Category: Gun Fearing Wussies
The federal government has been using Americans’ income and gun purchases to conduct warrantless tracking and deny Second Amendment rights. Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) gave salary estimates to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as the reason to have people’s firearms purchases monitored.
Erich Pratt, senior vice president of Gun Owners of America (GOA), told The Epoch Times that the ATF’s activities “monitoring innocent people” is a serious problem. “Congress needs to rein in this rogue agency by either exercising oversight over it or abolishing the unconstitutional agency altogether,” said Pratt.
These revelations come from new documents, viewed by The Epoch Times which it received from its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. The latest production from the FOIA has hundreds of pages—many redacted—showing ATF agents requesting warrantless surveillance by the FBI for lawful reasons such as low salaries, past firearm purchases, and sending “bizarre” messages.
The Epoch Times exclusively reported in January about the FBI’s secret monitoring service that tracks people by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) for gun purchases for mere “potential violations of law.”
Too Poor to Buy Guns
According to the documents, a man in Arizona was put into the NICS’s daily monitoring because he has a “reported income” of only $2,839. The ATF agent wrote, “In my experience, someone with this amount of income would not be able to afford 20 firearms.”
An Asian man in Texas was put on the manual background check because the ATF said he has “no work history” which “could possibly indicate” that he is “straw purchasing.”
A special agent in Kansas emailed ATF’s liaison at the NICS to flag two purchasers for “potential trafficking.” The agent wrote: “My targets are purchasing an abundance of firearms without a license or known financial means to obtain the product.”
The FBI’s NICS expert instructed the agent in Kansas on what to include to ensure approval for tracking the suspects. “I would suggest covering the lack of income versus expenditures and also if there is substantial make/model duplication,” wrote the FBI. The ATF agent emailed back with the incomes for each man, acquired by the Kansas Department of Labor.
All the cases in the documents are related to the ATF investigating dealing firearms without a license and straw purchasing, which is buying guns for people prohibited from owning a firearm.
Gun rights activists say federal law enforcement is missing the mark.
“The poor usually live in areas with the most crime and thus have a strong need to arm themselves heavily,” Pratt said. “So targeting the indigent is simply another avenue for gun grabbers to implement a backdoor gun ban.”
ATF headquarters will not disclose how it acquired the other suspects’ incomes, employment information, and past gun purchases found in the FOIA forms.
“We are unable to discuss specific techniques utilized in criminal investigations,” ATF spokesman Erik Longnecker told The Epoch Times. “ATF utilizes a multitude of legal means in our criminal investigations to protect our communities from violent gun crime.”
Longnecker referred The Epoch Times to the National Tracing Center website for information about “several overt programs such as multiple sales and demand letters that can be helpful in identifying illegal firearms trafficking.”
Buying Too Many Guns
A black man in Florida was monitored daily by the FBI for at least 90 days in 2020 because an ATF agent wrote: “Based on my training and experience, I have not seen a legal firearms purchaser purchase approximately 30 firearms in a 120-day window for their personal collection.”
Licensed firearms dealers must report to ATF the sale of two or more handguns to the same purchaser within five consecutive business days. However, there is no federal law limiting the number of guns a person can buy.
“Some agent just decided that is enough Second Amendment for you this year,” Robert Olson, the attorney who filed the FOIA lawsuit for the GOA, told The Epoch Times.
Buying and Selling Guns
A Wisconsin man was put under surveillance in 2020 because an ATF agent saw text messages related to buying and selling guns and suspected dealing without a license. The agent said the man bought guns from the website Gunbroker.com, transferred them through a local gun store, and then resold the firearms “using email, text messaging, and the website Armslist.com.”
There is more redacted black markings than visible information on this form, but it does not disclose the number of guns the suspect bought and sold.
The ATF has an online guide that explains: “If you only make occasional sales of firearms from your personal collection, you do not need to be licensed.” It also says you “will need a license if you repetitively buy and sell firearms with the principal motive of making a profit.”
Too Many Gun Parts
In the secret documents, an ATF agent asked the FBI to flag a man in Arizona suspected of dealing parts of guns. “In my experience, it is common for people to purchase large number of AR-15 style lower receivers, build them into rifles, and sell the rifles for profit,” the agent wrote to get the suspect put into NICS.
A “lower receiver” is the base part of an AR-style rifle which has a serial number on it. It cannot fire without a barrel, trigger, and other parts put on it.
“It is common for people to buy several lower receivers and build them into finished guns. If it’s your hobby, that is not sufficient to prove you are illegally dealing firearms,” said attorney Olson. “How does the agent distinguish between the Second Amendment enthusiast and the criminals?”
