24 August 2005

ATF Out of Control

I first heard about his on talk radio this morning as I was driving to the courthouse. When I got back to my office this afternoon I did a search on Yahoo News, tracing the story back to CNSNews.com. Nobody else seems to have covered the story.

The ATF, with the cooperation of local and State police, descended on a gun show en masse; the article states that nearly 500 police participated (I'm a little skeptical at that number). They parked cars in obvious places and seem to have made very sure that everyone knew they were there. One guy who was there to legally sell a couple firearms was rousted and held for having a suspended driving license.

The worst is that the ATF took information which could only be legally used for the computer check and sent officers to the houses of people who were buying firearms to question people about the purchaser: "Gee, did you know your husband was going to a gun show today? Do you have his cell phone number? Did you know he was buying a gun?"

12 comments:

Matt Rustler said...

I had heard rumors about this. It doesn't surprise me. The NRA's "jackbooted thugs" ad, while it may have been ill-advised as a PR matter, was very accurate as a factual matter. ATF has been out of control for a long time, and Bush has done an abysmal job of reigning it in. Under Reagan, ATF's budget was cut so severely that it was effectively defanged. But in the brave, new world of homeland security and spendthrifty Republicans, no one in government seems to be paying attention anymore.

Anonymous said...

Too bad we're still in that "awkward phase."

Anonymous said...

http://www2.vcdl.org/cgi-bin/wspd_cgi.sh/vcdl/vadetail.html?RECID=842115&FILTER=

This appears to be the origin of the story. There is nothing independent in support. There is some lame nonsense about "total news blackout."

I think you have been hoaxed.

Ken Lammers said...

I don't know if it is a hoax, but I suspect it has exaggerations. For instance, I have a rough idea of the force strengths of local police forces and 500 officers would be a strain.

I suspect that there probably were at least a few "straw-man" checks to see if someone actually lived where he claimed to and wasn't buying firearms in order to take them back to NYC with him.

And, yes, I would be happier if I could have found this story in a local news outlet. However, I know that the local talk radio guy was talking about how he tried to contact the police and couldn't get them to talk about it (which would be strange if it were entirely untrue).

Spade said...

VCDL is a straight up organization. They don't through bull around.

Brad said...

The story I read said there were 50 LE harrasing the gun show, not 500. Sounds like someone slipped on the keyboard when repeating the story.

Brad said...

D'oh!

My mistake. I read the same story everyone else seems to have, and the number of local police supposedly involved in the ATF operation was 500. I can only guess I got confused with the number of cop cars reported at the gun show, which was 50.

Firehand said...

Matt, remember the 'jackbooted thugs' comment came from a speech on the floor of the House from a Democrat(can't remember his name offhand). Not a word said about it in the news, but when NRA quoted it in that letter...

Kevin said...

Firehand, the quote came from the Democrat Congressman from Michigan, John Dingell, during House testimony concerning BATF abuses (and at that time they were many). The full quote is: "If I were to select a jack-booted group of fascists who were perhaps as large a danger to American society as I could pick today, I would pick BATF. They are a shame and a disgrace to our country."

Disclosure: Dingell was, at one time, an NRA Board Member.

Maria said...

The original alert sent by VCDL president to the list-serve members did not mention the total number of officers, only that there were over 17 ATF agents. Quote from the message:

"They had over 17 BATFE agents at that show. Richmond and Henrico had a large number of officers running to the homes of anyone purchasing a handgun to ask questions."

I would guess the 500 is a typo, not a hoax.

Barry said...

Remember, the ATF is the IRS with guns, the IRS is the ATF without guns.

Anonymous said...

Remember, the ATF is the IRS with guns, the IRS is the ATF without guns.

Actually, IRS agents can, and sometimes do, carry guns. I can't find the statute at the moment, but googling 'irs +"carry guns"' will turn up examples.