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Tag: ATF

Editorial From Valley News: ATF’s Firearms Tracing Hurt by Absurd Law

By Valley News Editorial Board

When law enforcement agents seek information on guns found at crime scenes, they call the firearms tracing center of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Agents at the tracing center, in West Virginia, then try to establish a chain of custody based on the gun’s serial number, manufacturer, distributor and retailer.

The agents pursue this task in the most inefficient, wasteful and time-consuming manner imaginable, manually searching records — about 800 million of them — because federal law purportedly prevents the center from organizing them into a searchable digital database.

This absurd prohibition needs to be lifted.

The law, the 1986 Firearms Owners’ Protection Act, resulted from a marriage of ideological rigidity and political cowardice. It expressly prohibits “any system of registration of firearms, firearms owners, or firearms transactions or dispositions.”

Of course, if a gun sale is legal, and it’s made by a federally licensed dealer, then all that information exists. The National Rifle Association doesn’t want officers of the law to be able to access it efficiently.

To read the full editorial click here. 

Ex-ATF Agent Jay Dobyns Talks About the Dangers of Biker Gangs

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Retired ATF Agent Jay Dobyns spoke about his days as an agent, infiltrating the Hells Angels and the personal challenges of undercover work at a police seminar in El Paso this week, the El Paso Times reports.

“They’re very dangerous men who live a very dangerous lifestyle that’s built on violence.

Below is a video from the El Paso Times.

Tampa Bay Times Editorial: ATF Needs to Get Tougher on Gun Dealers

By Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board

File photo of guns, via ATF

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for policing the legal gun trade routinely goes soft on dealers who violate the law. This is not the only gap in the system but a breach that undermines the foundation of the nation’s gun safety protections.

The New York Times recently reported that even as federal investigators inspecting the nation’s gun stores regularly find violations of the law, higher-ups at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives routinely overrule them. They allow gun dealers who fail inspections to keep their licenses even after they were previously warned on the rules, according to records and interviews with current and former law enforcement officials. Of about 11,000 inspections of federally licensed firearms dealers in 2016-17, more than half were cited for violations, the Times reported — yet less than 1 percent of all inspections resulted in the loss of a license.

Many violations, as the newspaper noted, were minor: Stores made clerical and bookkeeping errors or failed to manage their records appropriately. But there were also many example of serious violations. One store was cited for failing to conduct a criminal background check before selling a gun. Another acknowledged it actively tried to circumvent the gun laws. One seller threatened an ATF officer; another sold a gun to a customer who identified himself as a felon. Felons cannot legally possess a gun. All were previously cited by ATF, and in each case, supervisors overrode the staff recommendations that the stores’ licenses be revoked. Allowing even one gun into the wrong hands could result in a tragedy. “We’re not selling ice cream here,” one retired ATF inspector said. “If you screw up, somebody can be killed.”

To read full editorial click here. 

Legislation Would Require ATF to Create A Computerized, Searchable Data Base

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Here’s a bill that make sense.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida has introduced  legislation to establish a computerized, searchable database of gun records under a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate on Monday.

The Crime Gun Tracing Modernization Act would strike a current federal prohibition on the creation of a searchable database of gun records, reports Homeland Preparedness News reports.  The ATF would be required to establish a database that includes records of the sale, importation, production, and shipment of firearms within three years under the bill.

“The fact that there is a law on the books that forces agents to comb through millions of files by hand is absolutely ridiculous,” Nelson said.

Ex-ATF Agent Says Gun Tracing System is ‘Insane’

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

“The privacy rights of the gun owner have trumped my right not to get shot in the head,” David Chipman, senior policy advisor for the gun control group Giffords, tells station WTSP.

“When you see the tracing center, and how difficult it is for patriots to do their job, that isn’t accidental,” Chipman tells the station. “That’s been set up that way and that’s what makes it so frustrating for the people who are not just trying to solve gun crime, but prevent it from ever happening in the first place.”

Off-Duty ATF Agent Accused of Shooting Dog Outside Middle School in Virginia

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A dog owner says an off-duty ATF agent fatally shot his mastiff puppy outside of a middle school in Spotsylvania County, Va., Fox 5 reports.

Vance Gibbs said he brings his dogs , four puppies and three adult mastiffs, to a large field at Ni River Middle School several times a week. On Tuesday, he watched his 8-month-old Presa Canario mastiff puppy Ari die in his arm.

Gibbs said it all happened when a golden retriever belonging to an off-duty ATF agent walked up on his dog, and his dogs, started chasing after it.

He said the dogs started fighting and Gibbs threw himself into the middle to try and get his dogs away. He said the ATF agent pulled out a gun and fired twice into the ground, and then a third time, hitting his dog Ari in the side. She died minutes later.

“If he would have gave me the time in the first place, I would have got them all together,” Gibbs tells Fox 5. “If the shots didn’t scare them the one time – stop. What are you doing? Shooting a puppy? I understand he is protecting his family and everything else, but I am on the ground with your dog.”

ATF Helping Philly Police Analyze Ballistic Evidence to Help Solve Crimes

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

For decades, the Philadelphia Police Department only analyzed ballistic evidence needed for trials. Other shell casings collected at crime scenes sat in evidence lockers across the city, reports NBC 10 in Philly.

Two years ago, the department collaborated with ATF to collect and analyze all casing. Now in Philly investigators analyze roughly 65,000 bullets and shell casings every year.

Authorities says it has paid off and helped solve crime.

Theft Trial for ATF Senior Agent in Alabama is Delayed

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Trial in Birmingham, Ala., for senior ATF agent Jay Bagwell, who is charged with theft, has been delayed as a result of back surgery, AL.com reports.

The “prescribed pain medication renders the defendant unable to effectively participate in the defense of his case,” U.S. Chief Judge Karon O Bowdre wrote. The trial will resume when he recovers.

An indictment alleges that in November 2014 Bagwell “embezzled, stole, purloined, and knowingly converted to his use and the use of another, a thing of value of the United States and of any department or agency thereof.” The indictment only says that the amount of money exceeds $1,000.

“It is our privilege to represent Jay Bagwell, a twenty-five year veteran ATF agent. If a thorough investigation had been conducted by the government, and Mr. Bagwell allowed to provide documentation, this charge would have never existed,” defense attorney Lance Bell said. “We have provided documentation to the government to exonerate this charge and restore Mr. Bagwell’s good name. I wish that I could say more at this time, but I think that the end result will speak for itself.