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By Lee Williams

During the 30 years that have passed since ATF’s botched raid in Waco, Texas, which led to 82 civilian deaths – including 28 children – and four federal agents, the agency appears to have forgotten that when it picks fights for no reason and uses excessive force, law-abiding Americans pay with their lives. 

A story we published last week – much to everyone’s horror – revealed that the ATF has started raiding again. It will only be a matter of time before another tragedy occurs and more innocent lives are lost. 

ATF agents wearing tactical gear and bearing AR-15s raided the Oklahoma home of Russell Fincher, a 52-year-old high school history teacher, “kitchen table” gun dealer and Baptist minister. 

Fincher, it should be noted, invited the ATF into his home when they called him prior to the raid. He offered no resistance, as you’d expect from a clergyman, but ATF agents hit his home like he was Southeast Oklahoma’s next bin Laden. 

Anyone who has ever taken doors that were defended by more than a cooperative pastor and his terrified 13-year-old boy realizes that this is serious business. Raids rely on speed, surprise, and violence of action – not exactly the tactics that were needed at Fincher’s modest Tuskahoma home. 

The ATF isn’t the only federal agency to cowboy up and start raiding. The Biden-Harris administration recently weaponized the IRS too, turning it into another well-armed paramilitary force which, like ATF, answers only to the president. The two agencies have even started raiding together. 

Last month, a joint IRS/ATF tactical team raided Highwood Creek Outfitters in Great Falls, Montana. ATF agents were prohibited from seizing the gun shop’s 4473s, so the IRS agents took them. They seized thousands of the forms, which prompted Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen to express concern over the seizure, asking “What the hell does the IRS need with 4473s?” By now it should be clear that all were handed over to the ATF. Thankfully, no one was killed or wounded during the raid, but how long can that last?

A history of violence 

ATF’s own history shows a complete disdain for the sanctity of human life. In addition to the scores of lives lost at Waco, a Deputy U.S. Marshal and Randy Weaver’s wife and son were killed during ATF’s Ruby Ridge fiasco. Their “Fast and Furious” scheme resulted in the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and hundreds of Mexican nationals, who were killed by the weapons ATF allowed to “walk” straight into the hands of the Mexican drug cartels. Sadly, the agency appears to have learned nothing from these deaths. 

Both David Koresh and Randy Weaver visited nearby towns frequently. A local deputy could have easily and safely arrested either man without incident, but when the ATF gears up and dons its tactical blinders, they lose sight of simpler and safer enforcement options. Suspects who are innocent until proven guilty become the “enemy,” and thus deserving of a tactical response. 

Flames engulf the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Susan Weems, File)

Many had hoped the Waco deaths taught the ATF a lesson and that we’d seen the last of their excessive uses of force, but last month’s raid of Fincher’s home proved nothing has changed. When they gear up, ATF sees law-abiding gun owners as the enemy, thus deserving of the same response they used with Koresh and Weaver. 

To be clear, Fincher invited the agents to come to his home. A single special agent and a couple of inspectors certainly would have sufficed. There was no need for a SWAT team to swarm Fincher’s home, take him down and handcuff him in front of his 13-year-old boy. 

The next Waco 

Raids are inherently dangerous for both law enforcement and civilians. One instance of poor trigger discipline and someone can be killed. That’s why for most professional law enforcement agencies they are the tactic of last resort. Not so at the ATF. To them, we’re all just criminals, so no amount of force is excessive. 

ATF agent
(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

If the ATF is allowed to continue treating law-abiding gun owners and guns dealers like enemy combatants, it’s only a matter of time before more innocent American lives are lost. 


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This story is part of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project and is published here with their permission.

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  1. Well perhaps people need to fight back using the same tactics when these unconstitutional and unnecessary acts occur. I guess doing things civilly with law abiding citizens is a thing of the past.
    They probably go in heavily armed because they know how much they are hated by the American public for violating their oaths to the Constitution and acting like the Nazi Gestapos they have allowed themselves to become.
    Unfortunately they will ultimately regret what they are doing when people decide enough is enough and they become the hunted instead of the hunters.

