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Looks like it has legs

I read about this first from Ravenwood. At first, I found it hard to believe but the story seems to be popping up all over. CNS news picked up on it:

The federal agency that regulates U.S. gun dealers stands accused, along with at least three Virginia law enforcement agencies, of trying to shut down legal gun shows through alleged intimidation of gun buyers and sellers. The law enforcement organizations also allegedly broke the law by sharing gun buyers’ information with members of the public.

The details:

“They did something else, which is highly illegal,” Gelles charged. “They did something called a residency check.”

Gelles explained that, when gun dealers took the paperwork to the Virginia State Police on-site office to complete the background checks on prospective buyers, ATF agents copied the names, home addresses and telephone numbers of the applicants.

Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, told Cybercast News Service that he has received numerous complaints alleging that as handgun buyers were waiting for their National Instant Check System (NICS) background investigations to be completed, ATF was secretly conducting the so-called “residency checks.”

According to the complaints he received, Van Cleave said officers were dispatched to the homes of the prospective gun buyers to speak with family members, asking for example: “Gee, did you know your husband was going to a gun show today? Do you have his cell phone number? Did you know he was buying a gun?

Other accounts say they were also asking people’s neighbors. If there’s truth to this story, someone needs to be tarred and feathered err fired.

9 Responses to “Looks like it has legs”

  1. _Jon Says:

    Fired?? They broke the law!
    Arrested, tried, and prosecuted seems about right to me.

  2. CL Says:

    Mike Holloway is going to have a radio show on this afternoon and will be discussing this topic. It’s on 1120am in Maryville and 1180am in Knoxville. It’s either on at 5 or 6.

  3. xx y Says:

    Call letters please, CL, and if you have them, you could add the urls so people could listen online. Thanks

  4. Heartless Libertarian Says:

    That is extremely freaky and highly illegal. Jon’s right, they should be prosecuted if the stories are true.

    Out here on the Left Coast, we had a police chief in Sequim (pronounced ‘Squim’ to annoy non-locals) walk into a gunshow and announce that only FFLs were allowed to sell at the show. This is contrary to WA state law (and in WA, state law preempts local laws on guns. This annoys Seattle quite a bit, I’m sure.) Case is currently before the state Supreme Court (Pacific Northwest Shooting Park Association v. City
    of Sequim)

  5. CL Says:

    The stations are 1120 am WKCE in Maryville and 1180 am WVLZ in Knoxville.

    The stations are under new management and aren’t online yet.

  6. xx y Says:

    http://mailapp.modwest.com/pipermail/fcalerts-list/2005/000021.html

    Well it looks like the fcalerts-list picked up the story.

    Thanks for the call letters, CL. I was hoping that google would find me a feed. Oh well.

  7. SayUncle » Blog Archive » Media compliacitent Says:

    […] Regarding the account of ATF and local authorities breaking the law and harassing gun show attendees, Eric notes the silence in the press. And points out it is eerily reminiscent of their complacence in other less than stellar moments of the ATF. […]

  8. SayUncle » Blog Archive » Virginia ATF Update Says:

    […] I linked before to the story about the Richmond, ATF and VA State Police conducting illegal residency checks, in which they allegedly told family members and neighbors that folks were buying guns. I was skeptical until CNSNews picked up on it. Now, Ravenwood links to the smoking gun. Someone got a Freedom of Information Act request and that details that these residency checks have been going on since at least July 2004. Since he agents copied the names, home addresses and telephone numbers of the applicants, they broke the law. […]

  9. SayUncle » More on the ATF at VA gun shows Says:

    […] There it is. One little blurb with no substance. The residency checks are illegal. Also, there are allegations that the agents were telling neighbors of buyers that they were buying guns. More detail on that here and here. […]