Tag Archives: atf

More Bureaucrats Have Guns Than U.S. Marines

Hope-and-Change

BY: Elizabeth Harrington

There are now more non-military government employees who carry guns than there are U.S. Marines, according to a new report.

Open the Books, a taxpayer watchdog group, released a study Wednesday that finds domestic government agencies continue to grow their stockpiles of military-style weapons, as Democrats sat on the House floor calling for more restrictions on what guns American citizens can buy.

The “Militarization of America” report found civilian agencies spent $1.48 billion on guns, ammunition, and military-style equipment between 2006 and 2014. Examples include IRS agents with AR-15s, and EPA bureaucrats wearing camouflage.

“Regulatory enforcement within administrative agencies now carries the might of military-style equipment and weapons,” Open the Books said. “For example, the Food and Drug Administration includes 183 armed ‘special agents,’ a 50 percent increase over the ten years from 1998-2008. At Health and Human Services (HHS), ‘Special Office of Inspector General Agents’ are now trained with sophisticated weaponry by the same contractors who train our military special forces troops.”

Open the Books found there are now over 200,000 non-military federal officers with arrest and firearm authority, surpassing the 182,100 personnel who are actively serving in the U.S. Marines Corps.

The IRS spent nearly $11 million on guns, ammunition, and military-style equipment for its 2,316 special agents. The tax collecting agency has billed taxpayers for pump-action and semi-automatic shotguns, semi-automatic Smith & Wesson M&P15s, and Heckler & Koch H&K 416 rifles, which can be loaded with 30-round magazines.

The EPA spent $3.1 million on guns, ammo, and equipment, including drones, night vision, “camouflage and other deceptive equipment,” and body armor.

When asked about the spending, and EPA spokesman said the report “cherry picks information and falsely misrepresents the work of two administrations whose job is to protect public health.”

“Many purchases were mischaracterized or blown out of proportion in the report,” said spokesman Nick Conger. “EPA’s criminal enforcement program has not purchased unmanned aircraft, and the assertions that military-grade weapons are part of its work are false.”

“EPA’s criminal enforcement program investigates and prosecutes the most egregious violators of our nation’s environmental laws, and EPA criminal enforcement agents are law enforcement professionals who have undergone the same rigorous training as other federal agents,” Conger continued.

Other administration agencies that have purchased guns and ammo include the Small Business Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Education, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The report also highlighted that the Department of Health and Human Services has “special agents” with “sophisticated military-style weapons.” Open the Books also found $42 million in gun and ammunition purchases that were incorrectly coded.

“Some purchases were actually for ping-pong balls, gym equipment, bread, copiers, cotton balls, or cable television including a line item from the Coast Guard entered as ‘Cable Dude,’” the report said.

Open the Books appealed to both liberals like Bernie Sanders—who has called for demilitarizing local police departments—and conservatives in its report.

“Conservatives argue that it is hypocritical for political leaders to undermine the Second Amendment while simultaneously equipping non-military agencies with hollow-point bullets and military style equipment,” Open the Books said. “One could argue the federal government itself has become a gun show that never adjourns with dozens of agencies continually shopping for new firearms.”

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Update June 23, 10:15 a.m.: Following publication of this article, Adam Andrzejewski, the CEO of Open the Books who wrote the report, pushed back against the EPA’s statement, and provided contract data to back up his claims.

“How can the EPA spokesperson deny hard facts from their own checkbook?” he said. “Alongside our oversight report, OpenTheBooks.com also released a PDF of all raw data. This line-by-line transactional record from the EPA’s own checkbook on page 113 clearly shows that in 2013 and 2014 the EPA purchased tens of thousands of dollars of ‘Unmanned Aircraft’ from Bergen RC Helicopters Inc which on a net basis amounted to approximately $34,000.”

“All of the assertions in our oversight report are the quantification of actual spending records produced and reported to us by the federal agencies themselves,” Andrzejewski said.

SOURCE

ATF Preparing to Outlaw Shotguns

ATF Preparing to Outlaw Shotguns

The Constitution states that Congress and the federal government shall not infringe upon the right to bear arms. However, we know in the past the federal government has trampled this liberty. Remember the assault weapons ban that banned AR-15s and other rifles?

