September 28, 2023
These tools of tyrants willingly enforce infringements. Servants of the people would instead enforce rights “to secure the Blessings of Liberty.” (ATF/Facebook)

U.S.A. — “The ATF has Weaponized Its Zero Tolerance Policy for FFLs,” Gun Owners of America reports. “These power-hungry bureaucrats wielded the Biden Administration’s ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy for Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) as a weapon to retaliate against a gun store that joined us in previous litigation against the ATF.

“The ATF’s conduct in the case strongly suggests that the investigation and subsequent revocation of the stores FFLs was politically motivated retribution,” GOA observed.

“Morehouse Enterprises in North Dakota teamed up with Gun Owners of America (GOA) to fight the ATF’s attempt to regulate unfinished frames and receivers through bureaucratic Fiat,” John Crump elaborated for Ammoland. “Shortly after Morehouse Enterprises filed suit, the ATF launched an inspection of the gun shop.

“The ATF found five policy violations, three of which [were] simple paperwork errors,” Crump explained. “On May 23, 2023, the ATF informed Morehouse Enterprises of its intent to revoke both of the company’s FFLs, even though the second FFL did not have any violations. President Biden has pressured the ATF to shut down FFLs through his zero-tolerance policies.”

In Crump’s article, GOA’s complaint brings to mind two related matters from the past, illustrating the impossible-to-comply-with “standards” ATF inconsistently applies, and another instance that shows the Bureau has plenty of tolerance for its agents lying under oath.

The first abuse of regulatory authority I covered in detail was when the Bureau tried to shut down Red’s Trading Post in Idaho over some minor recordkeeping glitches they cherry-picked, double-counted, and classified as “willful,” all the while calculatedly excluding subsequent audits where no violations were found. An interesting development arising from my coverage, and ATF inspectors being uncomfortable with it, was a warning conveyed to me from a U.S. Marshal threatening to invoke the Court Security Improvement Act of 2007, carrying a sentence of “up to five years,” specifically, “in regard to posting any information with the intent to threaten, intimidate, or incite the commission of a crime of violence against that covered official… ”

Shine a light on armed bullies, and you’re the terrorist.

The second investigation I conducted involved ATF revocation actions against Brinks, Inc. in defiance of policy and law. Follow-up reports detailed how ATF was creating a legal injustice, how the company was forced to turn to the courts to protect itself, and how “serious inconsistencies” in inspections and application of rules were exposed. Their dirty tricks included improperly causing a hearing to be removed from the court calendar, and preventing Brinks from seeking discovery crucial to its case for a scheduled revocation hearing.

Fortunately, both of the above cases had happy endings, albeit forced ones by those who would not give up, including by banging pots and pans to call attention to the injustices. Victory was not the case with FFLs who were arrested for allegedly knowingly selling guns to cartel members while operating a New Mexico gun store.

All of the Reese family members were found not guilty on the most serious charges of conspiracy. Additionally and significantly, money laundering charges against them were dismissed. Husband Rick, wife Terri, and son Ryin were each convicted on lesser charges of making false statements on forms, basically under the presumption that they should have known federal agents were lying. Son Remington was cleared of all charges.

They settled on the lesser charges because they did not have the resources to defend themselves after the government seized their assets. It ended their nightmare ordeal, but not until after they’d been deprived of their livelihoods, freedom, and property, including “approximately 1,191 firearms” and “approximately 4,761 ammunition magazines.”

The cartel allegations, however, reveal yet another area of culpability where ATF’s hands are dripping with blood: In Operation Fast and Furious, ATF allowed guns from stores they pressured to be “walked” to Mexico, resulting in some found at crime scenes, often next to bodies. Those were then traced back to U.S. gun stores, where the incidents were exploited to demand more “gun laws” here. My laboriously documented work breaking and following that story, along with that of colleague and reporting partner the late Mike Vanderboegh, is currently preserved over at the Internet Archive.

And the thing is, Fast and Furious and its resulting deaths would not have happened at all had the then-Democrat-controlled House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform not been deliberately (politically) indifferent to allegations of waste, abuse, corruption, and fraud documented by fed-up whistleblowers on the CleanUpATF website.

