Across California, law enforcement agencies have spent millions in taxpayer funds purchasing weapons from dealers with a history of failing to comply with federal firearms regulations, finds an analysis by the nonprofit Brady: United Against Gun Violence. The analysis says that at least 90 California law enforcement agencies have spent more than $20 million buying firearms, ammunition, and other gear from at least six federally licensed firearms dealers with a history of violating firearms laws, including failing to report sales involving multiple weapons, a key indicator for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in identifying straw purchasers and potential firearms trafficking, reports The Intercept. “Using taxpayer money to buy guns from dealers with a history of noncompliance with gun safety laws is counterproductive, to say the least,” said Erica Rice of Brady’s Combating Crime Guns Initiative. The review is part of Brady’s ongoing Gun Store Transparency Project, a collection of thousands of ATF records on enforcement actions the agency has taken against licensed gun sellers for serious violations of federal law. California has among the most extensive gun regulations, and yet taxpayer dollars are still being used to buy firearms from dealers that have racked up serious infractions. The purchasing records reviewed by Brady represent just a small fraction of the state’s 531 law enforcement agencies — meaning that many more agencies could be supplied by problematic dealers. Rice said, "If taxpayer dollars in California are being spent at gun dealers who have been cited for violating the law, then it is likely happening in other states too.”
LC Action Police Supply in San Jose, a dealer whose clientele is predominately law enforcement agencies, state-certified private security officers, and other firearms dealers, according to ATF, has been cited for 41 violations of federal firearms laws — the majority repeat infractions — during eight inspections since 1995. During a 2018 inspection, ATF cited LC Action for seven violations, including failing to timely report a sale of multiple weapons and failing to record various background check information. Brady also reviewed more than $4 million in purchases from Adamson Police Products by 64 law enforcement agencies. Adamson has its own troubling history with the ATF. In 2016, the agency found that the dealer’s Livermore store violated federal requirements regarding the possession and sale of short-barrel rifles, which are subject to stringent regulation. Cities across the U.S. spend more than $5 billion per year on guns alone (ammunition and other supplies account for billions more). ATF has recognized that federal firearms licensees are the front line against the diversion of firearms into the illegal market, and there is evidence that dealer business practices can lead to reductions in trafficking and crime. Brady says it is critical to ensure that dealers comply with gun laws and that government entities purchasing weapons do so only from responsible dealers that adopt model policies like the Gun Dealer Code of Conduct.