In one of my earlier articles, I compared Arkansas Game and Fish Commission policies to Chicago-style government. In the past month, actions by this agency have shown my assessment is absolutely correct.
In late September, the AGFC announced an auction they were sponsoring, a sale which was taking place to liquidate all items confiscated during arrests. What made this auction unique was the fact it was offered only to dealers with Federal Firearms Licenses. While this fact alone reeks of the possibility of cronyism, some people (not I) might say since there were firearms involved, only dealers should be able to buy them. However, many auctions take place in Arkansas where firearms are sold to the public, and FFL dealers are available to complete background checks. Also, CHCL license holders do not have to undergo background checks when purchasing legal firearms. But, even more intriguing is the amount of forfeited goods for sale that does not fall under the ATF background check. Deer stands (both climbing and ladder), decoys, blinds, compound bows and crossbows were offered at this sealed bid auction.
This news first came to light in a post on the Arkansas Carry forums in a post by Arkansas Carry board member Nathan Petty. Petty began to dig for more facts about the auction, and even filed some Freedom of Information Act requests to find out more. His work uncovered some facts that are very reminiscent of Chicago gun laws, facts that point to actual gun control policies by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
On the AGFC Facebook page, the Commission was asked why only FFL dealers were allowed to buy the auction items. AGFC’s answer was this:
The reason that a federal firearms license is required is due to the fact that there are a number of high-powered assault rifles being sold. The AGFC is not set up to perform background checks on everyone who may purchase one of these guns. Federal firearms license holders have already cleared the background checks. There are only a few bows and deer stands that are being auctioned. We felt it was more practical to sell those few pieces of equipment along with the guns rather than hold another auction just for a small number of items.
Obviously, the AGFC does not want the law-abiding public to buy assault rifles in this auction (“high-powered” assault rifles, at that). The AGFC has decided they do not want the law-abiding public to be able to purchase a lawful, legal gun. This is gun control by a state agency that has clearly overstepped its power boundaries in the past, and one can only assume it will get worse. How power-hungry is this group of un-elected state officials? The following is a quote from Emon Mahoney, governance committee chairman:
…because the Game and Fish Commission was created by Amendment 35 of the Arkansas Constitution, it was independent of the Legislature and its policies could supersede state laws.
When the AGFC was forced to abide by state FOIA laws, the Commission chairman responded in this self-important, arrogant manner:
FOI is the law of the land, and ain’t no way I’m going to touch FOI. As a matter of fact, I’m going to have them issue an FOI release when I go to the restroom from now on.
~ Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Chairman Craig Campbell
This agency must be neutered, and is possibly unconstitutional in its formation (even though it is 72 years old). The Arkansas Constitution provides for only 3 forms of state government: the executive, the legislative and the judicial. Amendment 35 created the AGFC in 1945, and gave this agency specific functions:
The Commission shall have the exclusive power and authority to issue licenses and permits, to regulate bag limits and the manner of taking game and fish and furbearing animals, and shall have the authority to divide the State into zones, and regulate seasons and manner of taking game, and fish and furbearing animals therein, and fix penalties for violations. No rule or regulations shall apply to less than a complete zone, except temporarily in case of extreme emergency.
The AGFC has become another form of the legislature, making laws which pertain in no way to the ‘manner of taking game and fish…”. Commission powers do not include creating gun control laws or that they can take over vast areas of National Forests and declare that these lands fall under their rule.
The Game and Fish Commission has become the “Fast and Furious” agency of Arkansas.