ATF Attempts Bulk Collection of Customer Data From Gun Stores

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Agency likely creating a centralized gun registry by fiat

Kit Daniels
April 16, 2014

Barely a month after the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms raided a California gun parts manufacturer for its customer data, the agency is now trying to force a Maine gun store owner out of business after he rejected an ATF agent’s demand for his customer records last year.


Despite not being charged with any crimes, Phil Chabot, the owner of Pac N Arms in Sanford, Maine, received a “notice of revocation” of his gun dealer license after he prevented ATF investigator Wayne Bettencourt from “scanning a copy of every page” of his customer records, according to Chabot’s attorney Penny Dean, who also added that the ATF has not even scheduled a hearing regarding the revocation.

“If he was really this bad person like ATF says he is, wouldn’t you have a hearing right away to revoke his license?” she said to the Portland Press Herald. “He has disputed every one of their allegations.”

“We say, ‘Show us the evidence.’”

The ATF accused Chabot of making “straw sales” to an intermediary on behalf of a convicted felon, but Chabot said that the ATF’s attempt at mass collection of his customer data during its investigation “appeared to be little more than a thinly veiled attempt to create a registry of my clientele.”

An ATF spokesperson, Debora Seifert, even admitted that ATF investigators are allowed to copy only records that are alleged to contain errors or information related to a criminal investigation, a statement which indicates that a dragnet collection of customer data is clearly not allowed.

And the ATF recently raided Ares Armor in National City, Cali. for its customer data as well.

The company’s owner, Dimitrios Karras, said that the ATF targeted his company under the false claim that Ares Armor was making AR-15 lower receivers, which are classified as a firearm, and then reverting them back to unfinished receivers not classified as firearms according to the law.

Even though the ATF was informed of their mistake, according to Karras, the agency proceeded with the raid anyway in order to gain access to customer records and to seize the company’s inventory of unfinished receivers, known as 80% receivers.

“They said either give us these 5,000 names or we’re coming in and we’re pretty much taking everything, which is a huge, huge privacy concern and something we are not willing to do,” he added.

By harassing gun stores across the nation for their customer data, the ATF is likely creating a gun registry by fiat because gun dealers keep the most comprehensive records.

“Well, because of this system, which is all relying on manual records, it’s not like CSI on TV,” a retired ATF agent, David Chipman, told NPR when asked how the agency tracks firearms. “Someone at the ATF National Tracing Center has to call the manufacturer of that gun. They have records of when they sold it to a wholesaler. ATF then calls the wholesaler. The wholesaler has records.”

“And then ATF calls the dealer from which the wholesaler sold the gun. And then that dealer goes to this record that we talked about earlier, which is kept on paper form in their business records.”

These business records are exactly what the ATF wants.


  1. Back when they raised the federal firearms licensce fees, demanded finger prints, premises layouts, etc., a lot of the small part time gun dealers went under (or just quit). The larger dealers didn’t complain because they could absorb the additional cost and it got rid of their low overhead competitors. The downside was these small dealers were required to turn their records in to the BATFE (Bureau of Arson, Treason, Falsehood & Extermination) when they went out of business. I did read an article around that time in which an ATF functionary was whining that many of the records were coming in partially burnt, water damaged, otherwise illegible or came up missing in the mail (tch-tch, what a shame). But there were those that did comply and it was rumored back then (early 90s IIRC) that the ATF was already building a database from the records. And you can be sure that this same benevolent gun-vernment, that is so interested in maintaining our privacy (you know, like what Mr. Snowden aired out), would NEVER keep a database of every gun buyer that gets called in under the National Instant Check System. Right? Otherwise why are they so adamant about requiring that EVERY private firearms transaction also go through NICS? For our safety? In a pigs eye!

    There’s only one reason they want all this information in the modern Panopticon prison we call Amerika; total control. It is simply the nosy busy-body control freaks’ lust for “power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example” to use Bentham’s own words. Think like they tell us to think, do as they tell us to do or suffer the authoritarian boot stomping on you face. The trouble for “them” is, it’s much harder to stomp on the faces of an armed populace. As we just witnessed with the Bundy vs. BLM showdown, there was going to be more carnage than an election year would bear if the gun-vernment pushed the issue. But you can bet the gov-thugs will be back with a swift vengeance once the popular support dies down. If I was a member of the Bundy family, I’d be sleeping with one eye open from now on and expecting a home visit complete with body armored goons with guns riding in MRAPs; all provided at our expense. Why? Because they know the Bundy family is armed. Once the gun-vernment finishes making their gun owners list and checking it twice, the rest of us that don’t roll over and turn in our guns can expect similar treatment if we don’t put an end to this now.

  2. fucking bullshit. thanks for curing my low blood pressure. Alcohol tobacco and firearms needs to be a convenience store not a persecution agency.

  3. It is also ILLEGAL for the FBI or ATF to take these records.

    But again, until they don’t come back, they’ll break the law as they damn well please.

    In essence, the Crown has decided we’re in Rebellion.

    Again, Why the F can’t WE? (decide that if we’ll be seen as guilty, we’ll make them pay in blood and treasure, when they come “knocking” at 3 AM.)

    If the Lunatics are running the asylum, then you need to get the whole place locked down and sorted, room by room… And you’ll miss a few times.
    But there’s no rational discourse possible.


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