The ATF has so much on its plate these days.  When it’s not facilitating running guns to ultra-violent Mexican drug cartels, failing to identify potentially dangerous individuals or insinuating themselves into local police departments, they’re making it hard for fishermen to shoo pesky pinnipeds. So maybe it’s understandable that, with such a full plate, they’d try to lighten their bureaucratic load a little.  But if you had nation-wide jurisdiction and wanted to cut an area loose, would it be the Virgin Islands?

That’s right, the ATF has refused to operate in the Virgin Islands for more than two years. If you were going to pick a jurisdiction to abandon in the US, would it be the St. Thomas office?  Wouldn’t Nome, Newark or maybe Detroit be higher on that list?

You betcha. So there has to be a good reason why the fine public servants at ATF have told the people of the Caribbean territory to pound sand. There is. At least in their twisted world view.

One of their VI-stationed agents, William Clark, became involved in a neighbor’s domestic dispute and ended up emptying his gun into the husband. He claimed self-defense. The feds investigated, at one point almost resulting in a brawl with the locals. The shoot was ruled justified and the feds cleared him.

The local prosecutor wasn’t buying it, though, and charged Clark with second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter. There’s a question about protection federal agents have when operating in the scope of their job. But territorial law doesn’t recognize ATF agents as law enforcement officers. There’s also the matter of Clark being off duty at the time of the shooting.

So how did the ATF react to all of this? By pulling all their agents out of the territory, of course. That’s right, they decided to boycott and haven’t operated there since November of 2008. No other federal agency has pulled their people, even with the unresolved question about legal protection.

Clark ultimately got off on a technicality “based on the fact that prosecutors did not present evidence properly identifying the body of the victim.” But that hasn’t cut any ice with ATF.

No, ATF wants what amounts to local law enforcement authority protection before they put their huaraches on and head back to paradise. There’s a proposal in the Virgin Islands legislature to grant that, but it’s stalled and doesn’t look to be going anywhere soon.

Now there are more than a few parts of the country that would consider an ATF boycott more of a feature than a bug. If they decided to take their ball and go home, a lot of locals would probably line up to help them pack. So the Virgin Islands is now an ATF-free zone. Is there a way to expand this without more, you know, gunfire?

 

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7 Responses to The Virgin Islands Is An ATF-Free Zone

  1. I would be so nice to get rid of the agency.

    Could finally own a full auto for same price as a semi.

    Could own a suppressor without paying $200 for no reason to the government.

    Could own all those fun firearms that cops do but the lowly people are to stupid to own.

  2. Ah yes, a Caribbean Island where a man is free to ride his motorcycle dressed as a roguish pirate, his ever faithful MP 5PDW swung carelessly across his tattooed shoulder. No Rosie O’Donnell, no Jane Fonda, no BATF. Half naked women bring him mind reeling drinks as his loincloth swells with pride…for he is Cujo the One Ball…

  3. But territorial law doesn’t recognize ATF agents as law enforcement officers.

    lulz, me neither.

  4. Well, you can all rest easy now. The ATF agent has been completely exonerated by a jury of USVIslanders in the civil trial a couple of days ago. IOW, he did not use unjustified (key word here, gun-lovers) excessive force. So easy for you to talk, hey?
    Oh! Not to worry. The USVI is begging the ATF to return the agents. You are right, the senators there can’t seem to make up their minds about peace officer status but it looks like they might go anyway on a voluntary basis. lol They’d have to be out of their minds to WANT to go there. All is not sun and surf and planters punch. So now the old AG is smiling because he wants them back…or he’s smiling through his phony teeth because the Gov wants them back. Things getting a bit out of control without their assistance? This is a joke. You either want help or you don’t. You either recognize them as police enforcement or you don’t. They are on duty 24/7, so THAT “technicality” doesn’t pass the smell test. Stop viewing *everything* as colonialism when it isn’t. Time to move on, ya think?

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