My Recent Run-In With The ATF

I have been in the gun hobby since I turned 18. On their 18th birthday, many young men and women will go out and buy a tobacco product or lottery ticket as a sort of rite of passage, but I knew what I wanted: A gun. I went to my local sports emporium and picked out a bolt action 30-06 Savage rifle as a sort of all purpose firearm and the rest is history. For 9 years I have been collecting, buying, shooting, and growing my gun collection to an arsenal that would have made my 18 year old self salivate. Over the years I have kept a close eye on the gun market too. When I was in college with no money, I would always look at auction sites and big gun shop’s prices to keep a firm grasp on the market so I could, foreseeably in the future buy what I lusted after while in school. After I graduated and got a job my dreams became reality and for all intents and purposes, all of my extra money went into my shooting hobby. To people not engaged in this great pastime of ours this may seem foolish, but as of yet I have lost money on very few firearms and have always felt like they are a safe place to keep money. A gun is a complicated mechanical device that other people are always interested in buying, and as such are very liquid assets. Precious metals are fine and dandy, but with firearms you can go out and have fun with your investment rather than put it in a safety deposit box and look at it occasionally.

As stated, I have followed the gun market closely for many years so I know when a deal is too good to pass up. As such, a major online retailer was running an incredible special on VZ2008s shortly after I did my review on them. I have absolute faith in the rifle, and at the price point they were selling them at I bought all the ones I could afford. I picked them up from my FFL a few days later, put them in my safe, and was very excited to have them as an asset.

In the United States, you cannot legally buy guns to sell for a profit without a federal firearms license, and of course I had not bought these to sell but rather keep as a stable investment. It is of course not illegal to sell a personal firearm, but as stated it is a big no-no to be engaged in commerce without the appropriate license. Also in border states like Texas, multiple sales of semi-auto centerfire long guns must be reported to the ATF. My FFL simply filled out a multiple form and I did expect a call from the ATF asking what I was going to do with eight rifles like this (my friends have gotten calls for multiple AR15 lower receivers). Now I went to college in Waco, where the ATF does not exactly have the best reputation. However, my only real experience in dealing with the ATF was when I bought my select-fire Uzi SMG from an ATF special agent who just happened to be a huge gun guy. As a matter of fact, he was selling the Uzi to fund the purchase of an M16! We filled out the form 4s at my place of business and I learned a lot about his line of work.

On the 14th of November I got a call from an ATF special agent, let’s call him John, who asked if he could come by and have a quick conversation with me. I was at my shop at the time overseeing a construction project and told him that I was busy and would be unable to meet that day. He was fine with that and I said I could potentially meet tomorrow. I called the agent I mentioned above (Uzi agent) and asked what this could be about, and he said it was a pretty standard response to someone like me who has many firearm transfers on the books in a border state. He laughed and said “man, I didn’t know you were an arms dealer!” which made me chuckle as well. As the day went by and things started coming to a close I figured I could go ahead and knock it all out so I called him back up and told him I could meet that day and where he could meet me. About 15 minutes later John and another agent (let’s call him Nick) pulled up in two sedans. They were both in plain clothes, both introduced themselves kindly, and both provided credentials and business cards before I let them in. I sat the two men down in my office as I was legitimately curious as to what was going on. The men had lists of every firearm I had ever received from an FFL where I had done multiple long guns/hand guns. Since I write for this blog, I do a tremendous amount of transfers for reviewing and I also buy firearms off of popular auction sites and whatnot, so it would definitely seem like I might be a straw purchaser to the onlooker. Luckily I keep a bound book and a digital PDF copy of a firearms record I have created with all of a firearms information and a photo in case one ever gets stolen so I can report it missing. John and Nick went down the lists they had reading off firearm serial numbers, while I described the firearm by reading off information about it from my PDF document. John asked if I could print off a copy of my file for him, and I said no and that I would not be comfortable disclosing that information, which he was perfectly fine with and understood completely (hell, I did not even have to let them in as they did not have a warrant, but I did not mind).

It got down to the last one on their list, an AR15 lower receiver I bought years ago at a gun show and I did not have it (I could account for everything else). I said that I guess it was one I sold at a gun show about a year ago that had a slide fire stock on it. I built it as cheaply as possible and threw on the SSAR15 stock and when the novelty wore off I sold it at a loss (one of the only guns I have ever lost money on). They asked why I had so many transfers and I told them that I was a collector and that I write for The Firearm Blog on the side. Guns I did not have I showed them the articles I did on, and they were satisfied with that. After some hesitation, I told John and Nick that I would take them in my gun room if it would help them out. They said it would so I unlocked it and we entered. My gun room is a pretty serious gun room. While many guys have a media room with a big TV and sports memorabilia (I don’t even have cable, as it costs ammo money), I have a safe and gun rack with cleaning supplies laying all over. Pictured here is my C&R rack that greets you when you enter:


Both agents thought my rack was awesome and Nick said “now this is what I call a gun room!”. It was at this point that I guess the two men felt more comfortable and we started talking about old guns, shooting, and typical hobby related stuff. When I opened my safe they were also taken aback. “Man you have some really nice stuff Alex,” said Nick as he peered in. Now in my safe I have NFA items laying out very evidently. My Gemtech G5 is sitting in its box clearly marked Gemtech, my little MP5k is sitting on a shelf by itself, and my Mac 10 machine gun sits prominently at the front. The agents did not ask about or notice these items until I pointed them out as well as a stack of form 4s. Once they saw I was an NFA guy they really figured that I was a safe and lawful gun owner and I guess they decided to spill the beans.

John told me, “well, the reason we are here is not for multiple transfers,” which surprised me. “Typically when someone does as many transfers as you do especially with the type of firearms you have received we will do a knock and talk, but the AR15 you cannot account for has showed up at a crime scene in Mexico”. Funny how the one gun I have sold in a year was the one that made it to Mexico, and I was shocked as I was almost certain it was about the VZ2008s. John and Nick asked for any details about the gun, who I sold it to, and when. Luckily I had the man’s name, phone number, and e-mail address (call me overzealous, but in this case my cautiousness worked on my behalf). The man I sold it too was also a reserve police officer, so the agents knew he was at least not a career criminal or gun runner (while not impossible I suppose, it would be unlikely). I provided them with the information they needed and they went about their business. Since I had not broken the law, nothing came of it. They didn’t even give me a slap on the wrist, talk sternly, or give me a paper explaining the law pertaining to selling firearms (which is common in these cases).

So all in all my run in with the ATF was quick, painless, and informative. It has been instilled in our minds as gun folks that the ATF are the fun police or the proverbial boogeymen that are out to get you. In my experience (at least in Texas) these men and women are good people just doing their job. Hell, I have heard of some agents seeing illegal machine guns and they said they have seen them at the gun range. They won’t even ask if it is a legal, registered MG until bubba starts bragging about his home-built full auto (d’oh). They will tell him that he needs to destroy it and that they better not catch him with an illegal MG again. Getting let off the hook for a felony is a pretty big deal when you think about it. So folks, be weary of your multiples, but most importantly be kind and courteous and you will be treated the same way.

