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Tag: ATF

Gunmaker Sues ATF, Saying Feds Wrongly Classified Its ‘Muzzle Brake’ a Silencer

Image from brownells.com

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A gunmaker is suing the ATF for claiming the company is selling a gun silencer.

Gunmaker Sig Sauer said that the ATF wrong classified its “muzzle brake” as a silencer.

“If classified as a silencer, no market exists for the subject device given that it will not silence, muffle, or diminish the report of a firearm and yet it would still be subject to the burdensome requirements set forth above as if it really is a silencer,” Sig argues through

Manchester attorney Mark Rouvalis and Virginia attorney Stephen Halbrook.

By classifying it as a silencer, sales will drop significantly because people won’t want to deal with the “required burdens” that come with a silencer.

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AG Holder: ATF’s Use of People with Mental Disabilities in Stings ‘Is Crazy’

Holder speaks in Philadelphia/doj photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder lashed out at the ATF’s use and treatment of people with mental disabilities in undercover stings, saying he is “greatly troubled” by the information, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

“The notion that you would use mentally unstable people, you would tattoo them, that you would do ridiculous things like that, it’s absurd and people will be held accountable,” he said. “It’s crazy.”

Holder was testifying before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee and said he wants to get to the bottom of the bungled stings.

Holder’s statements one after a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation found that agents were conducting stings with people with mental disabilities.

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ATF Agents Accused of Impersonating Landlord to Turn On Electricity in Storefront Stings

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Undercover ATF agents renting a storefront had their energy shut off by the landlord because they exceeded their monthly allotment.

The agents responded by getting the landlord’s account information and calling the electricity company pretending to be him, an internal investigation revealed, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Account statements were improperly taken and information contained in one of those statements was improperly used to impersonate the landlord in a telephone conversation with the electric power provider,” according to the report, prepared by the ATF’s Office of Professional Responsibility and Security Operations.

The ATF investigation is part of a larger probe involving blundered storefront stings.

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Congress Slams ATF Director Over Blundered Undercover Storefront Operations

US Attorney B. Todd Jones

Todd Jones

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

ATF Director B. Todd Jones’ first appearance before Congress wasn’t a pleasant one.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that congressional members from both sides slammed Jones over the agency’s blunders in undercover storefront operations.

Some of the problems included using people with mental disabilities to promote undercover operations.

Jones defended the agency, saying it didn’t knowingly target people with mental disabilities.

“You don’t think that your agents, dealing with a man with an IQ in the 50s, knew he was mentally disabled?” asked U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.).

U.S. Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-Mich.), who used to teach children with disabilities, said people with low IQs are easy to recognize.

“Anyone with any life experience can ask simple questions,” he said. “I was surrounded by these kids. They are some of the best, nicest people who try their best and just want to please. I am appalled you would use these individuals like this and arrest them later.”

Responded Jones: “Hindsight is 20/20.”

Lenient Sentences and Weak Laws Frustrate ATF’s Battle Against Gun Trafficking

By Jeffrey Anderson
For ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Nutveena Sirirojnananont is staring at a possible 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine for ordering eight guns online that she directed to a federally-licensed firearms dealer in New Hampshire, but she’s all but guaranteed a fraction of that.

The Newmarket, NH, woman pleaded guilty in January to purchasing the weapons from Suds and Soda Sports, a licensed gun dealer in Greenland, NH, and using intermediaries to ship the weapons to associates in California, Florida and New York, who then shipped them to Thailand.

Sirirojnananont pocketed a 15 percent markup on the guns, which she sold through her online beauty-supply export business, cheapshop4you.com, in Portsmouth, and through an EBAY business called the PookyWookyShop. Sentencing is set for May 5.

The prospect of a light sentence isn’t unusual. In fact, it’s more the rule than the exception in gun trafficking cases around the country, a point that frustrates the top gun enforcement agency, ATF, to no end.

The chief problem, ATF officials say, is that there is no comprehensive federal statute in place that expressly outlaws gun trafficking and so-called “straw purchases” in which third parties buy weapons for people, often affiliated with crime organizations.

Paperwork Violations 

Instead, ATF says it’s forced to rely on “paperwork” violations such as making a false statement on the forms required to purchase a gun from a licensed dealer.

“Currently there is not a firearm trafficking law,” says ATF Agent Timothy Graden, a spokesman for the agency. “Trafficking cases typically involve people with little or no criminal history, therefore allowing them to buy firearms and then divert them to the criminal element.”

