ATF agent reportedly took pics of records with private phone

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

There is always going to be some degree of tension between the ATF and gun owners. The truth of the matter is that we don’t trust most of them, at a minimum, and we recognize they’d happily strip us of our right to keep and bear arms if it were up to them.

Yes, I know they claim otherwise.

However, it’s really hard to claim otherwise when it seems their agents are doing some pretty underhanded stuff.

From Stephen Gutowski at The Reload:

The gun store behind a viral video showing potential misconduct by the ATF wants an investigation into the matter.

Dave Nagel, owner of Black Metal Firearms in Mesa, Arizona, said he was outraged by an ATF inspector taking pictures of his sales records on her personal phone last December. He spoke to The Reload after a video he posted of the inspector photographing his sales records racked up tens of thousands of views on Instagram and received coverage in multiple gun publications. Now he wants an explanation for the inspector’s actions.

“The world wants to see what’s going on here,” Nagel told The Reload. “If the right people can take that information, hold the ATF accountable for what they’re doing, help put an end to these practices, and save a few people’s livelihoods. That’s all this is about.”

The ATF declined to say whether it is investigating the inspector over Nagel’s video or accusations.

“We are unable to comment on any specific investigation or inspection,” Erik Longnecker, Deputy Chief of Public Affairs Division for the ATF, told The Reload. “However, any claims reported by the licensee to ATF would be investigated.”

The dispute represents a high-profile flashpoint between the agency and the industry it oversees. It comes as the ATF implements President Joe Biden’s “zero tolerance” approach toward regulating gun makers and dealers. It may test how well the agency, under freshly-confirmed director Steve Dettelbach, can continue to foster relationships with the gun businesses it heavily relies on to report potential crimes while revoking licenses over what the industry views as minor infractions, utilizing controversial enforcement tactics, or allowing infractions by agency staff to go unpunished.

Apparently, “zero tolerance” only applies to us. ATF agents can do whatever they want without repercussions.

After all, this comes shortly after another video was posted showing ATF agents conducting a “check” on a gun owner.

This case, too, was videoed, meaning it’s not one person’s word for it.

What this does, though, is make me wonder just how many other ATF misdeeds have gone unreported simply because there was no evidence of it happening.

I suspect quite a few instances, actually.

This is why there’s friction between gun rights advocates and the ATF. While I’m sure there are a few agents who don’t hate the Second Amendment, far too many seem interested in viewing us as the enemy and will skirt any and all rules to take people down.

You see, the ATF doesn’t get to save records of gun sales kept at gun stores. While records are sent to them if the store closes, they don’t get to keep them before then.

To take photographs of those records with a cell phone is a gross violation of the law and the agent in question should be disciplined.

By that, I mean fired and possibly prosecuted, if that’s applicable.

The ATF wants us to work with them, to have lawful gun owners and gun sellers not view them with hostility?

Well, bucko, this ain’t how you do it.