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January 11, 2008

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On Government and Accountability

In 1987, former Secretary of Labor Raymond Donovan and six other defendants were brought to trial in a New York City court for fraud. When the jury cleared everyone of all charges, Donovan famously asked: "Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?"

The answer, which he well knew, was none. He had been screwed by the government, and that was the end of it. That is but one type of screwing that the government administers when it has a mind to. Another one was visited on a gunmaker friend of mine last year.

He held a license to manufacture, and in the past, BATFE had sent him a new license automatically and all he had to do was pay them. Last year, for whatever reason, they didn't, and no one at the shop thought to call and ask for a renewal. They learned about it when the Bureau informed them that their license to manufacture had expired, and that they were to cease and desist operation. They could have simply sent him a renewal with a note to pay better attention in future; but that is not the government way.

And so my friend shut down for a month, which was the amount of time the BATFE made him dance until he got his new license. And that 30 days cost him $760,000. He was never fined; no judgment was levied against him; there was no official penalty. But he is still three-quarters of a million dollars poorer and so are his dozen or so employees, who had no part in any of this.

To which office does he go to his money back? Probably the same one Ray Donovan went to for his reputation. He could conceivably go to court and sue the BATFE, but that would cost him even more in money and time.

Just another episode in this land of government of the people, by the people, for the people.


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Government Accountability goes along with Honest Politician and Collosal Shrimp on that I think many here would agree. This particular example is not a good one to illustrate the point though; certainly BATFE did not automatically send the guy his new license BUT as so many have already stated the guy is running a regulated business and should know the rules. Unfortunately his employees probably suffered the most.
Ruby Ridge, Waco, Ilian Gonzales, Whitewater, bridge to nowhere, Gary Hart, Barney Frank and countless other people and incidents would be better examples of government out of control!


It seems ironic to me that on this blog people of a conservative stance with an emphasis on self-reliance and a distrust of big-government intrusion would blame a liberal government for not sending them a reminder, and then claiming that as evidence of a liberal bias against guns. Freedom means responsibility.

Milton  Burton

Note to Gary: I taught American history on a college level for a number of years, and I would bet I have read as much in-depth material about the early days of our nation as anyone on this blog, and I can tell you for a fact that not even Hamilton (an individual who should have been throttled in his cradle) would have wanted the sort of centeralized near-dictatorship we have today. And the Whiskey Rebellion wasn't "nearly the first act" of the government in securing independence. The Treaty of Paris in 1783 ended the Revolution, but the WHiskey Rebellion wasn't until eleven years later in 1794.


I don't believe that there should be licensing for anyone to sell or build firearms. Unfortunately we have lost that battle in the bureaucracy we live in. This is how business is done for anyone that builds or sells. Yeah it's a bummer, but hey it’s not the government’s fault that this guy forgot to renew an important piece of paper. It shows me that he doesn't need the $760,000 that he lost. I am very sure that the ATF took there sweet time in renewing, but that is any government agency, you been to the BMV lately. Sorry guys that is the way we let it become. If we citizens do not like the rules or laws that are upon us it is our duty not or right to change them by any means necessary. LET THE BASHING BEGIN!!

Rusty In Missouri

Your comment - Just like your state notifies you 2-3 months before your driver's license expires, the "only" thing the Gov't should be "required" to do is mail a "renewal notice"!
Is very much OFF THE MARK. Your state may do this but many do not. It is your responsibility to make sure your are legal; responsibility is the key word here. Several states I have lived in did not send a reminder and I got caught once; it was my fault, not the state.
Most would rather whiz and moan that say they made a mistake.
A buddy of mine says failure is not the issue - your expectations are. Don't expected the government to remind you, they didn't have to. Look it up, they don't have to.

Black Rifle Addict

I guess my blog handle is totally and politically incorrect!


If we would elect more libertarians this crap wouldn't happen anymore!

Lee Woiteshek

Speaking about the government, anybody see the DC brief the Bush adminstration is presenting to SCOTUS? Seems as if GWB is just like his father. I'm ashamed to admit I voted for him twice.


