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Tag: ATF

Four Suspects Arrested in Shooting of ATF Agent, Police Officer in Tennessee

By Steve Neavling

Three adults and a teenager were charged with attempted murder in the shooting of a Memphis police officer and an ATF agent in Tennessee. 

The shooting occurred about 2:30 p.m. Friday when officers with a violent crimes unit were searching for a carjacked vehicle that was involved in a crash, Memphis police said on Twitter. The four suspects exited a red sedan and fired multiple shots at the officer and ATF agent before fleeing the scene. 

The officer and agents were taken to a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. 

Authorities arrested Adarius Armstrong, 19, Barium Martin, 19, and a 17-year-old. 

U.S. Marshals tracked down a fourth suspect, 19-year-old Julius Armstrong, who was briefly at large.  

“With a Memphis Police Officer and ATF Agent Shot and a suspect on the run, finding the suspect became our number one priority, as we worked to assist our local and federal partners,” U.S. Marshal Tyreece Miller said in a statement. “We have used every means possible and were able to locate him within 12 hours. With the assistance of MPD and ATF, we were able to take the suspect into custody with no injuries to him or any law enforcement officer.”

ATF Special Agent in Charge Mickey French added, “Removing the criminal element that uses firearms to facilitate violent crimes is a priority of ATF. ATF’s partnerships with the Memphis PD and the U.S. Marshals Service in the arrest of these individuals will have a lasting impact on the community.” 

North Carolina Man Convicted of Shooting at ATF Agents Who Were Conducting Surveillance

By Steve Neavling

A North Carolina man who fired a shotgun at two ATF agents who were conducting surveillance was convicted of assaulting federal officers and multiple firearm charges. 

A jury found Gary Lynn Gatlin, 50, guilty on Wednesday, and he now faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. 

ATF agents were surveilling Gatlin on suspicion of firearm trafficking on April 15, 2020, when he approached them on Water Tower Road in Orrum, N.C., and fired four shots at their vehicle. The agents, who were not injured, had identified themselves as law enforcement. 

Police recovered empty shotgun shell cartridges and a Mossberg Maverick Model 88 shotgun and other firearms. 

Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 7. 

Conservative Republicans, NRA Wage Battle Against Biden’s Nominee to Head ATF

Former ATF Agent David Chipman, via Twitter.

By Steve Neavling

The NRA and conservative GOP lawmakers are digging in for a fight to prevent the nomination of David Chipman as ATF director. 

The NRA on Wednesday announced its plans to oppose the nomination of Chipman as part of a $2 million campaign to fight gun-control measures, The Washington Post reports.

Chipman is a gun owner, former ATF agent and senior policy adviser at Giffords, a gun control advocacy group led by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. Chipman has advocated for gun restrictions, including a ban on assault weapons. 

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., and other Republicans are urging Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and the panel’s top Republican, Sen. Chuck Grassley, of Iowa, to oppose Chipman. 

“Mr. Chipman has a long history of advocating against Americans’ Second Amendment rights,” the Republicans wrote in a letter to Durbin and Grassley, The Hill reports.

“He supports limiting magazine capacity, holding gun manufactures liable if one of their products is used by a criminal in a crime, and banning certain types of rifles – including America’s most popular rifle the AR-15,” they added.

President Biden has faced pressure by gun control groups to pick someone to head the ATF, which has been without a permanent director since 2015 as the nation continues to grapple with mass shootings. 

As vice president, Biden recommended in 2013 that President Obama pick a Senate-confirmed ATF director. Obama followed through with the confirmation of B. Todd Jones in 2013, but Jones resigned in 2015, and the agency has been without a permanent director since. 

The current acting director, appointed by President Trump, is Regina Lombardo. 

Whether Biden can muster the 51 votes required to confirm a permanent leader is an open question. Republicans have blocked ATF candidates who were far friendlier to the pro-gun base. 

Biden to Nominate Gun Control Advocate As Permanent ATF Director

Former ATF Agent David Chipman, via Twitter.

By Steve Neavling

President Biden is expected to nominate David Chipman, a prominent gun control advocate, to lead the ATF, The New York Times reports.

Biden’s pick, David Chipman, is a gun owner, former ATF agent and senior policy adviser at Giffords, a gun control advocacy group led by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. Chipman has advocated for gun restrictions, including a ban on assault weapons. 

Biden is expected to announce his nomination today. 

Biden has faced pressure by gun control groups to pick someone to head the ATF, which has been without a permanent director since 2015 as the nation continues to grapple with mass shootings. 

As vice president, Biden recommended in 2013 that President Obama pick a Senate-confirmed ATF director. Obama followed through with the confirmation of B. Todd Jones in 2013, but Jones resigned in 2015, and the agency has been without a permanent director since. 

