Karl Pierson's house before the ATF raid (courtesy dfailymail.co.uk)

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (and Really Big Fires) is a rogue agency. We have Ruby Ridge, Waco, the “glory hole” debacle, the “cigarette walker” scandal, the as-yet-unexplained Fast and Furious anti-gun running gun-running operation and the ATF’s recent storefront “sting” operations. Despite the fact that the ATF consistently breaks the law—or perhaps because of it—we keep seeing federal agents shows up at high profile crime scenes. Check this from latimes.com’s report on the immediate aftermath of the shotgun attack at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado . . .

[Jo Vandewege] was watching television coverage of the shooting Friday afternoon when agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives pounded on her door and warned her to stay inside. Soon afterward she heard someone shout: “This is ATF. Open up!” at the Pierson home.

When there was no answer, she said, she heard the door being broken down.

Does the ATF get to lead school shooting investigations under the auspices of the federal Gun Free School Zones Act? I don’t think so. I would think the County Sheriff, the local police and the Colorado State Police could handle any school shooting up to a full-blown terrorist attack. And probably that as well. Equally, given their past history, the ATF shouldn’t get to lead any investigations into anything ever again.

Pierson carried two molotov cocktails into Arapahoe High School. Do they count as explosives? Dunno. But I know one thing for sure: the ATF are publicity hogs who are best left in a tax office, back where they started. In fact, the sooner the ATF is disbanded the better.

95 Responses to Why Were the ATF Busting Down Karl Pierson’s Door?

      • Why can’t we get a candidate for president who states that as their position?

        There’s no better start for making government smaller.

        Sadly it will never happen

        • Write me in. But be sure it’s really Liberty that you love! I’ll also call off ALL of the wars, including the war on drugs and the war on women.

          The website still needs some work, but hey, we’ve got ’til about mid-2016 to get it going.

          If there are enough write-ins, and multiple vote count monitors at the voting places, an upsurge in Liberty lovers could really really do it. What the heck, who in the world had ever even heard of Barack Hussein Obama before about 2003?

        • @Rich Grise: I’d vote for you. The budding website looks good. We need more political candidates saying precisely what you do on your site.

        • Thank you! Please spread the word. I’m currently living on a fixed income of $916/month, so one day I’m going to need donations – I’ll be setting up a page for that and make the list of donors’ names and the amounts public.

          Fire the IRS! Well, I won’t be able to fire the IRS instantly, because we’ll need some taxes for awhile to pay the deficit down and meet previous obligations like SS and Medi-whatever, but ending all the wars forthwith will save trillions! I’ll also ask to be inaugurated in a big stadium, open to the public, and ask each attendee to bring at least one rifle, so they can deter the PTB from instantly Kennedizing© me. 😉

    • The ATF was? Seriously? Not the police or FBI on the attempted murder charge, but the ATF rushes in to ransack the house looking for more molotov ingredients or maybe an illegally modified short barrel shotgun? They have no jurisdiction on this, they are just getting in the way of the real law enforcement officers. Just a totally irrelevant agency that needs to GTFO. What was the judge thinking?

  1. … because they are in the fight-of-their-lives for relevancy in the dog-eat-dog world of bureaucratic funding…

    All it takes is a pre-drafted, fill-in-the-blanks warrant being put onto the desk of a judge first in order to establish that relevancy. First in the door gets to claim jurisdiction and even if they lose that battle eventually (to the FBI, state police, or local sheriff’s office) the ATF ensures they get to participate in pressers, photo ops, etc. in their cool-ass blue windbreakers with ATF on front and back, showing they are “on the case, ma’am (and remember this when people talk cutting our funding).”

    Come to think of it, it’s not any different from the civilian disarmament industry’s reaction to school and/or mass shootings…

  2. Taking the ATF back to its statutory purpose as a taxing authority can likely be done with executive order. If the ATF were disbanded through a legislative process, its responsibilites would likely be transferred (and expanded) to DHS. How can we get them both disbanded?

      • Difficult to vote it out when both parties (voted for by 92-98% of voters) support expansion of the DHS…

        This is one of those situations where our two party system presents us one shitty option.There is the “third party,” and I’m all for it, but every time I check that 3rd box, I know that my vote won’t bring that candidate victory. Maybe it will be different some day, but right now, our efforts at the ballot (giving a 3rd party a few percentage points of the vote) aren’t having any effect on policy.

        Without some kind of paradigm change, the Democrats and Republicans will always have control of our political system. There are just too many people voting for the same old “D” and “R” branded shit.

        • If you think the government that has shown to have it’s octopus tentacles in every facet of technology and our lives gives two shits about who you vote for I have a bridge to sell to you.

