Authored by Michael Clements via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
As brokers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) left Russell Fincher’s home with 50 legally-owned firearms and his freshly relinquished Federal Firearms License (FFL), they provided him a tip.
“They said, ‘Tell all your FFL friends we’re coming for them next,’” Mr. Fincher instructed The Epoch Times.
An ATF spokesman mentioned he couldn’t touch upon the June 16, 2023, raid at Mr. Fincher’s residence in Tuskahoma, Oklahoma.
“We are not allowed to comment pertaining to ongoing investigations. I can assure you once we can discuss the case, you will be notified,” Ashley N. Stephens, resident Agent in Charge of the ATF’s Tulsa Field Office, wrote in an e mail to The Epoch Times.
According to Second Amendment advocacy teams, the raid signifies a coordinated effort by President Joe Biden’s administration to throttle authorized gun gross sales to advance a gun management agenda.
Oklahoma state Rep. J.J. Humphrey is incensed over the raid.
He wrote to Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond, and Pushmataha County Sheriff B.J. Hedgecock on Aug. 17, demanding an investigation.
Mr. Humphrey instructed The Epoch Times that there’s a authorized time period for what the ATF did to get Mr. Fincher to surrender his FFL.
“It’s called extortion. The mob does it, criminals do it, and when you have a badge, that makes it worse,” Mr. Humphrey mentioned.
Mr. Stitt’s workplace didn’t reply to emails or phone calls looking for remark.
Spokespersons for the lawyer normal and Mr. Hedgecock mentioned they’re trying into the matter.
Phil Bacharach, a spokesman for the lawyer normal, confirmed that Mr. Drummond had seen the letter.
“We have received Rep. Humphrey’s request and are reviewing it,” Mr. Bacharach wrote in an e mail to The Epoch Times.
Attorney General Reviewing Letter
Pushmataha County Undersheriff Dustin Bray mentioned his workplace has the letter additionally. He mentioned they plan to look into the matter additional however have been targeted on an Aug. 29 homicide in Antlers, Oklahoma, Pushmataha’s county seat.
While it’s uncommon for an company to run such an operation with out notifying native regulation enforcement, Mr. Bray mentioned it does occur. He pressured that the ATF is below no authorized obligation to inform anybody. He added that the sheriff’s workplace would haven’t any official remark till it had extra info.
“We actually didn’t have a clue that they were coming. We didn’t find out until everybody else did,” Mr. Bray instructed The Epoch Times. “We will try to get in contact with someone.”
The Fincher house is perched on the facet of a hill in an unincorporated space of Pushmataha County. The sparsely populated county is in style with boaters and fishermen who ply the waters of Sardis Lake.
Fincher at Home in Tuskahoma
In the autumn, the county and its Kiamichi Mountains are populated by hunters tramping the hills for white-tailed deer.
Mr. Fincher mentioned Pushmataha County has been the proper place to boost his household.
“We love it here,” he mentioned, standing in entrance of his home on a late August afternoon.
Like lots of his rural Oklahoma neighbors, a part of his enjoyment of the outside entails firearms. In addition to conventional actions like looking and goal taking pictures, Mr. Fincher enjoys spending time with different firearms fans. So, he and his brother typically attend gun reveals in and round Oklahoma.
Contrary to what many consider, there isn’t a “gun show loophole” permitting the sale of firearms by gun sellers with no background checks.
However, personal transactions are and have at all times been authorized no matter when or the place they happen. If every social gathering within the transaction can legally personal a gun, the sale or commerce of authorized firearms is allowed below the regulation.
Several years in the past, Mr. Fincher legally traded a gun throughout a gun present. That transaction would return to hang-out him, he mentioned.
Russell Fincher stands in entrance of his home in Tuskahoma, Okla., on Sept. 1, 2023. (Michael Clements/The Epoch Times)
Mr. Fincher identifies himself as a Southern Baptist pastor, highschool historical past trainer, youth sports activities coach, and small enterprise proprietor who has at all times tried to be accountable. He mentioned he’s scrupulous relating to complying with the regulation.
“I don’t think I’ve had a speeding ticket in the past 20 or 25 years,” he mentioned.
Still, as an everyday gun present attendee, Mr. Fincher drew the eye of the ATF. He mentioned the company suggested him to acquire an FFL primarily based on how a lot he traded on the reveals. So, in 2020, he grew to become a licensed firearms supplier, believing it will assist him keep away from hassle.
While the brand new designation got here with storage necessities and administrative obligations, Mr. Fincher additionally mentioned there have been some advantages. He was capable of assist pals and neighbors with their authorized purchases. As an FFL holder, he might receive some reductions and particular pricing along with arranging for the cargo of his personal gun purchases.
