ATF Death Watch 144: Long Gun Registry Abuse Begins

One of the most compelling arguments against gun control: laws affecting legal gun purchase and ownership put the government on a slippery slope towards gun confiscation. One of the least compelling arguments against gun control: laws affecting legal gun purchase and ownership put the government on a slippery slope towards gun confiscation. Gun control advocates—and those who view the government as a benign entity—dismiss any mention of creeping tyranny as the paranoid ravings of firearms-fixated members of the lunatic fringe. The ongoing Fast and Furious scandal has highlighted the divide . .

On one side, gun rights advocates see the ATF’s “Guns for Goons” program as a government conspiracy to promote gun control. On the other side, supporters sell the feds’ Fast and Furious anti-gun smuggling gun smuggling as a “botched sting”: a virtuous though misguided attempt to shut down the “iron river” of illegal guns flowing from US gun stores to Mexican drug cartels. Now here’s a fun fact bound to fuel both sides of the “debate”:

Federal agents in South Texas have opened 123 criminal investigations as a result of a new requirement that border-state gun stores report customers who buy two or more large caliber rifles in the same week, especially those preferred by Mexican drug cartels.

The ATF’s multiple gun reporting regulation for border state gun stores was created out of whole cloth by the Bureau just as the Fast and Furious scandal was breaking. The reg requires 8500 gun dealers in four border states to file a same-day report on any sale of two or more larger than .22 caliber rifles to the same buyer in a five-day period.

Originally mooted as an “emergency measure” to deal with U.S. to Mexico gun smuggling, the ATF registry morphed into a “pilot program.” Which will now automatically renew. The registry was created by Executive Order, bypassing Congress and violating federal rules against the creation of ANY federal gun registry. After a trip to court, the long gun registry was unleashed.

And now chron.com reports that the ATF has launched not one, not two, not three but 123 criminal investigations into potential gun smuggling—in The Lone Star state alone. But don’t worry because . . .

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Wednesday that it is not looking at everyone who makes multiple purchases, but those who draw suspicion for other reasons, such as repeatedly buying the same guns.

People like veterans of the Fast and Furious operation; buyers paid by Uncle Sam to smuggle guns to Mexican drug thugs? All non-kidding aside, what are the odds that every one of these 123 investigations is focusing on “real” criminals? The ATF will never tell.

So think of of it this way: either the extra-legal ATF gun registry is a great success or the ATF is hassling legitimate gun buyers. Hassling as in bringing all the tools of federal law enforcement to bear: financial audit, surveillance, search, seizure, the whole Uncle Sam schmeer. At least potentially. For the foreseeable future.

The ATF long gun registry is What Me Worry for those who like gun control. For them, the UK paradigm applies: if you haven’t done anything wrong you have nothing to fear. And if a legitimate gun buyer or 100 get caught up in the effort to stem the tide of guns to Mexican drug cartels who couldn’t possibly purchase a gun any other way than through American gun stores (e.g., “seepage” from official U.S. military sales), that’s OK too.

For those of us on the right [side of the issue] the ATF registry opens a new chapter in big government creep. It’s only a matter of time before the registry spreads to other states and other calibers and other time periods. This as Canada kills its gun registry as expensive, intrusive and useless.

Worse, the ATF’s long gun registry establishes an extremely dangerous precedent: the ATF can do whatever the fuck it wants to do.

It’s a principle that’s been established though Fast and Furious; an illegal program that enabled the murder of two federal law enforcement agents and hundreds of Mexicans. A scandal where not ONE government employee has lost their job or, for that matter, served prison time. With the registry, the ATF has shown its true colors. And they are not red, white and blue.

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

37 Responses to ATF Death Watch 144: Long Gun Registry Abuse Begins

  1. avatarMichael B. says:

    Why are you guys still calling it the ATF Death Watch? Unfortunately, they’re not going away.

    • avatarScuba Steve says:

      Because we would like to think we can do whatever the fuck we want to do to, but we are not the ATF.

      Because it makes us feel better.

      Because we can.

      Because – well, just because.

      Wishful thinking.

      If I think of anything else, I will be sure to let you know.

    • avatarStant says:

      In fact they seem to be getting stronger.

    • avatarElliotte says:

      I never read it as “watching for the death of the ATF”, I always read it as “watching the deaths caused by the ATF”

      • avatarJwhite says:

        Elliot I think your correct. Its a watch of deaths related to the ATF’s failed operatons. Life Liberty and Property.

  2. avatarry_ry says:

    “With the registry, the ATF has shown its true colors. And they are not red, white and blue.”

    Nope, they are just red.

  3. avatarSilver says:

    It’s how tyranny always begins; small, increasingly-intrusive measures and Reichstag-style sleight of hand. Smart people learn from history and keep watch for recurring signs, stupid sheep bury their heads in the sand and eagerly get fitted for jackboots.

  4. avatarHawke says:

    Just a thought but wouldn’t better border security accomplish more that this “Long Gun Registry?” With a border that criminals can drive a semi full of Pot straight up Interstate 35… How do they expect to stop someone carrying 2 or more rifles? The logic fails me.
    They have proved in the past that they can’t keep track of a few weapons and keep them from killing two federal law enforcement agents. I don’t think we need better laws I think we need better law enforcement. If they enforced the laws we have this would be a moot point.

  5. avatarAdam says:

    I’m curious why the Texas government doesn’t invoke the Tenth, and kick the ATF out of the state.

  6. avataroutdoorrat says:

    Slippery Slope

  7. avatarJR says:

    Is the NRA-ILA doing anything on this?

