November 2002

Downrange: 11/02

BATF TO JUSTICE?
It’s long been debated that all or part of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms, well known by its acronym BATF, should be moved from the Treasury Department to the Justice Department. Those discussions have been renewed as part of the Bush administration’s overall realigning of the federal government’s law-enforcement operations. Over the years, various administrations have considered reassigning ATF to other agencies. Much of the debate has historically focused on how best to handle the Bureau’s two branches: its criminal law-enforcement arm, responsible for enforcing the nation’s firearms and explosives laws, and its regulatory division responsible for overseeing the alcohol, tobacco and firearms industries.

The issue is a complex one, but there’s little debate among gun sellers that BATF’s command structure is unwieldy as the agency is currently configured. We often hear from stores which receive uneven ongoing oversight (regulatory) and then run afoul of BATF law enforcement for rules noncompliance. Perhaps redefining the aspects of the agency’s missions would clear things up.

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1ST AMENDMENT SECOND; 2ND AMENDMENT FIRST. Almost eight in ten Americans (79%) view the Second Amendment as either “essential” (48%) or “important” (31%), according to a newly released survey by the First Amendment Center, an affiliate of the Freedom Forum. The latest numbers reflect an increase of 15% since 1997 when 64% expressed support for the right to keep and bear arms. Meanwhile, support for the First Amendment has taken a hit, with close to half (49%) agreeing that it “goes too far in the rights it guarantees.” That is 10% higher than last year, and 21% greater than in 1999. To view the entire survey, go to www.freedomforum.org/first/ and select the file folder on the right labeled “State of First Amendment 2002.”

At Gun Tests, we’re partial to both amendments, unlike the ACLU, which doesn’t see that speech won’t be free without the means to defend it.

Without a full-throated and free press, we couldn’t produce an opinion-driven gun publication such as GT. As you might imagine, some manufacturers don’t necessarily appreciate what we say, but they probably do appreciate that we can be critical, or laudatory, about products, politics, or whatever.

Maybe we should start the “CCLU”: The Conservative Civil Liberties Union. Our motto would be, “We value all of the Bill of Rights!”

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BLASER R93 RIFLE SAFETY RECALL. Blaser is conducting a recall of its R93 rifles sold in the U.S. The R93 trigger assembly uses stainless-steel pins for corrosion resistance. A small number of non-stainless steel pins were inadvertently used in some R93’s. As a result, an accidental discharge from the off-safe position may occur if an R93 with non-stainless steel pins is used and the pins have corroded due to moisture. In this situation, once the firing pin has been cocked (into the off-safe position), the rifle may discharge. If you own an R93, stop using your R93 immediately. Call the recall hotline number, (877) 442-7671, to coordinate the inspection of your R93 rifle. This inspection should only be made by SIGARMS Inc., Blaser’s U.S. representative, located in Exeter, New Hampshire. Contact the company toll-free at the number above between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST. The company will inform you how to return your R93 and give you an estimated time frame for return.


-Todd Woodard