Local gun dealer could lose license
ATF says Trader Sports neglected to record all sales
By Ricci Graham, STAFF WRITER
Inside Bay Area
SAN LEANDRO — The longtime owner of one of the largest gun dealerships in Northern California faces losing his license to sell firearms after federal investigators were unable to account for hundreds of guns that had been sold at the business.
Anthony Cucchiara, the CEO of Trader Sports Inc., has been informed by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) that his license to sell firearms will be revoked effective June 1 because the agency allegedly has uncovered repeated inventory and sales violations.
The action comes after ATF investigators found that Cucchiara failed to maintain a system that would properly track the acquisition and sale of firearms.
The ATF maintains that proper documentation of firearm sales is necessary to prevent guns from falling into the hands of felons or illegal immigrants. The ATF also requires proper documentation because the information is frequently used by authorities to trace firearms recovered at crime scenes.
"The two things we're looking at are the proper accounting of the firearms through the acquisition and disposition records," said Marti McKee, spokeswoman for the San Francisco Field Division of the ATF. "And we review the required documentation to make sure all transfers (do not involve) people who are prohibited from possessing firearms."
According to a copy of the finding and conclusions that were filed by the ATF in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Trader Sports has failed to meet federal standards on a number of fronts.
The ATF originally issued its notice of revocation on July 29, 2004, after two separate inspections by federal investigators found that Cucchiara failed "to properly keep and maintain records of the acquisition and disposition of firearms" as required by federal law.
The record-keeping deficiencies were uncovered during ATF inspections in 2000 and 2002, court records said.
According to the court file, a physical compliance inventory conducted on Sept. 2, 2003, found a total of 3,659 firearms in stock. However, the store's acquisition and disposition records indicated that 9,100 firearms were supposed to be in inventory.
The agency cross-checked inventory records in an attempt to reconcile the difference and in doing so, discovered that Cucchiara was unable to account for an additional
As of the December 2005 final notice of revocation, some 1,766 firearms remained "missing from the licensee's record," the court file said.
Cucchiara could not be reached for comment by The Daily Review. But his Sacramento-based attorney, Malcolm Segal, said Cucchiara has filed an appeal seeking court intervention. A hearing is scheduled for May 26 in San Francisco, he said.
"What we're trying to do is petition the court to stop the revocation until it can hear all the evidence and make its own decision," Segal said. "As a former federal prosecutor, I know you always get a fair hearing in federal court. So I'm always comfortable with letting a federal court make these kinds of decisions."
Segal accused the ATF of singling out Cucchiara, who successfully sued the agency in 1979 after it attempted to revoke his firearms sales license a year earlier. Segal said the ATF has a history of "harassing" Cucchiara, who has owned the store at 685 East 14th St. since 1958.
Segal also said the ATF violated its own protocol by conducting two inspections — as opposed to one — during a
"There's a specific statute that says gun dealers are to be inspected only once a year," he said. "The statue is meant to prevent harassment of firearms dealers."
Segal also said the ATF has gone to extremes in its effort to revoke Cucchiara's license. He said the agency — which he claims usually sends out two investigators to conduct an inventory — dispatched 15 to search Trader Sports' firearm sales records dating back 30 years.
"The ATF ... looked at records dating back to 1967," Segal said. "It dealt with over 300,000 firearms transactions, and they found about 17,000 they question because a box on the form had not been checked off or the driver's license number had been transposed. Basically, these were paperwork errors by employees."
McKee wouldn't discuss Segal's accusations specifically, but said the number of investigators assigned to inventory reviews are based on the size of the store, the number of firearms in stock and whether a full inventory needs to be taken.
She added that the ATF targets only dealers with a history of noncompliance, those who have sold guns found at crime scenes shortly after purchase, or stores not recently inspected.
Cucchiara's store also caught the attention of Sen. Dianne Feinstein three years ago. When the U.S. Senate was considering legislation to give firearms dealers blanket immunity in civil liability cases, Feinstein on her Web site called Trader Sports one of the most "irresponsible" gun dealers in the state.
According to Feinstein's position statement, posted on the site in July 2003, 337 guns sold at the store had been traced to crimes between 1988 and 1996, and 181 of those guns "had a short time to crime," meaning they had been sold shortly before they were found at crime scenes by police.
Feinstein's Web site also said guns sold at Trader Sports had been linked to 27 homicides, 26 assaults, two robberies and an additional 282 gun-related crimes.
Correspondent Ian Thomas contributed to this report.
That's too bad, they were one of the few shops that carried EBRs and parts. Although, their customer service suck'd, sometimes you couldn't get service until you put your wallet on the counter.
And there was always some girl, with her "homie" and two kids, doing a straw sale.
Traders was always full of bangers and banger wannaes. As someone already pointed out, there was always a homie with his baby's mama doing a straw sale. I never bought anything there when I lived in CA.
And service there, well, didn't exist.
Once saw a disadvantaged urban youth swinging a pistol gripped, 20" cylinder bore 12g pump who stated that he "could kill lots of ducks with this." You had to be there.
Traders is a good store. I hope that they can beat this.
I was pretty unfamiliar with gun laws, 'casue i was gonna buy a Sig226 from them.
(Resident of TX)
They informed me of the law and wouldn't sell to me.
I was trying to get my armed gaurd permit for CA at the time.
Exact opposite experience I had when I went there.
Customer service does suck there I agree but they seel guns cheaper than anyplace in the bay area. They are always willing to haggle price and because of the volume they deal with sell at really good prices. That will be a sad day On the bright side, maybe they will have a giant going out of business sale
Thats a shitload of "missing" guns. Sounds as if he might have had some employees do a bit of selling out the back door. If they did and he knew there was a problem without correcting it, he deserves whatever he gets.
But butbut they are only supoosed to inspect once a year to prevent harrassment!!!!!
Somehow coming back for a recheck after the first records check indicated that several thousand guns are unaccounted for is a far cry from harassment. Again we gunowners are our own worst enemies. Anybody have any kind of reasonable explanation of where they went/
And bitching on the CalGuns thread, they had n old lady complaining that guns from there were found at crime scenes? yeah well no shit, with that many missing it's probably a good bet than maybe one or two were used in crimes and the other 1697 were all legally used.
How hard is it to do things right the first time? Or did everybody just decide to forget the paperwork and he never checked his books??
You ever work at a gun store, PaDanby? If not, then you really have no clue what you are talking about. And if you have never been throught one of the compliance inspection, well, you just have no clue. They can cite you if the person puts Y instead of Yes, and N instead of No. Or if they abbriveate the state of residence or birth.
As much as it pains me, I have to agree with Ma.
There is really no excuse for screwing up the paperwork. Everyone knows the score and the .gov is all about the paperwork, that is how they go about their business. Hell the FBI is more interested in accountants these days than criminal justice majors. Damn near anyhow.
But we are not talking about sloppy paperwork here we are talking about non existent paperwork. Either "lost" (yeah, that's it ) or never filled out. Maybe guns going out the back door. If it is that big a deal there the owner should be watching himself, it is his responsibility.
And straw sales?
Bullshit. Tell them to fuck off.
These people go to places with reputations for doing so.
So you have nonexistent paperwork, straw sales and guns turning up at crime scenes. They are doing us no favor with this crap. Normally, I would side with the owner but when you have guys right here saying there are straw sales going on continuously I say, fuck them.