If you have experiences with the ATF, good or bad, I would love to hear about them below!

Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


  • Drapetomanius

    Your story says more (to me) about the banality of evil than the virtuosity of the BATFELMNOP. Yes of course there are more nice, decent people in the BATFEFGHI than nasty power mad bureaucrats.

    • Risky

      I’ve never once read or seen that word (banality) in my life. I was hoping it meant ‘the fact or condition of being bananas.’ and google has left me disappointed. I will try to use it in conversation this week, though.

      • Lurch

        Risky, some folks like to throw confusing acronyms and fifty cent words around to prove their intelligence rather than engage in meaningful conversation!

        • 032125


  • Esh325

    It is unfortunate when organizations like the NRA stroke people’s fear and lead people to believe that the ATF is a Nazi organization.

    • Ben 10

      the batf is unnecessary, just like the epa, or many other govt agencies, they should all just be abolished, it would save American taxpayers a lot of money. and there is nothing wrong with owning full auto firearms or sbrs or silencers. its not the arrow, its the indian. gun regulations do nothing to protect the innocent, all they do is make life harder for the innocent, as if life isn’t hard enough as it is. i give your response a down vote. the batf is a nazi organization, people and companies should be allowed to produce and buy and sell full auto firearms and silencers and sbrs and armor piercing handgun ammo with no restrictions or monitoring as long as they are not convicted violent criminals.

      • Risky

        Why draw the line at convicted criminals? Just seems kinda arbitrary as it was never implicit in the second amendment to disqualify criminals or felons or whatever. If you say gun regulations do nothing to protect the innocent, then what does barring violent criminals from buying guns do and why do you support it?? Not saying I disagree with your opinion, simply your logic… and maybe your sentence structures.

        • bill

          That’s right the constitution says nothing about violent criminals. We are now entering an age were if you were once depressed you will have your 2nd amendment rights violated. Have a fight 20 years ago with your wife and the law was called? Yea you are prohibited already.

      • orly?

        I should buy my friend Mohammed some Stingers in that America.

        • bill

          I a perfect world your friend mohammed would be too scared of the repercussions of his actions to want a stinger for anything.

          • orly?

            So in this “perfect world” who would have Stingers in America?

    • KC

      I wouldn’t say it’s the NRA, just natural disdain from normal people who are upset at having to follow inane laws, like 922r compliance, and cases like the fast and furious scandal. People fear breaking laws and losing their rights for situations like having a pistol upper for an AR15.

      Gun owners do a pretty good job at self regulating themselves in regards to the law. Just look at any gun forum posts about incredibly cheap used ACOGs/Aimpoints or an officer posting a picture of his/her work gun that happens to have the “evil” 3rd pinhole.

    • KM

      Just because a lot of good people work at the ATF doesn’t mean It’s a good organization. 1 zealous agent was all it took to trigger Waco. If not for him, then it could have turned out completely different. Check out Gun Gripes on the subject. David K knew the Sheriff and could have met with him to sort it all out instead of feeding the fears of crazy people by proving their irrational fears true. That doesn’t even go into the cluster**** that was Ruby Ridge.

    • kevin

      look at fast and furious, waco, ruby ridge and the reevaluate your statement.

    • Patrick Henry,The2nd

      I’m sure there are some good people in the ATF, but I’m also sure there are bad people.

      But regardless of whether they are good or bad, they are an agency charged with enforcing unconstitutional laws. And in their zeal to enforce them, they will often railroad good, innocent people who either didn’t break a law or didn’t mean too.

      The fact that they are still working there is on their conscious, not mine.

  • moonpie

    what school did you go to in waco

  • ArmasDeFuego

    I got a call from the SAC of the local BATF office. Seems 9 (!?) guns traced back to me as the original buyer were found at crime scenes, some in Mexico. I don’t sell guns, but I do trade them in on new ones. These were all guns I had traded in to local gun stores to buy other guns, and some had been traded away by me as long as 15 yrs ago!? It was nice to have a licensed dealer w a record of that trade and subsequent sale to someone else between me and those crime scenes.

    • Tompyne

      Mexico needs to square their sh*t away and stop threatening our 2nd A right with their petty drug cartel squabbling.

      Sidenote, this article made me think of the film No Country For Old Men

      • orly?

        The battle of Tepalcatepec not good enough of a start? Or would you rather have women/children in this fight too?

    • aweds1

      The thought that popped into my head reading the article, and now your comment, is how does ATF know who owned something as long as 15 years ago? I mean, there’s technically no official gun registry, so how is ATF able to track guns from Mexico back to an owner from years before? I mean, many must pass through as many hands as a dollar bill given enough time.

      • ArmasDeFuego

        Guns were probably traced by serial number to manufacturer, who led them to a distributor, then a dealer, then me as the original purchaser where the trail ended 15 yrs ago. If I could not remember what I did w them, would have ended there. I led them to another dealer and another owner; no telling where it went from there, if anywhere… When a dealer goes out of business, his records go to the govt. Those old records might not be a “registry”, but they are something.

        • iphonetechtips

          Dealers are only suppose to (required) to hold paper work on sales for 5 years, obviously some (or most/all) hold forever. The idea there isn’t already a registry is a joke. This along with every other firearms law, and any law without a victim or loss of property is illegal in itself by our founding document. But for the last 100-150 or so years the constitution has been nothing more than window dressing as the men who control international finance have high jacked out nation along with every other country in the world with a central bank. Control the money control everything. Until we regain our monetary system any change attempted is only addressing the symptoms, while the cancer is still killing the body.

  • Thomaspayne

    I wanna know more about the journey that lower receiver took to end up in Mexico. And what transpired at the crime scene. Reading this article, awesome one at that, made me think of the film No Country For Old Men

    • Thank you! To be honest I was unsure of how this article would be received as it really is not a gun review but more of a cautionary tale.

      • jamezb

        Being as its an experience any gun owner could have, I appreciate you including it’s not politics, just the facts of life, and I welcome tales of personal experiences here, as they serve to demystify situations many have questions and misgivings about.. keep em coming!

    • Smitty6398

      Ironic that I just watched it on TV last night.

  • Casey

    As a police officer and a gun guy, this was a VERY refreshing read. I’ve felt pretty frustrated with the negative attitude towards law-enforcement from gun enthusiasts lately. This article shows a ray of hope for me that mere encounters with law enforcement wont jade everyone’s perspective. Thank you for the pick-me-up.

    • We have the same profession. I’m retired but this is a very good post.

    • BryanS

      It comes from many that experience “Im a cop so I know” or some form official oppression under color of law.