It appears the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms is preparing to pass its own law leaving Congress out of the equation and clearly ignoring the Constitution. This time its shotguns that are under attack.

The Greeley Gazette
notes of the ATF’s coming ban:

The ATF completed a study regarding the importability of certain shotguns. The basis for a possible ban is based on a loosely defined “Sporting Purpose” test. Using the vague definition almost all pump-action and semi-automatic shotguns could be banned as they are all capable of accepting a magazine, box or tube capable of holding more than 5 rounds. Other characteristics determined to be “military” by the ATF can also be used as a basis for a ban.

Ironically, many shotguns with “military” features are currently being used in shooting competitions held by the USPSA, IDPA and IPSC. The rules could also result in obscure regulations where an individual would be unsure if he is violating them or not.
Dudley Brown, Executive Director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, said if the ATF succeeds with the banning of tactical shotguns it “will be the most dangerous interpretation of the 1968 Gun Control Act ever envisioned and will outlaw thousands of perfectly legitimate home defense shotguns.”

The ATF is currently allowing public comments on the study until the end of the month. Those wishing to express concerns about the study can send an email to [email protected]

SOURCE

Could Your Shotgun Soon be Outlawed? Maybe, If the ATF Has Its Way

by Jonathon M. Seidl Jonathon M. Seidl

What’s the definition of a “shotgun?” According to Dictionary.com it’s “a smoothbore gun for firing small shot to kill birds and small quadrupeds, though often used with buckshot to kill larger animals.” For the gun enthusiasts, that’s only partly true, as there is also the option of using slugs. But what if there’s another addition that will soon be added to the definition? How about, illegal.

Could Your Shotgun Soon be Outlawed? Maybe, If the ATF Has Its Way

In a series of fascinating, and eerie, posts over at the blog Beregond’s Bar (and linked on Redstate.com), author “Tom” pens a four-part series on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and their new campaign to change the definition of the term “shotgun.” A change, based on a recent study,* that could soon make some of them illegal. But as Tom points out, the implications for all guns are chilling.

Could Your Shotgun Soon be Outlawed? Maybe, If the ATF Has Its Way

Below are excerpts from the series. Click on the appropriate link to read more.

Part 1, which focuses on changing the term “sporting use” in order to ban certain shotguns:

The Obama administration is seeking once again to do via regulation what they would never be able to do via legislation. This time shotguns are in the crosshairs, specifically certain popular imported weapons.

[…]

Sporting use is one of the three main thrusts of gun control efforts in America. The other two are racism and those who openly advocate complete bans except for military and police. (The complete ban advocates often hide under cover of sporting use, but that and the racist history of gun control are topics for another day.
Click here to find out more!

Sporting use was how the original distinction was made about what weapons would be subject to a special tax in the National Firearms Act (NFA) in 1934, and again in Title II of the Gun Control Act of 1968. The congressional power to tax was used selectively to make ownership of weapons the government didn’t like burdensome and expensive. This was gun control via the back door, as even the ATF admits. As would become the pattern, politicians found that actually dealing with crime and criminals was difficult and expensive. Blaming guns and passing a law to look like they were doing something about it was much simpler.

Part 2, which notes that the administration and the ATF’s definition of “sporting use” includes a list of things that cannot apply to such use. Things that are common in hunting and self-defense:

In this case the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) is seeking to master the definition of the term “sporting use” to “traditional” sports, things similar to what might have been found in 1934 when the Treasury Department first began regulating firearms. The ATF “Study on the Importability of Certain Shotguns” (PDF) limits “sporting purpose.”

However, consistent with past court decisions and Congressional intent, the working group recognized hunting and other more generally recognized or formalized competitive events similar to the traditional shooting sports of trap, skeet, and clays.

In order to decide what shotguns fit the “sporting purpose” definition the study comes up with a list of characteristics that aren’t sporting. Nobody has yet taken to bayoneting deer or skeet as far as I know, so I’m not going to raise a big stink about bayonet lugs being on the list of features that aren’t particularly suited for sporting purposes. (Please stop shouting that the Constitution of the United States says nothing about “sporting purpose.” We’ll look at why the “sporting purpose” rule violates the constitution in Part 3.)

