February 17, 2006

ATFU; Gun Owners' Public Enemy Number One

Of Arms & the Law linked to this story about the ATFU hearings in Congress. I think it deserves a fisking.

Shall we?

"WASHINGTON -- A crackdown on illegal firearm sales at Richmond-area gun shows led to a congressional inquiry yesterday into whether federal agents trampled the rights of gun buyers."

The very first sentence of the article contradicts itself. The trampling of Rights isn't in question when you start discussing illegal firearm sales; it's a fact. Prior restraint based gun control law, such as those governing the sale of firearms, are prima fascia encroachments. After all if you only have a "right" to buy certain firearms (let's say bolt actions & double barrels) then it's not a Right to buy firearms. At best it's a Right to buy bolt actions & double barrels, but the realistic view is that buying firearms is considered to be & treated like a privilege.

Buying a firearm is not malum in se; there is no inherent damage or moral detriment enacted if you purchase a firearm. Even if that firearm has a 12" barrel & a shoulder stock or it can fire multiple rounds per trigger pull. Even if you're a convicted felon (actually prohibited person is more apt since certain misdemeanors &/or restraining orders will get you off of the approved list) it causes no harm to buy own or possess a firearm.

It's only through actions taken with said firearm that can be wrong or harmful.

That's something not only the anti-gun lobby doesn't understand, but many who claim to be (& probably think they are) pro-gun. If I have a 10" 12 gauge & didn't pay the $200 federal bribe on it that makes me no more dangerous than if I had a shotgun with a 18" barrel. It's the intent of the person wielding the object, not mere possession that can cause harm. Consequently laws which punish mere possession or prevent purchase do not deter those who have harmful intent. They’re great at putting folks like you & me in jail & providing a number for the bean counting bureaucrats to point to as they try to justify their next budget increase.

"The organizer of an August gun show at Richmond Raceway Complex told a House panel that a large team of federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and city, state and county police patrolled the two-day show, harassing law-abiding gun buyers while looking for illicit gun sales.
Annette Gelles of Showmasters, the organizer, told the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime that agents' aggressive tactics unnerved some attendees, and the visible presence drove away other customers."

ATFU agents are harassing people that have no harmful intent? ATFU agents are engaging in scare tactics to discourage gun purchases & ownership? What's next; former ATFU agents working for anti-gun groups?

The ATFU is the enemy. Think I'm being dramatic? Over-reacting? Nope. For over 30 years the ATFU has viewed my people - gun owners with no harmful intent - as the enemy. They declared war on us in the 1970's. They want to put people like me & you in jail for anything they can find & if they have to kill us, destroy our property, kill our pets or financially drain us through litigation they'll do it.

Every now & then I'll hear a gun owner - & usually an FFL holder - say that an ATFU agent that came by for a compliance check was real nice. Bullshit. No matter how polite & courtesy they are or sincere they seem they want to lock you up. They have been known to lie in order to do so. In 1950 if a soviet anti-communist poet spoke well of the nice KGB officer you’d know that he either didn't realize what the circumstances were, or he was successfully re-educated.

Let me try to make this as clear as I can; any person working for the ATFU is your enemy. they are actively forsaking an oath they took to uphold the federal constitution & have chosen a government paycheck over their honor & their country. Believing that they are anything less than traitorous adversaries is a costly mistake for any freedom loving gun owner. You'd be better off turning your back on a broke crack head with a knife in his hand than you would by believing anything benevolent about an ATFU agent.

"They impeded people's Second Amendment rights,' Gelles said after the hearing. 'I think they were there trying to shut the show down. Why else would they bring that many officers? It scared away a lot of law-abiding people."

Let me point something out:

"They impeded people's Second Amendment rights"???? Sigh. That's what they do! It's their job description! Of course they impeded on people's Right to Arms - that's why they get paid. They just chose a slightly different & bolder method this time.

But really, the ATFU's very existence impedes upon people's Right to Arms, unless you can show me where it says "unless they haven't paid a $200 tax or try to buy something made after a certain date that functions in a certain way" in the 2nd amendment to the u.s. constitution.

"After noticing that guns purchased at shows -- which, unlike store sales, do not always require a background check -- were used to commit local crimes, the ATF, Richmond and Henrico County police and Virginia State Police joined to strengthen oversight of gun-show firearm sales."

I call bullshit. Any FFL at a gun show must conduct the same background check that would be conducted at that person's store. Only a private seller (i.e. Bubba who wants to sell his .357 to get that new dishwasher his wife wants so bad) is exempt from the background check requirement in some states. Many states - & Colorado is one - have decided to step on the free market by requiring private sellers at gunshows to run background checks on the buyer.

"Henrico police spokesman Doug Perry said, 'It was a federal operation. We were only there to assist.' He declined to comment further."

That's admitting a conspiracy to violate civil rights. Every officer involved should be tried.

"The ATF is scheduled to present its side of the story at a hearing Feb. 28, said subcommittee chairman Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C.
'I don't want anyone to leave here thinking it's time to decommission the ATF. We will hear from them,' he said."

Rep. Coble from the great state of North Carolina just lost my vote. That is unless he felt decommissioning would be too lenient & wants to break out the tar & feathers right off the bat.

Of course we should decommission the ATFU. Then we should try each & every agent who every lifted a finger to perform any of their duties. Ditto every DA who worked with them on a case & every local cop who provided back up.