    • The ATF (and an increasing portion of other alphabet-letter agencies – I’m looking at you, IRS) are using grossly overpowered “shock and awe” tactics specifically to intimidate others, not the intended victims of their unnecessary raids.

      Everyone (and I mean everyone) has been feeling the growing tension in our nation’s zeitgeist, and the Feds are attempting to preemptively squash any potential future resistance by jackbooting today.

      You know, I wish I were a fly on the wall next to these guys at their homes.

      JBT’s Wife: “How was your day at work today?”
      JBT: “We crashed a pastor’s home. It took a dozen of us in full gear and drawn assault weapons to enter his house and yell at his wife and all his children to get down on the ground. I mean, we feared for our own lives as we cuffed them.”

      • It’s not just the IRS and ATF. Here in SoCal, two instances of over-zealous Park Service ninjas did 2 full vertical envelopments. One was of a guy who was suspected of harboring “native american” artifacts. Can you image? Helicopters, fast roping, guns drawn, face masks and black ninja outfits to bust a guy who had some Indian arrowhead and other Indian artifacts. Some had been in his family for over 100 years, yet he was treated to the full ninja attack.

        In another case that cried for criminal prosecution but that cry was drowned out. A landowner in the Malibu mountains who had had the property in his family since white folk came to Kalifornikadia, was raided. The Park Service wanted to buy his land but offered a ridiculous price for Santa Monica mountains land with gorgeous views. Prime SoCal real estate. He refused. The Park Service could have gone the eminent domain process and filed suit to condemn his property for public use but that would have resulted in a jury perhaps awarding even more money than the old timer wanted. Can’t risk that. So they go some undercover :A dick to swear to a night-time, no-knock warrant because LADS helicopters had spotted what they thought was marijuana plants on his property and an unnamed undercover informant told the LA dick that he had bought mj from the old timer. They didn’t get the warrant in LA County where the property was located but went to a mutton-brained Ventura County judge who remained unnamed through out the whole fiasco but I have my suspicions that it was a former deputy da for Ventura County who was censored by the judicial council for violating the U.S. Constitution. You know, that rag draw up by a bunch of white slave owners. Anyway, full press ninja helicopter drop-in with guns drawn. Well, the old time responded like his ancestors had when banditos surrounded the homestead, with gunfire. The Park Service managed to kill him before, unfortunately, he managed to take any of them out. Oops! Big mistake. There was no marijuana anywhere. Unfortunately, the affidavit for the warrant stated definitely it was plants. Hard to fake plants in the ground growing. Ventura County DA harrumphed but did nothing to prosecute the lying LA dick nor the Park Service vigilantes nor the judge. The heirs to the old timer, having been taught a significant lesson of what would happen if they didn’t fold, sold the magnificent spread to the Park Service for their original offer. I guess I was the only one shocked and outraged but nobody gave a shit what I thought about the situation. So it’s not the IRS and the ATF who are violating human rights the Park Service is right up there with them. Why does the Park Service need helicopter born ninjas anyway? Why does Social Security need swat teams?

        • When you get toys you want to play with them.

          When you get pricey toys at taxpayer expense, you’re pretty much obligated to play with them publicly to justify the cost.

          This creates oddities.

          For example, in town the local PD need two more officers in 2019. Instead they got a massive grant from Homeland for specifically for suppressed M4s with red dots and night optics.

          No ammo, no training budget, no NODs, but several dozen M4’s with EOTech’s, Aimpoints, Unity Risers, suppressors and PEQ-2’s. More rifles than they had officers, in fact.

          Then they lost half a dozen officers to the jab mandates, the Chief got fired over the masking bullshit (that took a minute, he fought getting forced out) and half the cops that left went to the Sheriff’s department.

          But the PD’s still got those M4’s and accessories. Still limited on ammo and with no NODs though. Now they want money to expand the armory to hold that stuff “safely”.

          Expand the child abuse and trafficking department even though that’s a growing problem? Nah, no money for that.

  2. They haven’t forgotten Waco, all of the enforcement 3 letter agencies have begun heavily armed raids on conservative targets. They are trying to provoke a Waco/Ruby Ridge response. This is the only the beginning.

    • They haven’t forgotten that they got away with mass murder so it will continue on.

