February 19, 2006

And They Thought I Was Kidding

"These must be the dumbest ATF agents in the entire agency,' [Rep. William Delahunt (D-Mass.)] said. 'I am absolutely shocked that they could be that stupid.'
'It's almost to the point that it's difficult to believe,' he added. 'I have never heard of an experience like the ones you recount, but you all seem to be in agreement. It's just mind-boggling."

From this story about the congressional hearings on ATFU abuse at gunshows in Richmond & Pittsburgh. Found at Of Arms & Law.

Dumb for an ATFU agent? Now that’s saying a lot. But I’m not surprised at all at their lack of intelligent action. Neither am I surprised that the MSM hasn't said much if anything about this. I am surprised that Congress is looking into it & seems to be taking it seriously. Course I wonder if the type of people vicitmized by the ATFU made a difference.

What Rep. Delahunt was referring to was this:

"At Pittsburgh, the Firearms Task Force there that's also headed by the ATF, instead of doing residency checks immediately, they're collecting the 4473 with the purchaser's address on it, then they go knock at the door about a week later and ask, 'Could we see the gun that you bought?' McComas [a private investigator hired by the NRA] explained. 'There's absolutely no process involved, there's no reason for them to do it. If you cannot produce the gun, they ask you for the sale paperwork. If you refuse to produce the paperwork they put you under arrest for a 'straw purchase."

"When I asked them what their criteria was for the people that they collected the 4473s on at the Pittsburgh show, the answer I got back was, 'If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it's a duck. That's all we need," McComas continued. 'Translation: Under 30 and black, period. That's all they were looking for. Anyone who meets those criteria, they're doing a follow-up on."

The biggest sigh came from this:

"Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.) expressed curiosity that federal law enforcement officers would not know that the actions described by White and McComas violate federal statutes.
'Did anybody mention that it is a federal crime to deny women or minorities their civil rights?' Feeney asked. 'Did anybody mention to the ATF that denying civil rights, including the right to bear arms, is a federal crime?"

Rep. Feeney must not realize the ATFU's entire mission is to violate civil rights. Congress has told them to do so. A $200 tax on what would be a $50 item in a free market (sound suppressors) or a $100 item in a free market (short barreled shotgun) or a $500 item in a free market (full auto Ruger 10/22 for example) coupled with a background check & a distortion in said market (only automatic firearms made before 1986 or made & registered before 1968) all dependent upon government permission, then subject to severe restrictions (item cannot be transported across state lines or stored in a location other than what's listed on the "tax stamp" paperwork without prior written permission from the ATFU) looks a helluva lot like a violation of civil rights to me.

I've written before about how u.S. v Miller was wrongly decided & the outcome should have been to eliminate the NFA. The ATFU was created in the early 70's to handle the tax matters arising from taxation of tobacco, alcohol & firearms. So the firearms division was primarily put in place to oversee an unconstitutional law. That's how they started. Is it really surprising that they'd ignore a person's civil rights when violating civil rights is the reason they were created?

Now what really got to me was this:

"Agents of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), allegedly acting without warrants or legislative authority to do so, seized firearms from at least 50 gun show patrons in Virginia according to congressional testimony and an agency document made public Wednesday. Witnesses also testified that African-American and female gun buyers in Richmond, Va., and Pittsburgh, Pa., were profiled based on their race or sex and some in Pittsburgh were threatened with arrest by ATF agents for alleged actions that are not violations of law."

Let me highlight this part:

"...acting without warrants or legislative authority to do so, seized firearms from at least 50 gun show patrons in Virginia..."

Ayup; the ATFU illegally seizing firearms.

"ATF reports that 206 [gun show] participants were stopped and interviewed while it confiscated firearms from another 50 participants,' [Rep. Howard Coble (R-N.C.)] said, referring to gun shows in Richmond, Va. 'Although most of the firearms were ultimately returned, the purchasers were notified via official letter from ATF that [they] were ordered to appear at the local ATF office to discuss their transactions. In addition, the letter explained that failure to appear could result in an arrest warrant being issued for the alleged charges.'
The form letter had blanks for the name of the gun show patron and the date and time they were ordered to appear at the ATF field office, but cited no authority for the gun confiscations or the mandatory office visits."

Here's a .pdf of the letter in question.

I wasn't kidding; the ATFU declared war on us a long time ago. I'd like to think that congress will take the appropriate action (disbanding the ATFU's firearms division & letting Grand Juries decide what to do about the agents in question) but odds are there'll be wrist slaps all around the agency with possibly a dismissal or two.

Still, if nothing else these hearings should help gun owners understand that they've been declared an enemy by the ATFU.

Posted by Publicola at February 19, 2006 02:27 PM | TrackBack