      Police are just like any other profession, they pull from the community at large. Problem is, that community will always have a certain number of a-holes, and they will make it into every profession.

      • Yes they surely will

      • Casey

        Wasn’t looking for your opinion on the subject BryanS just trying to complement the author

        • ConservativeSurge

          Thanks for proving Bryan’s point, cop.

  • Alex Nicolin

    Your gun laws are so light! In Romania, one has to get a permit even to buy an airgun, and it takes 2-3 months to get the permission from the cops. One can get real firearms only if he is a hunter or collector. Surprisingly, the hardest to get are guns in .22LR.

    • Vhyrus

      Some places in the US are like that as well.

      • go4it

        Chicago’s “arbitrary” gun ban was just over-turned by a Federal judge!

        • supergun

          Yep, just read that today. The thug politicians have met their match with a JUDGE (can you believe he was appointed by obama). Nice to have someone who knows the law.

      • Alex Nicolin

        I seriously doubt it’s like that 😉

        • jdkchem

          Washington D.C.

        • Vhyrus

          In NYC, gun ownership is essentially banned. It takes hundreds of dollars and months (possibly years) just to own a single shotgun. Same with DC. Chicago has an outright ban on gun sales in their city that was just declared unconstitutional yesterday.

        • Chase Buchanan

          In a few of the big cities in the USA, it’s more or less like that, or even worse. In Chicago, and in the capital Washington D.C., it’s even worse than you describe Romania. Both of those cities banned handguns for years, and they were not allowed to anyone under any circumstances. Recently, the Supreme Court of the USA forced them to allow handguns, but they are trying hard to avoid complying with those rulings.

          In New York City, it’s about as bad as Romania, at least in most ways.

          Here in California, and some places like Massachusetts, it is much better than Romania, but worse than the rest of the USA. Now that I’ve read your post about Romania, I won’t complain about the gun laws in California any more, except when I’m writing letters to my representatives asking them to change the laws.

    • angrymike

      It is also written into the constitution of the United States of America that the right shall not be infringed upon. Yet some communistic states will not even let you you that right for self defense………….

      • Mr.T

        In many EU states you can legally collect full auto guns which you can only dream of in US. Also in ex-communist states A buddy of mine has 14 belt feed WW1 and WW2 guns and those cost far less than you pay for a crap transferable chinese AK .

        • iksnilol

          Yes, in Sweden for instance SMGs can be bought as competition guns. But trust me when I say its hard to do. Its easier to buy illegal full auto guns and build your own underground range or find a secluded spot in the forest.

          Besides there aren’t many countries where full auto is illegal; Sweden, Switzerland and Bosnia (albeit you cant have ammo for war trophies which full auto guns are) are the only ones I know of.

          • Marcus Rosengren

            Swede here. The only full auto SMG you can get is the Swedish K (M/45). To be allowed to join the (only I think) club to shoot it, you must prove that your skills with it is in the interest of the state. Basically the only ones sport-shooting it today are 65+ old ex-military guys who “need” the skill in defense of the Crown. Since our military does not issue this weapon anymore, joining the club is more or less impossible.

        • John

          Nobody think Chinese AKs are crap. They are some of the best and made on Russian machinery. China may the only country that officially paid for an AK license.

      • angrymike

        I have a friend that has 1. a 1939-1940 mp 40 Nazi marked, perfect, 2. Russian AK 47 full auto,beat, but works like a swiss watch, 3. A 1920’s Chicago tommy, nice shape fun as hell at the range, he paid no more than $700.00 plus a stamp, they were bought in the late 70’s before this current group of communists started pushing their anti gun bull on the American public, which in turn helped to push through the 1986 firearms act. …….

      • Alex Nicolin

        In Romania, the only way for a civilian to posses a handgun is to be a collector. In order to apply, one has to pass criminal background check, physical and psychological examination, and have a metal locker at his home, where guns must be kept (cops check this). But only handguns which were designed before 1945, as well as those which are more modern but are special editions (engravings, special features) are considered collector’s items. For long guns, the regime is more relaxed, and almost any long gun, except full auto, qualify. There is no legal way to have full auto guns though.

        The “collector item” status means that the gun has to be locked away in a safe at home at all times (the same applies for any gun, including rubber ball pistols, and air guns). The owner is allowed to have only 25 cartridges, for one of the guns in his collection, in case someone breaks in and tries to steal them, but self defense is legally very problematic. Each time the owner takes the gun out, for example to the range or armorer, he has to apply in advance for a special permission at the firearms bureau. He has to specify the place, as well as the route to the place he will take the gun to.

        For hunters, the regime is more relaxed, in the sense that they don’t have to apply for the special permission, but they have to be members of a hunter’s club, which is rather expensive – a few hundred to more than $1000 per year. However, before they are allowed to buy a gun, they have to do up to a year of apprenticeship with the other hunters, and then pass a written and practical hunter’s exam. Then they are issued a permit, and can apply for permission to buy a rifle or shotgun. They are allowed to keep 300 rounds for each gun.

        • wetcorps

          Wow this sucks. France doesn’t seems that bad now.
          We actually even got a slight improvement recently 🙂

    • bill

      I’m sorry for you Romainians. I am enjoying a few akm builds made from chopped up R parts kits. And my M69 bolt action 22.

  • me ohmy

    scary…they actually did their jobs. now if only we can weed out the 99% of pikers we are stuck with..we’ll do just ducky. still dont like.need, or find any reason to justify an BAT/F troop agency, with it’s clown like and overzealous attempts to disarm us as free citizens.

    • mikewest007

      It’s the politicos that stir shit, ordinary agents aren’t all out to ruin your shit because they had a bad day.
      But then, “firearms, not politics”.

      • Gyufygy

        Never underestimate the zealousness of a ladder climber. :p

        • mikewest007

          Never underestimate the litigiousness of an American conservative. When it turns out that BATFE has no leg to stand on despite all that paper-shuffling, some overzealous schlub is going to end up as the scapegoat.

          • BryanS

            That fight still starts from behind bars, with no right to vote or bear arms.

    • The agent I bought the Uzi from said if an order ever came to take guns from normal people, he and everyone he knows at work are quitting and coming to our side.

      • jamezb

        (actually not terribly surprised, but was afraid I was all Pollyanna on this.)

      • kevin

        i think it would be nice for you to delete this comment, and the comment about being lax on illegal MGs, it could really turn around and bite that agent in the ass. Being in law enforcement my self, I have see it happen before.

        • Oreguns

          Kevin, all officers who have the cahoney’s to speak up against what is wrong with government (like taking guns from people) need to not be quieted or shut down, but instead given encouragement to continue on with the good fight. Showing humanity towards your fellow man, that their lives are more important than a piece of paper. Such as is, with written laws. Is the truest compassion one can give.