One major problem (aside from the constitution) is that many of the features the ATF study group settled on make a shotgun particularly useful for self defense, especially home defense. Here are the characteristics that the study has decided are unsuitable for sporting use:

(1) Folding, telescoping, or collapsible stocks;

(2) bayonet lugs;

(3) flash suppressors;

(4) magazines over 5 rounds, or a drum magazine;

(5) grenade-launcher mounts;

(6) integrated rail systems (other than on top of the receiver or barrel);

(7) light enhancing devices;

(8) excessive weight (greater than 10 pounds for 12 gauge or smaller);

(9) excessive bulk (greater than 3 inches in width and/or greater than 4 inches in depth);

(10) forward pistol grips or other protruding parts designed or used for gripping the shotgun with the shooter’s extended hand.

Some of these features, such as folding stocks and larger capacity magazines clearly are useful in sports if you include practical shooting sports.

Part 3, which looks at how “sporting use” stacks up to the Constitution and how it came into use:

But there is a far more basic objection that must be raised to this new attempt at regulatory gun ban- Nowhere in the constitution of the United States is there anything about a “sporting purpose.” The second amendment says:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Like all rights of Americans, the rights exist because you are a person. The Constitution is a contract we have with the central government to protect those rights against all enemies, foreign and domestic. One of the enumerated rights is the right to keep and bear arms. Nary a “sporting purpose” in sight in the entire document. So where did it come from?

And finally, Part 4, which shows that the ATF’s “sporting use” definition puts all guns, not just certain shotguns, at risk of being outlawed:

One factor that jumps out from the current ATF study is that it differs from the Clinton gun ban in a critical way. The Clinton ban looked at guns and said if it could accept a high capacity magazine and had any 2 other characteristics then it was banned. Thus you could have a magazine and a pistol grip, or a magazine and night sights, and still be legal. Few people missed having a bayonet lug, and grenade launchers and grenades had essentially been banned from civilian hands since the NFA became law in 1934. The current study says that any ONE item on a list, including a magazine that holds more than five rounds or a place to attach a flashlight so you can see the burglar in your home, and the gun is banned.

So the problem doesn’t end with shotguns. The current study refers to the conclusions drawn in prior ATF studies of rifles in 1989 and 1998, and handguns in 1968. It also draws on the NFA and the GCA (Gun Control Act of 1968) to justify the “sporting purpose” test, and the narrow interpretation that the ATF places on the test. The justifications are all linked together, like a knitted sweater. Pull on the piece of yarn called “imported shotguns” and you find when it’s unraveled enough that you’re tugging on the “domestic shotguns” yarn. Only now the “imported rifle” bit of yarn is hanging loose, just begging for someone to tug on it. Unravel that a bit and you reach “domestic rifles.” A similar bit of unraveling is likely to happen with the piece of yarn labelled “handgun.”

Each piece is well worth the time it takes to read it. Meanwhile, the ATF is taking comments on its study. Tom lets you know how here.

But here’s the catch: in order to let the ATF know what you think, you have to give it your mailing address.

Interesting.

*According to Tom, the study “spends a lot of time showing that hunting, trap and skeet, and target shooting are sports, but plinking and practical shooting sports are not REALLY sports, and therefore guns that are particularly suitable for, or readily adaptable to those sports shouldn’t be allowed into the country.

UPDATE:

Jack Minor of the Greeley Gazette covered the ATF’s study, too. He puts in terms of “military”-style shotguns vs. others. But, he notes, according to the specifications used, “military” could apply to so many shotguns:

The ATF completed a study regarding the importability of certain shotguns. The basis for a possible ban is based on a loosely defined “Sporting Purpose” test. Using the vague definition almost all pump-action and semi-automatic shotguns could be banned as they are all capable of accepting a magazine, box or tube capable of holding more than 5 rounds. Other characteristics determined to be “military” by the ATF can also be used as a basis for a ban.

