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Thread: ATF visit someone's house to check a serial #

  1. #1
    Regular Member SovereignAxe's Avatar
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    ATF visit someone's house to check a serial #

    was wondering what you guys thought of this story. Saw it in /r/guns at reddit.com

    Cliff notes available at the end

    It was around 3:00 PM and I just got back from the range and was trying to figure out what the heck happened to my Kel-Tec SUB2K that went kaboom on me When I opened the door, two ATF agents were there with ATF jackets, guns and badges. They introduced them selves and asked me if I was the guy they were looking for. I said that I was and I asked what could I do for them. They informed me that there was a mistake with a serial number from one of the Saiga firearms that I have recently purchased (Nov 8th) and that they need to verify the serial number. So I told them no problem I will bring the rifle in question out side so that they could verify the s/n. They asked if they could come in, at least just to step inside and they won't go all the way in the house (condo). I don't remember exactly the way they asked, I felt this huge rush/panic and I didn't even got their names. So I let them come in and seated them in my living room and I apologized for not inviting them in in the first place. I brought out all the four saigas in original boxes so that they could verify the numbers. (I purchased them under one AFT form from Classic Arms and a local gun shop transferred them into my name (Scottsdale, AZ). They checked the first box, second and then on the third one they said: "Oh, this is the one". It was missing LT after the serial number on their paperwork. It's kinda weird that none of the other Saiga's had any letters after the numbers only this one did (5.45x39).

    They realized that I was a bit nervous and they repeated several times that I'm not in trouble and that this often happens and they just need to verify the s/n. However, after repeating this to many times, It actually started worrying me even more. (They were a bit too kind...)

    My opinion is that they wanted to verify that I still have them, maybe to check if I'm a straw buyer or something. I have purchase many guns withing the last couple of years, and I have only sold 2 (I do have the bills of sale for these). When I opened my closet door they did see that I have several other gun cases, but they did not ask to see them. What's even more interesting is that I don't recall them opening the box to see if the rifle was actually in there, they just got the numbers of the box. They could probably tell by the weight that there was a rifle in there but they did not take it out of the box.

    They did not ask many questions, and as a long time redditor I did not tell them anything they did not ask. However there were 3 questions that were a bit weird and I did not expect.

    1) Why did I buy 4 rifles in different calibers (4 saigas, .410, 7.62, 5.45, .223) I told them that I got a good deal and I wanted to have them in these calibers 2) I don't exactly recall how did they ask this question, something about me being home at 3:00 PM, what do I do for living. I'm a software developer and I work from home 3) When they were leaving, he asked what is my phone number and when I gave him he asked me twice if this was my cell phone (I told him yes)

    Short story:

    2 ATF agents wanted to verify a serial number on my Saiga. I showed them my saigas, and they found the one that was missing LT at the end of the serial and they left. They were very kind, almost too kind.

    So, what do you think? I really don't have anything to hide or haven't done anything illegal, but i'm still worried.
    So what do you guys think? Were they really confirming a serial # or do you think his suscipcions about a straw purchase is real? I'm with him.

    That being said, I don't like the way they handled it. I can sympathize with a clerical error, and would be more than happy to help clear one up. However, I would not have invited them into my home and the fact that they couldn't clear this up over the phone sends up red flags for me. Also, how would they even know it was the wrong number if it wasn't a gun that they'd been tracking in the first place?
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  2. #2
    Regular Member Gil223's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SovereignAxe View Post
    Also, how would they even know it was the wrong number if it wasn't a gun that they'd been tracking in the first place?
    A licensed dealer is required to report multiple sales of rifles on the ATF E-Form 3310.12, which includes the serial number of each of the multiple weapons. The missing "LT" after the one serial number was an apparent anomaly, which (just guessing here) probably set a red flag on their computer for altered/missing serial number(s). He may or may not have had reason to be concerned about their unexpected appearance at his front door, but I think he handled it in the correct manner. Any reluctance to cooperate would (quite probably) have resulted in their becoming less "kind" and their quesitons becoming much more intrusive. From the ATF website:

    Q1. What is a multiple sale of certain rifles?
    A1. A multiple sale occurs when a licensed dealer or pawnbroker sells or otherwise disposes of, at one time or during any five consecutive business days, more than one semiautomatic rifle capable of accepting a detachable magazine and with a caliber greater than .22 (including .223/5.56 caliber) to an unlicensed person.
    Example 1. A licensee sells two rifles in a single transaction to an unlicensed person. This is a multiple sale and must be reported not later than the close of business on the date of the transaction.
    Example 2. A licensee sells a rifle on Monday and sells a rifle on the following Friday to the same unlicensed person. This is a multiple sale and must be reported no later than the close of business on Friday. If the licensee sells another rifle to the same unlicensed person on the following Monday, this would constitute an additional multiple sale and must also be reported not later than the close of business on Monday. In addition, the licensee would check ‘Yes’ in Item 2c and place Friday’s date in Item 2c on the ATF Form 3310.12.
    Example 3. A licensee maintaining business hours Monday through Saturday sells a rifle to an unlicensed person on Monday and sells another rifle to the same person on the following Saturday. This does not constitute a multiple sale and need not be reported because the sales did not occur during five consecutive business days.

    Interestingly, nowhere in the explanation of multiple sales (A1), does it contain the phrase "to the same unlicensed person", just "an unlicensed person". Being overly literal, I see this as initially telling the dealer that if he sells one of the specified caliber rifles to two or more different individuals within a five day period, he would then have to document the sales and submit them to the ATF on the ATF E-Form 3310.12! Granted, that is stretching things a bit, but then I only read plain English, not Legalese. On the other hand, I do read plain English very well. "Example 1" is not as clear as it could be, but it does say "two rifles in a single transaction to an unlicensed person.", strongly implying that it is the same individual. Examples 2 and 3 finally establish that it is the "same unlicensed person", but are examples enforceable by law? (Our government excels at inaccurate/imprecise/incomprehensible/muddy written communications)

    I can see where their visit may have been nothing more than that which the ATF agents claimed. I don't know that I would have invited them into my home without a warrant (then they would have brought their own "invitation"), but that behavior could be interpreted as RS by them, and a witch hunt could have ensued. Knowing how honest our government is with We the People, it may well have been an investigation into the writer's continued possession of the Saigas in question. Only the ATF knows for certain. Pax...
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    Huh!?!

    I'd be red-flags all over the place if ATF showed up at my door to check serial numbers.

    What the hell is ATF doing with serial numbers? The serial number stays with the FFL, otherwise its now a firearms registry.

    I'd definitely invoke every single one of my rights and tell them to send me a written letter complete with explanation.

    If it turned out to be the FFL's error, I'd give the FFL the complete SN over the phone, or take the weapon back to the shop for him to see it. But, he'd have some 'splaining to do as to why his own records didn't already have the serial number when the gun came into his shop.

    With that said, I strongly suspect ATF was checking up on a potential straw purchase.


    "Just bring us all your guns so we can check the serial numbers."

    Yeah, right. Suuuuuuuure.

    "Just get off my property and don't come back without a warrant."
    Last edited by Citizen; 01-31-2012 at 10:23 PM.

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    Regular Member Gil223's Avatar
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    I didn't create the form for the ATF, I just posted the form number and what information it requires the dealer to provide. Take it up with them. Chances are it was a transcription error by the dealer when he copied the SN. It is what it is. Pax...

    P.S. Definition of ANOMALY

    1: the angular distance of a planet from its perihelion as seen from the sun (irrelevant as it applies to this discussion)

    2: deviation from the common rule : irregularity

    3: something anomalous : something different, abnormal, peculiar, or not easily classified
    Last edited by Gil223; 02-01-2012 at 11:54 AM.
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    Show me a valid warrant or go pound sand up your bum.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gil223 View Post
    I didn't create the form for the ATF, I just posted the form number and what information it requires the dealer to provide. Take it up with them. Chances are it was a transcription error by the dealer when he copied the SN. It is what it is. Pax...
    You understand that I was replying to the thread subject, not your post?

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    It is impossible to determine, the author did not gather information well enough. First he should have asked for any serial numbers the ATF was looking for and any discriminating information they would use to determine if everything is correct. Next, go and find the single shotgun it applies to and show that one to them. They should have been made to wait outside since no prior warning was given that guests would be arriving and without a warrant they are trying to be guests. This is one reason its always good to have a poach like any good southern house will have: a large covered, screened in area with sitting areas and maybe tables where one can entertain outside. Have the agents wait there.
    Don't believe any facts that I say! This is the internet and it is filled with lies and untruth. I invite you to look up for yourself the basic facts that my arguments might be based upon. This way we can have a discussion where logic and hints on where to find information are what is brought to the forum and people look up and verify facts for themselves.

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    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    Pics/vids or it didn't happen....

    The OPer from Reddit should have activated his audio.video surveillance system to start recording the minute these guys knocked on his door.

