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Posted: 2/19/2006 3:08:16 PM EDT
HOUSE HEARS CONCERNS ABOUT RICHMOND GUN SHOW

On Wednesday, February 15, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security heard testimony from individuals affected by heavy-handed enforcement tactics of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) at a gun show in Richmond, Virginia last August.


According to the gun show organizer, Annette Gelles of Showmasters, dozens of BATFE and local law enforcement officers intrusively questioned dealers and customers, tried to discourage people from buying guns, and stopped show attendees on the roads after they left. In some cases, customers' lawfully purchased guns were confiscated, and returned only when the customers visited BATFE's office for more questioning. In other cases, local police officers visited gun buyers' homes to conduct "residency checks"-intrusive questioning of family members and even neighbors.


One show visitor, James Lalime, a private citizen who sometimes works for a dealer at the local gun shows, testified that he was interrogated by BATFE and other law enforcement personnel who accused him of dealing in firearms without a license. John White, a show exhibitor, licensed dealer, and former police officer, testified that he appreciates law enforcement officials' efforts to prevent illegal sales, but that enforcement activities went too far-especially in focusing on buyers who were women or members of minority groups. Suzanne McComas, an investigator for NRA-ILA, also testified and provided sworn affidavits from individuals who were singled out for BATFE attention, apparently on the basis of race or sex.


The subcommittee members were upset with what they heard. Subcommittee Chairman Howard Coble (R-NC) questioned whether the operations were "a proper allocation of resources," and suggested that "49 law enforcement officers could have found a better way to curb criminal activity in the Richmond area." Over the next few months, the same subcommittee expects to hold additional oversight hearings on this and other BATFE activities, including both citizen witnesses and BATFE officials. Watch the Grassroots Alert for more details as they're available.

Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:19:26 PM EDT
Ah, yes, Richmond, Virginia! Wasn't that place the flagship poster-city for the NRA's Project Exile to "enforce existing gun laws" to make the citizens "safe" from "drug runners" and "gangsters"?

So do you think that the official goons would really go after the drug dealers who pay off their political and uniformed bosses, or the MS-13 thugs who are not awed by their badges or cool-guy gear?

It is the cowed citizen who still thinks that government is really on his side who will end up in "Exile".
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:23:47 PM EDT

Originally Posted By CommoMan:
Ah, yes, Richmond, Virginia! Wasn't that place the flagship poster-city for the NRA's Project Exile to "enforce existing gun laws" to make the citizens "safe" from "drug runners" and "gangsters"?

So do you think that the official goons would really go after the drug dealers who pay off their political and uniformed bosses, or the MS-13 thugs who are not awed by their badges or cool-guy gear?

It is the cowed citizen who still thinks that government is really on his side who will end up in "Exile".



You should look at Richmond demographics and our elected officials before you spout off about NRA programs. I work in Richmond and may not feel confident in the elected officials, but am very confident in my right to carry reliable firearms and blow some worthless thug away if and when it gets to that.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 6:23:17 PM EDT
The extra "attention" sure brought the car trunk sales outside the shows to a screeching halt. Some of the Va. shows had as many sales outside the show as they did inside. I kind of miss the good deals you could get, but it was unsightly having 15-20 people surrounding a old Delta 88 full of guns, trying to elbow each other out of the way to have a look in the trunk. Sometimes we bring unwanted attention on ourselves. I guess they have the right to sell like that but they/we need to ask ourselves, is this smart? If you expect law enforcment to be anything but heavyhanded when they are tasked to police a gunshow (getting OT from a Fed. grant most likley) then don't do things that would draw their attention, such as car trunk sales. If by their actions law enforcement ruffled some feathers, let me tell you THEY DON'T CARE! A end result was what they were after and by the look of things at the shows I've been to after the Richmond show they got the message across. Sometimes gun owners can be just as shrill in their rightous indignation for percived injustices as any left winger born. I had dealers (that I trust) at that show tell me it was not that bad. I am glad that complaints were lodged however. It helps keep law enforcement straight. This is just my observation and I do not defend any unjustified ruffling of said feathers by law enforcement.
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