Consequently, there are cases all around the country in which people get off light for gun trafficking. Some even get probation.

Such is the case of Neil Smith, of Little Rock, AR, who got off last year with felony probation after ATF agents purchased seven firearms from him. Smith later admitted to illegally selling between 50 and 100 guns for profit.

In St. Paul, MN, Paul De La Rosa, who purchased over 119 firearms that he trafficked to Mexico, allegedly to a drug cartel, received just 36 months in prison.

And then there’s the more highly publicized case of Denver woman Stevie Vigil, who in March was sentenced to less than three years in prison, after pleading guilty to buying and transferring a firearm to a convicted felon and prison gang member who used the gun to murder Colorado Department of Corrections Executive Director Tom Clements at his home, and a Dominos pizza delivery man named Nathan Leon.

Read more »

Federal Government Allows ATF Official to Collect Two Salaries While on Leave

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A key figure in the Fast & Furious gun-running operation was permitted to collect two salaries while on leave from his federal government job, the Washington Times reports.

The Justice Department’s inspector general created the report after finding that three of William McMahon’s superiors with the ATF “exercised poor judgment” by allowing McMahon to collect his salary while also working for JP Morgan when he was on leave.

The two jobs also created a conflict of interest, the inspector general found.

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Special Report: Lenient Prison Sentences and Weak Laws Frustrate ATF’s Battle Against Gun Trafficking

By Jeffrey Anderson
For ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Nutveena Sirirojnananont is staring at a possible 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine for ordering eight guns online that she directed to a federally-licensed firearms dealer in New Hampshire, but she’s all but guaranteed a fraction of that.

The Newmarket, NH, woman pleaded guilty in January to purchasing the weapons from Suds and Soda Sports, a licensed gun dealer in Greenland, NH, and using intermediaries to ship the weapons to associates in California, Florida and New York, who then shipped them to Thailand.

Sirirojnananont pocketed a 15 percent markup on the guns, which she sold through her online beauty-supply export business, cheapshop4you.com, in Portsmouth, and through an EBAY business called the PookyWookyShop. Sentencing is set for May 5.

The prospect of a light sentence isn’t unusual. In fact, it’s more the rule than the exception in gun trafficking cases around the country, a point that frustrates the top gun enforcement agency, ATF, to no end.

The chief problem, ATF officials say, is that there is no comprehensive federal statute in place that expressly outlaws gun trafficking and so-called “straw purchases” in which third parties buy weapons for people, often affiliated with crime organizations.

Paperwork Violations 

Instead, ATF says it’s forced to rely on “paperwork” violations such as making a false statement on the forms required to purchase a gun from a licensed dealer.

“Currently there is not a firearm trafficking law,” says ATF Agent Timothy Graden, a spokesman for the agency. “Trafficking cases typically involve people with little or no criminal history, therefore allowing them to buy firearms and then divert them to the criminal element.”

Consequently, there are cases all around the country in which people get off light for gun trafficking. Some even get probation.

Such is the case of Neil Smith, of Little Rock, AR, who got off last year with felony probation after ATF agents purchased seven firearms from him. Smith later admitted to illegally selling between 50 and 100 guns for profit.

In St. Paul, MN, Paul De La Rosa, who purchased over 119 firearms that he trafficked to Mexico, allegedly to a drug cartel, received just 36 months in prison.

And then there’s the more highly publicized case of Denver woman Stevie Vigil, who in March was sentenced to less than three years in prison, after pleading guilty to buying and transferring a firearm to a convicted felon and prison gang member who used the gun to murder Colorado Department of Corrections Executive Director Tom Clements at his home, and a Dominos pizza delivery man named Nathan Leon.

Read more »

Congressman Issa Says ATF ‘Dangerously Mismanaged’ Program Designed to Rid Street of Guns

Darrell Issa

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Saying the ATF “dangerously mismanaged” a program aimed at gunning guns off the street, Rep. Darrell Issa is subpoenaing the agency for more information.

Issa chairs the House Oversight and Government reform Committee, which is investigating the ATF’s blundered storefront operations.

Issa criticized the ATF for showing a “complete lack of cooperation.”

“I have no choice today but to issue the enclosed subpoena,” he wrote to ATF Director B. Todd Jones. “… The time for hollow promises is over.”

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