Category Archives: Member Blogs

Members’ Blogs

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Senator Craig’s response to the ATF assault on Red’s

Many have asked what the response has been like from some of our Senators and Representatives regarding the ATF's actions. Most have been curious as to the reaction of Senator Larry Craig, who also serves on the Board of Directors for the NRA and also is well aware of the past actions of the ATF in Idaho with the murder of Vicki and Sammy Weaver at Ruby Ridge; which our Judge presided over. Senator Craig was also the one who sought answers when ATF D.I.O. Richard Van Loan refused to allow our competitor Blue Lakes Sporting Goods an appeal, after he revoked their license. The attached letter was sent to one of our supporters prior to the ordeal that Craig is currently in, I am still in contact with his staff who follow our fight. In the letter Craig promises to remain active on this issue, Please contact him and encourage him to continue to do so. If you have written your Congressional Delegates regarding the ATF Shutting down Firearms Manufacturers and Dealers or opposing ATF Acting Director Michael J. Sullivan's confirmation; I encourage you to post their responses.

I guess expressing “outrage” over this mass shooting doesn’t fit with the agenda

David Hardy's Of Arms and the Law and Sebastian's Snowflakes in Hell have pointed out something interesting about what is not happening in the wake of the massacre in Crandon, Wisconsin. The country's major civilian disarmament (aka "gun control") groups have not had a word to say about our country's most recent shooting massacre.

This seems, at first glance, rather surprising. As Mr. Hardy points out, the Brady Campaign, for example, has been quick to jump on shootings in which the death toll was significantly smaller. The fact that the killings were committed with an AR-15 (the dreaded, so-called "assault weapon") makes the silence all the more deafening–the push to ban "assault weapons" is the Violence Policy Center's bread and butter, I thought (didn't their founder and executive director, Josh Sugarmann, invent the "assault weapon" terminology?).

Immediately after the Virginia Tech killings, and lasting for months afterward, the Brady Campaign website prominently featured this expression of "outrage":

(click to enlarge)

Now, a rampage ends with seven dead, most of them teenagers (one as young as fourteen), and they can't even muster a bit of annoyance? They're not even a bit miffed? What is different about this mass shooting that makes it so much more tolerable?

Could the reason for their apparent willingness to tolerate this shooting be that the killer was a law enforcement officer? Could it be that murders committed by agents of the government are less outrageous than those committed by private citizens? Could it be that bringing attention to the carnage wrought by an armed police officer is incompatible with an agenda of citizen disarmament?

With at least one of the so-called "gun control" groups, the silence should not be surprising–the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has already gone on record as saying that "the government must have a monopoly on force" (more here).

Dictators throughout the world, and throughout history, would certainly agree with the CSGV about that. Interesting choice of ideological allies, isn't it?

More games from the ATF

The ATF is continuing to go back and forth with our Electronic Acquisition/ Disposition system that we have been leasing. ATF Director of Industry Operations Richard Van Loan had stated earlier that he would not have revoked our license if we would have gotten a computerized system. Keep in mind that the small amount of errors in the 2005 audit, which were made were paperwork errors that wouldn't have been prevented by a computerized system, still the ATF states: Red's failed to set into place the recommended procedures, failed to computerize their acquisition and disposition system, and failed to put the time and effort into their record keeping system necessary to avoid future violations An Electronic A&D system can replace the standard bound book, with ATF's approval. These are not cheap systems they run over $12,000, if it were not for one of our distributors allowing us to lease the system then it would be extremely difficult for us. The system that we have is one of the top of the line from ARS Business Solutions. This is one of the most used and regarded systems. Area Supervisor Linda Young initially took a brief look at it and deemed it "inadequate" and refused to approve it because she did not like how it designated firearms that were on layaway. Our distributor and the representative from ARS were shocked that they labeled it "inadequate". The representative contacted Young to figure out what needed to be changed. He was told that only the layaway designation needed to be changed. He assured us that the ATF were quite pleased with the system and Linda Young stated that it was a "good system". Still US Attorney Deborah Ferguson in a memorandum before the Judge stated: A system was tested this spring, although it has not been approved by ATF, as it needs further adjustments Now that we have made the "adjustments" that they wanted, you would think that they would approve it….nope. They are now continuing to nit pick the system to death, they are now asking us to go back and input more customer information into the system. They will then review it again and again; continuing to critique and scrutinize, hoping it will buy them more time. Because Van Loan has made such an issue of the importance of having a computerized system and basing much of their case on it, if they approved it then then their whole case would be a mute point. You will remember how Inspector Caleb Rushing, in our 2005 inspection, had instructed us to file all of our forms in alphabetical files but then within the files place them in chronological order with the last transaction first (this took our employees 3-4 days to rearrange). Then Area Supervisor Linda Young stated that Rushing was wrong and then gave us a violation for it. We then went back and rearranged them to Young's standard of "perfect alphabetical order". Which she stated that dealers records must be in, despite later admitting that most dealers keep their records organized alphabetically separated by the year (which is not "perfect" alphabetical order). We continue to jump through these hoops. These games that the ATF play are not to protect you, they are to justify their own existence. The ATF still refuses to publish or comply to any standards, nor will they. Currently they are able to change the rules any time that they want. In the mean time our court system is tied up and your tax money is being wasted. I continue to encourage everyone to contact the US Department of Justice OIG and let your Congressional Delegates know that you do not appreciate the Waste, Fraud and Abuse that the ATF is committing. We are still waiting to hear from Judge Edward Lodge regarding the ATF's request for summary judgment. While cases such as Murder and Child Molester Joseph Duncan's are waiting to be heard by Judge Lodge, the ATF continues to tie up the court to prove that we committed .4% clerical errors in a 2005 audit willfully.