A Missouri man was put into NICS after an ATF agent emailed that a “U.S. Attorney’s Office asked that we monitor his activity due to recent threats and bizarre messages he has been leaving.”
The agent wrote that the man “was recently released from BOP [Bureau of Prisons] and has begun making threats toward the U.S. Attorney’s Office, federal judge, and ATF case agent.” The completed form does not indicate the man has committed a felony, which would mean he would be in the NICS and prevented from buying a gun at the point of sale.
“Sending bizarre messages is not something that makes you lose your Second Amendment rights,” said Olson. “He sounds like a bad guy, but it’s not connected to firearms. That’s a huge misuse of the background check process.”
The ATF’s law enforcement role is to investigate when a prohibited person completes a 4473 gun background check, and the NICS denies the purchase. In one case in the files, the ATF appears to have a woman tracked before the investigation has been done and based on an anonymous tip.
Documents show a Hispanic woman in Texas was put into the NICS because an agent got an “iTip provided by an anonymous person” who related that she had “purchased 10 firearms in the last two weeks.”
The agent wrote that the investigation was incomplete because it did not have the background check forms from the dealer (“4473s”) nor video footage from the store.
ATF and FBI Unbowed
There are no instances of the FBI denying any ATF request to put a person under warrantless surveillance in all the documents released so far. Moreover, there are no documents showing the monitoring periods ended. As we previously reported, the FBI told the ATF that it will renew the NICS flags of 30 to 120 days and limitless times if requested.
“It’s time for Congress to repeal the NICS check. Given that more than 95 percent of the initial stops are for mistaken identity, it is clear that NICS is not keeping guns out of criminals’ hands,” GOA’s Pratt said.
The ATF spokesman declined to say if this monitoring program with the FBI was ongoing. The FBI did not respond to a request for comment for this story.
Speaking to the House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference Wednesday in Baltimore, President Joe Biden once again vowed to ban so-called “assault weapons” as the Democrat audience cheered.
The reaction Biden received only serves to reinforce what the Second Amendment Foundation said recently in the organization’s 2023 advertising effort: “Your Second Amendment rights are under attack like no other time in history.”
Biden had been speaking for 24 minutes before he told the audience, “I know it may make some of you uncomfortable, but that little state above me, Delaware is one of them, has the highest rate, one of the highest rates of gun ownership. But guess what? We’re going to ban assault weapons again come hell or high water and high capacity magazines.”
However, Ammoland checked and discovered Biden’s remarks about Delaware are not true, according to a chart posted online by World Population Review, which lists Biden’s home state near the bottom of the list with 34.4 percent gun ownership. Putting this in perspective, Montana is at the top with 66.3 percent, followed by neighboring Wyoming at 66.2 percent and Alaska at 64.5 percent.
Going down the Top Ten list, Idaho is fourth at 60.1 percent, West Virginia is next with 58.5 percent, Arkansas at 57.2 percent, followed by Mississippi at 55.8 percent, Alabama with 55.5 percent, South Dakota at 55.3 percent and North Dakota 55.1 percent.
While the remark is yet one more example of Biden fibbing about guns, his remark inadvertently recognized how uncomfortable some members of his party are about the rate of gun ownership in the country.
Thanks to the SAF advertising effort, Biden has become infamous for telling a CNN Townhall audience in 2021 that he not only wants to ban semiautomatic rifles—the so-called “assault weapons” against which has crusaded for decades—but also 9mm pistols, the most popular personal protection handgun in the country. The film clip of Biden actually saying so is at the heart of the SAF 60-second advertisement.
SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb noted recently that their advertisements were aired more than 1,000 times last year, and were viewed by more than 85 million people, including those who saw the ad “multiple times.” The message is broadcast on several different cable networks.
While Fox News reported Biden’s remarks, other news outlets have overlooked his promise, instead focusing on other parts of the president’s 34-minute speech.
Biden has repeated the vow to ban “assault weapons” since the Feb. 13 attack at Michigan State University left three students dead and others wounded. The man believed responsible, Anthony McRae, was not a student or staffer at the university in Lansing, Mich. Authorities still haven’t publicized a motive, and McRae left the campus only to take his own life a couple of hours later. He used a handgun, not a rifle, in the attack.
That attack came almost five years to the day (Feb. 14, 2018) that 17 students and adults were murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
But Biden may be unable to fulfill his threat to ban semi-auto rifles for a couple of reasons:
- Republicans now control the U.S. House of Representatives, and the caucus appears in no mood to entertain the president’s anti-gun agenda.