Ironically, many shotguns with “military” features are currently being used in shooting competitions held by the USPSA, IDPA and IPSC. The rules could also result in obscure regulations where an individual would be unsure if he is violating them or not.

Dudley Brown, Executive Director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, said if the ATF succeeds with the banning of tactical shotguns it “will be the most dangerous interpretation of the 1968 Gun Control Act ever envisioned and will outlaw thousands of perfectly legitimate home defense shotguns.”

Breaking: confrontation between Alaska gun store and ATF

Breaking: confrontation between Alaska gun store and ATF

Anthony Martin

Breaking information sent to this reporter moments ago via email from a contact in Anchorage, Alaska indicates that a local gun store has refused to comply with an order from the ATF to turn over to the agency the official ‘Bound Book’ that firearms retailers are required to keep on site on customers and their purchases, photo I.D.s, and background checks.

The store’s refusal has provoked a confrontation with the ATF, which claims that the Bound Book is ‘their property.’

An initial report was published here yesterday concerning this new illegal activity on the part of the ATF.

According to a memo from the Anchorage Second Amendment Task Force, the Great Northern Guns store in Anchorage was asked to give their Bound Book to the ATF so it could be copied in its totality. The store refused, citing their legal rights and the fact that to do so would be a violation of the Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986.
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The Task Force began to make inquiries about the ATF’s request and was told by a local agency official that the Bound Book is the property of the ATF and can be picked up anytime they choose.

But the law appears to say something entirely different.

While it is true that the ATF can gain access to the book, there are specific stipulations concerning the circumstances that would warrant such a request. The law prevents any government agency, including ATF, from taking possession of the entire record of purchases. The agency can, however, gain access to certain specific records under the following three stipulations–there is an ongoing criminal investigation of a customer, there is an annual on site inspection of the store’s records, or there is a need to trace a specific firearm in the midst of an ongoing investigation.

From the Anchorage Second Amendment Task Force Newsletter:

Provisions Of The Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986:
Inspection and Acquisition of Licensee Records

The Gun Control Act required licensees to maintain records of firearm acquisitions, dispositions, and inventories. Furthermore, it permitted warrantless inspection of these “at all reasonable times,” and broadly authorized the Secretary to require submission of reports on the records’ content.

FOPA establishes significant restrictions on the two latter powers. In general, administrative inspections of licensee records now require a magistrate’s warrant, based on a showing of reasonable cause to believe evidence of a violation may be found.

Three exceptions, however, nearly swallow this rule. Neither warrant nor reasonable cause is needed for (1) a reasonable inquiry in the course of a criminal investigation of a person other than the licensee; (2) an annual inspection for ensuring compliance with record keeping requirements; or (3) tracing a firearm in the course of a bona fide criminal investigation. While these sizably reduce application of the warrant and cause requirement, it remains effective for its primary purpose in any event: to prevent inspections undertaken without immediate law enforcement need, or abused for the purpose of harassment.

FOPA also institutes some measures designed to minimize the harassment potential of an otherwise authorized inspection or search. Only records material to a violation of law may be seized and even as to these, copies must be furnished the licensee within a reasonable time. The unusual appearance of the last protection vanishes upon reflection; because a licensee is legally bound to buy and sell only upon recordation, removal of his records is more than an inconvenience.
The power of the Secretary to acquire licensee records is likewise limited by FOPA.
Requirements to (1) submit records upon going out of business, (2) submit a report upon sale of more than one handgun to the same person during the same week and (3) submit reports of sales when ordered to do so by the Secretary, are enacted into law.

Conversely, the Secretary is forbidden to require submission of reports “except as expressly required by this section.” Paralleling this prohibition is the proviso that no future regulation may require that any records required by the Act “be recorded at or transferred to a facility owned, managed, or controlled by the United States or any state or any political subdivision thereof, nor that any system of registration of firearms, firearms owners, or firearms transactions or dispositions be established.”

The problem with the ATF’s request is that it has not specified any of these stipulations justifying its demand for the entire Bound Book.

This led the Second Amendment Task Force to question the agency’s motives, even to the point of suspecting that the action is some sort of de facto registration scheme being conducted by the Obama Administration. An agent who was contacted by the Task Force would not provide any information on the request other than to say the directive came ‘from on high.’

