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Fred Thompson on ATF Abuse

While I still haven’t gotten a response from Fred Thompson’s campaign directly; Field and Stream’s David E. Petzal asks the question many of us have and candidates have avoided:

Under the Bush administration, the BATFE seems to have been concentrating their efforts on prosecuting legitimate dealers for paperwork errors—making it difficult or impossible for them to make a living. If you were President, would you have the BATFE relent on this practice, and what would you ask them to focus on? The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives should have as its priority its efforts to combat violent crime, violent criminal gangs, and to interdict and disrupt the gun traffickers who supply violent gang members with firearms. While one way to curb illicit gun trafficking is to ensure that legitimate dealers maintain their paperwork in good order, these paperwork violations should in no way be BATFE’s focus. I would also consider giving BATFE a wider range of sanctions so that dealers’ simple paperwork violations do not result in license revocations. Finally, having a politically accountable BATFE Director, who is now subject to Senate confirmation, instead of a career bureaucrat should also help change BATFE’s priorities and make the agency more responsive.

Here are the responses that I have received from Ron Paul and Mitt “Extreme Guns” Romney; I still have yet to receive a response from Huckabee, Giuliani, Hunter, Tancredo or McCain. Some Second Amendment Democrats have been touting Bill Richardson but he is silent as well.

National Report ATF Abuse Day is Tomorrow!!

I am declaring tomorrow, November 8th, NATIONAL REPORT ATF ABUSE DAY. I am encouraging everyone to contact the US Department of Justice Office of Inspector General (who has been very critical of the ATF in past reports) and your Congressional Delegates. The BATFE has done more than any other Government Agency to destroy our rights in order to justify their own existence. We need to begin reporting these abuses and there are quite a number of them. Whether it is their agenda of shutting down the firearms industry, the continued waste of tax money, or their development of a gun registration system. US DOJ Inspector General Glenn Fine's (who is pictured) e-mail address is: oig.hotline@usdoj.gov The abuse needs to stop and you can make that happen!

Ron Paul’s response to the ATF shutting down firearms industry

In my quest to see where the Presidential candidates stand on the ATF's agenda of shutting down the firearms industry, I have learned that Mitt Romney would dodge the question and give us the new term Extreme Weapons.

A friend of John McCain's early on, who was also a customer of ours asked for information on behalf of the Senator. Which I was hopeful of, but months went by and there was no follow up.

My question to Congressman Ron Paul in contrast was answered directly (not a form letter) from his Regional Campaign Coordinator, it was to the point and the response was in less than 10 minutes.

I was impressed to hear about his showing at SAF's Gun Rights Policy Conference but wanted to nail down his official response on the ATF's Back Door Attacks on our Second Amendment:

Ryan,

Thank you for contacting the campaign.

There is no stronger defender of the second amendment in congress than Congressman Paul. He has a 100% rating from the NRA and an A+ rating from the GOA.

Given his position on the second amendment and belief in small, limited, constitutional government, that is government operating according to the word of the constitution, law-abiding businessmen should be able to operate free of federal agency harassment and interference in their business.

Under a Paul administration, the executive branch would not exceed the powers granted to it in Article II of the constitution. While operating in the model, he would not be able to unilaterally overturn legislation, he would be able to exercise his constitutional authority to reign in the executive branch agencies, the same ones you mention that harass legitimate businessmen.

Best Regards

Jeff Greenspan

Regional Campaign Coordinator

Ron Paul 2008

www.ronpaul2008.com

Gun Owners of America’s latest on ATF abuses against the Firearms Industry

GOA Pushing Bill to Rein in the Gun Police

by Larry Pratt

 

Video cameras have changed the world we live in. Most American squad cars are now equipped with dash-cams — a move which works for the safety of both the public and the police.

 

But the attempt to equip testing laboratories with videocams has not caught on, let alone the idea of publishing and enforcing procedures for the testing of criminal evidence.

 

This is certainly the case with the federal gun police, who are otherwise known as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE). This agency has continuously refused to conform to scientific standards and has resisted increased accountability.

 

The gang at BATFE — which was somewhat under control during the administration of Attorney General John Ashcroft — ramped up their assault on gun owners while Attorney General Alfredo Gonzalez was in office. The abuse committed by these agents increased to levels not seen since the oppressive days of the Jimmy Carter presidency.

 

Gingrey Introduces BATFE Control Bill

 

To combat this, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) has introduced H.R. 1791 to bring some overdue accountability to the BATFE. His bill would require the videotaping of the testing of all “crime” guns involved in BATFE cases.

 

BATFE has had no written procedures for determining what is a machine gun or any other kind of gun. This has enabled the BATFE to accuse people of having converted semi-automatic firearms to machine guns when no such thing had been done.

 

In U.S. v. Albert Kwan, BATFE accused Kwan of owning an illegal machine gun. It turned out that BATFE acknowledged that Kwan’s rifle would not fire as a machine gun until BATFE made it one. Without written procedures, they almost got away with it. A jury found him NOT guilty. Kwan is out a lot of money, but he is free.

