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Search & Seizure

Discussion in 'Legal' started by kd5jjp, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. kd5jjp

    kd5jjp New Member

    Feb 1, 2011
    Does anyone know if the ATF can come into a FFL's home or office and do a search without a warrant? many thanks
  2. zhyla

    zhyla Active Member

    Jul 12, 2009
    I don't know all the rules, but for the C&R FFL they are allowed to do an annual audit, which does not involve searching your property and doesn't necessarily have to take place on your property.

    I think the regular 01 FFL has different rules. My guess is no, they don't need a warrant since you have voluntarily become regulated by them and agreed to this up front.
  3. Buck Snort

    Buck Snort Participating Member

    Oct 5, 2004
    N. CA.
    Many years ago I read that yes, they can search an 01 FFL w/out a warrant. That's why I think its silly to set up a gun business inside your house rather than in an unattachced building.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2011
  4. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

    Feb 16, 2003
    Ft. Worth
    The ATF is allowed one unannounced compliance visit per year. This visit allows them to inspect your bound book and verify it against your inventory.

    They cannot search your underwear drawer or anything else like that.
  5. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Senior Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    Plano, Texas
    Understand the difference between a compliance inspection and a search warrant.....

    Texas Rifleman is correct.

    Believe me if ATF (or any other LEA) was executing a search warrant they would include your home and any other building where you are doing your evil deeds.

    If ATF has obtained a search warrant it is pursuant to a CRIMINAL investigation.......meaning they should have probable cause to search your home, place of business or any other property where they think there may be evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

    A compliance inspection is not a fishing expedition to look through your cabinets and sock drawer......it is to compare your bound book vs 4473's vs inventory. That's it.
  6. Archie

    Archie Participating Member

    Dec 31, 2002
    Hastings, Nebraska - the Heartland!
    Speaking to the original post, the answer is "Not unless..." and a few exemptions attach. The most important is 'exigent circumstances'; something happening NOW that cannot wait. I'm not sure about the background to the question, but any agency has to have probable cause, typically supported by a warrant in order to search a home or residence.

    Under the Constitution and case law - legal decisions by courts - all searches must be 'reasonable'. All searches must be based on probably or reasonable cause. If the 'unannounced visit' is for the purpose of verifying the bound book against inventory, that's as far as it goes. (Does this get abused? Yes, it does and the courts are very quick to correct it when it happens. But that's another story.)

    Also remember the 'plain sight' rule. If the BATFE examiner shows up to audit your books and inventory, don't leave the marijuana stash out on the counter. Just because his purpose is to check the guns doesn't mean he can't observe what is out in the open.

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