BATFE Harassing Gun Show Buyers?
From the Virginia Citizens Defense League:
BATFE sinks to new low in Richmond
I purposely put this under "All United States" because what BATFE did here in Richmond, VA was supposedly a model for what might be coming to the rest of the states. I hope it is now quashed, but I suggest that gun organizations across the country have their eyes open for this abuse in their own state:
For VCDL's VA-ALERT today:
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE), who seem to go out of their way to alienate gun owners with their heavy-handedness, behaved in a shameful manner this last weekend at the Showmasters' gun show in Richmond.
I had reports from members of police going to their houses while the member was waiting for their approval to purchase a gun at the show! The police asked the spouse and other family members questions about the purchases and filled in a survey! "Did you know your husband was going to a gun show today?" "Did you know your husband was going to buy a gun today?" and many other such questions.
If no one was home at the gun purchaser's house, the police went to the neighbors! "Did you know that your neighbor was buying a gun today? How do you feel about him doing so?"
One member, who was carrying a personal gun to sell, was approached by BATFE and taken to a car while they checked him out. The officer said in front of Showmasters' management, "Did you know you need a business license to sell a gun at this show? I have seen you at a lot of shows - are you in the business of selling guns? I think you are." That's called a fishing expedition and intimidation. In the end they let the VCDL member go because their fish hooks came up empty.
They had over 17 BATFE agents at that show. Richmond and Henrico had a large number of officers running to the homes of anyone purchasing a handgun to ask questions.
I guess Mayor Wilder is flush with cash all of a sudden. Too bad he didn't use that money to put all those cops into the rougher neighborhoods of Richmond, instead of harassing the decent citizens who buy guns at a gun show.
And, if you are sitting down, the main BATFE agent at the show told Showmasters' management that Richmond was going to be the model for this kind of behavior across the nation!!!
BUT, THERE IS GOOD NEWS.
Steve Elliott, who heads up C&E Gun Shows and is affiliated with Showmasters, along with Annette Gelles, who heads up Showmasters, went to Washington with some lawyers to get this straightened out on Monday. (BTW, Steve told me that he has spent in excess of $10,000 this year on legal fees fighting this kind of abuse.)
Steve and Annette were told by the BATFE in DC that BATFE would no longer be sending officers to people's houses who were purchasing a firearm and that what happened in Richmond should not have happened.
We will be watching carefully to see if BATFE keeps its word or not. Report any such abuse immediately to VCDL, along with the officer's name, badge number, and department.
Philip Van Cleave, President, VCDL