Look for our work to continue being buried and effectively unfindable in the archives. Don’t look for the DSM to continue doing anything but ignoring it or dismissing it as extremist conspiracy propaganda.

As long as we’re talking “zero tolerance” for mistakes, any account would be remiss not to cover how the Bureau seized Airsoft guns under the presumption that they were machineguns and how the agent acting as spokesman for the investigation demonstrated his firearms expertise by trying to insert a magazine backward. (And to prove that competency remains consistent over the years, it’s nice to see agents flagging themselves in public to show their superior training over we lesser mortals.)

But forget mere errors. There’s real corruption and law-breaking, such as the story about an ATF inspector “gloriously” arrested in Louisiana for replacing his hotel room door with “a 5-by-4-foot piece of plywood affixed to the frame and the drywall with hinges and screws… The door had two locks attached from the bedroom side and a circular hole padded with duct tape. The deputy noted in the arrest report that the hole appeared to be used ‘in some sort of sexual act.’”

That’s minor league stuff, though, compared to a stunning admission revealed in the Morehouse/GOA complaint we began this article with, in the section (pp 27 – 30) recalling “errors in NFRTR [National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record] records, reports, and queries as well as inconsistent decisions on NFA weapons registration and transfer applications.”

“As far back as 1995, then-NFA Branch Chief Thomas Busey openly conceded that ‘our error rate was between 49 and 50 percent, so you can imagine what the accuracy of the NFRTR could be if your error rate’s 49 to 50 percent,” the complaint documents. (It’s so inaccurate that ATF was forced to drop a case in which the then-president of the American Statistical Association testified that NFRTR data was unreliable for prosecutions and the government plea-bargained down four felony charges to a single $35 misdemeanor and dismissed the case!)

So much for “zero tolerance.” And what would ATF do about its errors? Lie under oath. So much for “willful.”

“In spite of this monumental level of error in the NFRTR (that had not improved as of the 2007 OIG report), Chief Busey stated that ATF’ s policy was to commit what has been called ‘institutional perjury’” the complaint shows.

“When we testify in court, we testify that the [NFRTR] database is 100 percent accurate,” Busey admitted. “That’s what we testify to, and we will always testify to that. As you probably well know, that may not be 100 percent true.”

Watch Busey for yourself:

There’s another interesting story behind that video relayed to me by one of my “small cadre” colleagues who will remain unidentified to advise from behind the scenes for professional reasons.

“I met Busey at a criminal trial at which I was subpoenaed, and never testified,” my colleague recalls. “Busey didn’t seem like a bad fellow to me, he knew who I was, and was cordial.  When I said I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall when the ATF executives discussed me and the NFRTR, he replied: ‘I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall when they were discussing me.’  It was hilarious.  They reassigned him to Beer and Wine, at least that’s what he said at the time.

“It was thanks to former Assistant U.S. Attorney [the late] Jim Jeffries that the Busey tape was circulated,” he continued.  “I did a FOIA for it which was denied on grounds it would invade Mr. Busey’s privacy. [Shades of Hunter Biden!–DC] Jeffries got the tape for a court case and in the absence of being told not to release it, he made copies and sent them out.  That was also hilarious.  The Busey tape caused a fair amount of ATF public scenery chewing.”

The mainstream press and the Democrat political establishment have no intention of bringing any of these stories to the public’s attention, and if they mention them at all, either make excuses for them or ridicule those who documented the truth of their reporting as “conspiracy nuts, “ extremists,” and my personal favorite, “just a blogger.”

There’s plenty more we could go into, from the racist “Good O’ Boys Roundup” to Waco and more, including inside recollections from colleagues and victims who lived through them, but trying to cover everything would fill several books with more chapters yet to be written as new outrages unfold. The bottom line is, for ATF to presume itself the arbiter of “zero errors,” willful or otherwise, is beyond a sick and hypocritical joke: it is obscene.

Just like the twisted minds of those bent on disarming their countrymen and are willing to destroy their livelihoods, and ultimately, to kill them under their mandate to “enforce existing gun laws.”

About David Codrea:

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

David Codrea


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