Watch: Warrantless ATF, State Police Show Up at Man's House, Demand to See His Firearms
When an individual buys numerous firearms in a short period of time, this often sets off alarm bells among law enforcement that it might be a case of “straw purchases” — someone illegally buying firearms for someone else.
Unless law enforcement agents have a warrant or probable cause, however, they can’t demand to check out whether or not the firearms are still in the buyer’s possession. Still, nothing stops them from showing up at your residence, coming to your front door and asking — which is precisely what happened to one Delaware man.
In a clear sign that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Delaware State Police need better things to do, a cadre of three law enforcement officers — none with visible body cameras — went viral in a bad way after they were caught on a doorbell camera not-so-subtly coercing a law-abiding gun-buyer into showing them the guns he purchased.
Shocker of shockers, no warrant was involved.
(Here at The Western Journal, we’ve documented how President Joe Biden’s administration has stepped up its attacks on law-abiding gun-owners and their Second Amendment rights — in ways both small and large. We’ll keep fighting big government’s encroachment on the Constitution. You can help us by subscribing.)
According to gun-centric outlet Armed American News, the homeowner — who wished to remain anonymous — was alerted to activity on his property by motion detectors outside the home. A live video feed from the doorbell camera captured what happened next. (Video below.)
“Can I help you?” the homeowner said, stepping onto the porch to confront the men before they knocked on the door.
The law enforcement officers were identified by Armed American News as two ATF agents and one Delaware state trooper. In the video, however, only one of the men has “ATF” clearly visible on his clothing.
Whatever the specifics of their agencies, the law enforcement officers told the homeowner that they were part of a team investigating straw purchases and wanted to see if the owner had the guns in his possession. The owner asked for identification from the officers, which he received, according to Armed American News.
“All I’m doing is verifying that you have it, you got two different purchases,” said the officer who took the lead in the conversation. “If you have them, I’m out of here. That’s how quick it is. Yeah. Do you have them with you by any chance?”
According to Armed American News, the homeowner had purchased seven guns since January. The owner told the officers they were in his safe.
“If you can unload them and bring them out,” the lead law enforcement officer said. “We can go out to your foyer here, check them out, write the serial numbers and we’re out of here.”
“That’s it?” the owner replied.
“That’s it. It will take five seconds,” the lead officer said.
“The reason we’re out here is, obviously, gun violence is at an uptick. We want to make sure – we’ve been having a lot of issues with straw purchases,” one of the other officers said.
“One of the things, indicators we get is someone making a large gun purchase, and then a lot of times we’ve been there and ‘Oh, those guns got taken.’”
“The idea is that when you purchase more than two guns at a time it generates a multiple sales report and it comes to us and we have to check them out,” the lead officer said. “That’s all that is. You did nothing wrong – absolutely zero.
“I noticed you were stopped in Philly, though, with one of your guns?”
(“I noticed you were stopped in Philly ….” Nothing intimidating at all about armed government agents showing up at front doors to remind citizens that records are being kept.)
The lead officer said they’d wait if he felt more comfortable. The homeowner said he was fine, he just “didn’t expect” this kind of visit over buying guns.
“Oh no. It just came up. We came here, look, I’m telling you,” the lead officer said. “There’s an email from the federal side saying, can you make sure this guy’s got his guns? If you recently purchased a whole bunch of guns, if we can look at them and just scratch them off.”
When the homeowner went to get his firearms, one of the officers said, “He doesn’t believe we’re cops.”
“I don’t blame him,” the lead officer said.
The homeowner told Armed American News he retrieved one of his rifles and showed it to the officers. They reportedly wrote down the serial number and demurred when asked if he needed to retrieve the rest of his firearms. They then apologized for inconveniencing him and wished him a good night.
This was worth a visit from state and federal agents congregated outside the man’s home? There’s certainly nothing illegal about his purchases, else these men would have a warrant.
Check out the interaction below:
— Frankie Stockes – Reporter (@stockes76) July 20, 2022
The gun owner told Armed American News that he felt coerced into consenting to a warrantless search of his property, given how hard the agents pushed.
“I was embarrassed,” the man said.
“My neighbors saw the whole thing – guys in these police vests standing in my yard. I was really uncomfortable. I felt really confused, like I was in some way being accused of something even though I didn’t commit a crime. It was quite embarrassing.
“I knew they couldn’t come in, but I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to get put on some watch list. We just got new gun laws here. I didn’t want them coming back again. I felt like they were invading my privacy.”
While the context of the man’s phrase “new gun laws here” was unclear, the reference appears to be to a slate of gun control measures signed by Delaware Gov. John Carney last month.
According to NPR affiliate WHYY.org, the website of WHYY-AM, the PBS affiliate in Wilmington, most of these apply to the usual suspects (a ban on so-called “assault weapons,” raising the purchasing age for firearms to 21 and limiting so-called “high-capacity magazines,” among others) and seemingly wouldn’t have applied to this man’s purchases.
Armed American News reported that it reached out to several ATF offices but did not receive a response. The Delaware State Police, meanwhile, said the outlet should direct its questions to a more appropriate agency.
“It sounds like your questions would be more appropriately suited for ATF. Please contact them with questions that you have about straw purchases of firearms,” a Delaware State Police supervisor said.
Think this is going to be the only gun owner to experience this kind of warrantless “knock and talk” visit from ATF agents, particularly given the Biden administration’s aggressive moves to limit legal gun ownership?
Think again. The big difference about this one is that it was caught on camera — and it shows the government’s nakedly intimidatory tactics in full.
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