  8. avatarST says:

    The ATF has been running a gun registry since before the FOPA was signed into law. If the Feds want to collect our weapons right this second , they’d know which doors to knock on. That was the case before Fast & Furious got off the ground. This rifle registry is an excuse meant to keep Congress off of Obama’s back regarding the walked firearms and bloodshed.

    “Senator,we know all these dead Mexicans and Agent Terry’s death look pretty bad but hey! We have 123 cases open right now! No scandal or false flag here, nope, no sirree bob.”

  9. avatarAharon says:

    The ATF’s colors are black & blue with red all over.

    “the paranoid ravings of firearms-fixated members of the lunatic fringe”
    The lunatic fringe is growing.

    • avatarTom says:

      Yes, I have been accused of being a paranoid lunatic due to my opposition of gun registration. This is just all reasonable and prudent actions don’cha ya know?

  10. avatarDylboz says:

    I guarantee you that the next step is requiring retailers to report people who buy multiple long guns a few weeks apart as “suspicious,” thus creating the “crime” of “structuring” gun buys to avoid these reporting requirements, and making criminal suspects out of people who have to save up to buy their rifles or spread their purchases across a few paychecks because they can’t afford to buy all the rifles they want at once in the Obama economy.

  11. avatarTom says:

    Gun Registration usually leads to bigger and better things.

  12. avatarGabba says:

    ATF Death Watch Death Watch 1:
    I think the ATF death watch posts should come to a conclusion, the ATF’s existence is no longer in peril. personally i believe the gun nuts and their media (ttag included) were too eager to pin F&F on obama instead of just the ATF or just eric holder which dissuaded the mainstream media outlets most of which are friendly to obama (and from their lack of coverage it would seem fox is fine with gun control too) from pursuing the story, which has basically made it fizzle out.

  13. avatarRobert Farago says:

    The wheels of justice grind slowly but they grind mighty fine. In theory. Meanwhile I’m here to say this will not stand.

  14. avatarChris Dumm says:

    I probably fit the profile of a ‘Gun Smuggler’ since I do a high number of 4473 transfers every year for my reviews. They probably won’t care that almost all of the 4473 transfers are 4473 transferred back to the manufacturer, Farago, or another writer.

  15. avatarJoseph says:

    If BO gets reelected, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

  16. avatarbontai Joe says:

    ATF has 123 cases now? Think of the puppies! the poor puppies!

  17. avatarPhrederick says:

    Officer: “I’m not sure who invited y’all stormtroopers out here, but the highways out of my state are that way and that way.”

    Oh, sorry, thought it was another caption contest…

  18. avatarJay says:

    Isn’t the federal governments colors red, white and blue? Oh, so are Texas’…

    In other words, why do people fly the federal flag, not their state flag? Why do they place the Stars and Stripes over their state flag? Do you favor the larger over reaching federal government, over your smaller (yet bigger than it should be) local government? Why when people protest the federal government they do so with their [federal government] flag in hand?

    It seems very contradictory.

    How many of you fly the federal governments’ flag? How many of you fly your states’ flag? Do you think it is okay to fly both? If there was one pole to fly flags which one would you place on top?

  19. avatarHowa says:

    Even our little registry led to absurd confiscations. As in guns that had explicitly been declared legal for import by the rcmp. And guns that were declared to be in the same class as prohibited rifles, despite having no common parts and being RIMFIRE.

    It was insane, it was as bad as you all fear, and it was some kind of miracle thatour conservatives (politically analogous to US democrats) fought heir way to power over many long years and somehow actually killed it.

  20. avatarHal says:

    I frequent a local gunstore here in Texas where I buy and sell a LOT of firearms. A couple months ago I went all in for a Glock 21 and Glock 30 combo. I was curious and asked “hey that whole two guns in the same week reporting requirement only applies to rifles right?”
    Now, these guys are my friends. I know them all by name and they know me. We shoot thr shit all the time. But when I asked that the air in the room went out. They seemed VERY uncomfortable and VERY nervous, as if they wanted to answer but where unsure if they were allowed. After some awkward muttering they told me that they were required to report all multiple gun sales, not just rifles, to the ATF.

  21. avatarThe Shocker says:

    ATF has real problems when the Texas version of F&F comes to light, now “grenade gate”.

    We need REGIME CHANGE, then Issa as Atty General, which will spell the death of the BATFEgomaniacs.

  22. avatarAdam says:

    1) The black Dems were caught stuffing the ballot boxes in Philly and Ohio
    as reported the night of the election and Sen. McCain chose not to
    fight. The matter is not dead inside the party. It now becomes a matter
    of sequence now as to how and when to “out”.

    A rather shocking revelation, by way of Wikileaks:

    http://wikileaks.org/gifiles/docs/339396_re-insight-the-dems-and-dirty-tricks-internal-use-only-pls.html

    2) It appears the Dems “made a donation” to Rev. Jesse (no, they would
    never do that!) to keep his yap shut after his diatribe about the Jews and
    Israel. A little bird told me it was a “nice six-figure donation”. This
    also becomes a matter of how and when to out.

    3) The hunt is on for the sleezy Russian money into O-mans coffers. A
    smoking gun has already been found. Will get more on this when the time
    is right. My source was too giddy to continue. Can you say Clinton and
    ChiCom funny money? This also becomes a matter of how and when to out.

  23. that was a good article

  24. avatarGS650G says:

    Brits are fond of the “if you’ve not done anything wrong you’ve nothing to worry about” philosophy. That’s worked out well for their civil rights. Now they wonder how they ended up in a virtual, videotaped police state.

  25. avatarNR says:

    “The ATF can do whatever the **** it wants to do.”

    Duh, commerce clause.

  26. Never buy from an FFL dealer…ever. There, that was easy.

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