          • kevin

            You are missing the point. the agent does not need to comply with disarming the public, but openly stating that you will disobey orders is a good way to lose your job, and be replaced with someone who WILL confiscate guns. loose lips sink ships

            for example, Alex stated that an agent told him that they don’t ask about MGs at the range, and just tell people to destroy the illegal ones. that’s completely fine, but if one of those guys ever commits a sandy hook style shooting, that agent is toast, and can himself be brought up on charges.

            I don’t issue tickets, I haven’t issued a single one since i started over a year ago, but you can bet your ass no one in my jurisdiction knows, and im not gonna tell em so that they can start running stops/speeding/driving recklessly

          • Oreguns

            That’s the thing, if a officer isn’t going to speak up for what’s right (not taking guns) with the anonymity that the internet provides, then how much faith can there be in them when you get em together like Katrina and told to go out and confiscate. Do you think that one good cop that couldn’t even bring him or herself to speak up on the internet about what is wrong, is going to when there’s a few or more other cops standing beside them all told to go do the same orders that blatantly disregard the constitution? No way, people talk about civilians being the sheep but I’d see that one good officer becoming no less a sheep. BTW that’s positive that you actually use discretion on your part to not hand out tickets, discretion is usually lost in a lot of people these days. They just do as they’re told.

          • Yep it’s called officer discretion. I used that a lot. Not everything is written in stone. Some laws you have no choice but others you certainly do.
            No if I was still active no way I’d take guns from people. I and every officer takes an oath like the military does to defend the constitution. That trumps everything else.

          • Lt. Dan

            This type of discussion needs to be out in the open. Its the best way to plant the seed in other law enforcement minds. When you get them thinking about ahead of time then the decision will be easier to make if it comes to that. I had conversations with other trusted Lts or Sgts so I know who would be on the same wavelength.

            Another benefit is letting the higher ups know the officers under them will likely resist questionable orders. So they may think twice if they have half a brain, which so do not.

      • Tenzin Rob Lowery Gyaltsen

        I wonder how many in CT, CA and NY have had them taken? How about the Vets who were placed on meds not knowing it would bar them. I’m sure the real number won’t be told till it’s too late. Disarming the vets alone has only been touched on by media most will never read

      • ConservativeSurge

        Until the next payday. No one’s going to starve so you can keep your rifle.

    • orly?

      When can I buy my friend Mohammed a rpg-7?

      • Tenzin Rob Lowery Gyaltsen

        Your friend is given these for free by the CIA.

        • orly?

          He’s legally an American on American ground.

    • ConservativeSurge

      Investigating Mexican murders is their job? No, this was typical fed harassment.

      If everyone did the exact opposite of what Alex did, we’d be a better country.

  • JT

    I csn see the Feinstens of this world jumping on this one “these semi-auto machineguns are making the streets of Mexico city run red with blood!”

  • Martin Grønsdal

    rite of passage….

    • orly?

      Saying such things in an urban environment is not so agreeable.

      • Martin Grønsdal


        • orly?

          City teenagers with guns historically is not considered good.

          • Martin Grønsdal

            maybe you could explain that further?

          • Lance

            I wouldn’t give a firearm to some inner city wannabe hustler type who’ll probably use it to rob me. Would you?

          • Martin Grønsdal

            I corrected a grammar error, didn’t state an opinion.

            The author wrote “right of passage”

  • MIG90

    Thanks for the very informative article. I’ve been needing to record all of my sold firearms transactions, which is something that I’ve been putting off. This article helped kick my butt into gear :). One of the most important things a firearms owner can do is keep record of the serial numbers of their firearms, and keep a record of who they’ve sold firearms too.

  • Interesting article Alex. I had the ATF get involved with a firearm used in a crime once as well. Turns out a gun I had sold two years prior was used in a robbery. Being who I am, I ended the encounter at the first phone call with “get a warrant and you can look at whatever you want, until then if I have not committed a crime, please leave me alone. If you have any further correspondence, please call my attorney.”

    Never did hear back from the agent that called. Unfortunately I am not as trusting of the government not to try and work different angles to try and find something to charge you with. This being Seattle and not Texas, that is pretty common up here.

    • Eric S

      I’ve spoken with the Seattle ATF office a couple of times inquiring about paperwork procedures and they’ve been rather friendly and helpful. I don’t trust the Seattle PD, but our gov’t offices up here are pretty tame.

      • RealityCheck

        You don’t consider a PD a “government office”?

        • jamezb

          Feds and Locals are different species with different food chains sometimes.

          • orly?

            Town/city, county, state, then Federal.

            All have different chain of commands, different training requirements, and resources.

            Seems most people “forget” this.

        • E Wolfe

          You have to ask? 😉 Wrap your mind around this actual conversation with a bank employee, where I’ve banked for over thirty years: BE: I’ll need to see a photo I.D. please. Me, presenting my police identification card; here you are. BE, do you have any government photo I.D. Me, this is a government I.D. Me, do you not consider this city to be a government entity? DOH, BE, blank look!

      • Remember Cafe racer? The ATF wanted to go after the dealer that sold Stawicki the guns. Even though everything was perfectly in order. In the end they just could not find a crime to charge him with. I’m sure if they could have charged him with something they would have. This was the ATF working hand in hand with Seattle PD, so if we can’t get him locally the feds might be able too.

        This is Seattle, where we see a lot of attempts at vengeance prosecution aroud firearms. They all want someone to blame for everything. If you can’t prosecute the offender, go after anyone else you can.

        Not sure what government office you deal with, most of the Seattle government is radicalized anti-gun now… Hell, they just elected a socialist to the council…

      • MclarenF1Forever

        I’ve heard different anecdotes about the Seattle ATF office. It seems that office will look for any angle to deny a FFL from continuing on as a FFL. One time, a FFL looked to move locations, but the field agent said that the locality (city or county) said that the new address is only allowed X-number of retail patrons due to parking issues. Based on that the agent denied the move because then agent want the location to be allowed “unlimited” number of patrons. I don’t know anywhere that exists that can satisfy that requirement.

        In another anecdote, the FFL wanted to renew, but the field agent told him to “send in” his current/existing FFL. That sounded fishy to him, so he called the main ATF office in W. VA. They told him to ignore what the Seattle field agent told him and worked with him on the renewal.

        While I’m glad Alex C had a positive experience, I can say that the Seattle field office is populated with mostly anti-gun people working the field agent positions. I’ve heard positive anecdotes about one agent from the Seattle office, but it was from years ago. Also, the FFL purge from Clinton era has been back in force since 2009. Maybe not in TX, or some agents in TX is not with that unofficial program, but it certainly is in force around here.

        • Eric S

          That one friendly agent may be the one that was lenient on Kesselrings. My understanding is that they had several warning before they had their FFL yanked.

          Of the few times I called the only less than desirable experience I had was inquiring about importation and the woman on the line flat out said they didn’t know anything about that. Kinda bummed me out.

