­ble weapons for sale.

They’re doing more than just sell­ing pis­tols, rifles and shot­guns from stores and pawn shops.

In Cal­i­for­nia, which has the nation’s third-most firearm man­u­fac­tur­ing licens­es at 526, enthu­si­asts find parts with ease, turn­ing pro­duc­tion of high-pow­er rifles into social events. That trend is erod­ing the con­trol the ATF had on the gun man­u­fac­tur­ing indus­try, said Adam Win­kler, a con­sti­tu­tion­al law pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Los Ange­les, and author of the book “Gun­fight: The Bat­tle Over the Right to Bear Arms in Amer­i­ca.”

You have clubs out here that get togeth­er to have AR-15 build­ing par­ties — that’s how easy it is to find parts these days,” Win­kler said. “You no longer have to be an iron­smith to put these guns togeth­er.”

Some entre­pre­neurs obtained licens­es to sat­is­fy a grow­ing desire for pop­u­lar assault rifles or oth­er guns that might be dif­fi­cult to find.

INTERACTIVE MAP: See where Flori­da gun man­u­fac­tur­ers are locat­ed for 2016.

Robert Gottschalk, own­er of the Ad Tek Tal­la­has­see gun shop, said he built sev­er­al AR-15 rifles at the request of cus­tomers. The parts to build the weapon are eas­i­ly avail­able and quick to assem­ble.

The rifle was banned by state law­mak­ers in Con­necti­cut, New York and Col­orado after ver­sions of it were used in a Decem­ber 2012 mass shoot­ing at an ele­men­tary school in New­town, Con­necti­cut, and the July 2012 mass shoot­ing at a movie the­ater in Auro­ra, Col­orado.

Demand for the AR-15 has been high enough that Gottschalk kept a col­lec­tion of the nec­es­sary parts in his shop.

Imag­ine if you want­ed to buy a car and they told you it would take four months to get it. What would you do?” Gottschalk said. “You’d go out, get the parts and make one your­self.”

Flori­da and Texas also offer an attrac­tive busi­ness cli­mate for gun man­u­fac­tur­ers, big and small.

Full Sto­ry At Naples News:

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ER1C ☠

ER1C ☠

Dedicated Second Amendment Advocate, At-Home Gunsmith, Designer, Blogger, Video Guy, Author, Business Owner & ReloadOne Member.

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