The Truth…who needs it…

Fast & Furious Article

http://features.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2012/06/27/fast-and-furious-truth/

“A Fortune investigation reveals that the ATF never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.”

Define the definition of ‘intentionally’. Do I think they wanted guns to get into the hands of violent criminals and be used against our own agents. I sure hope not…and if that was actually a part of the agenda, than I want jail sentences.

“The Mexican government has estimated that 2,000 weapons are smuggled daily from the U.S. into Mexico.”

700,000 guns a year. Maybe…but I do find it hard to believe that 5% of the guns sold are going to Mexico.

(Article here says “In recent years more than 60,000 guns, mostly semi-automatic assault rifles, have moved from American gun dealers to the Mexican cartels” http://www.usnews.com/debate-club/should-eric-holder-lose-his-job/anti-trafficking-laws-need-an-overhaul

So which is it 700,000 a year or 60,000 over the past several years?)

“No federal statute outlaws firearms trafficking, so agents must build cases using a patchwork of often toothless laws.”

Seriously? I mean we have thousands of gun laws and regulations. And the article is claiming there are no laws that prohit firearm trafficking.

So if I go past a BATF agent and show him an AR-15 I’m taking south of the border, there is nothing they can do? Somehow I just don’t buy this.

“Arizona, the state ranked by the gun-control advocacy group Legal Community Against Violence as having the nation’s “weakest gun violence prevention laws.””

Has ANYONE ever heard of the Legal Community Against Violence? I swear, do they just create up a new organization anytime they want to claim one state is the worst with gun laws. I wager they have 50 anti-gun organizations.

“$20,000 in cash to purchase up to 20 semiautomatics at a time, and then delivering the weapons to others.”

Then they’re actively engaged in business and can easily be nailed by the BATF.

“But for the next seven months prosecutors did not indict a single suspect.”

But I repeat myself. It’s the prosecutors NOT the laws. How many times have us gun owners pointed to criminal shooters who have long histories of criminal arrests with firearms but are almost always ‘nulle processed’.

“Assuming a vote occurs, it will be the first against an attorney general in U.S. history”

Well how many attorney generals have gotten U.S. Federal agents killed?

“The ATF’s accusers seem untroubled by evidence that the policy they have pilloried didn’t actually exist. “Terry was murdered, and guns from this operation were found at his murder site.””

Okay, if the policy didn’t exist. Why did the second line occur. Clearly the policy was being enacted. Approval was being given to walk. FFL dealers were told to sell firearms when they in fact did not want to do so.

“Republicans who support the National Rifle Association and its attempts to weaken gun laws are lambasting ATF agents for not seizing enough weapons—ones that, in this case, prosecutors deemed to be legal.”

No, we’re lambasting the BATF not for failing to seize enough guns. But for actually letting guns walk in the hands of known criminal agents. And utterly failing to track and account for those firearms.

“In part because of these notorious cases, the bureau has operated in a self-protective crouch”

Perhaps they get this critical eye because they’ve also arrested and convicted people of possessing illegal machine guns because they could tie a shoelace to cause a bump-fire condition.

“ATF can be its own worst enemy. Voth arrived in Phoenix in December 2009 only to discover that his group had not been funded. The group had little equipment and no long guns, electronic devices, or binoculars, forcing Voth to scrounge for supplies.”

Guess this just shows the ATF’s lack of priorities.

“Lying on the forms is a felony, but with weak penalties attached.”

Weak penalties, like the loss of the right to ever possess a firearm again.

“By January 2010 the agents had identified 20 suspects who had paid some $350,000 in cash for more than 650 guns”

That’s 30 plus guns in a year, which if they’re selling makes a pretty strong case that they’re engaged in business. Unless they can show and demonstrate they’re doing gun reviews or some other sort of scenario where they’d go through a lot of guns in a short time.

I am pretty sure that gave them all the authority they needed to investigate. Perhaps not for gun trafficking but for dealing without a license.

Claims that the ATF had no means is just ludicrous. They tend to pull means out of their boots when they need it.

“The federal prosecutors there did not consider the purchase of a huge volume of guns, or their handoff to a third party, sufficient evidence to seize them”

Once again…prosecutors, prosecutors, prosecutors. This always seems to be where things fail in regards to handling of criminals and guns. Are all of our prosecutors simply lazy?

