Last month, a gunmaker friend of mine was audited for two weeks by the BATFE, who found the usual number of small errors and omissions in 20 years’ worth of 4473s, and two rifles that couldn’t be accounted for. Then next week he was informed that his manufacturer’s license, which was up for renewal, would not be renewed. No reason given. His life’s work and his livelihood, and that of a dozen other people, down the toilet without a word why. Our government at work.

I mentioned this to a friend of mine who is an elected official (Republican) and a Bush supporter (though rapidly running out of patience) and asked if this sort of thing wasn’t odd under an administration that is supposedly friendly toward gun owners. After all, smart bureaucrats take their direction from the top, and a high-handed BATFE was something that we expected to see from Bubba Clinton, not from W.

His answer surprised me.

“There’s a lot of that,” he said. “Not only the BATFE, but the Fish & Wildlife Service is refusing to grant CITES permits without giving a reason, and often in contradiction of their local offices. They’re screwing the hunters, too.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Because Bush isn’t watching the store. He’s so preoccupied with Iraq that these guys are running amok and no one’s stopping them.”

Just one more bit of good news to pass along. I’d be interested if anyone else out there knows anything about this.