- Federal courts in Maryland and California are currently in the throes of re-examining bans in those states under the new guidelines established by the Supreme Court last June in the Bruen ruling.
Biden has been a leading proponent of gun control since he arrived on Capitol Hill some 50 years ago. He claims credit for shepherding the Clinton ban through Congress in the mid-1990s, but never mentions that passage of that legislation—during Bill Clinton’s first term as president—cost Democrats the majority in both the House and Senate in the 1994 mid-term elections.
His promise to ban “high capacity magazines” is also in trouble, as state-level bans are being challenged in federal courts by SAF and other gun rights organizations.
According to the World Population Review report, “Estimates show that there are anywhere from over 200 million to more than 350 million guns in the U.S. Because of variances in regulations throughout the nation, it’s impossible to get exact numbers when it comes to the total number of guns in the nation and the number of guns in each state.”
About Dave Workman
Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.
- In 2022, Federal Firearm License (FFL) revocations hit a 16-year high after the Biden administration implemented a “zero tolerance” policy for gun dealers.
- The increase in license revocations, 92 in 2022 alone, is due to the new policy and the updated procedure that the ATF follows, as they no longer always go through a multi-step process, often opting to pull licenses for a multitude of “willful” violations.
- “That’s not how regulatory agencies are supposed to work in the sector that they’re supposed to regulate. They are supposed to help the companies, they’re supposed to ensure compliance but they’re not supposed to punish and destroy an entire industry based on just political opposition or political distaste,” Gun Owners of America Director of Federal Affairs Aidan Johnston told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Gun stores are closing at rapid rates after the Biden administration implemented a “zero tolerance” policy for gun dealers and added updated language to define what can be classified as a “willful” violation, leaving Federal Firearm License (FFL) revocations at a 16-year high, according to Second Amendment advocacy group Gun Owners of America (GOA).
The increase in FFL revocations is due, in part, to language and administrative changes within the ATF, as the prior guidance said that the ATF “may” revoke FFls while the new “zero tolerance” policy says that the ATF “will” revoke FFLs for initial violations. The increase in license revocations, 92 in 2022 alone, is also due to the updated procedure that the ATF follows, as they no longer always go through a multi-step process, often opting to pull licenses for a multitude of “willful” violations, according to a GOA fact sheet and leaked documents on the updated policy. (RELATED: The ATF’s Pistol Brace Final Rule Sets The Stage To Classify Legal Gun Owners As Criminals)
“Back in the day there was a process that they would go through when they discover a mistake or an incorrect record, and it starts with a warning letter. They work with the FFL, and then on second inspection, if they find more mistakes, they’ll do a work conference and actually talk to the FFL. Then, if they still are uncompliant, after that they would do a license revocation hearing,” GOA Director of Federal Affairs Aidan Johnston told the DCNF.
Under the Biden administration’s new policy, the warning letter and conference safeguards are often circumvented, leaving the ATF to pull licenses on the first go-around, Johnston told the DCNF.
“That’s not how regulatory agencies are supposed to work in the sector that they’re supposed to regulate. They are supposed to help the companies, they’re supposed to ensure compliance but they’re not supposed to punish and destroy an entire industry based on just political opposition or political distaste,” Johnston continued.
The 2022 revocations were the highest since 2008, tripled 2021’s revocations and exceeded revocations from years when twice as many gun stores were inspected, according to the fact sheet. The ATF also issued another 136 warning conferences, the steepest penalty inspectors can recommend without revocation.
“The real problem is that under Biden the ATF can’t be trusted to not use the so-called zero tolerance policy to shut down legitimate gun stores. Biden is already illegally using the ATF to redefine what a firearm is without the authorization of Congress to implement his attack on the rights of gun owners,” gun rights advocacy group Second Amendment Foundation founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb told the DCNF.
One store owner, J.C. Harrison, from Johnson City, Tennessee, received a letter from the ATF in April of 2022 notifying him that they had revoked his license, according to NBC affiliate WCYB 5. Harrison appealed the decision, but was denied, saying the action was an “attack on the Second Amendment through the back door.”
The bill would also ban anyone younger than 21 from having a permit to carry their gun concealed and would require all permit holders to have more training, including on how to safely store and transport guns.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to limit where people can carry concealed guns after multiple mass shootings left dozens dead across the state in January, calling for more restrictions in a state that already has some of the nation’s toughest gun laws.