The Task Force interpreted that to mean the Seattle Field Division. The Task Force has also initiated inquiries into firearms dealers in other states to ascertain if the ATF directive is broad based or confined to Alaska.

More information will be provided on this breaking story as it becomes available.

Notice! My latest entry in what is turning into a regular, ongoing series of musings after midnight at my blog, The Liberty Sphere, is now posted. I present more in depth personal reflections delineating the acute danger America faces at this hour. It is a dire warning to the serious reader who loves freedom and the principles handed down to us by the Framers. Don’t miss it.

Continue reading on Examiner.com Breaking: confrontation between Alaska gun store and ATF – National Conservative | Examiner.com SOURCE

U.S. Government Used Taxpayer Funds to Buy, Sell Weapons During ‘Fast and Furious,’

U.S. Government Used Taxpayer Funds to Buy, Sell Weapons During ‘Fast and Furious,’ Documents Show

By William Lajeunesse

Not only did U.S. officials approve, allow and assist in the sale of more than 2,000 guns to the Sinaloa cartel — the federal government used taxpayer money to buy semi-automatic weapons, sold them to criminals and then watched as the guns disappeared.

This disclosure, revealed in documents obtained by Fox News, could undermine the Department of Justice’s previous defense that Operation Fast and Furious was a “botched” operation where agents simply “lost track” of weapons as they were transferred from one illegal buyer to another. Instead, it heightens the culpability of the federal government as Mexico, according to sources, has opened two criminal investigations into the operation that flooded their country with illegal weapons.

Documents Detail ATF Involvement in ‘Fast and Furious’

The following documents detail the role the ATF played in buying and selling weapons as part of its controversial “Fast and Furious” operation.

Operation Fast and Furious began in October 2009. In it, federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives encouraged gun stores to sell weapons to an arms smuggling gang, then watched as the guns crossed the border and were used in crimes. Each month, the agency allowed hundreds of guns to go South, despite opposition from some agents.

All told, the gang spent more than $1.25 million for the illegal guns.

In June 2010, however, the ATF dramatically upped the ante, making the U.S. government the actual “seller” of guns.

According to documents obtained by Fox News, Agent John Dodson was ordered to buy six semi-automatic Draco pistols — two of those were purchased at the Lone Wolf gun store in Peoria, Ariz. An unusual sale, Dodson was sent to the store with a letter of approval from David Voth, an ATF group supervisor.

Dodson then sold the weapons to known illegal buyers, while fellow agents watched from their cars nearby.

This was not a “buy-bust” or a sting operation, where police sell to a buyer and then arrest them immediately afterward. In this case, agents were “ordered” to let the sale go through and follow the weapons to a stash house.

According to sources directly involved in the case, Dodson felt strongly that the weapons should not be abandoned and the stash house should remain under 24-hour surveillance. However, Voth disagreed and ordered the surveillance team to return to the office. Dodson refused, and for six days in the desert heat kept the house under watch, defying direct orders from Voth.

A week later, a second vehicle showed up to transfer the weapons. Dodson called for an interdiction team to move in, make the arrest and seize the weapons. Voth refused and the guns disappeared with no surveillance.

According to a story posted Sunday on a website dedicated to covering Fast and Furious, Voth gave Dodson the assignment to “dirty him up,” since Dodson had become the most vocal critic of the operation.

“I think Dodson demanded the letter from Voth to cover both himself and the FFL (Federal Firearm Licensee). He didn’t want to be hung out to dry by Voth,” a source told the website “Sipsey Street Irregulars.”

Subsequent to this undercover operation, sources told Sipsey, “Dodson just about came apart all over them (his supervisors). In a ‘screaming match’ that was heard throughout the Phoenix office by many employees, Dodson yelled at Voth and Assistant Special Agent in Charge George Gillett, ‘Why not just go direct and empty out the (ATF) arms room?” (to the cartels), or words to that effect.’

After the confrontation, ATF managers transferred Dodson to a more menial job. Months later, after the death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, Dodson blew the whistle and went public about the federal government’s gunrunning operation.

Read more: SOURCE