    It's not wiretapping if the audio and video recording is part of a permanently installed security system and the property is posted as being under video surveillance. (in MOST jurisdictions...)
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    Regular Member SovereignAxe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daylen View Post
    It is impossible to determine, the author did not gather information well enough. First he should have asked for any serial numbers the ATF was looking for and any discriminating information they would use to determine if everything is correct. Next, go and find the single shotgun it applies to and show that one to them. They should have been made to wait outside since no prior warning was given that guests would be arriving and without a warrant they are trying to be guests. This is one reason its always good to have a poach like any good southern house will have: a large covered, screened in area with sitting areas and maybe tables where one can entertain outside. Have the agents wait there.
    This is what I was thinking. I'm not just going to invite the ATF into my house unannounced. If this was a simple clerical error, they could have called first, maybe even done it all over the phone. But the fact that they showed up at his house unannounced tells me they were fishing for something-probably a straw purchase, and wanted to catch him by surprise. Depending on my mood I'd either humor them and confirm a number while they wait outside, or tell them to pound sand and come back with a warrant.
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    Regular Member Gunslinger's Avatar
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    Imported firearms, first off. The SS could have gotten the numbers from the FFL off the 4473 or 3310 there and noted a discrepancy. I don't know the procedure on imported guns being 'registered' somehow at the point of entry to the US. Could they be looking for a straw purchase? Perhaps. Could it have been just a clerical error they were following up, also perhaps. I guess the final interpretation is left to the critical criterion: how much do you trust the batfe? Res ipsa loquitur.
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    Regular Member Gil223's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    Huh!?!

    I'd be red-flags all over the place if ATF showed up at my door to check serial numbers..
    Do you have a large cache of guns with missing/obliterated/modified or otherwise anomalous serial numbers? If not, your chances of seeing the ATF at your door are probably zero.

    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    What the hell is ATF doing with serial numbers? The serial number stays with the FFL, otherwise its now a firearms registry.
    And do you really think the person on the receiving end of that "background check" phone call isn't recording the information, including serial numbers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    I'd definitely invoke every single one of my rights and tell them to send me a written letter complete with explanation.
    This would probably be the point where they would do exactly what you suggest at the end of your post - come back with a warrant (as a convenience to you, so you wouldn't have to wait too long).

    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    With that said, I strongly suspect ATF was checking up on a potential straw purchase.
    And here we are in agreement: "...it may well have been an investigation into the writer's continued possession of the Saigas in question."

    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    "Just get off my property and don't come back without a warrant."
    Last edited by Gil223; 02-01-2012 at 12:34 PM.
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    Regular Member Gil223's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    You understand that I was replying to the thread subject, not your post?
    To quote that great scholar and statesman, Curly Joe, "Soitenly!" Pax...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gil223 View Post
    Do you have a large cache of guns with missing/obliterated/modified or otherwise [I]anomalous[/I] serial numbers? If not, your chances of seeing the ATF at your door are probably zero.



    And do you really think the person on the receiving end of that "background check" phone call isn't recording the information, including serial numbers?
    The FFL dealer is not asked, nor required to give the serial numbers over the phone.

    Letting the BATFE into your home on a fishing expedition is plain stupid.
    Last edited by georg jetson; 02-01-2012 at 12:37 PM.

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    It has long been illegal for the ATF to maintain records about purchases by individual buyers, and the recent reporting on multiple gun purchases violates that restriction if the records are kept past the short time required to verify them. I have my doubts that they are destroyed in a timely manner, particularly since they are bound to be computerized. And so national registration has begun in the name of safety. Some of us saw this coming, some acquiesced in the name of saving the Mexicans from themselves.

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    My policy on federal agents if I didn't invite them on my property:

    *Can't post it. The policy would get me banned from the interwebs because of my hatred for all federal agencies and most state agencies. The BATF is high on my poop-list. Sic semper tyrannis.*

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    The "Brady Bunch", their Act, and it's impact on permit holders... :)

    Quote Originally Posted by georg jetson View Post
    The FFL dealer is not asked, nor required to give the serial numbers over the phone.
    I had never actually heard the conversation between the dealer and the NICS agent. Thanks for clearing that up, georg! You also motivated me to do some more research on the whole deal, and here's something else I found about a CCW/CFP that was heretofore unknown to me:

    PL 103-159 (The Brady Act) (BOOO-HISSSSS)
    SEC. 101. (Blahblahblah... establishing BS)
    SEC. 102. FEDERAL FIREARMS LICENSEE REQUIRED TO CONDUCT CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK BEFORE TRANSFER OF FIREARM TO NON-LICENSEE.
    (Blah, blah, blah... unrelated backround info)
    (a) (see previous blahblahblah)
    (all subparagraphs under (a), more blahblahblah)

    HERE'S WHERE IT GETS INTERESTING... (much of this is semi-blahblahblah - if you wish, cut to the blue text to avoid boredom)

    (b) PERMANENT PROVISION- Section 922 of title 18, United States Code, as amended by subsection (a)(1), is amended by adding at the end the following:

    `(t)(1) Beginning on the date that is 30 days after the Attorney General notifies licensees under section 103(d) of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act that the national instant criminal background check system is established, a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer shall not transfer a firearm to any other person who is not licensed under this chapter, unless--

    `(A) before the completion of the transfer, the licensee contacts the national instant criminal background check system established under section 103 of that Act;

    `(B)(i) the system provides the licensee with a unique identification number; or

    `(ii) 3 business days (meaning a day on which State offices are open) have elapsed since the licensee contacted the system, and the system has not notified the licensee that the receipt of a firearm by such other person would violate subsection (g) or (n) of this section; and

    `(C) the transferor has verified the identity of the transferee by examining a valid identification document (as defined in section 1028(d)(1) of this title) of the transferee containing a photograph of the transferee.

    `(2) If receipt of a firearm would not violate section 922 (g) or (n) or State law, the system shall--

    `(A) assign a unique identification number to the transfer;

    `(B) provide the licensee with the number; and

    `(C) destroy all records of the system with respect to the call (other than the identifying number and the date the number was assigned) and all records of the system relating to the person or the transfer.

    `(3) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to a firearm transfer between a licensee and another person if--

    `(A)(i) such other person has presented to the licensee a permit that--

    `(I) allows such other person to possess or acquire a firearm; and

    `(II) was issued not more than 5 years earlier by the State in which the transfer is to take place; and

    `(ii) the law of the State provides that such a permit is to be issued only after an authorized government official has verified that the information available to such official does not indicate that possession of a firearm by such other person would be in violation of law


    My personal experience seems to have been that dealers automatically pick up the phone and call NICS, and don't bother to inquire as to whether or not the buyer has a permit (ees no my yob, mang!). And, since they are licensed by the government to sell firearms, perhaps it's a "better safe than sorry" move on their part. It could be because they have plenty of other federally mandated BS to sort through, and this one - providing an exception to the rule - just slips thru the cracks. Or, maybe they just don't care to ask, thinking that most folks don't know about this 'loophole' (so to speak) anyway.

    Has anybody here, while conducting the purchase of a gun from a FFL dealer, ever mentioned to the dealer that they have a permit? If so, did they offer you this option, or just take your $15-$50 and make the phone call? I mentioned it when I lived and was buying firearms in Oregon (not knowing of this provision in the law at that time), and the dealer's response was basically "That's nice.", and the call was made. Or... did I read the above section of the Brady Act completely wrong? Pax...
    Last edited by Gil223; 02-01-2012 at 04:53 PM. Reason: buying usually has a "y" in it - ADDED
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    Yea, Mississippi is one of the states that has a CPL that one can use in lieu of a NICS. The buyer's name is still entered into the bound book with the S#.
    Last edited by Daylen; 02-01-2012 at 04:38 PM. Reason: spelling error
    Don't believe any facts that I say! This is the internet and it is filled with lies and untruth. I invite you to look up for yourself the basic facts that my arguments might be based upon. This way we can have a discussion where logic and hints on where to find information are what is brought to the forum and people look up and verify facts for themselves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nonameisgood View Post
    It has long been illegal for the ATF to maintain records about purchases by individual buyers, and the recent reporting on multiple gun purchases violates that restriction if the records are kept past the short time required to verify them. I have my doubts that they are destroyed in a timely manner, particularly since they are bound to be computerized. And so national registration has begun in the name of safety.
    Your post made me go hunting, and I "bagged" this (from the FBI's NICS website): "The NICS is not to be used to establish a federal firearm registry; information about an inquiry resulting in an allowed transfer is destroyed in accordance with NICS regulations. Current destruction of NICS records became effective when a final rule was published by the Department of Justice in The Federal Register, outlining the following changes. Per Title 28, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 25.9(b)(1), (2), and (3), the NICS Section must destroy all identifying information on allowed transactions prior to the start of the next NICS operational day."