          Course, now I’m more hesitant about trying to get that kitchen table FFL license I’ve been lusting after if more than a few people have issues with the Seattle office.

        • Sulaco

          Seattle PD wanted to have all the local jurisdiction send them all gun related info to build a file on “illegal guns”. Suffice it to say the other depts. said GTFAW. Now the local Seattle ATF have been good balanced cops interested in bad guys and not interested in jacking up the average citizen and very aware of what the law allowed them to do and not do. Worked with them on and off for over ten years.
          Were these anecdotes your contacts or just what your were told by somebody else?

          • MclarenF1Forever

            These were told to me by the FFL holder who was the “target” in both anecdotes.

      • Ulysses Noman

        about 3yrs ago an incompetent agent in the WA ATF office seized 30 AIRSOFT M-4s imported thru Tacoma on the bs grounds that ‘they could be readily converted to full auto assault rifles’

        • Sualco

          Actually I saw several of those “Air Soft” lowers seized off the import container ships in port at a conference and they were line for line copies of AR lowers and could with some metal work be converted to fully firing AR’s.

  • Tenzin Rob Lowery Gyaltsen

    I would not discount your reserved police officer was not your gun runner. Our AG is a gun runner!

  • Gunhead

    I get the feeling Texas ATF is a very different animal from say, NY. The organization may be federal, but the people are (mostly) local.

    • Tenzin Rob Lowery Gyaltsen

      While the offices are different the officers and trained at manny different places. The could get their bad work ethics. Mj

      • orly?

        A Federal agency usually tries to keep training consistent nowadays, so they usually are trained from the same Federal facility.

    • ATF officers are transferred around the country like FBI agents are. Most are not from the area they work in.

  • Tenzin Rob Lowery Gyaltsen

    Our gun laws are against our laws. They were written that way because the British took our guns ONCE! They wrote those laws so it would only happen once.

    • mikewest007

      Heh, the Romanian gun law makes an airsoft gun a military weapon if you slap a military-grade scope on it. That Chinese SVD springer with a surplus PSO on it? Military weapon. I don’t know how and I don’t care.
      The good thing is what’s going on with the gun law over here in Poland: it’s getting more liberal. Sure, it’s still full of may-issue BS and registration Catch-22s, but it got better since a few years ago. I think that the only cause there’s no shall-issue model is that someone would have to, God forbid, start working!

  • wetcorps

    Nice wood on the G11 🙂

    • jamezb

      LoL a true gun lover.

  • daniel prickett

    I do not believe for a second that the Atf are people too! sarcasm obviously. Giving your local to Waco I can understand the nervousness about dealing with them but I believe the task force that attacked Waco was out of Colorado. (And responsible for ruby ridge as well)

  • Don Dial

    The ATF is usually good guys and well experienced officers. The DEA is the other and nasty end of the stick. Years ago while I worked on a non related industry I noticed an employee at another shop who was extremely rude to our customers and fellow employees. I brought this to his attention and his mgr’s. He left shortly after. I suddenly started getting calls from buddy’s of mine who were Police Officers asking why the DEA was interested in me. Seems this fellow and some others got suspended for overhauling some suspects in cuffs and were suspended internally. Then reinstated a year or so later.

  • What?

    You just laid our you entire “arsenal” (your words) and life as a gun owner to a federal law enforcement agency. You gave them so much information that you never know what they can or will use against you at some point. Will they? Probably not. Could they? Well we all know that innocent people are never targeted by the gov’t for their beliefs don’t we? The damage is done but I suggest that you do not talk to the police, especially the ATF ever without knowing exactly what they want and then only talk of about that specific thing only if there is no implication that you did anything wrong.

    • I am in the process of getting my FFL (application sent, have had the inspection) so it was in my best interest to get on the ATF’s good side.

      • Tim U

        Then you sir were probably in the only situation where this was the smart call. If it were not for the FFL application, I’d tell them to leave me alone and not let them in.

        Maybe I will pass on the FFL I was thinking about. Too many rights given up.

      • Ulysses Noman

        There is no ‘good side’, only ‘least damaging’.

  • jamezb

    Great article thank you for sharing.

  • dracphelan

    You’ve hit on why I prefer just selling used firearms to my local FFL. That way, the FFL can deal with the ATF visit.

  • gunslinger

    Great read.

  • orly?

    It’s refreshing to see a prescribed method of communication with the ATF posted on the Internet being something other than: “Molon Labe” and a firearm.

    • ArmasDeFuego

      Yep. The ATF isn’t all “jack booted thugs”, and all gun owners aren’t one mall away from a rampage….

  • billb

    thanks for the writeup – very interesting. please let us know how the next visit goes, too. hopefully they are as gentle the second time they come.

  • RWH

    I am very glad that your experience ended positively (assuming that they have actually concluded their investigation).

    However, as a defense attorney, your article makes me cringe. I have seen countless criminal prosecutions that begin the same way. Invariably, at some point during the case, I have to explain to my client, “If only you would have not spoken with law enforcement, they would not have been able to… [fill in a crucial piece of the case]…” Or, “If only you would have not let them search the car/look in the house/see your guns…”

    Your experience is the exception, not the rule. I sincerely hope that you consult an attorney to discuss the appropriate response if this ever happens again.

    • This 110%. Never talk to anyone, volunteer any information and always ask the questions. Like RWH here, I have seen them come to your house for one thing, like the receiver showing up in Mexico, see something else and begin digging. All of the sudden you are in cuffs, your guns being carted out because they found a new crime to charge you with because of something they found or something you said.

      • RWH

        “…because they found a new crime to charge you with…”


    • KestrelBike

      This is what I was thinking. I think the author got *very* lucky. He replied to a post above stating that this will make it easier to attain his FFL, and perhaps it might. However, the risk he took giving all of this information is nowhere near any potential “gain” towards receiving his license.

      Good gravy. I really love the author’s blog entries on this website, but damn he needs to take some criminal justice courses at the local CC.

      ETA: Oh and this has nothing to do with “COPS = BAD!” or paranoia when dealing with firearms. In my opinion, it’s just basic numbers when investigators need to cover all possible leads. That might involve detaining someone (and through protocol, “temporary” confiscation of firearms involved?) which directly translates into time/money hiring a lawyer to get you off the hook for a crime you didn’t commit.

  • AR-PRO

    Good article! I whole heartedly agree with your impression of ATF agents, I have met with them several times when I had some guns stolen from me and once when a pistol that was delivered to my shop by UPS was reported missing by the UPS driver! (As it turned out he had lost the payment and was trying to avoid getting into trouble). Anyways, I always thought they were decent hard working people doing their job just like anyone else. In fact when I had to go to my local ATF office to pick up a few of my recovered guns, the supervisor had me laughing when he told me a story about carrying a demilled bazooka through the federal court building they work out of! People were turning around and walking in the opposite direction when they saw him strolling through the halls with this bazooka! I will say that the state inspectors are the complete opposite of the federal people, a different attitude completely. .

