Now Why Would The ATF Be Asking About Internet Sales?

The gun prohibitionists are always in a tizzy about “the Internet sale of guns”. Everytown Moms for Illegal Mayors is making a big deal about “Internet sales” in the campaign for the Washington State universal background check initiative I-594. That initiative, if passed, would mandate universal background checks for all sales and transfers of firearms. Of course, they are being helped by their allies in the Seattle media with articles like this giving the impression that Facebook is just one big gun exchange.

Here is what the Brady Campaign sent out to their true believers in their Toolkit 2014 which provides suggestions for contacting legislators and letters to the editor along with their general campaign strategy.

Unfortunately, when the bill (Brady Law) was created legislators could not have dreamed of the booming internet
and rising gun shows as a means for gun sales. Current law does not require a background
check through these venues
, meaning that a dangerous person could order a firearm online, meet
someone in a parking lot to pick it up, and commit a crime that same day. In fact, there are several
instances of this exact tragedy happening.

Gabby Giffords and the Space Cowboy are not to be outdone. Their “in-depth” report purportedly shows how the Internet is being used to circumvent laws banning firearm possession by the mentally ill. They are also pushing background checks as an issue in the race for Giffords’ former Congressional set in their ads against Col. Martha McSally.

The Violence Policy Center has been on this bandwagon since the late 1990s as have anti-gun politicians such as Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

You and I realize that companies like CDNN, Bud’s Gun Shop, Cheaper Than Dirt, and Kentucky Gun Company among others are not shipping firearms willy-nilly across the country like they are living in some pre-GCA 68 world where anyone could mail order a gun and get it delivered to their home. Moreover, as traditional classified advertising is dying in newspapers due to the cost and declining readership, it is being replaced with online venues ranging from the general to the specific. Many gun forums maintain their own classifieds.

It is within this context that I was surprised by a new question on the ATF Form 8 ((5320.11) Part II. This form is for the renewal of a Federal Firearms License I have circled it in the photo below. Having had my Curios & Relics FFL for going on 18 years, this will make my sixth renewal of my collector’s license. My last renewal was in 2011 and it did not have this question on it.

It asks, “Have you conducted or do you intend to conduct internet sales of firearms? If yes, list the websites from which you conduct your internet business.” If you go to this link, you can see that the prior version of ATF Form 8 did not have this question on it.

As best as I can determine, this is a recent change. The Federal Register contains a notice from ATF dated January 30, 2014 stating that they were submitting a request for review and approval of Form 8 (5310.11) and that the public had 60 days to comment. No draft of the form was shown. A subsequent notice extended this comment period to May 2, 2014.

The final revision was approved on June 26, 2014 according to this OMB database. (If you click on the form name in the link above, it will pull up a PDF of this form.) Reading the justification letter for this revision of Form 8, much ado was made about why they changed this or that question to make it more readable or easily understood. That said, there was absolutely no mention of Q. 8 and the inquiry about Internet sales of firearms. None.

So the question remains: why this question and why now? Is this a prelude to some future restrictions on the advertising for sale of firearms on the Internet? Why is this question not asked on initial applications for either a FFL or a Collector’s License? I don’t know because the ATF slipped it by OMB without any justification of it and they haven’t said anything publicly about Internet sales that I am aware.

As with all things ATF, this bears keeping a watchful eye on them and this issue.

Fat Chance Of This Happening

According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Bullet Points for November 18th, a coalition of groups has requested that Attorney General Eric Holder apply the “‘sporting purposes’ exemption to the definition of armor piercing ammunition set forth in the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA).”

The letter accuses ATF of sitting on petitions from ammunition manufacturers for exemptions for ammo made from materials such as brass and copper. While these materials fail the composition test set forth by the Gun Control Act of 1968, the law does provide an exemption for products clearly intended for sporting purposes. Long range target shooting and hunting would both clearly be sporting purposes.

The letter from these groups (seen below) makes a good case for why such ammo should be granted an exemption. That said, I don’t think there is a chance in hell of Eric Holder pushing ATF to act on these petitions. Not only is Holder anti-gun, he tries to portray himself as pro-cop which would cause him to rule out any ammo that could be considered “armor piercing”. It is a sham but it is what it is.

DOJ Inspector General To Investigate ATF Sting Operation In Milwaukee

An ATF sting operation called Operation Fearless will now be investigated by the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General. This operation in Milwaukee featured a storefront sting effort that went horribly bad. They had merchandise stolen, left behind confidential documents, damaged the building that they were renting, and had an ATF-owned automatic weapon stolen which is still missing.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel investigated it and has a whole series on it.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz wrote to two members of Congress that the Milwaukee sting appeared to raise “significant management issues relating to the oversight and management” of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The issues, the letter said, were especially troubling coming after the agency had promised reforms.

A bipartisan group of congressional members demanded answers after a Journal Sentinel investigation of the sting that revealed an agent’s guns, including a machine gun, were stolen, the ATF storefront was ripped off of $40,000 in merchandise and agents allowed an armed felon who threatened to shoot someone to leave the store. At least four of the wrong people were arrested and three of them charged, including a man who was in prison. The ATF machine gun is still missing.

