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tore says feds confiscating
licenses for inadvertent trivia
Posted: June 26, 2007
9:26 pm Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2008 WorldNetDaily.com



The government is using paperwork errors as small as the abbreviation of a city name to shut down some of the nation's longest-serving gun shops, and 2nd Amendment advocates fear the right to bear arms will mean little if there's no way to obtain a gun.

"No good deed goes unpunished," Larry Pratt, of Gun Owners of America, told WND while confirming that as recently as 15 or 20 years ago, there were 250,000 licensed gun dealers in the United States.

Today, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told WND, there are 108,381, and if more cases involving dealers such as Red's Trading Post of Twin Falls, Idaho, develop, that number will plummet quickly.

Ryan Horsley, a spokesman for Red's, which has been in business 71 years, said the store has been battling over its license because of rules infractions such as a missing poster for more than six years.


He's launched an online petition asking Congress to intervene and halt the "blatant targeting of law abiding dealers." It also seeks a "fair, constitutional and speedy appeals process" and has attracted thousands of signatures.

His company also has a federal lawsuit pending against the ATF over its announcement that Red's firearms dealership license was being withdrawn.

Attorney Mark Geston said the case asks the court to review the statute and the "propriety" of the decision that was made.

Horsley said the reason Red's is facing a revocation is – at most – insignificant paperwork mistakes.


"Imagine having your driver's license revoked because you did not completely spell out the word 'no' when answering a 'yes' or 'no' question on your application five years ago," his petition asks.

He told WND the inspectors begin with efforts to locate any petty violation they can, usually clerical mistakes. "They list these errors as 'willful' which Congress set in the wording to protect FFL dealers," he said. "The dealer's Federal Firearms License is then revoked and the dealer must enter an appeals process which is extremely unfair."

He said essentially the appeal of a ATF decision goes directly to the people who originally made the decision.

"This is the equivalent of being in court and having the prosecuting attorney act as an adviser to the judge," Horsley said. The result forces the business, if owners want to continue operating, to sue in federal court.

Pratt told WND, "the power that has enabled ATF to take away people's licenses to do business" continues unabated.

Pratt said many gun dealers were closed down when Congress allowed local municipalities to recommend denial depending upon the location of the gun dealership.


The founder of Red's, "Red" Kinney, and son Jesse

And he noted a family gun business that had been operation in Baltimore, Md., for years was attacked because of the "wanton, repeated crime" of abbreviating Baltimore as "Blto" on the "teeny, tiny spaces on the forms provided by the teeny, tiny little minds."

The agency holds, he said, a "continuing animas against gun owners and dealers."

The inspectors have no handbook under which to operate, and the absence of such written procedures allows them to be arbitrary and capricious.

Horsley described to WND his experiences with those very actions.

The ATF inspection of Red's in 2000 discovered various paperwork violations, he said, just shortly after he arrived to take over the store, mistakes such as a customer failing to write down the county in which he lived.

In 2001, "they couldn't find any violations," he told WND. A few other minor problems were found later, including a failure to put up a poster.

"I wasn't alarmed because this agent … had told us we were one of the best small gun shops he'd ever seen," Horsley told WND.

Then early in 2006, "We get a letter that 'We're [ATF] revoking your license,'" Horsley said. "I just came unglued. I couldn't believe it."

After an expensive appeal process within ATF, he ended up with the same result, and sought out a lawyer for the federal court challenge.

During the appeal process, the penalty had been delayed, so the store could continue its business. But once the federal court challenge was filed, the ATF announced that the store now was a "threat to public safety" and no longer would be able to acquire firearms.

Horsley told WND he still was allowed to sell whatever he had, but couldn't purchase more stock. His stock plummeted from 1,000 guns to 160 and two workers were laid off before an emergency run to federal court obtained a ruling from U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge that allows the store to continue operations – for now.

The judge found "the ATF speaks of violations found during the inspections of 2000 and 2005, but fails to reveal that additional investigations in 2001 and 2007 revealed no violations or problems."

The judge also noted the ATF was exaggerating the situation by "double counting" some violations.

Horsley said the key issue is that the inspectors make the determination that any errors were "willful." He said the first inspection results in a warning for whatever clerical errors are found; then the next inspection makes the assumption any errors are willful, even if none of the original mistakes was repeated.

