The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) once raided one of our readers: a kitchen table FFL dealer who does everything – everything – by the book. He has, however, consistently criticized the ATF for its unconstitutional regulations and long history of extra-legal activities. This is his story. Update to follow, after he consults with his lawyer . . .
First of all, forget about them coming to the door. They’ll intercept you on your way home from the doctor’s office (for example), then one vehicle will come up behind you and two will block your way in front and turn on the flashing lights. They then jump out with ‘real’ assault rifles, point them at you and ordering you to put your hands up and exit the vehicle.
You, being a law abiding citizen, will comply. At gunpoint, they order you to assume the position against your car, handcuff and frisk you, and you’re directed to get into the back seat. Then the lead agent gets into the driver seat and drives your car to your driveway. You sit there with cuffed hands behind you – bleeding.
As multiple vehicles close off the street and announce over a loudspeaker that all of your neighbors should remain indoors (they’re prohibited from leaving). The lead agent calls your house and directs your wife to come out – and sit in the front seat. She does. Then the Homeland Security Special Tactical Unit, and the county sheriff SWAT Team arrive, and drive two armored cars over the curb onto the lawn, as the “jackbooted thugs” with machine guns, helmets, boots, camo, etc. enter and search your house.
You see a Homeland Security helicopter circling overhead. You are asked if you have any explosives (well, several cans of black powder….) and if there are any booby traps in the house. They offer to let you read the search warrant, but your hands are cuffed behind your back. The agent in your car reads it very quickly.
After the jackbooted thugs are through, teams arrive to search and ransack the house. After about an hour, you are released and NO CHARGES are filed against you. You are required to stay beyond the perimeter as they set up tables in your yard and begin to paw through and process your worldly possessions.
You finally realize that they’re going to keep an eye on you, but you go to a neighbor’s house to make phone calls and find a good lawyer, who arrives on site, but is kept out by the agents. The agents search one of your cars and release it to you. Hours later, knowing there is nothing you can do on site, you leave and arrange a motel for the night.
Later, about 9PM (12 hours later), you phone your house and an agent answers. He advises you they’re about to leave. You drive to your house to see four feds in your front yard, ready to leave. They tell you they don’t know where the house key is (which you gave them) or where your cat is. They hand you a copy of the search warrant, but fail to provide a copy of the inventory (which they give you two days later).
You examine your house. Your computers are gone along with every extra and old hard drive, all data CDs, floppies, thumb drives, compact flash drives, and other SD drives for your camera. But most shocking, is that your entire gun collection, which you spent a lifetime building, is gone.
Antique guns, airguns, non-guns. Virtually everything. One antique shotgun lies broken on the floor. Papers are strewn everywhere. Once they looked at it, and didn’t want it, they just tossed it aside. Piles of paper. The house is trashed – every room. Your clothing has been ransacked. Your wife’s clothing and underwear. You don’t even know what is missing. You look around, feel sick, lock up the house and go to the motel.
You return the next day to try to start to get things back in order, but realize it will take weeks.
Later, you find out that the affidavit which justified the search warrant is sealed. You can’t even find out why they searched you home and seized your firearms.
A few days later, the sworn affidavit is unsealed and you find out that the agent lied repeatedly, told half-truths, speculated about possible violations, and related his ‘suspicions’ with no basis in fact. That the search warrant is nothing more than a gigantic fishing expedition just to see what they could find . . .