    • When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

      Justifying a SWAT team is by using it, often.

    • I was going to say that the ATF did not forget. Not at all. They were just hoping Americans were dumb enough to forget history the way they always did in the past.

  3. Its also only a matter of time before somebody doesn’t take to kindly to having their front door kicked in and decides to do a little ‘chutin

    • aq…Gun talkers like you who look down their noses at the History of Gun Control puts them in camp with what by all accounts is the nazi wing of the atf.

      It is obvious democRats know they can sell Gun Control without any worry whatsoever because democRats know people who buy into Gun Control have no clue they are buying into an agenda History Confirms is Rooted in Racism and Genocide. Those roots are alive right under your nose in the democRat Party and atf.

      Weeks ago I challenged a half dozen of you Gun talking blowbags to ask 10 people to Define Gun Control and not one of you blowbags asked 1 person…Gun talkers who have blatant disregard for the History of Gun Control puts them in camp with atf tactics that have no place whatsoever in America.

      • Yes yes and the recent weaponized federal agencies issues are totally racial in nature as they target ffl’s. Your childish spite continues to miss the forest for the trees…..or the ability to comprehend metaphor for that matter. I would tell you to grow up but you have proven incapable of learning so rot in place and try not to get in the way of others actually making progress.

        • could make a good argument that it is an ai spambot.
          no subtlety, little evolvement combined with nonsensicle gibberish.

        • aq…RE: “Yes yes and the recent weaponized federal agencies issues are totally racial in nature as they target ffl’s.”

          Not so fast you “totally racial” spinning like a democRat pos.
          Again you prove yourself to be waaaay too stupid to know when to stfu and listen up. Pull your head out of your Gun Control History illiterate behind and try to comprehend…The atf tactics happening under your nose are tactics History and the History of Gun Control confirmed were used by the kkk, kgb, third reich, etc. That means your idiotic “totally racial” attempt to save face does not fly.

          Botton line…You are to the Second Amendment what a drunk farting gasbag is to fine dining.

        • Lol and the classic self awareness fail, tsbhoa you may be on to something but I think it’s just a lack of awareness/impulse control.

        • Void and tsbhoa,

          Guys, guys, lay off Debbie One-Note; she can’t help if if she’s stupid, ugly, and her mother dresses her funny. She was apparently asleep for the part of Leftist/fascist “progress” where racism became only ONE of their tools of fascism. Sure Dimocrats are racists – “No s**t, Sherlock’. But they will happily take their fascism in the form of outright authoritarianism – as long as they get to choose who they oppress. One only has to watch the “gun control” pundits and press to see the obvious – their targets are old white men. Debbie’s just so slow, she wasn’t able to read the memo. She’s stuck in antebellum/”Jim Crow” south . . . and her head’s jammed so far up her @$$, she thinks her navel is a porthole.

        • Debbie

          STFU and get down to the bus station, it’s almost time for your shift at the glory hole.

        • “jr…Your contribution to this forum? Bigotry.”

          That’s rich, accusing a Black man of bigotry?

          He contributes far more to the social discourse in TTAG than you do, an aging, overweight, and utterly vapid twit that does nothing more than parrot the same tired crapola… 🙂

        • To you folks who rank Debbie with Duckian (I would have used a different name but didn’t want to get censored) and Whatever49er, actually if you had really paid attention to unexpurgated history, you would realize that she is correct more times than she is wrong. Why do you want to attack someone on our side, even is she is 100% wrong? I believe it was B. Franklin who said, “If we do not hang together, we shall assuredly hang separately.” All pro-gunners should hang together. If you don’t like plastic guns, that doesn’t make the guy who thinks plastic guns are the height of modern armament a nut job. Support him. If you don’t believe that I have the right to own an Abrams tank complete with all its armament, support me anyway. I am more on your side than the guy who, in his never-never land fantasy world believes if we can just get rid of all guns we can all sit around the campfire roasting marshmallows and exchanging love.

      • I dont “look down my nose at the history of gun control” just because i dont squeak about it every chance i get. But maybe i should start carrying a chalkboard around with me to explain the history of gun control to everyone i meet. Bet that’ll help.