The current acting director, appointed by President Trump, is Regina Lombardo. 

Whether Biden can muster the 51 votes required to confirm a permanent leader is an open question. Republicans have blocked ATF candidates who were far friendlier to the pro-gun base. 

Biden Administration Searches for First Permanent ATF Director Since 2015

By Steve Neavling

President Biden may soon pick a nominee to lead the ATF, which has been without a permanent director since 2015 as the nation continues to grapple with mass shootings. 

The New York Times reports that Biden’s administration is interviewing potential candidates, and NBC News says the president has a “shortlist” of final candidates.

“The administration is going to revitalize A.T.F. and ensure that our guns laws are vigorously enforced,” Michael Gwin, a Biden spokesman, told The New York Times.

As vice president, Biden recommended in 2013 that President Obama pick a Senate-confirmed ATF director. Obama followed through with the confirmation of B. Todd Jones in 2013, but Jones resigned in 2015, and the agency has been without a permanent director since. 

The current acting director, appointed by President Trump, is Regina Lombardo. 

Picking a permanent director is among the Biden administration’s priorities, spokesman Michael Gwin told NBC News in a statement. 

“President Biden is committed to reducing gun violence both, through the policies he pursues and the personnel he places in key positions at agencies like ATF,” Gwin said. “The Administration is going to revitalize ATF and ensure that our guns laws are vigorously enforced so we can keep illegal firearms off our streets and save lives.” 

No candidates have been identified. 

MSNBC: ATF Must Be Empowered to Play Bigger Role in Combating Mass Shootings

By Steve Neavling

The mass shooting that left 10 people dead at a Colorado supermarket underscores why the ATF must become a bigger part of the solution, MSNBC columnist Hayes Brown argues.

Brown points out that the NRA has “systematically weakened ATF with the support of congressional Republicans.”

Brown writes:

“The restrictions have all focused on the bureau’s mandated tasks: issuing licenses for federal firearm licensees, which then have to use the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System when making sales; inspecting gun dealers for compliance with the law; and cracking down on illegal gun sales.

Those would be challenging enough, but ATF has to rely on a patchwork of laws to prevent illegal gun trafficking, since there’s no comprehensive federal law against gun trafficking. And as Berlow’s piece explained, over the years Congress has included a number of “riders,” or “bits of permanent law tacked onto an appropriations bill,” to the ATF’s funding.

Some of the most restrictive are the Tiahrt Amendments, which seem perfectly tailored to keep ATF small and ineffective. These riders block ATF from centralizing records it gets from licensed gun dealers, keep ATF from disclosing to anyone the contents of a federal database that tracks guns that authorities recover from crime scenes, make it illegal for ATF to require gun dealers to create a paper trail of how many guns they have in inventory and require the FBI to have a way to destroy any identifying information in a background check within 24 hours of clearing a gun sale.

These provisions can be undone only with an affirmative act of Congress. And don’t think about trying to transfer anything that ATF should be doing to another government body — there are riders blocking any funding for that, too. As things stand, ATF is so weak that it can’t even strip licenses from gun dealers effectively, even after multiple infractions.”

To read more, click here

Grenade Sought by ATF Exploded, Killed Teen in North Carolina

Grenade sold in North Carolina, via ATF.

By Steve Neavling

The ATF made an urgent public plea in late December for help tracking down a hand grenades that were “thought to be inert” after they were sold to unsuspecting customers at an antique mall in North Carolina. 

Unfortunately the ATF wasn’t able to locate one of the grenades before it exploded and killed a Virginia teenager two days before Christmas.

The grenade were sold at the Fancy Flea Antique Mall in Shallotte. 

The store owners thought the grenade was a dud, the ATF said in a news release. The ATF is asking for the public’s help tracking down the other grenades. 

“The grenades were thought to be ‘inert’ MK2 grenades, a style used during World War II,” the ATF said. “At the time of sale, neither the vendor nor buyer(s) believed the grenades to be functioning or hazardous.”

ATF Searches for Grenade That Could Still Explode After Being Sold at Antique Mall

Grenade sold in North Carolina, via ATF.

By Steve Neavling

The ATF is asking for the public’s help tracking down a grenade that was “thought to be inert” but could still explode after it was sold to an unsuspecting customer at an antique mall in North Carolina.

The grenade was purchased from the Fancy Flea Antique Mall in Ocean Isle Beach on June 13, and it appears the customer believed the grenade was just a decoration. 

“The grenade, thought to be inert, may contain materials that could degrade [and] explode,” the ATF statement said.

Anyone with information on the potential whereabouts of the grenade is asked to call ATF at 704-716-1800. 

The ATF had a similar scare in Durham, N.C., in December 2019, when a thrift store was evacuated after a live grenade was found inside a dresser that had been donated. No one was injured.