MESA, AZ – Black Metal Firearms posted what appears to be an egregious overreach by a federal agency to their Instagram page.
In the :11 second video, a member of the ATF Audit team can be seen taking pictures of every page of the stores Acquisitions and Dispensations (A&D) books with a cell phone.
Store owner Dave Nagel has more than 20 minutes of footage showing Industry Operations Investigator (IOI) Pamela Scott methodically going page by page and taking photos with every turn.
Nagel said that the ATF traditionally documents specific errors. They do not document every page and capture all purchasing information.
“No registry? Here’s our ATF auditor copying every single page of our A&D books with her cell phone camera using an app that reads text,” the Instagram post read.
“This data includes make, model, serial number, buyer’s name and address, and even the seller. We have well over 20 minutes of footage of this happening in our shop in public view. Yes, this is illegal.”
Let that sink in. The auditor was snapping photos of every page of the A&D books, according to Nagel, and capturing names, addresses, serial numbers, gun makes and models and other identifying details. EVERY PAGE.
View this post on Instagram
“We recorded these in January 2022 during our audit. This is not happening in our shop right now, but definitely happening in a shop near you,” the store later added in an edit to the original post.
“Most dealers don’t even know this is wrong or are coerced into letting it happen. Help us fight this grotesque ATF overreach and abuse! Link in bio if you want to help.”
The link he was referring to is a Go Fund Me page they set up to help cover the costs of a potential lawsuit as they look to take action against the ATF and this particular agent.
On that page, Nagel identifies that Black Metal Firearms as “a Small, Veteran/Family owned firearms dealer out in Mesa, AZ with a huge passion for the firearms industry and the safety of our community and customers.”
Nagel went on to say that the phone Scott was using was her personal phone. The black phone being charged on the table was her government issued phone.
He also stated that the agent identified what he referred to as minor errors, which the store corrected before she was even finished with the audit.
“At the end of it all, she said, ‘Okay, well, here’s your close out of your audit. Here’s all the errors you had,’ which we’d fixed before she even finished,” Nagel told The Reload.
“We were working with her side by side to make sure that the clerical errors were addressed.”
The publication reached out to the ATF regarding the seemingly unwarranted actions of Scott and her assistant.
“We are unable to comment on any specific investigation or inspection,” replied Erik Longnecker, Deputy Chief of Public Affairs Division.
“However, any claims reported by the licensee to ATF would be investigated.”
Longnecker said that it was not uncommon for the auditor to take pictures of any record that would be evidence of significant errors and omissions by the dealer.
In the past, these errors were documented using portable photocopy machines. But Longnecker said that even then, the agents were limited in what they could and could not do.
He pointed to the ATF manual covering these audits.
“If a printout of the licensee’s inventory is used, the IOI shall retain only those pages or entries that document a violation. All other pages shall be returned to the licensee. IOIs are not authorized to remove a licensee’s records (or copies of records) from the licensed premises only for convenience purposes or other reasons lacking a legal basis.”
So, according to the ATF manual governing her audits, Scott must have reason to believe she has a legal footing to leave with photos of more than 4,000 records.
Nagel said that they confronted Scott about her actions (including the use of her personal phone), for which she gave no reason.
“We confronted her about that and said, ‘What are you doing?’ She said, ‘it’s part of my investigation.’ And we said, ‘a lot of our customers are concerned with you copying their personal information.'”
Her response, according to Nagel:
“She says, ‘sounds like your customers are just being paranoid.'”
The store has obtained legal counsel to assist in their fight against this apparent overreach.
Derek Debus is the attorney representing Black Metal Firearms.
He told The Reload, “Why does she need copies of her personal phone? There’s absolutely no reason. In the acquisitions of dispositions (AD) book, she’s got access to contact information, payment information, information on what was purchased, when it was purchased, by whom, and where those firearms are located.”
Debus said that a complete investigation by the ATF is warranted.
“We would like to see an investigation into not only why she was taking these photographs on her personal phone in my client’s case, but how many other times she has done this before,” Debus said.
“Why is she doing this? What end is she trying to fulfill? And is it something that she was directed to do from higher up in ATF or something she’s doing on her own?”
Nagel echoed concerns that this may be happening in more stores besides his.