 

Another case where BATFE “experts” determined a firearm to be a machine gun almost literally blew up in their face. In U.S. v. Glover, the BATFE charged John Glover with having converted a semi-automatic rifle to a fully-automatic weapon.

 

BATFE claimed that the gun would fire more than one round with one pull of the trigger. Thankfully, Glover’s attorney got the prosecutor to agree to a second test firing of the gun and for it to be videotaped. Using the right ammunition, the gun actually did fire automatically once or twice out of twelve tests.

 

The problem for the government’s case was that the gun was malfunctioning and had come close to blowing up in the hands of the BATFE “expert” who test fired the gun. It turns out he had never looked inside the gun, so he was unaware that a spring had failed — often causing the firing pin to strike the primer when a round was chambered.

 

The US Attorney prosecuting the Glover case dismissed it with prejudice (i.e., BATFE can never bring the case again). This was only done because — just this one time — it was documented on video. Since BATFE has never put out written procedures for testing a gun, they thought they could get away with confusing a malfunction for an illegal conversion from semi- to full-automatic.

 

 

Manufacturers Feeling the Boot

 

Historic Arms designs specialty firearms and accessories. Interestingly, one of their attorneys, Len Savage, participated in the Glover case by helping to expose the BATFE “expert” for the incompetent that he is during the videotaped test firing of the “illegal” gun.

 

While Savage’s assistance benefited Glover, it brought down the wrath of the BATFE upon him. So a product that Historic Arms had been marketing (an accessory which allows a machine gun to fire cheaper ammunition) was subsequently redefined by the BATFE as a machine gun. Both determinations — first the accessory is not a machine gun, but then later is redefined as a machine gun — were put into writing.

 

The Historic Arms case demonstrates the whimsical nature of BATFE determinations, which can change from one year to the next. This is a huge problem, and is one of the reasons why it is imperative that the agency be held accountable to a set of written regulations. There are simply too many manufacturers who are getting hassled and prosecuted for engaging in activities which the BATFE had, at one time, said was legitimate.

 

The same lack of written procedures zapped another manufacturer, Akins, which had been marketing an accessory for six years. Their letter of determination initially said their product was not a machine gun. Six years later, another letter said it was.

 

Or consider the case of Rick Celata, who owns KT Ordnance. Celata makes kits that customers can use to make their own firearms, as people may legally make their own firearm — and not register it with BATFE — if the gun is made for their own use.

 

Nevertheless, the BATFE raided Celata’s business last year and took all of KT Ordnance’s merchandise and business records. But when the US Attorney in Montana learned that the Celata’s lawyer was going to demand proof of what written regulations had been violated by Celata, the case was never taken to trial.

 

Celata has not been prosecuted, but neither has his merchandise been returned.

 

Gun Owners Foundation defending gun retailers

 

BATFE has also been putting dealers around the country out of business based on paperwork errors that are not spelled out by any written procedures. They put one dealer out of business because he had over 60 “willful violations” where his customers had abbreviated Baltimore (City or County) with Blto. Pretty serious crime, right?

 

GOA’s Gun Owners Foundation has been supporting the Houston Ammo Dump and the Twin Falls Red’s Trading Post in defense of their federal firearms licenses. These cases are full of examples like the Baltimore abbreviation.

 

While Rep. Gingrey’s bill only demands that the test firings of guns be videotaped, this requirement — to quote the phrase that Sarah Brady has used in justifying incremental gun control — is a “good first step.”

 

BATFE is opposed to the videotaping requirement. No wonder. If each defendant had a tape of the test firing by a BATFE “expert,” and had been briefed that the test firings are governed by no written procedures, a lot of phony BATFE cases would be thrown out of court — if they even got taken to court.

How much waste, fraud and abuse will the American people stand for? How many millions of dollars could have been used to go after “real criminals,” or repair bridges, secure our borders, or whatever? Bottom line is Rep. Phil Gingrey’s HR 1791 will prevent BATFE waste and abuse.

http://www.gunowners.com/celata.htm

The ATF Seattle Field Division Strikes Again

The latest JPFO Alert features Justice not just miscarried, but aborted by L. Neil Smith, which tells of the Infamous ATF Seattle Field Division and just how far they went to set up and send a man to prison. Seeing how this agency has lied so much, how can believe a word that they say when ATF employees such as Kelvin Crenshaw tell about 47 gang related arrests in Seattle and later is caught for lying about 77 gang related arrests in Spokane. Why did Crenshaw lie? It appears to justify their own existence, to establish a permanent gang field office and also an ATF Regional Crime Gun Center (Note that Crenshaw is interviewed in both stories). I found this quote from Crenshaw interesting: "This boils down to an organization that has prided itself on tactics of intimidation and wreaking havoc in the community," Special Agent in Charge Kelvin Crenshaw of the ATF in Seattle How does the old saying go…takes one to know one! Now for your marching orders!! Contact the US Department of Justice Office of Inspector General and your Congressional Delegates demand that something be done.

Senator Bob Casey; Friend of the ATF, Enemy of Gun Owners?