American Free Press story on Red’s Trading Post

By Mark Anderson
AFP National Writer
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TWIN FALLS, IDAHO — Red's Trading Post, Idaho's oldest still-operating gun store, has been in contact with key personnel at the U.S. Justice Department to call attention to what store co-owner Ryan Horsley calls a "tremendous waste of tax money" over the last two years stemming from an audit of his store by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, commonly known as the BATF, now the BATFE.
While the audit carried out by numerous out-of-state BATFE personnel has only uncovered a few minor clerical errors in that period of time, it has kept the store in court without resulting in a trial. The store has had to file legal statements to respond to this federal agency and the resulting legal fees hit $115,000 as of Sept. 25, when American Free Press interviewed Horsley for an update.
Since AFP first ran this story in issue No. 29/30 of 2007 — which reported that there's an apparent red-tape attack orchestrated nationally by the BATFE that nitpicks firearms dealers to death over clerical errors and exhausts their finances — Red's Trading Post has been minding the store and refusing to capitulate. Horsley wants concerned Americans to contact the Inspector General of the Department of Justice and register their opinions on the BATF's tactics.
On Sept. 17, a BATFE area supervisor, an inspector and two investigators came in from Washington state and spent all day at the store. Horsley, who has seen the agents pull up in expensive rental cars in past audits, noted: "Of all the files they looked through, they could only find one mistake and that was it." He also noted that eight different internet addresses with the letters "USDOJ" were detected monitoring the store's website and Horsley's blogs that he writes to keep customers and the greater public informed.
Horsley himself, by all accounts, is a respected member of the community who champions the Second Amendment and serves on local planning committees. His store has been run by his family for four generations.
He said the blog that received the most attention was the one in which he argued against the congressional confirmation of acting BATFE Director Michael Sullivan as its full-time director. Notably, Horsley called Sullivan's office for assistance and information regarding the audit. Sullivan's office assistant told Horsley someone would call him back. "They never did," Horsley said.
He also has been in touch with Small Business Administration National Ombudsman Nicholas Owens, who already has been contacted by Gunowners of America, the National Rifle Association and Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership over this matter.
Owens reports back to Congress on abusive federal agencies that arbitrarily use their power to harass individuals who run businesses. Such reports have a bearing on federal funding for such agencies, said Horsley, who wants the funding for BATFE to be cut substantially.
Moreover, Horsley said that Twin Falls County Sheriff Wayne Tousley is becoming irritated over this matter. Since county sheriffs are the chief law enforcement officials under the Idaho Constitution, Tousley expects the BATFE to give him advance notice when they are coming to the county (Red's Trading Post is in the city of Twin Falls, in Twin Falls County). Tousley has asked for this courtesy but the BATFE will not extend it.
Horsley, whose efforts have been supported by Michigan rock guitarist/songwriter Ted Nugent, a noted hunting and firearms enthusiast, encourages citizens to contact DOJ Inspector General Glenn A. Fine. To do so, go to www.usdoj.gov/oig online. A phone contact there, the DOJ office for Freedom of Information Act requests, is 202-616-0646. A notation on that website states: "The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) conducts independent investigations, audits, inspections, and special reviews of United States Department of Justice personnel and programs to detect and deter waste, fraud, abuse, and misconduct, and to promote integrity, economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in Department of Justice operations."
The SBA National Ombudsman can be reached at (202) 401-2996.
To reach reporter Mark Anderson, email truthhound2@yahoo.com

