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August 24, 2005

ATF, local police harass gun show

From CNS...

The federal agency that regulates U.S. gun dealers stands accused, along with at least three Virginia law enforcement agencies, of trying to shut down legal gun shows through alleged intimidation of gun buyers and sellers. The law enforcement organizations also allegedly broke the law by sharing gun buyers' information with members of the public.

Annette Gelles, owner of gun show sponsor Showmasters.us, told Cybercast News Service that at least 30 agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) along with nearly 500 Virginia State Police, Henrico County Police and Richmond City Police officers were assigned to the ATF operation targeting her gun show on Aug. 13 and 14 at the Richmond International Raceway and Fairground Complex, outside Richmond, Va.

Gelles said four marked police cars were stationed at the main entrance to the raceway parking lot and more than 50 marked and unlabeled but obvious law enforcement vehicles were positioned just outside the public entrance to the building. The officers' presence, Gelles said, was intended to intimidate her customers.

"It's just a persecution thing. It's not really an attempt to solve crimes or stop them," Gelles said. "It's their way of trying to get rid of gun shows. That's the only way you can explain that large a police presence at the gun shows."

And that's only the beginning...

Gelles explained that, when gun dealers took the paperwork to the Virginia State Police on-site office to complete the background checks on prospective buyers, ATF agents copied the names, home addresses and telephone numbers of the applicants.

Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, told Cybercast News Service that he has received numerous complaints alleging that as handgun buyers were waiting for their National Instant Check System (NICS) background investigations to be completed, ATF was secretly conducting the so-called "residency checks."

According to the complaints he received, Van Cleave said officers were dispatched to the homes of the prospective gun buyers to speak with family members, asking for example: "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?

"If people weren't home they, in some cases, went to neighbors" to ask the same questions, Van Cleave said.

"I'm not an attorney but, I'll tell you what, in my opinion that would be a violation of federal law," Van Cleave said. "To go off on a fishing trip with that information, much less sharing information like that with neighbors, there's no way that's legal."

Title 18 Section 923 of the U.S. Code states...

(g)(3)(B) Except in the case of forms and contents thereof regarding a purchaser who is prohibited by [federal law] from receipt of a firearm, the department of State police or State law enforcement agency or local law enforcement agency of the local jurisdiction shall not disclose any such form or the contents thereof to any person or entity, and shall destroy each such form and any record of the contents thereof no more than 20 days from the date such form is received.

Where are the usual crowd of “civil rights” screamers that are ready to accuse the government of overstepping their authority? You'd think they'd be all over this, since not only does it violate the law, it reeks of Nazi brownshirt tactics. But, no, the “civil liberties” crowd traditionally likes the idea of the government disarming citizens, even though it is a vital prerequisite to any real effort at installing a totalitarian regime. So are they really all that concerned about freedom, or could it be that their agenda and their words at odds. Hmmm.

Posted by Danny Carlton at August 24, 2005 08:42 AM

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Comments

I know some gun nuts that will go loco over this but they aren't lefties that use their own BO for self defense.

Posted by: SherlockRWBShoes at August 24, 2005 01:32 PM

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