        • You want a paradigm change?

          How about if a whole state turns white, if a state votes in an independent Governor?

          This can be done If we can get enough people in an area, lets say St. Joseph county Mi, to put in the work of social reform and get the schools straightened out. We can then work out our influence and get an independent up in through the ranks and into the governors seat. Then the whole “wasted vote” thing goes down the drain and a bunch of people can feel confident to vote for an independent… is could be a tidal wave of change across this united states!

          This will also get us into the position to strengthen the Michigan Militarily, so we will be able to stand up to the FED when we go to nullify a vast amount of its BS. IRS, ATF, EPA, FBI can all be told to F-OFF. Drug laws, Gun Laws, even some Tax Laws can be stopped dead at the Michigan boarder if the people are willing to put forth the effort and willing to fight.

          This would mean that the FED as far as Michigan (or any other state that does this) is concerned is just the buffer between the states and the rest of the world… like it should be.

        • What’s not “real” about the Libertarians? Is it that they support the WHOLE Constitution and not just the parts you like? Is it the dreaded hippies that just want to get high all the time? Here’s my favorite Ron Paul clip:

        • Be nice! *I* support expansion of DHS by about 300 million people! We should offer a $1000 refundable tax credit for the purchase of a handgun and training, for a limited time of, say, 5 years. THAT would enhance “homeland security” massively.

          BTW, the clips I saw in 2016 showed the Libertarian candidates in favor of more gun control. Took care of that, so far as I was concerned, may never look at them again.

  3. i don’t understand this article. they knocked on her door and yelled stay inside, then said open up its the atf? did anything happen other than someone knocking on her door?

    • Sounds like ATF knocked on neighbors’ doors to tell them not to come outside and see what the commotion was when they kicked in the door of the house they were searching.

      Point of the article seems to be wondering why ATF was the agency running the search when it is a local crime, rather than the local PD. I’m not a fan of ATF either.

      • “Point of the article seems to be wondering why ATF was the agency running the search when it is a local crime, rather than the local PD.”

        Gun Free School Zone act, perhaps? The little socialist punk with a shotgun on school grounds makes this a Federal matter. But since EVERY anti-gun law, federal or otherwise, is unconstitutional on its face then the assignment of duties to a federal agency to enforce those laws and/or regulations is ALSO an unconstitutional act. These guys only got into the firearms enforcement business because the people running moonshine or smuggling over-taxed cigarettes insisted on shooting at them (and missing).

        And if the School Security Officer confronted the miscreant, why did he have to shoot himself?

    • Yeah, the quote is a little confusing. It was the neighbor who lives across the street – she was saying she heard the ATF pounding on the Peirsons home. At the same time, another ATF agent knocked on her door and asked her to stay inside.

    • These days, every crime imaginable involves something that moved in “interstate commerce”. If all else, the perp and victims were wearing clothes made in China and were shipped through multiple states. That’s a really weak excuse to get the Feds involved. This is a local/state issue. The ATF needs to be disbanded.

      • +1

        It really depends on how far back in the manufacturing process they want to define something as a “firearm.” If they go all the way back to Chinese steel, then watch them say it should be regulated under Chinese firearms laws….

  4. It’s poorly worded, but I think the article is saying that the ATF broke into Pierson’s house, not the neighbor’s.

      • Now, let’s be fair, Ralph (sorry, did something wrong so this isn’t indented). “Wrong house” raids by ATF aren’t the fault of the agents, but rather the hiring process. it is not the agents’ fault that no one told them they had to conform to certain standards as a condition of hiring. Said standards being able to read an address as well as a postman, being able to use a GPS as well as a teenager, being able to read a search warrant as well as a five year old, being able to tell the truth, and being able to read, understand, and internalize the content of the Bill of Rights.

        “You get what you hire for” is as true at the ATF as it is at GE or Google.

        • Must be why cops can’t deal with dogs as well as mailmen, meter readers, or pizza delivery guys.

      • “You can understand the source of our confusion. It’s very unusual for the ATF to break into the right house.”

        Ha- that’s for sure!

  5. Why Were the ATF Pounding on the Door of Karl Pierson’s Family Home?

    Uh, because Karl Pierson’s family allowed a murderer to reside in their home who got so out of control he carried Molotov cocktails into a federally-protected school zone and purchased a shotgun he clearly was disqualified to own (if not legally disqualified, a priori).

    With parents like that, who needs enemies?

    I am no fanboi of the ATF and long for their dissolution. But this action is not surprising, is it?