“She thought it was perfectly okay. She did it in front of customers. She was quite brazen about it,” he said.
“And she basically told us that if we didn’t let her do her thing, she was just gonna take our license right there and then.”
Nagel added that Scott is seeking to revoke the store’s FFL over the minor infractions that she found, and they corrected.
There will be more to this story, and Law Enforcement Today will follow it and share updates as they become available.
“I’ll protect your Constitutional rights”: Sheriff tells residents to call him if ATF shows up at their door
OLYMPIA, WA – According to a report from The Washington Times, Klickitat County Sheriff Bob Songer has advised his residents that if agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) show up at their homes to conduct a warrantless gun inspection, they can tell them to leave.
Sheriff: Residents should tell gun-inspecting ATF agents showing up without warrants to take a hike https://t.co/xjxGm6oNoq
— World Tribune (@WorldTribune) July 25, 2022
On Friday, July 22nd, Songer released a press statement saying that agents are “making surprise home visits of persons who have purchased two or more firearms at one time.”
He added that to his knowledge, “these ATF visits have not occurred in Washington State yet.”
Songer told The Times that he became concerned about the Second Amendment rights of his residents after viewing doorbell video footage that showed a firearms owner who ATF agents coerced, without a warrant, to inspect his firearms. The sheriff said:
“I’m a constitutional sheriff. I got a lifetime membership with the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association. And I believe strongly in the fact that my duty as sheriff is serving the citizens that put me in office to protect their constitutional rights and liberties.”
Songer, who is running for reelection to a third term of office, said that if residents are contacted by an ATF agent or any other federal agent without a search warrant to inspect firearms they have purchased, residents do not have to cooperate with them and should contact his office if the agents refuse to their their property.
In his statement, the sheriff said:
“The ATF must answer questions on why they decided to conduct an illegal search, especially since the homeowner had done nothing wrong. These actions by the federal government are unsettling and they have no business going door-to-door to see who owns firearms.”
“I fear that there will be more illegal inspections to come as the Left continues its assault on our Second Amendment rights. Congress should investigate this immediately.”
ATR CONDUCTS HOUSE SEARCHES FOR FIREARMS TO ENSURE NO “STRAW PURCHASES ARE MADE” that’s a los of BS – BIDEN’s DOJ politicized to NO END
— Brian Woods (@Brian_WPA) July 23, 2022
In a statement to The Times, the ATF defended itself and its actions, claiming that the agents’ were “entirely appropriate.” When advising his constituents to make sure that the warrant is signed by a judge, he added:
“Ask the agents to show your their search warrant to inspect your firearms. Ask them if the sheriff is aware of them contacting people in our county.”
He also suggested telling the agents to leave the property and if they refuse, “they are trespassing.”
He said they should then call the Klickitat County Sheriff’s Department and report the incident, which could lead to the arrest of the federal agents. In his statement, he said:
“If the ATF agents do not have a search warrant signed by a judge, and you have told them to leave your property and they refuse to do so, call me, and I will make contact with the agents. If they still refuse to leave, I will personally arrest the ATF agents for Criminal Trespass and book them into the Klickitat County Jail.”
“In my opinion, these surprise visits by ATF agents are nothing more than a fishing expedition to see what guns you have in your possession.”
Absolute over reach, if the ATF is so concerned about straw purchases they should look at their own agency and who was responsible for operation Fast & Furious when they literally sold arms to cartels, and those same arms were identified at crime scenes just days later. https://t.co/8Tb9eJMw96
— Rat Daddy (@denglishIV) July 21, 2022
The sheriff then warned his residents that agents are looking in areas across the nation for “straw purchases,” in which a legal gun buyer purchases two or more firearms and then gives or sells the gun to someone who cannot pass a legal background check. The sheriff said:
“It appears at this time, ATF agents are making surprise home visits along the I-95 corridor [and] the states of Indiana, Nevada, and Arizona.”
Sheriff Songer stated that he is not concerned about angering state or federal officials. He added:
“I really don’t care what the FBI or the ATF or the Biden administration has to say. One thing about an elected chair, his only boss is the people that elect him – not the county commissioners, not the governor, not the city, state attorney general, not the president or anyone. So, I really don’t worry too much about what they have to say.”
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