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10/20/2017 1:01:18 AM
9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/14/2005 6:07:11 PM EDT
Gun Show Owner, Patrons May File Civil Rights Suit

By Jeff Johnson
CNSNews.com Senior Staff Writer
September 12, 2005

(CNSNews.com) - The owner of a gun show targeted by federal law enforcement for a half dozen undercover enforcement operations may join with some of his customers in filing a federal class action civil rights lawsuit against the agencies that participated in the operations.

Virginia State Police (VSP) records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Cybercast News Service confirm that the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) conducted "Task Force" undercover surveillance and enforcement operations in connection with six gun shows in Richmond, Va., between July of 2004 and June of 2005. Richmond City and Henrico County, Va., police also assisted in at least some of the events. Steven Elliot, owner of C&E Gun Shows, noted that all of the shows listed on the VSP records were hosted by his company.

"More people have had their rights violated at my shows than at Annette's show," Elliot said, referring to colleague Annette Gelles, who owns the Showmasters Gun Show, which was the target of another ATF Task Force operation last month.

"They've been pulled over when they left the building and had their guns taken away from them," Elliot continued. "In one case, we had a guy with a valid concealed-carry permit who had his gun confiscated. He had to go to ATF headquarters the next day to pick that gun back up."

As Cybercast News Service previously reported, Richmond and Henrico police officers, acting under instructions from ATF agents, conducted "residence checks," going to certain gun buyers' homes to confirm their residence information. Records obtained through another FOIA request of the Henrico County Police Department support the allegation that some officers shared confidential information about gun buyers with their relatives and, possibly, with neighbors.

"There are a whole lot of people now starting to speak up about things that went on and happened to them and some of the stuff that just wasn't right that ATF did, along with other law enforcement people," Elliot said. "Some are starting to talk and some don't want to talk."

The VSP documents also list 43 guns as "confiscated," a figure that Elliot questions.

"How many of those guns stayed confiscated and how many were actually returned to their rightful owners?" Elliot asked. "We know of at least three."

Attorney Richard Gardiner is an expert on federal firearms laws. He previously told Cybercast News Service that the behavior Elliot described would potentially rise to the level of civil rights violations.

"I think you would have an action against the state and local agents or officers for violation of your federal statutory rights," Gardiner said. "You can recover against individual federal agents for violation of your constitutional rights but not your statutory rights."

Elliot and Gelles are seeking co-plaintiffs for a likely lawsuit against all of the law enforcement agencies involved in the ATF Task Force.

"We have talked with a lawyer and we are considering legal action," Elliot said. "I've got some of the best lawyers, I think, that are available for us for this."

The email address, gunshowsfightback@yahoo.com, has been activated to receive messages from those who believe ATF or other law enforcement officials improperly violated their privacy or tried to discourage them from making lawful firearms purchases at the C&E shows.

"I'm going to talk to my lawyer, also, within the next week or two to try to get enough people involved in this who think they've had their civil rights violated to file a class action lawsuit," Elliot explained. "If we do it, then I'll have a system in place to turn these people over to our attorney to see if their case is actually valid and justified."
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 6:11:20 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/14/2005 6:11:53 PM EDT by Leisure_Shoot]
kickin' ass and takin' names.
Thank God someone is standing up for the VA residents.
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 6:16:38 PM EDT
www.showmasters.us/

400 police officers assigned to the BATFE task force for the gun show, to protect and serve, my ass
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 6:19:16 PM EDT
thanks for the update. it is unconscionable AFT and police would do this sort of thing to us.

Sad thing is, I bet the award they get won't change a thing.
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 6:20:58 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Leisure_Shoot:
kickin' ass and takin' names.
Thank God someone is standing up for the VA residents.



That would be the VA residents via the VCDL, Worth joining and giving to even if your not from the Old dominion.................Udog
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 6:22:19 PM EDT
And in the end we all lose either way.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$­$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 6:23:44 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/14/2005 6:26:03 PM EDT by FLAL1A]
It'd be a shame is something violative of the CoC happened to those Nazi weasels. Now, how long before the local Nurembergers slither over from the NOLA confiscation thread to explain that nothing bad was done in Virginia?
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 6:25:36 PM EDT

Originally Posted By unkempt1:
thanks for the update. it is unconscionable AFT and police would do this sort of thing to us.

Sad thing is, I bet the award they get won't change a thing.



An interesting question is whether the wrongdoing is sufficiently obvious to deprive the jackasses of their qualified immunity and get into their pockets.
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 6:26:42 PM EDT
the bastards better not pull that shit in Little Rock this weekend. otherwise, there'll be hell to pay!
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 6:30:36 PM EDT

Originally Posted By FLAL1A:

Originally Posted By unkempt1:
thanks for the update. it is unconscionable AFT and police would do this sort of thing to us.

Sad thing is, I bet the award they get won't change a thing.



An interesting question is whether the wrongdoing is sufficiently obvious to deprive the jackasses of their qualified immunity and get into their pockets.



that would be a good question .

Link Posted: 9/14/2005 6:33:15 PM EDT
here's the FOIA request
www.vcdl.org/pdf/gunshow.pdf
Link Posted: 9/15/2005 8:33:08 AM EDT
Go go go! Let's roll!
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