If the govt had been sending him a renewal form every year and they changed their policy, then it should have been up to the govt to notify people that they were changing their policy.

Just like when a new stop sign is added, there is usually a sign placed 50 yards ahead of it that warns you of a new stop sign up ahead. It is human nature to get used to things being done a certain way, and if that way will change then people need to be notified. This pertains to everything in life; business, traffic signs...everything!

So if they changed their procedures and it caused people to not follow the NEW rules then they should have been very accomodating and understanding of the situation and not screwed him over!!

Anyone who can't see that is blind or already diseased to jumping everytime someone says you must.

Wake up, you sheep...they should have given him a heads up at least, and since they did not then they should have been understanding about it and renewed it quickly.

It's a sad world when the letter of the law is to be obeyed and there is no decision making abilities on the part of those enforcing the laws to make a judgement call on what is fair.

And it makes no difference if he is a rich man or not, and anyone who brings that into the argument is a bitter and jealous person.


Some of you need to ask Randy Weaver how fair the govt. was when they set him up. Scrap5000 is on the money about you sheep....enjoy your journey to the slaughterhouse. The Founding Fathers said the govt. should fear the people (2A anyone??), not vice versa. The idea was to have a small federal govt. and power to the states. How anyone can support the 2A, with all the unconstitutional restrictions the govt. has placed on it, then blog here about how innocent the govt. is defies belief. Again, enjoy your journey....time for revolution.


Looks like he needs to hire someone to make sure all that is taken care of. If they can pay the social security and sales tax on time along with all the uemployment and income tax requirements,along with all the utilities,insurance and other bills surely once a year someone could remember to renew the money maker. Maybe a big calender with the date circled in red to renew


This has nothing what-so-ever to do with Gov't trust!
It has everything to do with a person engaged in the manufacture of firearms, which we all know requires a FEDERAL license, allowed that license, whether he was ever sent a renewal notice or not, to expire!
NOW, according to the story above, he manufactured firearms for some period of time with an expired license, am I right?
Apparently, he was notified to cease and desist his manufacturing process until the licensing matter could be cleared, correct?
Now, between the time the license expired and he was told to "cease and desist", were ANY firearms manufactured!
Tell me the BATFE did not have the option to shut him down completely and file federal charges of "manufacturing firearms without a license"!
Maybe they did cost him a month's production! Maybe for once the BATFE decided they would try to work it out instead of "Ruby Ridge" it!
I still say if it were my plant, SOMEBODY would be responsible for making sure my "Production License" was in order AT ALL TIMES!!!



Sorry, but the government isn't responsible for your friend failing to take care of his license.

Yes, the govt is full of lazy a-holes who do things with all the speed of a dead snail. Politicians are the same way.

Who's fault is it? Ours for continuing to elect the same people over and over again. No one should be in public service as a career.

The local govts are the same. People who work in these local courthouses couldn't care less about your problems. I would rather have someone poke a stick in my eye that have to deal with an inspector or try to get the dog catcher to come out and round up a stray. They won't do it.

I've found the best way to get through is take care of all your licenses and taxes promptly and quit voting for incumbents year after year after year.

If pissing on a fire won't put it out, quit pissing and try something else.



"And so my friend shut down for a month, which was the amount of time the BATFE made him dance until he got his new license."

Just exactly what kind of "dance" was it that he had to do? Was the 30 days perhaps the amount of time the slow wheels of bureaucracy took to turn to determine that he really wasn't a bad guy who didn't need to be fined or shut down?

I would suggest that it's the guys who would sue the BATFE in cases like this that make agents that much more ready to "fine first and ask questions later"...

Of course, that's just nonsense. The black boots are at the door! But as long as it's omebody else's door...