The ATF promised better oversight in the wake of Fast and Furious, where agents in Arizona encouraged the sale of more than 2,000 firearms to gun traffickers but lost track of the weapons. Many ended up at crime scenes in Mexico and at the scene where a U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed. The inspector general’s report on Fast and Furious was sharply critical of the ATF and the U.S. attorney’s office, finding “a significant lack of oversight” by both agencies.

Horowitz’s letter on the Milwaukee operation, called “Operation Fearless,” said the ATF’s internal report on the incident addressed the management issues that concerned him. But Horowitz said his office would still examine the Milwaukee sting, along with other recent ATF operations.

He said he would determine if the Justice Department and the ATF have responded appropriately to the inspector general’s recommendations after Operation Fast and Furious. He gave no timetable for when the review would be done.

You have to wonder if ATF really has become the gang that can’t shoot straight.

House Legislation Filed On Jan. 22nd

Three more bills dealing with firearms were filed in the House of Representatives yesterday. The first from Pennsylvania Republican Mike Fitzpatrick encourages state’s to provide better records for the NICS system, the second from California Democrat Adam Schiff is an attack on the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, and finally, the third is from Georgia Republican Phil Gingrey which would mandate that the BATFE videotape their tests of firearms and ammunition.

HR 329 – Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA)
To amend the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 to encourage
States to provide records to the National Instant Background Check

Referred to the House Judiciary Committee

HR 332 – Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA)
Rep Cartwright, Matthew A. [D-PA] – 1/22/2013
Rep Cicilline, David N. [D-RI] – 1/22/2013
Rep Ellison, Keith [D-MN] – 1/22/2013
Rep Honda, Michael M. [D-CA] – 1/22/2013
Rep McGovern, James P. [D-MA] – 1/22/2013
Rep Meeks, Gregory W. [D-NY] – 1/22/2013
Rep Moran, James P. [D-VA] – 1/22/2013
Rep Norton, Eleanor Holmes [D-DC] – 1/22/2013
Rep Serrano, Jose E. [D-NY] – 1/22/2013
Rep Slaughter, Louise McIntosh [D-NY] – 1/22/2013
Rep Van Hollen, Chris [D-MD] – 1/22/2013
To provide victims of gun violence access to the same civil remedies as are available to those injured through other means.
Referred to the House Judiciary Committee

HR 339 – Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA)
Rep Blackburn, Marsha [R-TN] – 1/22/2013
Rep Roe, David P. [R-TN] – 1/22/2013
Rep Stockman, Steve [R-TX] – 1/22/2013
Rep Westmoreland, Lynn A. [R-GA] – 1/22/2013
To require the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to
make video recordings of the examination and testing of firearms and
ammunition, and for other purposes. 

Referred to the House Judiciary Committee and to the House Ways and Means Committee

Reporting Requirement For Semi-Auto Rifles Originally Intended For More States

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released the first of three parts on its Final  Joint Report on Operation Fast and Furious yesterday. The report itself is 211 pages long while the three appendices comprise another 2,148 pages. To say it is detailed is an understatement.

It will take days before anyone can digest everything that is contained in the report and appendices. That said, a quick browse turned up a very interesting memorandum from then-Acting Director of ATF Kenneth Melson to Attorney General Eric Holder. (See Appendix III, page 173). The memo, received on March 26, 2010, was making the case to Holder for approval of a pilot project to use demand letters to Federal Firearms Licensees in certain states to force them to report multiple sales of semi-automatic rifles in a caliber greater than .22 and with the ability to accept detachable magazines.

This request was sent months before the Department of Justice Inspector General had released a report criticizing the effectiveness of ATF’s Project Gunrunner. Among the recommendations of the OIG’s reports was that reporting of multiple sales of long guns be explored. Melson concurred with this recommendation but said at the time “that this may require a change to the Gun Control Act which is beyond ATF’s and the Department’s authority.”

As we now know, ATF did get permission to do their one year pilot program to require reporting of multiple sales of certain rifles. It went into effect on August 14, 2011 in the Southwest Border states of Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas.

What makes Melson’s letter particularly interesting is that he was requesting authority from the Attorney General to not only request demand letters in the four border states but an additional eight more. These eight additional states included Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Washington State. The rationale given is that these (and the Southwest Border states) were the top 12 source states for firearms recovered and traced in Mexico in FY2009.

I think it has been assumed that the impetus for the multi-rifle reporting requirement was the Office of Inspector General’s report. As the Melson memo makes clear, ATF was pushing for this almost nine months earlier. Moreover, it was not limited to just states that bordered Mexico but major Mid-Western states such as Illinois and Southeastern states such as Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina. When you add in a state like Washington which is as far from Mexico as you could get, it doesn’t take too much of an imagination to assume that the so-called pilot program was meant to be a predecessor to rolling this out nationwide even though the Gun Control Act of 1968 did not give ATF this authority. Perhaps this is what Obama meant when he said to Sarah Brady that they were working “under the radar” on gun control.