    But, as you say, I too "have my doubts that they are destroyed in a timely manner." It's a "Federal Regulation", not a law per se - an administrative function that, when overlooked, is easily classified as an "administrative oversight" (commonly known as "Ooooops, my bad!") Pax...
    Last edited by Gil223; 02-01-2012 at 04:51 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gil223 View Post
    Your post made me go hunting, and I "bagged" this (from the FBI's NICS website): "The NICS is not to be used to establish a federal firearm registry; information about an inquiry resulting in an allowed transfer is destroyed in accordance with NICS regulations. Current destruction of NICS records became effective when a final rule was published by the Department of Justice in The Federal Register, outlining the following changes. Per Title 28, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 25.9(b)(1), (2), and (3), the NICS Section must destroy all identifying information on allowed transactions prior to the start of the next NICS operational day."

    But, as you say, I too "have my doubts that they are destroyed in a timely manner." It's a "Federal Regulation", not a law per se - an administrative function that, when overlooked, is easily classified as an "administrative oversight" (commonly known as "Ooooops, my bad!") Pax...
    Its a law as well. Other than NFA weapons it is illegal for the feds to make a registry of firearms where one can look up a person and see what firearms they have. However, the feds don't have a good track record of being lawful.
    Don't believe any facts that I say! This is the internet and it is filled with lies and untruth. I invite you to look up for yourself the basic facts that my arguments might be based upon. This way we can have a discussion where logic and hints on where to find information are what is brought to the forum and people look up and verify facts for themselves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gil223 View Post
    My personal experience seems to have been that dealers automatically pick up the phone and call NICS, and don't bother to inquire as to whether or not the buyer has a permit (ees no my yob, mang!). And, since they are licensed by the government to sell firearms, perhaps it's a "better safe than sorry" move on their part. It could be because they have plenty of other federally mandated BS to sort through, and this one - providing an exception to the rule - just slips thru the cracks. Or, maybe they just don't care to ask, thinking that most folks don't know about this 'loophole' (so to speak) anyway.

    Has anybody here, while conducting the purchase of a gun from a FFL dealer, ever mentioned to the dealer that they have a permit? If so, did they offer you this option, or just take your $15-$50 and make the phone call? I mentioned it when I lived and was buying firearms in Oregon (not knowing of this provision in the law at that time), and the dealer's response was basically "That's nice.", and the call was made. Or... did I read the above section of the Brady Act completely wrong? Pax...
    I've known about that for years. They didn't tell you that when you jumped through whatever hoops you had to in order to get a permit?

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    Regular Member Gil223's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack House View Post
    I've known about that for years. They didn't tell you that when you jumped through whatever hoops you had to in order to get a permit?
    If they had I wouldn't have found it noteworthy, Jack. But then, I got my first permit prior to the passage of the Brady Act. Pax...
    Last edited by Gil223; 02-01-2012 at 08:30 PM.
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    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    If the BATFE is really interested in tracking down straw purchasers who sell guns to prohibited people, all they need to do is contact their own "accounts receivable" department, and those of the DEA, FBI and ICE, and ask for their OWN purchase orders from TX, AZ, and NM...

    I bet they could find some that way--really fast (and furious...)
    Last edited by Dreamer; 02-01-2012 at 11:06 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamer View Post
    If the BATFE is really interested in tracking down straw purchasers who sell guns to prohibited people, all they need to do is contact their own "accounts receivable" department, and those of the DEA, FBI and ICE, and ask for their OWN purchase orders from TX, AZ, and NM...

    I bet they could find some that way--really fast (and furious...)
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockyMtnScotsman View Post
    Show me a valid warrant or go pound sand up your bum.
    Nobody from the BATFE is EVER coming into my place without a warrant.

    I wouldn't invite somebody from NAMBLA or the Klan in. The BATFE is no more welcome in my home than they are.

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    Aug 2010
    Location
    America
    Posts
    2,226
    Quote Originally Posted by Deanimator View Post
    Nobody from the BATFE is EVER coming into my place without a warrant.

    I wouldn't invite somebody from NAMBLA or the Klan in. The BATFE is no more welcome in my home than they are.
    What do you have against Marlin Brando Look-a-likes?
    Don't believe any facts that I say! This is the internet and it is filled with lies and untruth. I invite you to look up for yourself the basic facts that my arguments might be based upon. This way we can have a discussion where logic and hints on where to find information are what is brought to the forum and people look up and verify facts for themselves.

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