Here is Senator Bob Casey's letter to a constituent who warned Casey about the ATF's back door attacks on the Second Amendment. The Senators response was essentially to provide MORE funding and INCREASE the ATF's powers.

Senator, If I am reading this wrong then please correct me. However you cannot say that you support the Second Amendment and support the ATF; with there track record. I hope that Pennsylvanian Gun Owners will remember that in the next election.

From: "Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr." senator@casey.senate.gov Date: October 26, 2007 5:52:35 PM EDT Subject: Response from Senator Casey Dear Mr. (Removed): Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding the Second Amendment. I appreciate hearing from all Pennsylvanians about the issues that matter most to them. As you may know, I support the Second Amendment and will continue to uphold the rights of law-abiding citizens to own firearms. I also believe we must fully enforce local gun laws and help local governments put more law enforcement officers on the street. Agencies such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms do not have the resources to enforce current gun laws. I will fight to give law enforcement more resources to find criminals with guns, to find gun dealers who violate existing laws, and to increase gun law prosecutions. To that end, I am a co-sponsor of the COPS Improvement Act of 2007, which would increase funding to put more law enforcement officers on the streets. I have also heard from many constituents in regards to the tragedy at Virginia Tech. The tragedy at Virginia Tech leaves me beyond sadness. My thoughts and prayers go out to the students and families that lost loved ones. Pennsylvania has been greatly affected due to the large number of Pennsylvanians enrolled there. Schools should be a place of calm and safety. There will and there should be a discussion of what we can do to prevent another tragedy. I appreciate your insight and perspective on this important issue facing our nation. Please be assured that I have taken your views into account. If you have access to the Internet, I encourage you to frequently visit my web site, http://casey.senate.gov. In the months ahead, I will continue to develop the site in order to allow you to stay up-to-date on my work in Washington. Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about this or any other matter of importance to you. Sincerely, Bob Casey United States Senator

If anyone else has received a response from their Senators regarding the ATF then please be sure to pass it along. I found this letter listed online that was written to Representative Stupack of Michigan and I appreciate everyone getting the word out.

Bloggers speaking out on ATF abuses

The NRA-ILA Grass Roots Division has issued a statement concerning the ATF's attack on the firearms industry. I was pleased to see the following: Others in the pro-gun grassroots community have reported on this issue, including Ryan Horsley of Red's Trading Post, and numerous other bloggers. Working together, it is our hope that we can continue our mutual efforts to reform BATFE once and for all to reduce and eliminate unjust harassment of legitimate gun dealers. So I want to further encourage all of you that you are making a difference, my blog started out just to give some insight into what a firearms dealer endures in this process, hopefully I pray that changes will be made and other dealers will not have to go through this.

Back door gun registry?

The plight of Red's Trading Post (under relentless assault from the BATFE, despite being "guilty" of nothing worse than occasional, trivial clerical errors), and many other gun dealers suffering the same fate (but few fighting back as courageously) may mean more to gun owners than simply the inconvenience of finding a gun shop nearby when so many are being forced to close. It certainly should mean something to any gun owner who believes that "registration leads to confiscation" (which has proved true far too often to be ignored).

As Ryan Horsley (who managaes Red's, and whose family opened it more than seventy years ago), points out, nearly 80% of the FFL holders in this country were closed in the period from 1994 to 2005.

What does that have to do with gun registration? The BATFE Form 4473 that must be filled out for every gun purchase from a licensed dealer must be kept on file (for twenty years) by the dealer. The dealer must also record all the information from every Form 4473 in his "bound book." This book must be kept for the entire time the dealer is in business (in other words, there is no twenty-year "shelf life" for this information). No government agency may keep the 4473's, or even copies of them–this is what is intended to protect gun owners from a gun registry (the BATFE can of course inspect the forms as part of an investigation, but cannot demand them en masse).

However, once a dealer closes, for any reason, he must surrender his "bound book" to the BATFE, giving them the records of every sale made by that dealer. That, obviously, is just the information that prohibition against a gun registry was intended to keep out of the government's grasping claws.

So, from 1994 to 2005, that's almost 200,000 bound books, and untold millions of transactions, that the BATFE stormtroopers have gotten their hands on. That in itself might be much of the motivation behind the BATFE's jihad against gun dealers.

Still think it's not really your problem when the BATFE goes after a gun shop?

Now this is “extremely” cool

I checked my e-mail and received a post from my friend Bruce at Massbackwards. Not only was is holding a sign exposing our Faux Second Amendment Presidential candidate Mitt Romney at an appearance in New Hampshire but he is also wearing a Red's Trading Post cap (which we sold out of and I am still waiting for the new colors).

Mitt might find that a bit extreme. Here is his post and I hope someone finds the video that was taken.

Breaking News: ATF Loses over 500 businesses records

Todays World Net Daily story reports that:

An ATF inspector, Herbert Blount, told Savage that when the agency moved to a new building, officials "lost/misplaced" records for more than 500 businesses and replacements were being sought.

Somehow my .4% error rate doesn't seem so bad, however the which was questioned about it's own record keeping before now seems WILLFUL. I wonder if they finally find those lost records if they will be in PERFECT ALPHABETICAL order as they cited us for.