  6. Wait wait wait. The shooter was dead. What did they expect to find at his home? What possible evidence could they find of a crime that will not be prosecuted? there is absolutely no evidence that there were ANY co-conspirators. And even if there were, this would not be an ATF issue–its only issues are illegal firearms and explosives.

    • Well, if it were a local PD doing the search, the ideal answer would be they wanted to find things like newspaper clippings or computer search records of other school shootings, emails or texts exchanged with potential sympathizers or accomplices, detailed drawings or written descriptions of any plan he had. The reason for finding these things would be both to make sure a complete investigation was done and to try and better understand the mindset to help figure out how to spot these monsters before they strike. In real life, it’s that plus the fear of a lawsuit for doing a sloppy job.

      Since it’s federal, I don’t know how much of that, if any, applies. Probably looking to see which gun store to prosecute.

      • How does anything you say justify breaking down the door of a private residence? A warrant is for the purpose of obtaining evidence of a crime–and while there was certainly a crime here, it is a crime that will not and cannot be prosecuted because the perpetrator is dead. Doing some kind of social study to prevent OTHER crimes is not a justification for a criminal warrant. Since there can be no prosecution, it is a total waste of limited police resources to do a “thorough” investigation. Yes, there might be a concern of other participants, but a search for such evidence at his home still requires probable cause to believe that evidence of the existence of such a conspiracy will be found. There is no such evidence.

        And there is still NOT ONE FACT that would justify the ATF doing any kind of search at all. Cowboys, one and all, and it really pisses me off.

      • Look, I’m not a supervisor or a detective, so I wouldn’t be writing the warrant. I’m not a judge, so I wouldn’t be signing it. I do think that it would be a bad idea for police in general to say “well, we can make several assumptions from the initial scene, that allow us to wrap up this case with an educated guess.” Without getting into any of the problems seen in the Sandy Hook case, since the only shooter was dead at the scene, does that mean they should have just wrapped it up right there and saved the overtime budget?

        Should the door have been forced? I’m not a fed, so when my department has to serve a warrant for evidence, we contact the homeowner and let them use the doorknob. Should the ATF have been the agency doing it, or anything else in this case? Absolutely not.

        And perhaps I wrote my first comment poorly- no, there should be no warrants requested or signed for a social studies project like “active shooters, the madness behind the men.” I do think a full investigation should be done, though, and if there is enough to get a warrant, and information is found while actually working the case that can later on help identify future cases, it should be used.

        If there wasn’t enough to get a warrant, and the judge signed it anyways, there is a whole different problem.

    • “its only issues are illegal firearms and explosives”

      What? You haven’t heard about alcohol and tobacco?

  7. If you dont like your neighbor nowadays you can call in a report that he seems to be “quiet, stays to himself, isnt very friendly, has a Teaparty bumpersticker on his SUV, and has been seen carrying what looks like machine guns” then sit back and watch the SWAT team kick his door in and drag him out into a black van.

  8. Why Were the ATF Pounding on the Door of Karl Pierson’s Family Home?

    Maybe they were looking for guns to ship to Mexico.

    • HA! Well done.

      They also might have been looking for an evil AR or AK so they could push the anti “military style assault weapon” agenda.

      Even though he didn’t use one, if he owned one, the murder he committed would be even more bad.

  9. Well… he did make and use Molotov Cocktails in an attack on a school. The “E” in BATFE has jurisdiction over that, right?

    If you don’t like them, fine. Write your senator or get elected and push to change that yourself. But as long as they exist, don’t be surprised when they show up.

    • The Department of Transportation, a branch of the federal government, distributes a little orange book for people in the shipping/transport industry with VERY detailed information on hazardous materials. Gasoline, and most other flammable liquids, are classified as “Flammable”, not “Explosive”. Interestingly enough, gunpowder is also classified as “Flammable”, not as “Explosive”. A truck full of loaded small-arms cartridges does not need to be placarded as “Explosive”, only “Dangerous”.

      So, according to the government’s own regulations a Molotov cocktail would not fall under the purvue of the BATFE.

      • Gasoline in regulation containers: Not BATFE

        Propellant in regulation containers: Not BATFE

        Gasoline in frangible containers with attached ignition device: Destructive device and well within the core purview of the BATFE

        Propellant in frangible container with attached ignition device: Destructive device and well within the core purview of the BATFE

        If that weren’t obvious enough, read the lables: It’s unlawful under federal law to use either product in a manner inconsistent with it’s labeling. Gasoline is for use as a motor fuel only, thus making Molotov’s an unlawful use of the product.

