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Tag: ATF

ATF Sees Major Upswing in Recovered, Traced Machine Guns in Pennsylvania

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The ATF recovered and traced more machine guns in Pennsylvania than in the past four years combined, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

The ATF issued the alarming report, which states that the ATF reported 132 machine gun traces in the past year in Pennsylvania. By contrast, the agency traced 110 machine guns between 2009 and 2012.

The ATF defines a machine gun as “any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.”

In Pennsylvania, adults can obtain permits to own machine guns. The state has 17,714 such permits.

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FBI Agents to Begin Recording Interrogations After Long Policy Against It

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Overturning an FBI policy that is as old as the bureau, the Justice Department is now requiring the FBI in most cases to make audio or video recordings while interrogating suspects in custody, the Arizona Republic reports.

Since the FBI’s creation in 1908, agents have been barred from making audio recordings of suspects without special permission.

“This policy establishes a presumption that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the United States Marshals Service (USMS) will electronically record statements made by individuals in their custody,” says the memo from James M. Cole, deputy attorney general, to all federal prosecutors and criminal chiefs.

“This policy also encourages agents and prosecutors to consider electronic recording in investigative or other circumstances where the presumption does not apply,” such as in the questioning of witnesses.

Seattle Times: ATF Needs to Provide More Regulatory Oversight After Gun Shop Blunder

By Seattle Times
Editorial Board

Revelations about the sloppy, arrogant business practices of a nationally known Skagit County retailer with a lethal inventory are stunning.

To know that Kesselring Gun Shop had been arming generations with virtually no regulatory oversight, even after grotesque violations were discovered, made Seattle Times reporter Mike Carter’s story all the more shocking.

Nearly a decade ago, after more than a half-century in business, the gun shop received its first visit by inspectors with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

They discovered that nearly 2,400 assault-style rifles and handguns could not be accounted for. A seemingly incurious ATF did nothing for the next five years.

Incredibly, it took a nasty state workers’ compensation claim inside the family-owned business to provide any transparency about the pumping of thousands of lethal weapons into society.

As Carter pointed out, when the ATF finally made Kesselring a priority, inspectors spent four months compiling evidence of ATF violations “in virtually every aspect of the shop’s operation.”

The gun shop failed to have buyers provide key information on purchase forms. Instant background checks were not documented. Guns were sold to non-Washington residents. Multiple handgun sales to one person were not documented in a half-dozen cases.

The company surrendered its license last October. That leaves Washington with 1,093 firearms dealers.

To read more click here.

Washington State Gun Store That ‘Lost’ or had Stolen Nearly 2,500 Guns Stayed Open for 8 Years

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It took eight years for the ATF to shut down a gun store in Washington state that had nearly 2,500 guns stolen or lost, Raw Story reports.To put that into perspective, there were fewer than 200 combined guns missing at the state’s other 1,093 stores.

“Stunning,” James Zammillo, a former ATF deputy assistant director, told The Seattle Times. “That is just an incredible number.”

Among the citations against the Kesselring Gun Shop were the failure to report stolen weapons or to secure explosive material. The store also was cited for selling guns without trying to confirm the identities of buyers.

Still the gun shop continued to operate and even posted a record $14.6 million in sales in 2006, Raw Story reported.

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.”