He endorsed legislation Wednesday that would ban people from carrying concealed guns into churches, public libraries, zoos, amusement parks, playgrounds, banks and all other privately owned businesses that are open to the public. The rule wouldn’t apply if the business owner puts up a sign that says concealed guns are allowed.
Democratic state Sen. Anthony Portantino, the bill’s author, called that exception “a legal nuance that I think helps it with constitutional muster.”
“This is not window dressing. This is to put a strong bill on the governor’s desk to withstand a legal challenge that is sure to come,” Portantino said.
It would also ban anyone younger than 21 from having a permit to carry their gun concealed and would require all permit holders to have more training, including on how to safely store and transport guns.
California and half a dozen other states previously had laws that required people to give a reason if they wanted to carry a concealed gun in public — like citing a direct threat to their public safety.
But a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year struck down those laws, making it easier for people in those states to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
California Democrats tried to pass new rules last year — and they would have succeeded, had it not been for a strategic blunder requiring a two-thirds vote of the Legislature so the bill could take effect immediately. Democrats could not round up enough support, and the bill died.
“That’s not going to happen this year,” Newsom said. “I will be signing this legislation.”
Newsom and legislative Democrats vowed to double down on passing a new law this year. Their cause came with renewed urgency, after mass shootings in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay left 18 people dead and 10 others wounded. In total, the state had six mass shootings in January and at least 29 people were killed.
When asked by a reporter if there is evidence that recent mass shootings are linked to the state’s concealed carry process, Newsom said investigators are still analyzing the specifics of the shootings.
“None of us came up here today asserting that this was in response to them,” Newsom said of the concealed carry proposal.
“Then what’s the point?” said Republican Assemblyman and former Riverside Deputy District Attorney, Bill Essayli. “He’s pandering, this is all politics and we’re tired of politics, we want solutions for Californians.”
Essayli and other Republicans have said the state needs to do a better job of enforcing gun and public safety laws already on the state’s books.
“This bill goes after law-abiding concealed carry weapons owners who we know are the safest and most responsible gun owners in society, we need to be going after the people who should not be having guns,” Essayli said.
Here is a look at some firearm-related bills state lawmakers will consider this year:
AB 97: Makes possession of an unserialized, or ghost gun, a felony.
SB 2: Sets new limits for concealed carry permit holders
AB 303: Requires the state attorney general to create an online database for the state’s Armed and Prohibited Persons System.
AB 328: Would reinstate harsher penalties for those who use a gun in the process of committing a violent crime.
AB 28: Creates a new tax on firearms and ammunition to fund gun violence protections.
–KCRA 3’s Ashley Zavala contributed to this story.
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – Some sheriff’s offices across Oklahoma are standing against the enforcement of a new gun rule from the U.S. Department of Justice that expands the definition of short-barreled rifles to include pistols with stabilizing braces. These sheriffs assert that the new rule contradicts the Oklahoma Second Amendment Sanctuary Act.
On January 13, the DOJ submitted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ “Stabilizing Braces” Final Rule, “which makes clear that when manufacturers, dealers, and individuals use stabilizing braces to convert pistols into rifles with a barrel of less than 16 inches, commonly referred to as a short-barreled rifles, they must comply with the laws that regulate those rifles, including the National Firearms Act (NFA).”
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said the rule “makes clear that firearm manufacturers, dealers, and individuals cannot evade these important public safety protections simply by adding accessories to pistols that transform them into short-barreled rifles.”
elbach explained further.
“Short-barreled rifles have the greater capability of long guns, yet are easier to conceal, like a pistol,” he said. “But certain so-called stabilizing braces are designed to just attach to pistols, essentially converting them into short-barreled rifles to be fired from the shoulder. Therefore, they must be treated in the same way under the statute.”
On Tuesday, Oklahoma County Sheriff Tommie Johnson lll said per the Oklahoma Second Amendment Sanctuary Act, his office cannot enforce the rule established by the DOJ since it’s not a federal law.
“This state statute creates a contradiction,” he said. “Therefore, I have instructed my deputies, if you encounter someone in possession of a pistol with a stabilizing brace during a low-level incidental contact like a traffic stop, traffic collision, or a motorist assist, deputies are not to take any action in regard to enforcement of ATF Final rule 2021R-08f… In other words, if a deputy encounters someone with a pistol equipped with a stabilizing brace, they will take no action against that person unless that person is using the weapon in the commission of a crime.”
Sheriff Damon Devereaux of Logan County and Sheriff Jim Mullett of Garvin County announced similar positions on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.