“Prosecutors repeatedly rebuffed Voth’s requests. After examining one suspect’s garbage, agents learned he was on food stamps yet had plunked down more than $300,000 for 476 firearms in six months”

So what do we see here…a big problem in the judicial branch. Which will seemingly expend tons of effort against an FFL who puts a state abbreviation on a form. But will ignore a man on food stamps buying $300,000 in firearms.

Well gee….why not at least contact the state welfare agencies and report food stamp fraud? Okay, apparently they tried…

What’s it sound like to me? Well, if I was in a drug cartel. I’d pay to get a few kids through law school. Get them appointed as prosecutors. And do just this…

” By any definition, it was gun walking of the most egregious sort: a government agent using taxpayer money to deliver guns to bad guys and then failing to intercept them.”

Yes it was…

***

So what do we learn from this article? BATFE has a lot of personnel issues. Not all of the “Fast and Furious” blame lies on the BATFE’s shoulders. A huge portion lies with a group we gun owners already know to be at fault, the prosecutors. (Funny they seldom seem to shirk from prosecuting a simple infraction of gun law but almost always avoid prosecution of criminal and felonious deeds.)

“The site was the work of a disgruntled ATF agent-turned-whistleblower, Vince Cefalu, who is suing the bureau for alleged mistreatment in an unrelated case. His website has served as a clearinghouse for grievances and a magnet for other ATF whistleblowers”

I love the spin. Anyone who seemed to be a whistle-blower is demonized or discredited in this article. Everyone else seems to be giving the gloss over and the “It really wasn’t their fault” treatment.

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UPDATED: Is the BATF trying to seize records? Probably not…

UPDATED: While I have not been able to reach John Shupp in order to speak directly.  Here is what I have heard as to an understanding of what happened.

John Shupp had been moving toward part time gunsmithing/gun sales. BATF apparently has started inspecting 01 FFLs annually.

For a guy doing gunsmithing/selling only part-time….it just didn’t make sense to him.. He did say that he would like to continue with the gunsmithing and that his son may wish to ‘start the business up again’ in the future so he is keeping his options open.

From this, it appears that the added hassles and costs from the BATF led John Shupp to decide not to maintain his 01FFL.  And seek to switch to just a gunsmithing license.

I was told the “BATFE wanted his records AFTER he decided to not renew his FFL.” My guess is they probably arrived before his license had expired.  And they probably view the change of license type as the cessation of a business.

So this seems to lessen the intensity portrayed in the circulating letter below.  It does lead to a couple of other questions however.

1. Are the changes in BATF’s FFL policies leading to smaller shops being forced to close. Shops that focus more on gun-smithing with  few sales do not seem to be the culprits in illegal gun sales. And would seem to me, to be a waste of the BATF’s energies.

2. Is an increase in BATF inspections, toward an annual basis,  simply the visible signs of the BATF’s creation of a de facto gun registry. While those files are supposedly just being scanned and stored on microfilm. One must note that it is extremely easy to process records these days with scanning/OCR technology.

============================

Today I received an extremely disturbing email. Which describes a local event in which the BATF has endeavored to seize an FFL’s records for their own use. There is no mention of charges or infractions. Was the FFL late in renewing? I don’t know but will endeavor to find out. But if not, this is extremely disturbing.

The BATF does have the right to inspect records (e.g. for compliance checks, for investigations, etc). But I do not believe the BATF has the right to collect an FFLs records prior the FFL closing their doors.

Whether this information is accurate or not, I don’t know. A comment from PAFOA stated:

“I also just found out that John @ Shupp’s Gunsmithing is closed. He hopes to reorganize and open as strictly gunsmith, but no more sales. ATF has simply put too many restrictions on him and his time. Very difficult time for him. He has been in business for 26years.”

Below is the content of the email. I hope to contact Shupp’s shop tomorrow and try to better ascertain what events transpired. Whether the BATF attempted to collect records prior to an FFL closing it’s doors, whether there was harassment, and if this portends of a greater trend of harassing smaller FFLs out of business.

*****

Gun Owner Alert!