He mentioned he by no means offered weapons out of his residence. His commonest transactions have been by means of on-line gross sales and arranging the switch of firearms for folks in his group.
“The only way I was really going to find an audience was through [online sales],” he mentioned.
‘I Was Small Potatoes’
Mr. Fincher already had a small retailer to promote ammunition within the close by city of Clayton. He briefly thought of transferring his gun enterprise into the shop. But that might require constructing renovation and extra paperwork to switch the FFL to the shop’s deal with. Since he had no want to be a full-time supplier, he determined to maintain the gun enterprise in his residence.
“I was never a big dealer. Some dealers have hundreds of guns on their books, but I never had more than 90. I was small potatoes,” Mr. Fincher mentioned. “There were a lot of shows when I made no money. You just did it because you liked the experience.”
He knew the significance of maintaining correct data and following the ATF guidelines. He mentioned he had no considerations over his ATF paperwork, having executed his finest to observe all the foundations. So, when he was contacted for an everyday inspection in April 2023, he rapidly agreed.
He mentioned the 2 ATF brokers have been skilled and well mannered. They seemed over his gun safes and inspected his data, making just a few notes. Not lengthy after, he obtained a letter that discovered fault with some entries. Some have been troublesome to decipher, and a serial quantity for one pistol had not been recorded appropriately.
ATF Adopts ‘Zero Tolerance’
The common particular person might think about these easy clerical errors. It is vital to notice that this inspection was carried out below the ATF’s “zero tolerance” coverage. Second Amendment proponents say the Biden administration is on a marketing campaign to finish the authorized firearms commerce within the United States.
Gun Owners of America (GOA) and the Gun Owners Foundation (GOF) declare in a lawsuit filed in July that the coverage is to advance the Biden administration’s anti-Second Amendment agenda. The gun rights teams sued the ATF, the Department of Justice, and ATF Director Stephen Dettelbach over the coverage (pdf).
GOA contends that on Jan. 28, 2022, the ATF issued a revised Administrative Action Policy (AAP) titled “Federal Firearms Administrative Policy and Procedures,” changing a 2019 AAP.
GOA claims that the 2019 coverage gave FFL holders some leeway for minor violations, however the January 2022 coverage takes a extra stringent method.
“The 2019 AAP stated that ‘ATF may revoke a federal firearms license under appropriate circumstances,'” the lawsuit states. “The 2022 AAP states that ‘ATF will revoke a federal firearms license, absent extraordinary circumstances on initial violations.’”
GOA identified that previously, the ATF seemed for proof of “willfulness” in violations by gun sellers. That has modified, the lawsuit states.
ATF Takes Harsher Stance
“The 2019 AAP stated that … ‘[a] single, or even a few, inadvertent errors … may not amount to ‘willful’ failures, even when the FFL knew of the legal requirement.’ The 2022 AAP eliminates this language, harshly warning that ‘ATF does not have to establish a history of prior violations,’” the lawsuit reads.
According to GOA, the ATF’s statistics from fiscal yr 2022 present the company’s hostility towards FFL holders.
ATF data present 3,806 violations reported in fiscal 2022 amongst firearm licensees, 606 warning letters issued, 131 warning conferences, and 93 revocations.
According to the ATF website, 5 FFL revocations occurred in 2021 between July and December. There have been 51 revocations reported for a similar interval in 2022.
While the ATF brokers that raided Mr. Fincher’s property didn’t particularly point out the earlier inspection, Mr. Fincher mentioned that within the weeks earlier than the raid, the ATF was on the lookout for a purpose to pay him one other go to.
Felon Asks For Gun
Just days earlier than the armed brokers confirmed up at his residence, a person was in his ammo retailer performing “weird.” The man was not the same old rancher, outdoorsman, or hunter that usually patronized his enterprise. Mr. Fincher didn’t know the person, sporting a outstanding neck tattoo and showing nervous.
“He said, ‘Man, I’m walking around naked out there.’ At first, I wasn’t sure what he meant,” Mr. Fincher mentioned.
Then, the person requested if Mr. Fincher would promote him a gun.
“I told him I don’t sell guns from that store,” Mr. Fincher mentioned.
The would-be buyer pressed him, and Mr. Fincher agreed that he might promote him a gun. But he instructed him once more that he didn’t run the gun enterprise from the shop. Then, the potential buyer introduced that he was a felon. Mr. Fincher mentioned that bit of knowledge made his resolution for him.
“I told him I would not sell him a gun because that’s illegal. I can’t sell guns to a convicted felon,” Mr. Fincher mentioned.
The man with the neck tattoo purchased a field of ammunition, which Mr. Fincher contends is just not against the law, and left the shop.
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