Hell, they've been throwing 'conspiracy to violate federal firearms laws" at us anytime they thought they could get away with it. I say it's high damn time they be prosecuted for conspiracy to violate civil rights.

"ATF director Carl J. Truscott defended his agency's operations in a letter to the committee.
From 2004 to 2005, four homicides in Richmond were linked to guns sold at shows, he wrote. Agents patrolled eight shows during the period, leading to more than 30 arrests for gun crimes, including lying on background check forms and 'straw purchases' -- buying a gun for someone else."

4 homicides in a year. There is some question as to the accuracy of the Richmond PD when it comes to homicides, but let's say about 100 per year. Because 4 homicides were allegedly linked to gun show sales they use that as an excuse to engage in harassment of people with no harmful intent.

Note it is not mentioned if those 4 homicides were justifiable or not, or exactly how the gun show connection was made. Were the firearms they believe to be involved (& let's not get into that BS known as ballistic fingerprinting) sold directly to the suspect from a gunshow? If so was he able to pass a background check? If he didn't are there allegations of wrongdoing on the part of a specific dealer? If the suspect did not purchase the firearm directly from the gunshow how many people did say firearm pass through before it was obtained by the suspect? How long was the time between the sale of the suspected firearm & its possible use in a crime? We talking days, weeks, years, decades?

& of the 30 arrest for "gun crimes', how many were constitutional? How many ATFU agents were arrested for conspiracy to violate civil rights? How many wrong addresses used as a basis to persecute a gun buyer were off by merely one letter or digit? Assuming a completely wrong address was given, was the person able to pass the NICS check?

"The size of the police presence at the shows is in question. Attendees alleged that hundreds were involved in the operation. But Truscott wrote that 24 to 50 officers and agents attended the shows."

One would have been too many.

"ATF is sensitive to the rights of law-abiding citizens and has no interest in inhibiting the lawful acquisition of firearms,' he wrote."

Bullshit. Bullshit bullshit bullshit. The ATFU is sensitive to the Right to arms in the same way the Dementors are sensitive to happiness.

But I’ll grant they may not want to inhibit the "lawful" acquisition of firearms. Neither do the Brady's, or the VPC. They want to make all acquisitions illegal.

Remember, in the ATFU agents view if you put your zip as 23015 when it's really 23014 you're no longer a law abiding citizen.

"Suzanne McComas, a private investigator hired by the National Rifle Association to look into the allegations of harassment, said officers targeted minorities.
'Anyone who was a minority, they picked up their trail and followed them through the show. . . . It was ridiculous,' she told lawmakers.
Rep. Bill Delahunt, D-Mass., told McComas that he found the racial allegations questionable.
'I'm not saying that I disbelieve you, but I'm shocked that they could be that stupid. It's almost difficult to believe,' he said."

This is the ATFU we're talking about here. F-troop. Of course they can be that stupid. Hell, they can't comprehend twenty friggin seven words that are directly related to their line of work. The only thing that keeps us relatively safe from the ATFU is their incompetence.

So yes; they can be that stupid. Sadly they also have a good chance of getting away with it, as they have gotten away with many of their abuses in the past.

"In some cases, officers followed gun buyers from the show or went to their homes to confirm addresses listed on background check forms, the witnesses said."

That's stalking.

"In his letter to the committee, Truscott defended 'residence checks' as 'an important and useful tool to ensure the lawfulness of firearms transactions and to prevent straw purchases."

If memory serves using information from a 4473 form for anything other than the NICS check is a violation of federal law. Random checks of information on the form are not allowed in such a manner. Only the NICS check itself can use that information unless there's reason to suspect a crime was committed (i.e. a crime gun trace). So Truscott just admitted that violating federal law is common practice at the ATFU. Not too surprising though, since they circumnavigate their constitutional restraints just by existing as an agency.

Again sadly no one will likely prosecute Truscott or anyone else responsible, even though the confession is so neat that even the 9th circuit would have trouble letting the ATFU off the hook.

What should happen with these hearing is for the ATFU to be disbanded & every agent's file handed over to a constitutionally literate DA for prosecution. Then let there be tar & feathers after each conviction.

What will happen with these hearing is the ATFU will be found to have some shady dealings & receive a slap on the wrist & possibly a smaller budget increase than they'd been promised.

But don't fool yourself; the ATFU & any who would work for them is the gun owners’ enemy. Not because we want it to be so, but because a long time ago that peculiar institution declared war on us. It's a war they've been winning mainly because we haven't woken up to the fact that they've been waging it on us. Until the BATFU is dismissed do not fool yourself into thinking they're just simple folks doing their jobs. They want to lock you up & steal your guns. They mean it. It doesn't matter how polite or courtesy they seem they are no better than the thugs of countless dictatorships who either cheerfully or begrudgingly carried oppression from their master's lips to their countrymen's throats.

I'm not saying commit any unlawful acts upon them or use unjustified violence upon them in any way, but I know I'll be damned before I accept their company in any social situation without much protest. If I ran a bar $100 from an ATFU agent wouldn't get them a glass of tepid water. & if I saw one on fire I'd have better uses for my urine.

It'd be nice if the congressional hearings reeled them in for a while, but odds are it'd only be a temporary relief of some of their pressure. In the meantime don't turn your back on them. After all that seems to be their favorite target.

Posted by Publicola at February 17, 2006 07:33 AM | TrackBack

now there don't hold back,
let us know how you really feel. ;-)


ftroope, rope, tree some assembly required.


Posted by: r at February 17, 2006 08:16 AM
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