According to local news stations, the ATF this morning raided the “Gunsmoke” gun store in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. That gun store, owned by Rich Wyatt, was briefly featured in the Discovery Channel reality TV show American Guns and aired along side their other hit TV show Sons of Guns. According to those sources, this isn’t the first time the store has been under scrutiny . . .
Gunsmoke Guns was searched by a different federal agency, the IRS, in March of 2013. At the time, a spokesman said that search was part of an “ongoing financial investigation. At this time, there is no information about whether the current search has any relation to the IRS’ work.
Also in 2013, the store was the victim of a high-profile burglary. On February 27, suspects allegedly broke in through a hole in the roof and took 12 handguns and three rifles.
No charges have been filed at this time. The American Guns show was cancelled in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school shooting, ostensibly as a political move on the part of Discovery, but more recent findings indicate that the real reason for the cancellation may have been that the Wyatt family had been ripping off the IRS for years and not paying their taxes. From that source:
Shortly thereafter, agents discovered that while the Wyatts — including wife Renee and kids Kurt and Paige — have long been thought to own Gunsmoke, a certain Victor Rodriguez is actually the man with his name on the paperwork, although Wyatt told investigators he “did not have a hand in day-to-day operations.” Rodriguez subsequently revealed that he’d purchased Gunsmoke from Wyatt in 2005 after Wyatt “went through a serious divorce.” At the time, Rodriguez said the business wasn’t profitable, but once it returned to the black, he’d agreed to sell it back to Wyatt.
Nonetheless, Wyatt’s signature was on sales tax returns for Gunsmoke for most months between January 2008 and October 2011, but not on individual tax returns from the years 2008, 2009 and 2010 — because he didn’t submit any. He did file a 2011 form listing a loss from Gunsmoke of more than $98,000 — and presenting no other sources of income, despite the fact that the Discovery show was on the air at that time. The affidavit adds that “neither Gunsmoke Inc. nor Gunsmoke Guns Inc. has ever filed Federal Income tax returns.”
Looks like Discovery Channel is having a bad run of luck when it comes to finding a subject for a gun related show.