Am I toast?


Harry Paget Flashman
April 28, 2005, 09:04 PM
I stopped in a local gunstore during lunch hour, one I visit every month or so to look for good deals. Ended up getting a nice SIG 220 .45ACP (Preowned police trade-in/factory refurbished) for $550 out the door. On the way home I stopped at my "regular" gun store where I buy all my catalog/internet deals through the owner's FFL. He a good friend who is a couple of years younger than me who just got back from Iraq on National Guard duty.(God bless him.)

His gun shop and FFL was in it's third day of a BATF inspection. They'd had some minor irregularities in yellowsheets. Most amount to the equivalent of typo's. He said they caught a lot of heat for a CZ-70 they sold me while he was overseas because they couldn't find the yellowsheet for the transaction. They found it eventually. Hurricane Ivan had blown the roof off of part of his building and my paperwork was under some boxes they'd moved during repairs.

Well, because of a "missing" yellowsheet my name got some scutiny because they knew they'd sold it to me but couldn't prove the legality of the sale on their part, and while sorting through the paperwork the agent discovered that I'd "bought a whole lot of guns." (My guess is 20 or so over the last couple of years...but who's counting). The agent, a lady, asked the owner why I was buying so many guns. Was I selling them? Nobody needs that many.

The owner told her very politely, "He served in the military 26 years and draws a nice pension, he's paid off his mortgage and his cars, he put his kids through college, he's got no bills, finally in his life he's got a decent paying job and now he's got the money to indulge his hobby...guns. The guy buys guns because he wants to. It's the way he accessorizes."

The owner told me that 3 years ago BATF identified 3 of his customers who bought "lots of guns" and they all got a knock on the door by agents. This is the South (I'm a transplant) and they all 3 wouldn't let the agents in their homes, told them to "leave"(euphemistically) and closed their doors. None reported any follow-up action by the BATF.

As I was getting ready to leave the gunstore the BATF agent walked in and went behind the counter. The quick thinking owner introduced me and two other customers to the lady. The owner told the agent that the reason he introduced us was that BATF written policy to FFL's was that they should get to know their customers...he just wanted to share that knowledge with her. She said that was nice. I gave her a nice smile and a warm handshake and repeated my name to her. The owner then engaged me in some polite meaningless chit-chat, that in retrospect, was designed to present me as the decent citizen and harmless old fat guy that I am. I paused, for a while, looked in her direction again, smiled, and left.

The owner is predicting that I'll get a visit. I have nothing to hide. Am I toast?

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April 28, 2005, 09:16 PM
I don't think you're "toast". Hopefully they won't kill your family and bulldoze your house. They may come by and harass you a little though.

I think it's sad that honest, law abiding citizens are living in fear of the government in what is supposed to be the freest country in the world. Vote Libertarian.

April 28, 2005, 09:16 PM
Politely, impolitely, or anything in between...if they knock on your door without a warrant you should tell them to hit the road. You don't know all of the laws, they think they do....anything that you say to them in all innocence can easily get twisted into something that could cause you more grief than you're even willing to think about. Once they get a foot in your door, they can do pretty much whatever they want, including siezing all of your firearms. You'll be a long time and a lot of $ on lawyers trying to get them back...probably to find them damaged/grr'd or "lost".

Stand in the doorway and stand on your rights.

April 28, 2005, 09:18 PM
The owner is predicting that I'll get a visit. I have nothing to hide. Am I toast?

By the way you state it I'd say no.


Jim K
April 28, 2005, 09:41 PM
I bet you will never hear anything more. Just a newbie agent trying on a little intimidation, and it is extremely unlikely to go any farther. She knows you don't have a record (you passed the NICS checks) and that she has no basis whatever for any harassment.

One neat tactic is to ask the agent to repeat the name or show ID, then pull out a notebook and write the name down very carefully, along with the day, time, circumstances and what she said. Sort of turns the intimidation bit around, as she has no idea who you are or who you know.


April 28, 2005, 09:43 PM
Yeah, I'd pull a tape recorder out and ask "mind if I tape this?" :D

Standing Wolf
April 28, 2005, 10:15 PM
Well, yeah, but the B.A.T.F.E. isn't a gang.

April 28, 2005, 10:24 PM
Just show her your V.C. from Jhansi. Or was it Little Big Horn? :p

April 28, 2005, 10:24 PM
Interesting account. I very much liked the owner's excellent back up (served in mil etc) - that was nice and shows a good bit of support.

Does seem possible that agent was a newbie of sorets and excercizing her ''megalomaniac muscles'' a bit! :p

I too would doubt any visits or toast! :)

April 28, 2005, 11:27 PM
I don't think you are toast. If you do get a visit, all they are going to want to know is do you still own the guns on the their list (or at least most of them).

A family member received one of these types of visits several years ago. He has a very...and I do mean very extensive collection. Somehow he showed up on their radar and they decided to check him out.

The BATF called ahead to make an appointment to stop by. When they showed up he took the two agents to his walk-in vault and opened the door. It was quite obvious the firearms were still in his possession. They did not check any serial numbers. They did not even step inside the vault. They thanked him for his cooperation. They explained they had to check do to the shear number of purchased to make sure there was no gunrunning involved. They left and that was the end of the story. Simple, done, no drama.

How you wish to handle the situation if they show up is up to you. But I would not panic over it. They just want to know you have what you bought.

Now, if you have been selling stuff it might get a little sticky. Even though there is nothing illegal about that they will probably want to know the who, what, why, and when details.