On Saturday morning April 2nd I went to visit a friend who is a gunsmith and gun dealer. When I got there there was a note on the door that he had decided not to renew his FFL license. I thought this was a very abrupt decision for he was in business for over 27 years.

Last night I visited with him to pick-up two of my Colt semi’s that he was selling for me. I felt it adviseable to get my guns. He related to me that one day the ATF visited him at the business and told him that it was time for him to renew his FFL license. He told them that he was in the process of doing so. They then advised him that in order for him to renew his FFL he would have to turn over his 27 years of records. He told them he would like to think about it for a couple of days.

He did not feel it right to turn over 27 years of his records in order to renew so he informed them he would not be renewing. They informed him that they wanted the 27 years of records anyway which they took and are putting on microfilm. They plan to destroy the original records when they complete the microfilming. The ATF was elated that he was not renewing. They boasted of closing one dealership a year in York County.

To me this is the first step for the gestapo to have all the records in the York county area of gun owners. They told him he can close his business and reopen it in a year by starting fresh. You know damned well that the parameters will not be the same as before.

If we thought this was not going to happen to us you had better think twice. He asked the ATF if they ever had any problems with his business in the past and they told him none. He asked them what he should do with the 300 guns he has and they said just sell them to another dealer. Just like that! After 27 years of flawless business they have forced him out of business. The legal fees to fight this would be enormous.

It’s happening here. The gestapo will have your recrds so they can confiscate your guns when the time is right. You better believe that is what is coming next!

I have dealt with John Shupp for 17 years and he had always been great to do business with and to work with. John handled our FFL needs for the formation of the White Rose Friends of NRA and served with us at the dinners for ten years.

I have visited Congressman Todd Platts’ office this morning. I plan to contact Pat Toomey and Bob Casey and also the NRA ILA and urge everyone to do so. There is no room for complacency in this situation. This is the beginning and we have to rally to keep our freedom and our rights!

Shupp’s Gunsmithing
3502 Druck Valley Rd.
York, PA 17406

Sincerely,

Darwin Doll
NRA Life Member

Published in: on April 5, 2011 at 10:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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NRA-ILA: BATFE Asks: “May We See Your Guns?”

Friday, June 19, 2009
NRA-ILA has recently received several calls from NRA members in border states who have been visited or called by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. In some cases, agents have asked to enter these people’s homes, and requested serial numbers of all firearms the members possess.

In each case, the agents were making inquiries based on the number of firearms these NRA members had recently bought, and in some cases the agents said they were asking because the members had bought types of guns that are frequently recovered in Mexico.

This kind of questioning may or may not be part of a legitimate criminal investigation. For example, when BATFE traces a gun seized after use in a crime, manufacturers’ and dealers’ records will normally lead to the first retail buyer of that gun, and investigators will have to interview the buyer to find out how the gun ended up in criminal hands. But in other cases, the questioning may simply be based on information in dealers’ records, with agents trying to “profile” potentially suspicious purchases.

On the other hand, some of the agents have used heavy-handed tactics. One reportedly demanded that a gun owner return home early from a business trip, while another threatened to “report” an NRA member as “refusing to cooperate.” That kind of behavior is outrageous and unprofessional.

Whether agents act appropriately or not, concerned gun owners should remember that all constitutional protections apply. Answering questions in this type of investigation is generally an individual choice. Most importantly, there are only a few relatively rare exceptions to the general Fourth Amendment requirement that law enforcement officials need a warrant to enter a home without the residents’ consent. There is nothing wrong with politely, but firmly, asserting your rights.

If BATFE contacts you and you have any question about how to respond, you may want to consult a local attorney. NRA members may also call NRA-ILA’s Office of Legislative Counsel at (703) 267-1161 for further information. Whether contacting a local attorney or NRA, be sure to provide as many details as possible, including the date, time, and location, agent’s name, and specific questions asked.

http://www.nraila.org/Legislation/Federal/Read.aspx?id=4990

***

Wait…aren’t these the same records that are supposed to be destroyed after a brief allotted time?  How often do we hear people exclaim that they’ll never register their guns. Let’s not kid ourselves. The “NICS background check” is a GUN REGISTRY.