The Government is accountable to the people. Not other way around. If the government said that and had in the past done a automatic renewal and agreed to do this. Then ,....excuse me...it the governments fault.and while I agree that people try to blame the government to much instead of taking responsibility..this was the governments fault. On the other hand it would have also been good as a business man to make sure...since it is the government


This subject, Dave, is a very old one indeed. Ineptitude or corruption in government stretches back over aeons of time. See the years 1861-64, and the short period afterward called "reconstruction". However, this particular example seems to be a lack of communication. One would imagine that a businessman capable of generating 3/4 of a million dollars in one month would command a secretary at the very least! Ben Franklin said penny wise is pound sure!


Now I'm beginning to hear what I think is "right"!
If we as Americans would stand up and take responsibility, we could take a heck of a load off our Gov't. Who knows, with a little help, it might polish up and shine again!
I thank our lucky stars that somebody thought to limit our presidents to only two terms.

Of all the nations of the world, I'm glad I live here!



Amen. Brother Bubba!


Milton Burton:

After rereading my post I realized that it was not as clear as it could have been. What I intended to convey was that the Whiskey Rebellion represented one of the first real actions of any consequence under taken by the government after the Constitution replaced the AOC.

I don't know that I agree with your characerization of Hamilton. From my readings he seemed all to anxious to show the power of the central government. In regards to the Whiskey Rebellion he publicly said that his reason for wanting to tax whiskey was to pay down the federal debt, but it also seems that he was anxious to push his version of morality on the people while showing the power of the federal government.

I have always admired Jefferson and his desire for the nation to remain rural and aggrarian; however, when he had the chance to actuate his policies, he came close to destroying the nations economy.


What a stupid opinion. I love the line about no one at the business thinking to call ahead about the renewal. I've been a licensed profesional my entire adult life and it's always been my responsibility to make sure I renew on time.
This gun shop got exactly what they deserved. What, the same rules that apply to the rest of us don't apply to them eh?
And let's quit it with this silly blame the government for everything stuff.

Ralph the Rifleman

Listen Rob, my parents were almost fleeced of 15k by a home builder that had a "lapsed license", was on probation by the city for his building permits, and had a list of complaints from former home owners in which their homes passed CITY INSPECTION for occupency...until the home owners were required later to make repairs to the home AFTER they purchased it.
Get real man-NO ONE TOOK RESPONSIBILTY for these mistakes.
The city didn't care if they made mistakes, not "warned" citizens of this guy being a total loser...if my parents wanted the money back from their fanthom home never being built, it was up to them to hire a lawyer.
You made be one of the honest professionals, but unless the Government is wronged, they will not fight for our rights.
That's how my plate was filled with buracratic BS.

Trae B.

I cant agree more Dave.Thats purty much all I have to say.

paul Wilke

The post office may have screwed up on the delivery.
A secretary( or someone) may have misfiled the letter, or it might be on the bottom of some stack of "to do" stuff.
I'm not sure, but I think I could be persuaded to take the job of insuring that this is properly taken care of in the future, for about $500,00. Maybe even a little less.


Well, folks, we can't have a "small government" any more because we've got to really keep tabs on al Qaida and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Vladimir Putin and everyone else who wants to do us in. The trick is to preserve individual liberties while keeping terrorists and hostile nations from exploiting our open society. We must face the fact, however, that our government must necessarily be more intrusive if we are going to keep tabs on people who would fly airplanes into buildings or detonate nuclear weapons in the middle of major cities. I don't like it any more than the rest of you--but winning the case against "warrantless wiretaps" will be a hollow victory if the Islamofascists exploit that court decision to carry out our destruction. What some stupid government bureaucrats and anti-gun politicians do not understand is that our nation's survival may ultimately depend upon an armed citizen discovering and thrwarting a terrorist plot before it can be carried out. We, on the other hand, must be willing to give the government the necessary authority and tools and protect us. There is real tension between these two points, and will continue to be until the anti-gun people finally realize that WE are not the enemy--and develop the guts to confront Islamofascism on our own soil.


There are many things wrong with our country today. They all begin with politicians who forget "by the people, for the people...."
Nevertheless, as long as we keep our 2nd amendment rights, I would rather live in the USA than in a country where I am not allowed to defend myself, my family, or my home. Losing that right is the first step towards a dictatorship, leaving democracy behind.

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