        Also. You may need meds. Out

    • They really don’t have much of a job otherwise, basically because they never seem to target the real criminals, the drug dealers, human smugglers, illegal weapon merchants, cartels, gangs and illegals streaming in from all the 3rd world $hitholes.

      • @MB (the real MB). No they don’t have time to fight crime or to actually do their jobs. Let’s get real after all someone has to correct all of those uncrossed Ts, un dotted Is and miss spellings. One can only wonder if the agency fires people in their employ who make day in and day out human errors! Hell, atf must be the perfect example of perfection.

  4. Lord knows how my wife would react to them if they were to come in and somehow take out her 90 lb baby (Rottweiler). It would get really ugly one way or another

    • It seems the AFT(Biden speak) WANT a war. Learned from Waco? I think they “learned” from the BTK serial murderer. Guess who has more gats? Organize that militia🙄

      • They learned from Waco that the old formula CS makes excessive carbon monoxide which makes it great for indoor use to suppress resistance.

  5. Given that the ATF personnel signed the paperwork certifying destruction of thousands of guns and those thousands of guns were later found at crime scenes, and there is an over 50% error rate in their paperwork (no kidding, see the video posted with this) – maybe ‘we the people’ should form some tactical SWAT raiding teams to raid ATF HQ and ATF field offices (which by the way the ATF holds FFL licenses also), after all these are public servants and employees of ‘we the people’.

    • .40 – the presentation was as usual on point and well stated. I’d add one minor correction for him – the bats didn’t just ‘allow’ what amounted to illegal transfers, they facilitated and ‘encouraged’ those illegal transfer via not so subtle ‘hints’ along the lines of ‘cooperate – or else’. IIRC at least one dealer balked at a multiple firearm purchase to the tune of $10K cash using possibly dubious identification and was ‘politely’ informed by the bats to proceed anyway as they had it ‘covered’.

      • Yeah, I owe the El Presidente of Mejico a sincere apology.I thought he was seriously mistaken when he accused the U.S. government of gunrunning to Ole Mejico. Little did I suspect the U.S. government of facilitating gunrunning in violation of its own laws. Silly me! I still had a tiny bit of idealism left and thought the U.S. goober mint could not possibly be deliberately violating its very own laws. Well, I always was an idealist. Took me a long time to get over those notions.

  6. If agents had any integrity whatsoever they would resign before following orders to criminally misuse firearms to bully law abiding citizens in their homes and businesses over what appears to amount to a parking ticket or less…Such tactics are the tactics of the kkk, kgb, nazis, etc. I’ll leave it at that.

    • Those who work in those agencies, and especially F-Troop have few morals and ethics. Their priorities are their hide, promotion, career, and pension. Scot Peterson would be proud.

    • I hereby dub the “Debbie Dingbat”. Or should it be “Debbie Does Dallas”? Decisions decisions

      • The famed Dallas debbie at least provided a useful service as an actress people wanted to see without clothing.

        The one here, not so much… 😉

  7. I’m 56 years old, my race is run, my kids know I love them, my wife has passed, I didn’t forget everything I learned in 26 years in the the infantry. If they come they will get me, but I’m taking some of them to wherever I end up.

  8. I hope it doesn’t happen again…if it does I hope they get their arses kicked like the branch dividians did to them..

  9. I wonder what the government does to convince it’s citizen employees that violating the U.S. Constitution and endangering, arresting and killing their fellow citizens for no apparent reason is legal and just? Is it something in the water or are they using mind control, or do we really have that many corrupt and stupid people in government employ. (rhetorical question)

    • Good benefits, ooh-raa brotherhood propaganda isolating then from the rest of society like with any gang or cult and badge-bunnies.

    • MB, like so many government agencies the atf is doing things just because they CAN.
      Right and wrong is not a consideration for these people and they have no more respect for a citizen than they do for a pile of cow manure.

    • Well, the first thing it does is start something like the BATFE, which will attract a certain type of person.

      Then it screens those people to be amenable to the direction the higher ups in the agency wants to go.

      Once that’s done, as administrations change, the incentive structures for promotion and accolades change. This is incredibly frustrating to normal people.