    • Porty1119

      That reminds me of the buybacks out in Commiefornia. They were reportedly sold multiple “rocket launchers”- in reality, expended M72s or M136s. Completely inert, completely harmless, and completely hilarious.

  • David

    Alex, I have many questions for you. 1) Can we be friends? I have decided to make Waco my home after graduating from Baylor. There are many things we can talk about. 2) What line of work are you in? Clearly I am in the wrong one that would allow me to procure such machines of much entertainment. 3) Assuming you are willing to say what line of work you are in, can I come work with you? I learn quickly. Unless it involves bug, then I’m out.

    Great story, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

  • I’ve purchased MANY firearms, but have never sold or given any away. Keeping a detailed personal info-log on purchases and sales would be a good idea. I’m glad I have taken something away from this article that is relevant to me! Thanks!

    • orly?

      To some, the logs are a bad idea.

  • bill

    Well I’m sure that most agents got into the field of fire arms because they themselves are interested in them. I’m also sure the political leadership is commie and most agents supervisors by extention are then too. But the field agents are most likely just working for their paycheck. That doesn’t excuse the past record of the atf or resent shinannigans soon pulled after the election of jugears the magnificent. If I am ever called I suppose I’ll just tell them to spill what they are looking for or get out, being as how I know I haven’t been in the wrong.

  • Pro Liberate

    Brilliant. The slogan is firearms not politics, but here is a blatantly pro-government article glossing over the fact that ATF agents willfully enforce terrible laws that many people in the gun community consider unconstitutional and criminal.

    But they’re just doing their jobs? So were the SS einsatzgruppen and Unit 571 doctors.

  • brian0918

    “Hell, I did not even have to let them in as they did not have a warrant, but I did not mind.”

    Ahh yes, the old “I know I’m innocent of the hundreds of thousands of vague and often contradictory local, state, federal, and foreign laws that apply to me, so I will go ahead and invite these federal agents into my home” line.

    Next time, follow this lawyer’s advice…

  • Paul Hurst

    This is why I do not buy from anyone who wants to keep records. No need to invite the man into my life when I have done nothing wrong.

  • RTB

    Here is a fun fact no FFL dealer will tell you about. When you go to buy two or more handguns ANYWHERE at the same time, not just border states, the dealer is REQUIRED within 24 hours to fax a form with ALL your information on it to the ATF.

    • That is common knowledge.

      • RTB

        Wasn’t for me, learned that at the gun show this past weekend. I’m sure I’m not the only one out there that didn’t know this was “common knowledge”. Furthermore, I’m certainly not OK with that little fact of “common knowledge”. You seem to be though, which is probably why you let the ATF in with open arms instead of getting a lawyer, just saying.

        • I let them in because I have a pending FFL application. They would have come for a mandatory inspection anyways.

    • Fromthesidelines3

      It’s mentioned right on page 3 of the 4473 form you have to fill out when buying a gun. Have you been filling out the first page and a half then just ignoring the entire rest of the document you’ve signed every time you’ve bought a firearm from an FFL dealer?

    • supergun

      They have to have a constitutional amendment in California from one of the federal judges, if you sell a gun to someone in Cal. from another State.

  • OliverTabuger

    It is legal to sell a firearm for profit without a license. It is illegal to engage in the business of selling firearms without a license.

    • gunslinger

      When does selling your personal fireaams become a business? Is a total number of guns? Or a guns per time frame? Or a total value?

      How long do you have to hold onto a gun before you resell (per the are you buying this gun question?)

      • OliverTabuger

        18 usc 921(a)(21)(C): as applied to a dealer in firearms, as defined in section 921 (a)(11)(A), a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms;

        • gunslinger

          How much time or labor? What is regular course of business? Occasional sale?

          If I make more from a day job but “sell” guns on the side ambi ok because its not regular?

          WhAt if I dont get any livelihood out of it?

          • OliverTabuger

            Do you want to be the test case?

            Because that’s really the end result of trying to explain the law.

          • gunslinger

            you offering to fund it? [and i am no way that stupid as to try and test this case]

            but that’s my point. “with the principal objective of livelihood and profit” it’s rather vague.

            ok. the 37 in seven moths with a sale of 23, ok. that’s a bit more concrete. what if it was over the span of 12 month?
            what if he bought 50 and sold 23? what if he only sold 18?

            what if i’m selling the guns at a loss? since my primary goal was not for profit (stupid business move) that wouldn’t count.

          • No selling guns on the side. That’s considered a business. If you sell one every so often a few times a year you’ll be fine. Two or more a month and most likely you’re pushing it.

          • gunslinger

            what’s “every so often?”

            has a court case shown what is acceptable vs what is not? has congress passed a law to clarify 18usc921a21c to define what is?

            not trying to be rude or pushy, but what i think is excessive vs you vs some hot to trot federal prosecutor can be miles apart

          • Hard to say. My feeling is three or more guns a month every month might say 1 chance in a 1,000 get some attention.
            There are a lot of factors all judgement calls. I mean our writers get guns sent to them all the time and nobody has ever said a word about it. Of course the agencies don’t know we send 99.9% of them back. It probably looks like I own dozens of AK’s, AR’s and everything else under the sun but of course I don’t.

          • OliverTabuger

            INTENT is what matters according to the law. Circumstantial evidence of intent may include # of guns bought and sold in a certain time span.

            Someone that is independently wealthy with massive passive income (say from stock and real estate investments) could easily buy and sell hundreds of guns a year and not INTEND to obtain his livelihood from such activity, and it would be believable.

          • That’s very true. The greater the assets the less scrutiny a person would be under for buying or selling a fairly large number of guns.

      • What Oliver said:-)

  • supergun

    Be wise as a serpent, and gentle as a dove. There are probably more good agents than bad agents. They have a job to do. I prefer the agents that believe in the 2nd Amendment. They already know all they need to know about us anyway.

  • Anonymous

    So YOU’RE the asshole who bought all of the VZ2008s… 😛 😉

  • William Baker

    They had all the info on every gun you had ever transferred, nope, no registry here….move along nothing to see

    • No they didn’t. Only shops where I had done multiples (2 or more handguns or centerfire semi auto long guns at once).

      • Rugrash

        Just an FYI…as a class 07 manufacturer, you do not have to report multiple sales of long guns or stripped lowers…only pistols/revolvers.