Published in: on June 23, 2009 at 8:46 am  Leave a Comment  
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NRA-ILA Alert: BATFE/Federal Firearms Law Reform

S. 941: The “Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Reform and Firearms Modernization Act of 2009”   Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) have introduced S. 941, the “Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Reform and Firearms Modernization Act of 2009.” The bill would roll back unnecessary restrictions, correct errors, and codify longstanding congressional policies in the firearms arena. This bipartisan bill is a vital step to modernize and improve BATFE operations. 

Of highest importance, S. 941 totally rewrites the system of administrative penalties for licensed dealers, manufacturers and importers of firearms. Today, for most violations, BATFE can only give a federal firearms license (FFL) holder a warning, or totally revoke his license.

S. 941 would allow fines or license suspensions for less serious violations, while still allowing license revocation for the kind of serious violations that would block an investigation or put guns in the hands of criminals. This prevents the all-too-common situations where BATFE has revoked licenses for insignificant technical violations—such as improper use of abbreviations, or filing records in the wrong order.

Among its other provisions, S. 941 would:

Clarify the standard for “willful” violations—allowing penalties for intentional, purposeful violations of the law, but not for simple paperwork mistakes.

  • Improve the process for imposing penalties, notably by allowing FFLs to appeal BATFE penalties to a neutral administrative law judge, rather than to an employee of BATFE itself.
  • Allow a licensee a period of time to liquidate inventory when he goes out of business. During this period, all firearms sold would be subject to a background check by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
  • Allow a grace period for people taking over an existing firearms business to correct problems in the business’s records—so if a person inherited a family gun store (for example), the new owner couldn’t be punished for the previous owner’s recordkeeping violations.
  • Reform the procedures for consideration of federal firearms license applications. Under S. 941, denial of an application would require notification to the applicant, complete with reasons for the denial. Additionally, an applicant would be allowed to provide supplemental information and to have a hearing on the application.
  • Require BATFE to establish clear investigative guidelines.
  • Clarify the licensing requirement for gunsmiths, distinguishing between repair and other gunsmith work and manufacture of a firearm. This would stop BATFE from arguing that minor gunsmithing or refinishing activities require a manufacturers’ license.
  • Eliminate a provision of the Youth Handgun Safety Act that requires those under 18 to have written permission to use a handgun for lawful purposes (such as competitive shooting or safety training)—even when the parent or guardian is present.
  • Permanently ban creation of a centralized electronic index of out of business dealers’ records—a threat to gun owners’ privacy that Congress has barred through appropriations riders for more than a decade.
  • Allow importation and transfer of new machineguns by firearm and ammunition manufacturers for use in developing or testing firearms and ammunition, and training customers. In particular, ammunition manufacturers fulfilling government contracts need to ensure that their ammunition works reliably. S. 941 would also provide for the transfer and possession of new machineguns by professional film and theatrical organizations.
  • Repeal the Brady Act’s “interim” waiting period provisions, which expired in 1998.
  • Give BATFE sole responsibility for receiving reports of multiple handgun sales. (Currently, dealers also have to report multiple sales to state or local agencies, a requirement that has shown little or no law enforcement value.) State and local agencies could receive these reports upon request to BATFE, but would have to comply strictly with current requirements to destroy these records after 20 days, unless the person buying the guns turns out to be prohibited from receiving firearms.
  • Restore a policy that allowed importation of barrels, frames and receivers for non-importable firearms, when they can be used as repair or replacement parts.

S. 941 represents the first time such BATFE reform legislation has been introduced in the Senate. However, the House passed similar legislation (H.R. 5092) in the 109th Congress by a 277-131 vote. Supporters included 63 Democrats. A majority of the House — 224 congressmen, including 52 Democrats — cosponsored H.R. 4900 in the 110th Congress.

This bipartisan reform legislation is the culmination of BATFE abuses and problems that were highlighted in several congressional oversight hearings in 2006.

For more information go to:

Know Your Rights

BATFE Hearings Lead To Reform Bills

Time To Stop BATFE Abuses: Congress Pursues Firearm Law Reforms

Courts Clarify Standards for Dealer Violations

H.R. 4900: The “Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Reform and Firearms Modernization Act of 2007”   Posted: 5/1/2009 12:00:00 AM

Published in: on May 6, 2009 at 5:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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