It took little more than the headline of this article to begin raising eyebrows
Gun shop that sold to mother of Newtown shooter loses license
(Reuters) – The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said on Friday it had revoked the federal license of a Connecticut gun retailer that sold a weapon to the mother of Adam Lanza, who killed 26 people at an elementary school in December.
The agency on December 20 revoked the license of Riverview Gun Sales in East Windsor, Connecticut, ATF spokeswoman Debora Seifert said. The revocation was reported in The Journal News, of Westchester County, New York, on Friday.
“We did revoke their federal firearms license,” she said. The agency did not publicly disclose a reason for the closure.
This announcement has already provoked cries of Tyranny from alarmed Second Amendment defenders, and it’s no mystery why. The old rule of where there’s smoke there’s fire would make it utterly ignorant to see something like this happen and not have more questions. But there is still a lot that we don’t know about this. For one thing, the response from Riverview – the gun shop in question – was rather muted.
A woman who answered the telephone at Riverview on Friday, and did not give her name, confirmed the store had sold a weapon to Lanza’s mother, Nancy, and that its license had been revoked. She declined further comment.
This doesn’t rule out the whole Tyranny! suspicion, because it’s certainly possible that the shop owners feel like they are under the microscope of the ATF and are cautious about talking to the media. But before I go rushing to judgement here, it’s worth noting that there are other possibilities which aren’t far fetched at all. Various businesses get their licenses pulled all the time for offenses ranging from gross misconduct to mundane paperwork snafus. Stores get banned from selling cigarettes or alcohol if one of their employees is found selling to minors a couple of times or if they fail to send in a renewal or inspection form by the proper date.
There was obviously a high profile, extensive investigation after the Newtown shooting which delved into every pertinent fact of the case,and that would have included a look at the shop where the weapons were originally purchased. While it’s not impossible that somebody in the administration is going after this shop out of vengeance, it’s also possible that the aftermath of the investigation turned up some problematic detail about Riverview’s operation. Particularly if it was an honest mistake in their paperwork or a code discrepancy on weapons storage which they will be able to clear up quickly and get their license restored, it would clearly be in their best interest not to go bad mouthing the ATF to reporters.
In fact, while acknowledging that this is completely speculative, if the government had gone in vindictively and yanked their license for no valid reason, I think Riverview would be all the more likely to be screaming to the rafters. The muted tone of their response makes me think that it will turn out to be something far more mundane which will be cleared up and see them back in business. Of course, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep an eye on this. I’ve been very wrong before.
UPDATE: (Jazz) Thanks to readers, apparently the local media has reported incidents of inventory problems at the store prior to the school shooting. This may be part of it.