Horsley said one inspector told another – in front of a store worker who noted the exchange, that, "We're going to keep doing this until we find something."

He said the number of gun dealers dropped from 1994-2005 by nearly 80 percent and revocations are up nearly six times from 2001-2006. The ATF declined to share information on cases with WND, citing the confidentiality required in an open investigation.

But on a blog on his store's website, Horsley described one situation that happened just a few weeks ago:

The ATF came in yesterday at about 10 a.m. and stayed until around 6 p.m. attempting to find violations to submit to the judge. They did give us a pass on one of the violations. A customer wrote his middle initial instead of a full middle name. We let them know that the customer does not even have a middle name and only an initial. They still told us they would let that pass. So, I am overflowing with gratefulness right now.

I questioned Linda Young (the Area Supervisor) on the last violation that we did not have our records in PERFECT alphabetical order, stating that if you wanted to read the policy literally then we should have to keep all of our records in full alphabetical order and not separated by year despite this being the way nearly all records are kept by dealers. She agreed and then stated that she had the authority to overrule procedures and policies. When I brought up the issue that [an] ATF Inspector ... advised us to keep them in the previous order that we were cited for, she then stated that inspectors did not have the authority to overrule procedures and policies.

Why was [the inspector] not cited or suspended for providing us incorrect information? We were cited for a violation on incorrect information.

He continued: "This is not just happening to us though and is becoming a common trend throughout the United States … Why would we honestly put our license, reputation and over 70 years in business in jeopardy? We would never condone illegal activity, we have always gone above and beyond what is asked of us and will continue to do so."

Horsley's store, meanwhile, has paid about $70,000 in legal fees so far to avoid his only other option – to lock the doors and go away.

And Pratt said such actions – and expenses – are common.

One dealership in Texas already has paid about $600,000 in fees and expenses to fight to retain its license. That case started with the complaint that bullets from a shooting range near the store were polluting groundwater – even though no test ever had been done to confirm that.

Meanwhile, the publicity campaigns and stunts arranged by high-profile activists opposed to guns continue to muddy the water by making unsubstantiated allegations about gun dealers, they noted.

Jesse Jackson recently appeared at an anti-gun rally outside a gun shop in the Chicago area, a shop that has been targeted multiple times. The protesters have claimed weapons sold at the store have been used to commit murder.

"We must turn our mourning into marching," Jackson said. He was joined by the mother of Blair Holt, 16, who died in a gunman's rampage on a bus.

"To all those people watching me: It could be your child next. So, you better stand up and do something now," said Annette Holt.

Jackson compared gun retailers to the insurgency in Iraq.

"These guns are killing police, civilians, they're killing our children," he said. "In Iraq, they'd call that an insurgent's base."

Rebecca Hazen, however, had a different view. She and her husband for years had run Blue Lakes Sporting Goods, also in Twin Falls, and competed with Red's. They shut down after their firearms license was revoked just a few months ago.

"No government agency should have the right to take away our right to do business," she wrote. "Without a gun license, we had no reason to continue our business… I believe government has been unable to take guns from the hands of citizens or sue gun manufacturers out of business, so they will use government agencies to revoke licenses one at a time until there are no stores to buy guns."

"I encourage every gun owner to step forward and let their senators and congressmen know how we feel about the ATF's power to revoke licenses and close up businesses. The ATF should be stopped before there are no guns left to buy. Let your voice be heard," she wrote.


http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=56389
 

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Discussion Starter #2
'Blog' puts fear into gun shop inspectors
Review of sales records ends over 'safety' worries
Posted: July 25, 2007
1:00 am Eastern

© 2008 WorldNetDaily.com


A team of inspectors from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives fled an Idaho gun shop where they were inspecting sales records when they learned their actions were being recorded on a blog.

The federal agency and Red's Trading Post of Twin Falls, Idaho, have been disputing for six years already over the store's license to sell firearms, with regulators using rules infractions such as a missing poster to attack Red's business operations.

WND documented earlier how the store appears to be caught up in a new campaign for gun control, focusing on the elimination of retail outlets through technical rules infractions.

Now the federal agency has gone to court with a report that its inspectors "suspended" their work at the store recently because of the "threat to the inspectors' safety created by Ryan Horsley, the Manager of Red's."