        • “Gasoline in frangible containers with attached ignition device: Destructive device and well within the core purview of the BATFE”

          No, destrutive device has a very specific definition in the law. Mere incendiary devices do not fall under it.

          That does not mean that the BATFE will not contend that they do. Bureaucracies always like to expand their fiefdoms as much as possible, gather in more “territory” in order to increase budgets, manpower, and status.

          However, here is what the BATFE says are “Destructive Devices” on their web page:

          http://www.atf.gov/firearms/guides/importation-verification/firearms-verification-nfa-destructive-device.html

        • Saw the other reference to BATFE’s definiton, so they now do include molotov cocktails as “destructive devices”. They also say any collection of parts that make a destructive device, is a destructive device. They have now clevery defined 90 percent of American households as containing destructive devices.

          How many households do *not* contain a flamible liqued (gasoline, turpentine, alcohol, lighter fluid) and a breakable container, and something, just about any cloth will do, that can be used as a wick.

    • If there’s an explosive tangentally involved, the ATF goons get to ride in the back of the FBI SUVs. Think of the [RARE] aircraft bombing investigations.

  10. Where is Joe Friday when you need him? Hell, 1 Adam 12 could have handled this better than those militaristic clowns of the ATF.

  11. Probably the molotov’s were their justification. Maybe expecting more explosive devices like the dipsticks at Columbine and the joker had.

    Course, if he had murdered his family and wired the house the ATF could’ve lost a couple of people kicking his front door in like that. They should stick to smuggling guns to the cartels. It’d probably be safer for them than doing real law enforcement work.

    • “probable cause” means something more than, “well, if he made a few and brought them to school, maybe he left a few others at home. and even though he’s dead, maybe his mother will light them up. So we had better go search just in case.” “Just in case” and “maybe” are not “probable cause.” and even if they find evidence of other Molotov cocktails, what are they going to do? Stuff his corpse full of newspaper and do a show trial?

  12. Robert. Just want to point out that the Colorado State *Patrol is a highway traffic organization, and doesn’t get involved in non-road crime scenes. The state organization that might be involved would be the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

  13. Their simply trying to make themselves look usefull by associating themselves with events that get undue amounts of media attention, nothing new, the FBI’s practice of taking down high profile crim’s served the same purpose, they too had to disregard such petty little things as jurisdiction too meet their objectives, look where it got them.

    • There was a news report from the local NBC affiliate I watched. Musta been 12-15 ATF guys standing around shooting the bull, and DOING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK!”

      • In a number of events recently, news shows had video of ATF agents roaming the scene far faster than seemed possible to me, unless they have a few hundred agents in every county in America, does anybody know how many people the ATF employs?

  14. There are large parts of the Federal Government that are blatantly unconstitutional and need to be disbanded. The problem is our state governments have been covering their ears and saying nanananana for far too long.

  15. Sounds like the author is still pissed that the ATF wouldn’t hire him years ago…..

    Hell hath no fury like an employment applicant scorned.

  16. Really if you think about it the whole government has gone rogue, from the IRS to the BATF. The whole freaking thing. Where is it gonna end ????

  17. “Why Were the ATF Busting Down Karl Pierson’s Door?” Uh……..because psycho boy had just gunned down some people at school and nobody was answering the door at his home? Duh.

    PLENTY of these school shooters kill their family members first, prior to going on the school rampage. There’s a not at all unrealistic chance that had happened here, or that someone inside was wounded. I don’t have a problem at all with this element of the investigation, as such.

    Now, whether the ATF should be leading it, and I’m not 100% clear that they were, as opposed to being involved in it, is another question and worthy for debate. Perhaps the ATF is rotten to the core and should be disbanded; the agency remade de novo, its functions transferred elsewhere, or best of all, its functions no longer carried out by anyone. Worthy arguments and options all. The idea of investigating, however, is pretty much a no brainer. As many problems as I find with the federal government, and they are myriad even on a light day, I don’t see a problem here.

    • ““Why Were the ATF Busting Down Karl Pierson’s Door?” Uh……..because psycho boy had just gunned down some people at school and nobody was answering the door at his home? Duh.”

      That still doesn’t make any sense – since he’d just been Darwinized, shouldn’t they have known that he wouldn’t be home?

      • Rich, he was an 18 yo high schooler. I’m sure the assumption was that he shared his home with his parents and siblings. Why was the ATF leading the charge? Beats me. But I would assume, if I was a cop, that quiet at his home might mean he’d done harm to his family like Lanza did.

        I don’t think I would have bum rushed the door. He had molotovs on him at the school. It would seem possible, again I’m not a cop, that he might have other devices at home like the Joker.

        I’m just doing the armchair qb thing here.

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