      And run that forward for a while and you’ve got a population that does what it’s told without much in the way of questioning it because you’ve set up a multi-tiered process that selects for such people whether you were trying to do so or not.

  10. “Many had hoped the Waco deaths taught the ATF a lesson and that we’d seen the last of their excessive uses of force, but last month’s raid of Fincher’s home proved nothing has changed. When they gear up, ATF sees law-abiding gun owners as the enemy, thus deserving of the same response they used with Koresh and Weaver.”

    To a hammer everything is a nail!

  11. These incidents have crossed the line. Time for the industry and gun owners to insist on disbanding the ATF.

    Yes, some new department somewhere will have to be reinstituted in its place. That’s not the point. The point is for We the People to withdraw consent from Congress to tolerate the ATF. The senior management of ATF must go. And none must be re-hired in the new agency. None of the tactical agents must be re-hired by the new agency. Perhaps a few of the auditors could be re-hired; not many.

    It’s also time for FFLs to organize a “self-defense insurance” mutual aid fund. When one of the members of the fund is attacked by the ATF the fund musters the legal muscle to defend that FFL. Insist on going to court and demanding a jury trial. Retaliate with a suit against ATF for deprivation of civil rights under color of law. Make it onerously expensive for ATF to conduct such raids or revoke FFLs for trivial issues.

  12. It’s win-win for the state.
    They get to have a little fun playing big-boy games. They get to violate whatever rights they want in the moment. The public, despite years of ACAB noise making, still supports their actions for some reason. And all they have to do to make it all better is apologize in some hearing a decade after the fact.

    The abuses won’t ever stop. It’s the nature of the beast regardless of who is ostensibly “in charge.”

    • Wait we are still supposed to pretend the ACAB crowd weren’t government sponsored assets to weaken local autonomy from the federal leviathan……..oops.

  13. Hide yo wife, hide yo dogs, hide yo kids. The AFT is coming to Waco your Ruby Ridge.

  14. Congress needs to bar ANY regulatory agency (like the ATF and IRS) from acquiring and using weapons, SWAT teams, and other brutal methods of physical force and intimidation. Period! There is no need or desire from the American people for each agency to become its own small army.

  15. I’ve worked with agents from multiple agency’s, state & feds and the ATF is the most incompetent pieces of garbage. they are bootlickers and Nazi”s

  16. Only ever seen one and he was a posterchild for the ATFat meme. To be fair we only really started to see a massive uptick in shootings and stolen/smuggled guns in the last 5 years so Upstate NY probably was a retired in place kind of assignment.

  17. It’s TIME to DEFUND and DISBAND the ATF and PROSECUTE those RESPONSIBLE for LOSS of innocent LIVES. Their RECORD is HORRIBLE – and needlessly RECKLESS.

  18. May I remind everyone that in the immediate aftermath of the Waco raid, BATFE thugs complained that they were ambushed with a fusillade of fire from .50 BMG machine guns and fully automatic AK-47s. Only later was it revealed in the FBI’s annual publication LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS KILLED AND ASSAULTED, that two of the deceased agents died from .223 caliber projectiles, one from a .308 caliber weapon and only one from a projectile of indeterminate caliber that might have been a .308 or 7.62 x 39mm. All died from singular gunshot wounds to the head. Eventually, it was revealed that the BATFE had a sniper team stationed at the undercover house. These “snipers” somehow managed to fire some three dozen rounds from .223 and .308 caliber rifles without hitting any of the Branch Davidians. Any astute observer would conclude that the deceased BATFE agents were assassinated by their colleges. This might have been payback for the aftermath of a previous testosterone fueled raid in which some BATFE agents gang raped their female colleagues.

  19. Recently aquired two semi auto 12 guage shotguns loaded with slugs for just this scenaro ‘Both are aimed at my doors leading to the outside.Anyone breaking in will be dealt with !!

  20. Better Coordination between all of us could put an end to the ATF’s Tyranny. We outnumber them. I do believe they’d schit themselves if 500 Armed and pissed off Patriots stood between them and their target. for every reinforcement they bring, we bring 20 more.
    They won’t stop, until we make them stop.
    Local Law Enforcement best choose the side they’ll back wisely, lest they become a Targer too.