Sometime during the agency's visit to his store on July 17, he updated his blog, which he's been using to chronicle for readers his encounters with the federal bureaucracy.

"AFT Area Supervisor Linda Young came in today from Spokane, Washington (567.72 miles; 9 hour drive) along with Industry Operations Inspectors Calvin Pavey and Mike Gorewicz from Portland, Oregon (570.96 miles; 9 hour drive) at around 9:45am. They showed up in a rented newer model Chrsyler … [it] appears they are staying at Best America Suites, which I have to compliment them on their taste, that is a very nice hotel for this area," he wrote.

He went on to describe how the inspectors were looking through the store's books and one of the store's supporters arrived with a camera and started taking some photos.

"We had been recording the audit because of some of the statements that Linda Young had made in the past," he wrote.

The inspectors, however, suddenly left, and within days, the federal agency's version arrived in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho.

"[The federal agency] notifies the court than an inspection of Red's Trading Post … was initiated on July 17, 2007. The inspection was suspended due to the threat to the inspectors' safety created by Ryan Horsley, the Manager of Red's," the court filing said.

The filing documented how some unidentified person had taken pictures of the inspectors at work.

"At about this time, Supervisor Young's assistant from the Spokane office contacted her and advised that Mr. Horsley had updated his internet blog (http://redstradingpost.blogspot.com/) to include the information that ATF, and Supervisor Young personally, was at the store conducting an inspection," the filing said. So Young contacted others.

"The Director of Industry Operations, Richard Van Loan, agreed with Supervisor Young's assessment that the photographing of the rental car used by ATF personnel, coupled with the instantaneous posting on the internet of ATF's presence … posed a credible threat to their safety and was designed to harass and intimidate," the court filing said.

The court filing noted two other times when the inspectors had been photographed, including once by a news team.

"The ATF has resorted to a smear campaign on my character to present before the judge, they are now spinning the fact that I wrote a recap of the events on our blog…" Horsley said in an update.

"My point was to show the excess spending of the ATF, many of you know that in our 2005 audit the ATF brought in one inspector to cover five years. I was merely pointing out that they were flying in two inspectors and a supervisor from out of state to cover three weeks worth of paperwork," Horsley said.

"The person in question who photographed them was a 70-year-old man in a Hawaiian shirt who is balding (Sorry, Al) and has a broken foot. Yet three inspectors felt that they were in danger," he saida.

"Continue to pray for myself and my family during these attacks, also pray for these people at the ATF. I mean that honestly, Luke 6:27-28," Horsley said.

A writer, David Codrea, of The War on Guns documented the court filing.

He reported that Horsley had asked him to hold the information for a time.

"BATFU had threatened him that he needed to cease all blogging and keep their agents and inspectors free from being photographed or observed, or they would go to the judge and file a complaint of harassment," Codrea wrote.

"The new complaint is calculated to be a death blow to Red's – both financially with additional legal expenses they cannot afford, and by giving the judge an excuse to side with thugs portraying themselves as victims," he said. .

"I repeat my call for a rapid response team of 'minuteman' volunteers to make themselves available via a phone tree to go to gun stores being audited, and audit/document/photograph the auditors," he wrote. "Don't let creatures of the shadows hide there – expose them to the light and make them live there – or cravenly slink back under the baseboards where they belong."

Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America told WND that as recently as 15 or 20 years ago, there were 250,000 licensed gun dealers in the United States. The federal government confirms there are only about 108,000 now.

The saga with Red's began when the ATF inspection in 2000 discovered various paperwork violations, Horsley said, just shortly after he arrived to take over the store, mistakes such as a customer failing to write down the county in which he lived.

In 2001, "they couldn't find any violations," he told WND. A few other minor problems were found later, including a failure to put up a poster.

"I wasn't alarmed because this agent … had told us we were one of the best small gun shops he'd ever seen," Horsley told WND.

Then early in 2006, "We get a letter that 'We're [ATF] revoking your license,'" Horsley said. "I just came unglued. I couldn't believe it."

After an expensive appeal process within ATF, he ended up with the same result, and sought out a lawyer for the federal court challenge, a challenge which now is pending.


http://worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=P ... geId=42726
 

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:puke:
 

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This country is heading down a 2nd civil war path if things don't change. Gun owners and regular Americans are so Rightly different then these leftist thats its mind boggling.
 

