NFA record fiasco update
It's been known since the 1970s that BATFE's registrations of NFA firearms (chiefly full-auto and short barrelled rifles and shotguns, taxed and thus registered under the National Firearms Act of 1934) were seriously flawed -- missing files, wrong serial numbers, the accumulation of (today) seventy years of paperwork and file cabinet mistakes. As noted earlier, there's a push on to get the records cleaned up -- which is vital, since "no registration found" means search warrants and indictments.
Over at Subguns, Eric Larson has posted a note that ATF has apparently stopped auditing NFA firearms records during its periodic audits of dealers' records, which he interpets as "stop finding errors!" He notes a report of a Senate Judiciary Committee subpoena served on ATFE regarding its records, and suggests contacting your legislators to press for a full investigation. Click on additional data below for his full posting.
ATF compliance inspections now exclude NFA...
Posted By: Eric M. Larson
Date: 1/17/06 16:07
For the past several weeks, ATF has apparently instructed its Inspectors not to review any NFA records during compliance audits---they are to examine Title I records only. I've heard enough from sources I deem reliable to post this.
What's going on?
A number of things. First, I am sure y'all recall the post-Waco phrase: "We don't want Special Agents going around talking or providing information, because we don't want to create any evidence that could be subpoenaed." Second, the timing coincides with the public release and posting of the sworn testimony of ATF Inspector George Semoniak (see the "Resources" page at www.nfaoa.org, more specfically: http://www.nfaoa.org/documents/SemonickTestimony.pdf) at the Wrenn trial. As the summary posted with this document states:
In the case United States vs Wrenn (Cr. No. 1:04-045), District of South Carolina, Aiken Division, ATF Inspector George Semonick testified under oath that "there was a discrepancy" between firearms records maintained by defendant Wrenn and those maintained in the NFRTR by ATF. Inspector Semonick also confirmed "that the records, the records kept by ATF, were deficient." Defendant Wrenn was not charged with any record-keeping violations.
Third, I've also heard chatter that ATF suspending record-keeping checks of Class III dealer records on Title II firearms/devices, is a prelude to ATF swooping down and seizing/forfeiting a bunch of NFA firearms/devices. I strongly believe ATF is NOT going to seize/forfeit any NFA firearms/devices under the present conditions because, among other reasons, the NFRTR is under a Congressional microscope at the moment. For ATF to seize/forfeit any NFA firearms/devices at this time would likely invite further destruction of ATF as an institution.
Note that I said "further destruction." The reason is that ATF is currently doing what the military calls a "damage-limiting operation." ATF is seriously damaged right now, and ATF's top executives are trying to limit that damage.
There are things going on regarding ATF's administration of the NFA that go far beyond and are apart from anything I've posted here regarding the NFRTR. Those things are in progress right now, and I'll leave it to others who are directly involved in them to comment publicly on them in their own way(s) and time(s).
Finally, as always, I'd like to urge any of you who are concerned about the foregoing or anything else pertaining to the NFRTR, to consider contacting your Congressional representatives. Be sure and request your Congressional representatives to contact Sen. Arlen Specter, Chairman, Senate Committee on the Judiciary, which is currently involved in matters involving oversight of ATF. Apparently, a sealed subpoena has been served by the Committee on ATF. I am endeavoring to find out more details, but think some others who are following this may scoop me, which is OK. There's plenty of information to go around.