“The Logan County Sheriff’s Office stands with our neighbors to the South, Sheriff Tommy Johnson lll, and The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office and any other Sheriff’s Office or other Law Enforcement in defense of rights,” Devereaux said, citing Oklahoma State Statutes 1289.24d and 1289.24e.
Joshua Harris-Till, a leader with the Oklahoma chapter of Moms Demand Action, disagrees with the stance.
“The sheriff’s office should uphold this new rule because it is just a clarification on the short-barrel firearm laws already on the books,” he said. “It shouldn’t be something that we’re saying is a threat to the Second Amendment. All it is is a clarification.”
He explained how enforcing the rule of registering pistols with stabilizing braces as short-barreled rifles will make things better.
“It doesn’t make them illegal, inherently,” he explained. “What it makes is an opportunity for you to register those guns to show that you are a responsible gun owner and that your guns won’t be used in any of the crimes that are happening. And that’s going to help us kind of determine which guns are supposed to be on the streets and which guns aren’t. And so, if you really support responsible gun ownership, you should be in favor of this law and in favor of the registration so that we can figure out how to end gun violence.”
The DOJ said beyond background checks and serial numbers, the heightened requirements for short-barreled rifles include taxation and registration requirements that include background checks for all transfers including private transfers.
The new rule allows for a 120-day period for manufacturers, dealers, and individuals to register tax-free any existing NFA short-barreled rifles covered by the rule. Other options including removing the stabilizing brace to return the firearm to a pistol or surrendering covered short-barreled rifles to ATF. Nothing in this rule bans stabilizing braces or the use of stabilizing braces on pistols.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced a series of proposals aimed at curbing gun violence in the state during a press conference in Waterbury on Monday.
The proposals, which will be introduced during the 2023 legislative session include:
- Banning open carry of firearms in public
- Allowing concealed carry with a permit except in certain locations
- Limiting handgun purchases to one per month
- Updating the state’s ban on unregistered “ghost guns.”
These proposals will be part of the governor’s package of priorities for the 2023 legislative session, which he plans to present to the Connecticut General Assembly in February.
Gov. Lamont’s plans were also introduced in a press release via his official site.
Even though Lamont acknowledged that Connecticut is one of the safest states in the country, he claims the reforms are “commonsense” and even necessary due to rising rates of gun violence around the country.
“It’s our responsibility to implement policies that keep our homes and our neighborhoods safe, and we have to take every opportunity to keep our residents protected,” Lamont said. “These commonsense reforms will protect our neighborhoods and the people who live in them.”
State Sen. Gary Winfield and State Rep. Steven Stafstrom, co-chairs of the Judiciary Committee, praised the governor’s proposals.
“I have seen the success of our state-supported community violence intervention programs up close and personal,” Winfield said. “They are critical to addressing and preventing gun violence in our communities, where strict gun laws fail to stop gun-related crime. We have the ability to address the root causes of gun violence and get to the individuals at risk of committing these offenses.”
Stafstrom agreed with Winfield.
“These critical reforms attack gun violence in our neighborhoods from every angle,” Stafstrom said. “I’ve supported some of these proposals in the past, and I look forward to working with the committee and the governor to get a commonsense gun violence package accomplished this session.”
According to Fox News, Republicans in the Democratic-controlled legislature took issue with the governor’s proposals, criticizing him for putting law-abiding citizens at risk while not placing enough emphasis on criminals.
“Today the Governor and Democrats pitched a familiar path to an ‘everybody problem’ by offering proposals that will again have law-abiding gun owners carrying most of the freight,” said House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora. “Missing from their news conference was any talk about focusing on the people who are squarely responsible for causing mayhem in our communities.”
The Governor’s proposal also includes allocating an additional $2.5 million for the community gun violence intervention and prevention program, which will continue funding for the staff at the Department of Public Health who oversee this program and also provide grants for community-based violence intervention organizations.
During Lamont’s time in office, he’s made gun control one of his primary goals. Starting in 2019, he made so-called “ghost guns” illegal unless the purchaser receives an official serial number from the state. In that same month, he banned gun owners from leaving their firearms unsecured in vehicles and homes. Part of that legislation was called “Ethan’s Law” in honor of 15-year-old Ethan Song, who was accidentally shot and killed while handling a .357 Magnum at his neighbor’s house.
This press conference took place less than a year after Lamont announced a $64 million dollar proposal for gun control which he claimed was supposed to address rising crime rates in the state.
“You’re not tough on crime if you’re weak on guns,” Lamont told reporters at the state Capitol in Hartford. ”We’re going to continue to stay tough on guns.”