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...great make it harder for law abiding citizens to obtain guns..while scumbag felons can get then all day with no problems :evil: and will still get them all day and all night while us law abiding citizen in the future will not be able to. Makes me sick
 

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I especiallylike the part about the ATF fearing for it's safety, and let's not forget they feel intimidates and harassed too.

Poetic justice if you ask me, if they want to get a real idea of harassment perhaps they should find a mirror and take a long hard look....

And a big +1 for Red's for fighting back .....Maybe if enough gun owner's watched them as closely as they seem to watch everyone else we could drag the cockroaches into the light and see some REAL reform. Because as we all know writing to our congress critters gets us the standard form letter politely telling us to go screw ourselves.JMHO

A shop close to me went thru this very thing and it caused them to lose their FFL, they were lucky and reopened under a new one though so the F troop didn't quite get what they wanted.
 

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malkuth said:
This country is heading down a 2nd civil war path if things don't change. Gun owners and regular Americans are so Rightly different then these leftist thats its mind boggling.
Heller will not mean squat when Obama gets his 4th SCOTUS nominee approved during his second term ...
 

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They started that nit-picking abbreviation bullshit about a year and a half ago during the last inspection i was part of when in worked firearms retail.
They were nitpicking the 4473's for the littlest thing such as a number being past the end of the line it was supposed to be on and people abbreviating the word "county" as"cty".
Don't think they don't have an agenda that entails putting every firearms
retailer out of business one way or another.
They want to make it so difficult to do business in the industry that
the dealers just give up and quit, rather than do business.

KyAKGuy
 

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I know several mom and pop shops who have to deal with the same issues every couple of months during ATF inspecction season.

Things got particularly rough right after the NIU shootings, but everyone had their t's crossed and i's dotted, and the shooter had pruchased everything legally.
 

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As a kid I frequented Red's quite a bit never really saw a lot of guns for sale, mostly pawn shop stuff, and surplus gear, very small time dealer, in a small city of about 70k.
I can't remember seeing more than 20 rifles on the rack, and 10 pistols in display, and I'd say there were even less.

:roll:

ETA: From what I know of both of the Twin Falls business' mentioned, people should be worried about this.
 

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This is not news as it has been this way for at least thirty years.

The instructions on the 4473 clearly state no abbreviations may be used.

The ATF figures if you are not able to correctly fill out a simple form then the gun store has no business selling firearms to an obvious idiot.
 

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Your papers... they are not in order.

No photographs.
 

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happened to my FFL. never had a problem. then one day a new inspector shows up, 18 minor violations. inspector says correct them, no problem, just a warning. then he receives a letter saying they are revoking his license
 

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I'm sure going to catch hell for this but if things were in order, there would be no problems. Call me a stickler, but attention to detail is not too much to ask of your local FFL. Consistent mismanagement is grounds for the Bureau to remove their license. Albeit this article reports stores being closed for the first minor infraction, I have seen quite the opposite first hand.

Our local FFL got audited recently and the agent made many recommendations for bringing the office under compliance. It is my understanding that the office was in such disarray, the agent actually volunteered to come back another day and assist with the reorganizing.

All of their issues stemmed from poor protocol/document management, i.e. initially filling out the form incorrectly, letting customers input serial # info/driver’s license info, completing the background check days/weeks prior to the receiving the item, etc.

Furthermore, if the Bureau closes down all gun stores, is there really enough alcohol and tobacco to keep them busy?

In my opinion, the gun purchase process is all a bunch of nonsense and rigmarole. Unfortunately I am not king so my opinion matters little to the bureau. Some day though…
 

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"In before the lock"


and


One of my favorite dealers told me that an ATF agent told him the goal is that they will reduce the number of FFL's to "One dealer per STATE."
 

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s70fan said:
This is not news as it has been this way for at least thirty years.

The instructions on the 4473 clearly state no abbreviations may be used.

The ATF figures if you are not able to correctly fill out a simple form then the gun store has no business selling firearms to an obvious idiot.
+1 it's not that hard to follow direction! kinda like the "atf barrel ban" clearly written in the law, when they decided to inforce it. suddenly the atf was banning barrel import. :roll:
don't get me wrong the atf are turds for sure. but blaming them for everything, whether it's there fault or not takes pottency from are cause!
 
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