  • Raoul O’Shaughnessy

    Man, If I had written this article it would have been a lot shorter: “On the 14th of November I got a call from an ATF special agent, let’s call him John, who asked if he could come by and have a quick conversation with me. I said no and hung up the phone.”

    the 14th of November I got a call from an ATF special agent, let’s call
    him John, who asked if he could come by and have a quick conversation
    with me – See more at:
    G5 is sitting in its box clearly marked Gemtech, my little MP5k is
    sitting on a shelf by itself, and my Mac 10 machine gun sits prominently
    at the front. The agents did not ask about or notice these items until I
    pointed them out as well as a stack of form 4s. Once they saw I was an
    NFA guy they really figured that I was a safe – See more at:
    the 14th of November I got a call from an ATF special agent, let’s call
    him John, who asked if he could come by and have a quick conversation
    with me. I – See more at:
    the 14th of November I got a call from an ATF special agent, let’s call
    him John, who asked if he could come by and have a quick conversation
    with me. – See more at:
    the 14th of November I got a call from an ATF special agent, let’s call
    him John, who asked if he could come by and have a quick conversation
    with me. – See more at:
    the 14th of November I got a call from an ATF special agent, let’s call
    him John, who asked if he could come by and have a quick conversation
    with me. – See more at:

  • Time to put my two cents in. I’ve worked with the ATF on a number of incidents. 99% of the guys are what I’d call good guys. Like everything else, including shooters like ourselves, have 1% jerks. That’s true in about any profession or hobby for that matter. Same for police officers. Over my 30 years I worked with some fine guys. I also worked with a few who needed another job. Again like any other job.
    Now some have mentioned Ruby Ridge and Waco. Those were without a doubt clusters of the first order. No doubt about it and there’s no defense. We have to remember that the boss appointee in DC is the one running that show not the guys on the ground that had to try and go in on her orders. Truth be known a fair number were out of our local office including US Marshals tactical team. Not one was a happy camper when they got home. Especially a friend in the ATF office who was shot.They were very very pissed! They didn’t agree with much of anything that was planned for them. The thing is you never know or hear about that because it’s not something we can talk about. A good number of people just assume they agree with everything that happened there and that’s just not the case.
    Whether it’s a police officer, ATF agent of whatever agency most are good guys doing good work most never hear about. Making a judgement on a group based on a few hi visibility foul ups doesn’t warrant a blanket judgement against them or any other group. Of course this is just my opinion based on working with them and getting to know them not an opinion based on Internet rumor or knee jerk uninformed decisions. If your view is based on those high profile seriously bad decisions you see in the media you do the rest of the officers, agents a disservice.
    Oh and by the way Alex handled that meeting very well indeed.

    • jamezb

      Well said Phil. An FBI friend of mine was at Waco as well, a man of great integrity and moral values. He to this day feels that the confrontation began and played out as it did as a result of ill-advised and highly overzealous top-level decisions and could have been avoided altogether if handled differently.

      • Thank you sir I appreciate it. There is no doubt in my mind that it could have been avoided. Your FBI friend is 100% correct!
        The moves made were ill advised at best and led up to the disaster we saw on tv. Overzealous absolutely.

  • bobnailer

    Alex C.,

    I enjoyed the article you wrote and it was very informative in regards to dealing with the ATF agents. You wrote, “After some hesitation, I told John and Nick that I would take them in my gun room if it would help them out.”
    A word of advice… never volunteer anything, wait to be asked. Why do I say this? Having worked on government programs for a long time, I was told by my company’s head of security that when interviewed by Federal, State, or even local law enforcement, wait to be asked questions, answer only the questions you’ve been asked. This is not paranoia, it’s good common sense, sort of like being called to the stand in a court case… answer the questions you’ve been asked, volunteer nothing. This does not ring true if, lets say, you were the witness to a crime, in that case, sing like a bird, but if YOU are the person in question, answer what you’ve been asked, especially if you have nothing to hide. You were lucky you kept thorough records, if you hadn’t, you’d probably be blogging from prison.


    • I was with you right up to blogging from prison. The agents could easily account for every gun Alex had independently. There are always records in the form of the 4473 as well as those of the manufacturer, distributor and on down the line.

  • Alex

    Last year, I got a visit from the ATF about a WASR-10 that was “used in a crime after someone stole it(which I didn’t report, and they were quite upset about) and sold it in Detroit”(I’m from Ohio)…
    …Except that my WASR-10 was still in my safe. I told them it was still in my safe, and that they might want to check Detroit’s report on it. Never heard anything else about it.

  • njwallick

    It’s like anything else, a government agency or a private business. It depends who you get. The kid who fixes your burger at the fast food joint might be an aspiring chef who loves food and wants to share that and takes pride in their work or they may be a slacker ass stoner who will botch it and then spit in it for fun. Cops, ATF agents, librarians, doctors, nurses, mechanics, ect… are the same way, it’s all the luck of the draw. They could have just as easily trashed the house in “search”, seized everything and held it indefinitely as “evidence” and put him in a cell and for god knows how long while they decide what charges to fabricate, it happens.

  • Tenzin Rob Lowery Gyaltsen

    This guy was lied to and framed by the ATF. I bet he would have a different version of his experience …

    • Garland was arrested and jailed in March 2011. He pleaded guilty in July of that year to conspiracy and selling the weapons “while having reason to know that the firearms were illegally destined to persons in Mexico.”

      But his lawyers won him a new sentencing hearing after discrepancies arose because some of the weapons were mislabeled as machine guns. Federal prosecutor Steven R. Spitzer acknowledged the discrepancy, but urged U.S. District Judge Robert C. Brack to keep Garland in prison because he had been “conspiring” with the smugglers in Columbus. Instead, the judge released him.

      “My God, I won and got out,” Garland said. “I didn’t think I would win, but I did.”

      Why did he plead guilty?

      • Tenzin Rob Lowery Gyaltsen

        Judges don’t often take the word of a person vs the cops. It might have been easier to plea down serve a few years then try to fight it and risk getting 25 years. Plea bargaining is so common these days because of the over loaded justice system

      • Tenzin Rob Lowery Gyaltsen

        This will explain why he plead down. He didn’t have the money to fight.. .

      • Tenzin Rob Lowery Gyaltsen

        this explains alot…this guy isnt a gun runner. he helped to expost fast and furious and didnt have the money to fight it. he has lost everything he owned..

  • Aaron Mulligan

    Found great insights here. Thanks!

  • BryanS

    A good friend of mine was stopped and questioned for 2 hours at the Canadian border (a side trip from a recent arcade machine purchase at auction), and eventually refused entry.

    One of the questions they asked were about the pistol and rifle he bought recently.

    Which… I thought very odd, if PA only has a record of sale.

  • Lord Skeletor

    Sounds like he “ran into” ATF Compliance Officers—not ATF agents. Huge difference.

  • Littletruth4u

    You sir are a damn idiot.

    • Littletruth4u

      If they have a problem with guns going to Mexico they might should SECURE THE DAMN BORDER… or quit sending them theirself. Fast and furious anyone?

  • I trained with some ATF guys down at FLETC in the late 90s. Awesome guys and they get to blow shit up during their training.. Never had a run in with the ATF as a private citizen though and if they ever knock on my door, we’ll have a conversation out on the porch even if it’s -20F or 130F. 😉 Doesn’t matter if I have nothing to hide or have done nothing wrong, no agent of the government gets to come into my home or place of business w/o a warrant.

