Courtesy of NRA's Institute of Legislative Action (see here
for a web-based version, of the E-mail alert, quoted below):
On February 15, the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security will hold an oversight hearing to investigate apparent wrongdoing by BATFE at a Richmond, VA gun show last August.
In 2004-05, a troubling pattern emerged at a number of Richmond, VA-area gun shows, where hundreds of BATFE agents and state and local police staked out local shows. Immediately upon learning of these incidents, NRA began investigating and working to ensure congressional oversight hearings would be held to determine any wrongdoing and ensure BATFE was not overstepping its bounds or violating the law.
BATFE agents copied lawful gun purchase transaction records and provided this information to local police officers, who in turn conducted "residency checks." Federal law prohibits the release of this information except to state and local police to identify prohibited purchasers or recipients of guns. The information provided to local police prompted multiple instances of officers showing up at the homes of those who lawfully purchased firearms from licensed dealers at area gun shows. On occasions when the lawful purchasers were not at home, agents questioned family members (for example, inquiring of a wife if she knew her husband was at a gun show and/or had purchased a firearm) or their neighbors. In other cases, reports surfaced of lawful gun owners and holders of valid carry permits having their firearms confiscated.
Those interested in watching the hearings online should be able to do so via this page
, click 15 Feb on the calendar. The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, 15 Feb 2006, at 1630 (although the NRA-ILA has published 1600 as the starting time, perhaps based on previous experience) at:
2141 Rayburn House Office Building
Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security
Oversight Hearing of "The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) Part 1: Gun Show Enforcement."
It's nice to see the enhanced NRA involvement in this topic since their original, almost tepid, (seeming) dismissal of the problem back when VCDL and others were sounding the clarion call. To my recollection this month's American Rifleman
mentioned the apparently unlawful BATFE activities as well.