  21. The Second Amendment was written for this. The Founding Fathers knew that human nature is corrupted by power. They were afraid that the people in power of the new country would want to keep that power (sound familiar?) so they gave ‘We the People’ our own power through the barrel of a gun to defend our freedoms from those that would want to take it away. America was founded through armed rebellion. Nobody gave us anything. Our forefathers had to fight for it — with their own guns. That was not lost on the Founding Fathers. The Second Amendment is a bloody, hard-core reality to forcefully check a government that puts itself above serving ‘We the People’. ‘When ballots don’t work, bullets do’. The Second Amendment is the ‘enforcement clause’ of the Bill of Rights. Without the power to enforce the other Constitutional rights by force of arms, they are just worthless words on a piece of paper.

  22. It’s sad we have to deal with this crap every time a Democrat (communist) is in the WH. It’s totally ridiculous and unnecessary. One day they will wish they worked reasonable and professional. If they get defunded I dont see how they can keep their jobs.

  23. I’ve had it up to here ____ with our new leadership. Unfortunately up to here___ when your 14inches tall isn’t very much.
    I think I’d like getting fucked by a Korean better then a gropy old ice cream eating child molester. Alas I’ve no money to move.
    Hey dacian, hous bought a donation?

  24. Long past time for a reboot of Federal agencies. What needs to be done is disband consolidate and reduce Federal government. Yes the left will cry foul and accuse the right of all kinds of hateful crap As will their pet media.
    Somewhere along this path the rule by fear and intimidation will anger enough of the citizens and the end of the regime will come. Because we know the crap won’t end until force of arms compels it.
    I’m an old man out here within sight of the middle of no where. I’m under no illusion of being able to defeat some determined force wanting my hide nailed on a wall. But, I can, and if needs be, will, send at least a few down the Hell Road ahead of me.
    Since I’m out here on the end of the road, and few vehicles come this way, those that do get noticed by many of my neighbors, doing some sort of surprise raid would be difficult. Because I own a couple artillery pieces, BATFE knows more about me than I would like. I get a phone call and visit a couple times a year. Just checking up on me to make sure I don’t have explosive shells for the cannon. Used to have an FFL and still have a C&R license.

  25. “Both David Koresh and Randy Weaver visited nearby towns frequently. A local deputy could have easily and safely arrested either man without incident…”

    They wanted to find evidence and tie them to it.

    I’m not saying it’s a good or bad reason, but that’s the reason. Local police departments have been decreasing this practice but the feds seem to be immune to needing to worry about the tradeoff between a tighter case and the possibility of casualties.

  26. There are several ways to skin this particular cat. Mostly they’re not currently actionable. Perhaps after the next election cycle, perhaps not. There are way, way too many variables to even start to guess at that. (Shit, look at the hand grenade RFK just lobbed into the race talking about “sound money” like Ron Paul but with some technological updates.)

    The truth is that most of the ATF’s and FBI’s serious misadventures have been spun well enough that most people don’t know much about them and actually vaguely support them.

    “Waco? Wasn’t that a bunch of crazy cultists with a ton of guns who lit themselves on fire?” is pretty much the best you can hope for from normies.

    Most people are not going to question federal “law enforcement” at all at this juncture. They just assume based on the name that those agencies keep us safe from super dangerous people and if you get schwacked they’ll assume you were one of those super dangerous people.

    Lot’s of people make a big deal that Obama made it legal for the US government to propagandize the public. IRL, that’s been going on since before most people currently breathing were born. You’d have to be over 100 to have experienced a time when mass propaganda was not used by the US government against its own citizens.

  27. I’m prepared to make the BAFTE my bitch, I’m a law abiding citizen. FJB and tck his shit.

  28. I hope the clowns in this thread going about the ATF also go on about the looting, pillaging, and assault that the majority of people associated with BLM commit

  29. “… the ATF has started raiding again. It will only be a matter of time before another tragedy occurs and more innocent lives are lost.”

    That’s what happens when a rogue agency isn’t reigned in (all while operating in an ever-expanding government).

Comments are closed.