  • Mike Reed

    After signing up for the ATF eForms site for a hopefully upcoming Form 1 project, I also happened to click the box for FFL access since I have an 03 FFL (C&R). Woke up to a missed call/voicemail from an ATF staffer the next morning who was very confused why an 03 FFL wanted online access. When I told her I was signing up for the Form 1 and just saw the box and thought “I have an FFL, I’ll click this, too!” she laughed and said it was meant for 01 FFL’s only, so she was denying my access since it wouldn’t do anything for me. We chuckled, said our goodbyes and that was it. Now I’m just waiting to get everything in order to be able to fill out the Form 1 so I can wait on the stamp and order parts… 🙂

  • matefrio

    Your an idiot thinking you were safe from the investigation and willingly opening up your home to LEOs and talking with them.

    You were also an idiot providing any evidence to them in the form of BOS.

    Let’s say, after you told the agents that the AR15 receiver you don’t know where it was they served a warrant and found a BOS you had misplaced and forgotten about for that receiver.

    They could easily charge you with impeding an investigation and lying to an agent.

    • First of all calling Alex an idiot is about half a second from banning. You can disagree but you damn sure won’t insult the writers.
      Evidence? There was no evidence no crime was committed.

      Your comment has been deleted.

  • matefrio God bless the 5th Amendment.

  • matefrio

    If one of them was Russell Vanderwerf, 44, he wasn’t just there to inspect your firearms:–78912492.html

  • Ulysses Noman

    You’re a fool Alex, and eventually the ATF will destroy you for no other reason than to remove your ‘arsenal’. They’ll be utterly wrong and criminal to do so. No matter how positively you think your interaction with those agents of a grossly abusive agency went, your assets are now noted and in their institutional memory. At some point some agent who is NOT an ‘enthusiast’ will trump up an excuse to raid your home and seize your property.

  • RobGR

    “I don’t even have cable, as it costs ammo money” HA! Yes, I am of the same mindset, though I do not have the same income or arsenal as your’s, Alex. Not gonna lie, I’m jealous! Funny, when I go to the store and look at a sixer of beer going for $9 (like Newcastle), I calculate how much that is in ammo and usually settle for a 22 of Miller Highlife instead. But I’ll settle for water so I can afford my next ammo purchase!

    Good story and interesting one at that. Thanks for sharing.

  • MclarenF1Forever

    Old thread, but news that is relevant. Even in Texas, the ATF decided to arbitrarily revoke Brinks’ FFL, with no problems in previous inspections/audits. Brinks fought back and the ATF offered 4 new FFLs if they drop the fight to the revocation on their “old” FFL. Brinks decided it was good enough, and will save the money and accepted the lopsided deal (revocations are for “willful” non-compliance), and let the ATF revoke their old FFL and get 4 new ones.

  • cawpin

    “The men had lists of every firearm I had ever received from an FFL where I had done multiple long guns/hand guns.”

    For how far back? They better not have had lists going back 10 years or something since that would be a violation of federal law.

  • E Wolfe

    Good article. As a retired LEO; I really appreciate reading a righteous contact report. These guys, on the front line, are apolitical, the politics and abuse begin up the line with those whom are willing to violate their oaths to further their careers. You know that guy, the one who will never look his boss in the eye and tell him, no way, that’s illegal, and I’m not going to do it. Furthermore, if you do, I’ll take it to an I.G.

  • fntsmk

    I had the exact same type of visit from ATF here in AZ over 34 M1 Carbines I purchased over a two year period. The ATF agent(s) was nice and polite to me, but I’m sorry to say now, after having read your story, that I was not so nice to ATF in return. This sudden phone call out of the blue and “questioning” and wanting to see my weapons occurred in the midst of the “Fast and Furious” scandal. First, I wanted to know how and why ATF had the serial number of every gun I purchased through my FFL for the previous three years. They told me “a computer flagged me.” I thought it was illegal for ATF to keep such a database. Turns out they did an “audit” on my FFL guy’s books and simply copied the serial numbers of all of my Carbines and every other gun I had transferred through this gun shop. This article was very interesting Alex and the fact that you were so polite and cooperative with these fellas is a tribute to your humanity. I know the ATF guys and gals have a job to do, but I personally did NOT know any ATF agents like you did, so when I got a call from the Federal Gov’t, I got a little more than worried. I knew I had done nothing wrong, and I felt that ATF was violating my rights, because they wanted to question me and see my weapons without a warrant. I asked the agent if he had any reason to believe that I had bought, sold, or otherwise transferred any weapon in an illegal fashion? They said “no.” I asked them if any weapon I had bought, sold, or transferred had been used in a crime? They said “no.” They said it was related to “Fast and Furious.” I then said, “Agent, the Mexican Drug Cartels don’t want my old M1 Carbines, they want the AK-47s and AR-15s YOU GUYS have been giving them. I was told that I would have to show the disposition of my M1 Carbines. I asked: “Agent, aren’t you violating my Constitutional Rights?” He replied: “We may well be, but we’re going to do it anyway.” In the end, after several phone calls and emails back and forth, I finally showed the agents my Carbines. I had sold off a good deal of my collection (after a divorce), to try to keep up the payments on my home. I sold a few privately, either at a gun show or the public shooting range, but most were sold over the Internet and of course I had to receive valid FFLs in order to ship the weapons out of state. Fortunately, I was able to dig out all the required paperwork from 3 different storage units I had after a hasty move on my “short-sale” house, and that, along with 10 or so Carbines I had left, satisfied the ATF’s questioning. To this day, and before I read this article, I had always thought something “sinister” was going on about ATF wanting to see my Carbine Collection. Now I feel a bit “better” about the whole thing after reading your article Alex. I will say for the record, the ATF Agent(s) I made contact with were at all times, polite and professional, and it’s a good thing they were because I was not nearly as courteous to them in return. I suppose if I had gotten contacted by an agent who “got up on the wrong side of the bed” and responded the way I did, I might have gotten the walls torn out of my trailer! So far, all’s well that ends well.

    • gunslinger

      When dealing with LEO/Feds, isn’t it SOP to be “am i being detained or am i free to go?”

      and if an agent said to me, “We may be violating your rights, and we are going to do it” all bets are off. here’s my lawyer.

  • Aaron Horrocks

    Are we a free country or not? People should be able to build their own machineguns, and then go to the range with them. The NFA of 1934 was based on lies, the GCA of 1968 was pushed through based on an assassination from a bolt-action rifle, and the amendment to the FOPA in 1986 actually failed to pass, 124 yea and 297 nays; and is therefore ILLEGALLY BEING ENFORCED.

  • US Army (retired)

    “Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the Government take care of him, better take a closer look at the American Indian.” — Henry Ford