Stand Up and Fight Back; Bloomberg will think you’re sick

Mikey, Mikey, Mikey; I'm no therapist but it seems like you are an ATF wannabe by bankrupting businesses, setting up sting operations and wasting millions in tax money to prove your point. Reading about Jay Wallace with Adventure Outdoors, who is fighting back, is an inspiration that someone isn't just rolling over. You will remember the Virginia Citizens Defense League who had helped dealers fight back. Bloombergs response to those who fight back? "These are sick people" Mikey, Mikey, Mikey; again I am no therapist but fighting for your rights is not sick, destroying someones life and business for your own political gain…now that is sick. When our fight first went public, a store that Bloomberg was suing contacted me and told me of how they were going under. They had spent over $100,000 so far and there was no end in sight. That sounds coldly familiar. I have contacted our Attorney General stating that I am opposed to anti-gun zealots marching into our state; attacking honest businesses to further their own political agenda. I hope that you do the same and I hope that you will also support Adventure Outdoors who is not only fighting for their business but is fighting for your rights as well. Thanks to The War on Guns for posting on this.

About H.R. 2640, Senator Coburn, and . . . stuff

There's lots of discussion (some of it a bit heated) these days in the gun rights community about H.R. 2640, the NICS "Improvement" Act. This bill is championed by longtime enemies of gun rights, including Representative Carolyn "I don't know what a barrel shroud is, but let's ban them anyway" McCarthy, Senator Chuck Schumer (couldn't think of a catchy middle name for him), Paul "Have I mentioned that I was mayor of Ft. Wayne, IN?" Helmke . . . and it is also championed by the NRA.

On the other side stands Gun Owners of America, supported by the American Legion and the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Ted Nugent, interestingly enough (I don't remember him fighting the NRA on anything before), is also opposed. The Liberty Zone has voiced some pretty compelling arguments against it (most recently here). I've made no secret of my own opposition (here, for example), although not so much for the reasons most emphasized by the GOA.

My comprehension of legalese is quite shaky, at best, but after slogging through the text of the bill, and reading the points made at Snowflakes in Hell and at Of Arms and the Law, I am inclined to believe that the threat to veterans' gun rights is being significantly exaggerated by the GOA. The previous two links argue pretty effectively for the point that the bill includes fairly robust protections against the kinds of horror stories warned of in recent GOA alerts.

Then again, "robust protections" seemingly tend to end up being a whole lot less robust than one would expect. Take, for example, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms–how could that law fail to be enough to get Gary, Indiana's lawsuit against gun manufacturers thrown out? All it takes is a few judges whose personal dislike of certain provisions of the Bill of Rights outweighs their respect for the law, it would seem. How could Ohio's straightforward law banning municipal gun laws more strict than the state's be ruled insufficient to get Clyde, Ohio's ban of guns in city parks tossed out like the garbage it is? A State Supreme Court that has more respect for gun bans than for the laws that prohibit them, apparently. Therefore, although it would seem that veterans are protected by the way the bill was written, people can perhaps be forgiven for a lack of faith in those protections.

Still, for me, the much larger concern with the bill is that it constitutes a major (and quite expensive) expansion of the NICS program–a program that I simply cannot reconcile with "shall not be infringed." The idea of "keeping guns out of the hands" of felons, domestic batterers, and insane people certainly sounds good, but if these people are so dangerous (either to themselves or to others) that we cannot take the risk of allowing them to buy guns legally, then they would seem to be too dangerous to be trusted not to obtain guns illegally, or to simply commit their crimes with something other than a firearm. Such people should not be running loose in society.

As to Senator Coburn's "hold" on the bill, I applaud him, and believe that even supporters of the bill should lay off with the criticism. The hold is not an insurmountable obstacle–it only prevents the bill from being passed without floor debate (or with only perfunctory floor debate), and without a recorded vote. As pointed out at War on Guns, the requirement for discussion and vote for the passage of a new law is hardly an attack on our form of government. If Senators are unwilling to debate the merits of a bill they want passed, what does that say about the bill? If they do not want their constituents to know how they voted on the bill, what does that say about it?

Frankly, anything that makes laws more difficult to pass sounds good to me (and I realize that laws that I would like to have seen passed have been stopped in this manner–that's a price I'm willing to pay). It's unfortunate that a legislator's job is to . . . legislate–in other words, to pass more laws. In still other words, to make our bloated legal code even more grotesquely vast than it already is. In yet other words, to place more restrictions on what we can do. If Senator Coburn wants to introduce a speed bump into the process, I say more power to him.

Senators, if H.R. 2640 is so good for America, so necessary, then stand up on the Senate floor and defend it. If passing it is in the best interests of your constituents, put your name on your "Yes" vote, and proudly let them know of your support for it. If not, then I guess NICS doesn't need to be "improved," after all.