Andrew Traver – Seeking That Rocky Mountain High?

I’m not sure how I missed this but Katie Pavlich is reporting that Andrew Traver, SAC of the ATF’s Chicago Field Division and Obama’s nominee to head ATF, is transferring from Chicago to be the SAC of the Denver Field Division.

President Obama’s pick for ATF director, anti-gun Andrew Traver, has been transferred from his position as special agent in charge of the ATF Chicago Field Division, to head up the Denver division. According to sources, the move came after Traver felt frustrated his confirmation for ATF director had been stalled in the Senate for nearly a year. The estimated cost to transfer Traver is nearly a million taxpayer dollars, all because his feelings are hurt.

Traver will replace Marvin Richardson (no relation). According to the rumors at CUATF, Richardson will now be the Deputy Assistant Director of the Office for Public and Governmental Affairs replacing Scot Thomasson who is now the Acting SAC of the San Francisco Field Division.

Vincent Cefalu had this to say about the moves on Feb. 11th:

Andy Traver’s feelings are hurt because he got played as a pawn for the Director job. He told ATF to make things right he wants to be the SAC in Denver. ATF is going to move out the current Denver SAC, who is known to ATF to have offered “lack of candor” answers to the questions of Federal investigators and make give him a spot in PGA, the DAD job recently opened when they moved out Scot Thomason.


Good For The Terry Family

The family of murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry is suing the ATF for $25 million in Arizona state court for their role in his death. They are also suing Lone Wolf Trading Company in a second suit.

From FoxNews:

According to the claim, agent Terry was patrolling near Rio Rico on the night of Dec. 14, 2010 when he was shot and killed by criminals yielding assault rifles. Those rifles were traced to a straw purchaser for Mexican drug cartels in Arizona who the ATF knew about and allowed to deliver the weapons to the cartels.

“The murder of agent Terry and other acts of violent crimes were the natural consequence of ATF’s decision to let dangerous weapons designed to kill human beings ‘walk’ into the hands of violent drug-trafficking gangs,” the complaint reads.

The claim also contends that the circumstances that led to Terry’s murder were not isolated events, but rather there were thousands of guns purchased under occasional ATF surveillance with no way of tracking all the weapons from straw purchases.

The suit against Lone Wolf Trading Company is asking for unspecified damages. It says the company should have recognized just how risky these sales were but ignored it. Moreover, it says they knew that the ATF was letting the guns walk and should refused to participate in future straw purchases.

Bob Owens suggests that pulling Lone Wolf into the equation was a smart move.

By pulling Lone Wolf into the equation, the family’s attorney’s are creating a situation where Lone Wolf is going to be forced to give up what they know and pressure the ATF into providing documents for their defense as well.

I think he may be on to something there.

Watch the latest video at <a href=””></a>

I’m Shocked; Shocked, I Say

In what I assume is part of the Friday night document dump, we are learning about the symbiotic relationship and personal connections between the Joyce-funded University of Chicago Crime Lab and ATF brass. The Crime Lab is not a forensics lab but rather a social policy institute investigating violence and crime with a special emphasis on “gun violence”. 

Mike Vanderboegh in a Sipsey Street Exclusive has the story including the e-mails between the Crime Lab’s Executive Director Roseanna Ander, who served with the Joyce Foundation for ten years before heading the Crime Lab, and ATF brass including Bill Newell.

It makes for some very interesting reading and confirms some suspicions about the connections between the firearms regulators and the gun prohibitionists.

At Least One Thing At ATF Works The Way It Should

I have held a Curios and Relics FFL since the 1990s and was due to renew it for another 3-year period. I sent in my renewal application on October 17th and received my new license on November 2nd. To be quite frank, I was amazed that ATF’s Federal Firearms Licensing Center turned this renewal around so quickly.

I have criticized the ATF strongly over Project Gunwalker and the agency’s management. However, I believe in giving kudos where they are due and the Federal Firearms Licensing Center turned my renewal application around in record time.

On a side note, if you have an interest in older military firearms or in historic firearms, you really should investigate getting a Curios and Relics FFL. It costs $30 for a 3-year period and allows you to receive eligible firearms directly. The golden days of being a cruffler may be fading but there are still some good deals to be had. Moreover, companies like Midway USA and Brownells will give you a dealer discount on purchases which pays for the C&R FFL if you order just a few things. It is something to think about.

Meet The New Boss – Same As The Old Boss

David Codrea writing in his National Gun Rights Examiner column today says that ATF Acting Director Todd Jones has given us “kabuki” instead of a real shakeup with the changes he announced yesterday in the senior management of ATF. Or as David headlines his column, meet the new boss – same as the old boss.

As any Who fan knows – or anyone that watches CSI: Miami – those lyrics come from the last stanza of The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again”.

I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again
Don’t get fooled again
No, no!


Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss

And so, in honor of Todd Jones’ reshuffling at ATF HQ, here is The Who.