I, by no means, think they should be able to do this. I find it disturbing that they would do this based solely on the number of purchases you have made over the years. But we all know this is how it works these days.

Good luck

April 29, 2005, 12:27 AM
I wouldn't worry about it. You legally bought the guns. You haven't commited any crime. If they show up at your door without a warrant then it's none of their business what you have or may have sold. You don't have a FFL so they can't just barge in.

April 29, 2005, 12:40 AM
No, but your cat could be a pancake.

Andrew Rothman
April 29, 2005, 01:08 AM
They explained they had to check do to the shear number of purchased to make sure there was no gunrunning involved.

Yup, `cuz we're innocent until proven guilty, except when it comes to eeeeevil guns.

April 29, 2005, 01:14 AM

No, you're no where near "toast."

And the BATFE's "written policy" is more about proper identification of a purchaser of a firearm. Making sure the ID photo matches the face and that their ID address matches what they've printed on the 4473. It's not about "knowing" your customers and having them over for picnics or birthday parties.

cracked butt
April 29, 2005, 03:10 AM
Am I toast?

You're not toast until after they ignite the flammable teargas that they've pumped into your house. :evil:

J/K :neener:

April 29, 2005, 03:23 AM
Theoretical situation.

ATF: *Knock Knock*
Me: Yes.
ATF: Can we come in.
Me: Why.
ATF: We are conducting an investigation.
Me: You got a warrent?
ATF: I can have on in an hour.
Me: See ya later, *Slam* :neener:

If they had enough dirt on me to get a warrent in an hour, they would have. No warrent = No entry. Sure I might step outside and answer an honest question or two. If they don't have a warrant and are asking to search the house then the judge probably laughed them out of the room. Never willingly let a cop search you're car as well. The only thing you legaly have to do is show lisense, registration, and proof of insurance. Most cops I know are nice, but eventualy you might run into a real :cuss: .

Harry Paget Flashman
April 29, 2005, 07:55 AM
I guess ordering a Schmidt-Rubin 7.5mm K-31 yesterday from my favorite FFL didn't help my case any.

I'm pretty much inclined to maybe answer a few questions on the front porch if they come knocking, but don't plan on inviting them in. In times like this I wish that Fifi, my poodle-mix dog that died of old age last Summer, was still alive. She was good at "alerting" on mailmen, meter readers and Jehovah's witnesses.

I am hoping that having met the BATF agent yesterday that my charm was sufficiently disarming. As I mentioned before, I have nothing to hide. But I realize that I am not as clever as I think and under a stressful grilling with bright lights and rubber hoses there is the possibility of them perceiving inconsistancies in my answers to their "who, what, why, where and when" questions.

The upside to all of this is that now I have the impetus to inventory, clean, oil and lube all 58 items in my cache. Wouldn't want to be embarassed by having a gun that wasn't inspection ready.

April 29, 2005, 08:06 AM
Well, because of a "missing" yellowsheet my name got some scutiny because they knew they'd sold it to me but couldn't prove the legality of the sale on their part, and while sorting through the paperwork the agent discovered that I'd "bought a whole lot of guns." :scrutiny:

April 29, 2005, 04:23 PM
BBATFE (B of Books, Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) agent questions bookstore owner Greg Thomas as to why customer bill smith has so many books he bought from the store, Greg Thomas responds it's a First Amendment right to publish books and people to buy them. The agent laughs and says I remember when people used to say that about the Second Amendment before we got the court to set everyone straight....

April 29, 2005, 04:28 PM
CT - the satire there is most disturbing! :uhoh:

Harry Paget Flashman
April 29, 2005, 04:44 PM
As an aside to what I posted before, my FFL friend told me yesterday (before the lady BATF agent showed up) that he'd showed the agent a notebook full of yellowsheets of people who'd failed NICS checks. I saw the notebook and I'd guess there were about 30 or so "rejected" yellowsheets. He said he asked the agent if she wanted the sheets, as it was a list of people who'd failed the NICS checks and had possibly falsified the questionaire which he said he thought might be a felony itself. He asked the agent if it might be productive to go after some potential criminals who'd tried to unlawfully buy guns from him. The agent told him she wasn't interested. My friend still has the notebook.

Sure baffles me. If they do pay me a visit I might suggest they re-visit the issue of my friend's notebook of failed NICS checks.

rock jock
April 29, 2005, 04:50 PM
Why do threads about the BATF have to be so controversial? Don't be a serf, protect your rights, be courteous and respectiful. Is that so hard? Is the hyperbole necessary, or even appropriate?

Harry Paget Flashman
April 29, 2005, 05:07 PM
rj. Good point. Hyperbole isn't necessary and maybe not appropriate. I do get spun up at times and can write in a style that caters to my own prejudices. Even paranoid folks may have people who don't have their best interests at heart. Thanks for the feedback. :)

April 29, 2005, 05:16 PM
Agent - "Why are you buying so many guns?"
Me - "Because I can. Why are you asking about me excercising my constitutional right?"

Of course, this would either get her to lay off, or I'd be spread eagle on the ground with some Jackboots on the back of my head. :D

April 29, 2005, 05:19 PM
yeah yeah... so, let's get to the meat of this... how's she look? Seems you did a good amount of smiling at her, maybe she'll be over later for something besides a check on your safe. :D

2nd Amendment
April 29, 2005, 05:29 PM
Crosshair pretty much has it nailed. He only left out one thing: Have your attorney there when the hour is up. NEVER talk to Alphabet Agency reps without a tile crawler...or six...present.

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