Second Amendment Documentary Premieres

The Premiere of David T. Hardy's Documentary In Search of the Second Amendment opened to a great crowd in Twin Falls that included Twin Falls City Councilman Trip Craig and Vice Mayor Glenda Dwight. Author and Historian Clayton Cramer made a presentation following the film. You can download the interview with Clayton Cramer and myself on Top Story. Cramer discussed the rise and fall of disgraced anti-gun author Michael Bellesiles who rewrote history to fulfill his anti-gun agenda. The follow up showing will be tonight, I encourage others to arrange a screening or purchase a copy of the film.

“Assault weapons” vs. “Patrol rifles”

Not long ago, I mentioned an editorial in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that advocated a new ban on so-called "assault weapons." The media and the civilian disarmament advocacy groups (but perhaps I repeat myself) seem to be engaged in a blitz against these firearms (as has been pointed out at Snowflakes in Hell, Traction Control, Days of our Trailers, Captain of a Crew of One, and undoubtedly others that I've missed).

A reader and commenter (Straight Arrow) here at Armed and Safe pointed out something about the editorial that I missed. Although I of course made note of the paper's editorial board's tyranny-enabling advocacy of a ban on "assault weapons" for civilians, while simultaneously claiming that "people shouldn't be opposed to cops having these weapons," I failed to spot the verbal gymnastics (despite their decided lack of subtlety) used a bit earlier in the editorial:

Understandably, officers in more South Florida police agencies have been arming themselves — at their own expense — with patrol rifles to be on more even footing with criminals — particularly gangs — they encounter.

Suddenly, what had been an "assault weapon" (or the even less honest use of the term "assault rifle") has become a "patrol rifle"–presumably because it is now in the hands of a police officer.

Perhaps I should count this as progress. After all, we (as gun rights advocates) have been arguing all along that the outrage and loathing should be directed at the evil person who commits evil with a gun, rather than the gun he uses for that purpose. By referring to an AR-15 in the hands of a gang banger as an "assault weapon" (with all the menace that term is intended to convey) while calling an identical firearm in the hands of a police officer a "patrol rifle" (a much more noble-sounding designation), they seem to have come a bit closer to that understanding–it at least implies an understanding that the user of a weapon determines whether good or evil is done with it.

Still, it's not enough. They refer to these firearms as "assault weapons," whether they belong to criminals/psychopaths, or peaceable civilians who would never shoot someone who does not mean them harm, and who does not present a serious, credible threat. Likewise, I assume that to them, an AR-15 in a police cruiser's trunk is a "patrol rifle," whether the officer in the car is a courageous protector of his/her community, or a monster with a badge.

In the end, an "assault weapon" is a "patrol rifle," is a homeland defense rifle, etc. To put it another way, "a rose by another name . . . ." To put it still another way, whether a gun is an instrument of evil, or a lifesaver, boils down to the intent and actions of the person holding it, rather than the cosmetic features or designation it bears.

Is it time to shut down the ATF?

I have been overlooking the cases that the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund has taken on or assisted in. Then take a look at the Gun Owners Foundation and the cases that they have assisted in. Not surprising is that a majority of the cases are dealing with the ATF and how the ATF has trampled on the rights of citizens. This is a very dysfunctional agency, that is far beyond repair with problems on the inside as well. Or the waste or tax dollars, it was on the day of our appeal that former ATF Director Carl Truscott resigned for alleged mismanagement and misconduct, the OIG Report is a must read. A look at it's disregard for the Second Amendment and the mentality towards firearms is tell-tale sign:

“If it wasn’t for criminals, there wouldn’t be a gun industry in this country.” Gerard Nunziato (former BATFE official)

“Also troubling is the NRA’s attempt to protect the gun industry from lawsuits that could help shut down gun dealers.” Ron Schuman (former BATFE official)

So is the ATF so far gone after reading the post on Of Arms and the Law, which an ATF official states: "Perhaps the problems are too significant to place on the shoulders of 3 men, or maybe the Bureau is beyond repair. Either way, the complaints continue as does the retaliation, abuse of authority and the climbing number of EEOC, OSC, OIG and internal grievance complaints."

When a Federal Agency resorts to destroying the Constitution to justify their own existence then it is time to shut it down.

Member Blogs — Odd Behavior

The members' blogging tool has some strange characteristics.  I'm thinking it's not quite ready for prime time.  Everything is readable, but they don't come out formatted like you'd expect including text bolding and paragraph marks.  I'm looking for an answer.  

In the meanwhile, feel free to use the blogs.  If we end up having to install a different tool, we'll transfer all the existing data.