Category Archives: Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms & Explosives (ATF)

ATF Targets Small Gun Shops with Leading Phone Call Questionnaire

Editor’s Update: Readers please see the related after-publication update from NSSF at the end of this article.
ATF Targets Small Gun Shops with Leading Phone Call Questionnaire, iStock-Ilya-Burdun
U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) has started a phone outreach program to Federal Firearms License holders (FFLs) because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
In an email obtained by AmmoLand News, ATF Field Management Staff Deputy Chief Kyle Lallenstack ask Industry Operations Investigators (IOIs) to start calling FFLs and engage in “outreach” to meet inspection targets. The email references the need for social distancing protocols as well as dealing with state-mandated business closures and stay at home orders. Lallenstack states that the ATF foresees these restrictions on personal contact lasting weeks, if not months.
The email reads: “We recognize that in-person contact during inspections and outreach initiatives will likely be severely constrained for weeks if not months, and that limited in-person contacts IOIs must engage in as the crisis continues (e.g., responding to FFL thefts) must employ maximum safety protocols to limit the potential exposure of industry, the public, and the IOIs.”
The target of these phone calls will be firearms stores that the ATF has not inspected in years. The IOIs will need to inform the FFL holders that the phone conversation is strictly voluntary. Gun rights advocates who have seen the emails worry that FFL holders that refuse to speak over the phone to the ATF IOI will be moved to the top of the inspection list once inspections resume. There is also no way for the FFL holder to verify the person they are talking to is an actual ATF employee and not someone trying to get information on the firearms stored at the business.
The ATF developed a ATF Telephone Outreach Initiative Script and survey to use on the phone calls. The guide gives the IOI a script to initiate the call with the FFL. The script reads:
“Your participation in this call is voluntary, and this is NOT an inspection. Given the current pandemic, we are attempting to limit your and our exposure to COVID 19 by limiting our in-person, face-to-face interaction to the extent possible while still accomplishing our mission of protecting the public and reducing violent crime. As you may be aware, ATF frequently conducts FFL seminars to informally communicate with licensees in which we engage in discussions about current issues in the industry, relevant regulations, and suggestions of best practices. These seminars help ensure we all work together to enhance the safety of our communities. Since we cannot do that type of outreach under existing circumstances, we are calling you today to reassure you that ATF is accessible and available to answer your questions throughout this challenging time. We would like to spend a few minutes providing you our contact information and an opportunity to ask any questions you may have. We’d also like to ask a few questions about your current operations to help us assess how to best support you and apply ATF resources towards public safety in these challenging times.”
The guide asks the IOI to verify all information about the business, including the business name, address, email, and responsible person. The inspector will then ask the FFL to give them a summary of the company. The ATF is trying to figure out if the FFL is a traditional gun store, an internet vendor, or sells firearms at gun shows.
ATF Telephone Outreach Initiative Script 2020

The IOI will then ask the FFL holder to explain to them how they are using their license. They will go further and ask the business owner if they have any questions on the 4473 form or their acquisition and deposition records. The IOI will upload all the information they collect into the ATF’s system.
Gun rights advocates worry that not only can the questions the IOI ask the licensees about the FFL’s operations be used against them in the future, but the questions the FFL holder asks the IOI can be used by the ATF to target them during future inspections. If an FFL has a question on how to log a specific firearm into their A&D book, then that can lead the IOI to the conclusion that there might be errors in the logbook. Nowhere in the document does it tell the IOI to inform the FFL holder that they will log their responses into the ATF system
Gun right groups worry that the ATF could be on a “fishing” expedition. Calls to the ATF for comment were not returned by the time of publication.

Editor’s Note: after the initial publication of this article we received this related update from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
NSSF ATF Reaching Out to Firearm Retailers
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives will be reaching out to firearm retailers by phone starting next week to ensure licensed dealers have all necessary information during the pandemic.
Retailers will be reminded their participation is voluntary and the calls are not a compliance inspection or a prelude to one.
The calls are to reassure firearm retailers the ATF is available to assist with regulatory compliance, including answering new or unique questions that may arise during these unusual circumstances.
Firearm retailers will be provided ATF contact information and website resources for ready assistance. NSSF® thanks the ATF for the outreach and the continued positive relationship with the industry.
Together, the ATF and NSSF helps prevent crime and wrongful possession of firearms through partnership programs including Don’t Lie for the Other Guy, Operation Secure Store®, and matching reward programs.
 

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About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%’ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on leftist deplatforming methods and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, on Facebook at realjohncrump, or at www.crumpy.com.
The post ATF Targets Small Gun Shops with Leading Phone Call Questionnaire appeared first on AmmoLand.com.


ATF Responds to NSSF’s Request for Guidance on FFL “Premises” Questions

Opinion
ATF Responds to NSSF’s Request for Guidance on FFL “Premises” Questions
USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- NSSF® has heard your concerns about conducting transactions outside of your retail stores in light of the unprecedented restrictions placed on businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been working closely with the ATF to gain clarity on this front for firearm retailers.
Today we thank the ATF for issuing guidance for FFLs regarding sidewalk/curbside transactions.
The guidance has been released as an open letter, available here. In short, the ATF determined: “pursuant to the Gun Control Act (GCA) and its implementing regulations, a licensed importer, manufacturer, or dealer may engage in the firearms or ammunition business for which the business is licensed on any part of its business premises, provided that the activity otherwise complies with all applicable federal laws and regulations, and any sale, delivery, or disposition would not violate any State law or published ordinance applicable at the place of sale, delivery, or other disposition.”
NSSF appreciates the ATF responding to our requests on your behalf for clarity on this front. As the firearm industry trade association, NSSF has been engaged in all fronts with federal, state and local authorities to ensure manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and ranges were listed “essential critical infrastructure” and able to operate within CDC guidelines during emergency pandemic orders.
VIEW NSSF’S LETTER TO ATF AND NICS

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About The National Shooting Sports Foundation
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 10,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. www.nssf.org
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Last of Four Sentences Handed Down in Trumbull County Explosives & Firearms Case

Last of Four Sentences Handed Down in Trumbull County Explosives & Firearms Case
Ohio – -(AmmoLand.com)- Four Trumbull County men convicted in an ATF investigation have been sentenced in federal court.
Donald Paul Phillips, age 28 of Mineral Ridge, was sentenced to 24 months in prison for two counts relating to the illegal manufacture and distribution of explosives, and one count of possessing firearms after a domestic violence conviction.
Andrew Syacsure, age 31 of Niles, was sentenced to 4 months of home detention and 3 years of probation for one count of conspiring to manufacture and distribute explosives.
Zachary Booth, age 30 of Warren, was sentenced to 3 years of supervised probation for one count of distributing explosives without an ATF license.
And Donald Roger Phillips, age 50 of Mineral Ridge, was sentenced to 5 months of home detention, 3 years of probation, and a $1,000 fine for one count of possessing a firearm after a domestic violence conviction.  All four defendants pled guilty.
According to court records:
In early 2019, ATF agents learned that Zachary Booth was offering to sell homemade explosive devices.  ATF agents began an undercover operation and purchased 11 homemade explosive devices from Booth.  The devices appeared similar to large M-80 fireworks, but contained hundreds of times more flash powder than consumer ground fireworks.
After further investigation, the ATF learned that Booth had obtained the explosive devices from Donald Paul Phillips.  ATF agents then used an undercover agent to make multiple purchases of the devices from Donald Paul Phillips outside his workplace in Niles.
On May 2, 2019, ATF agents arrested Donald Paul Phillips at his workplace in Niles and found a handgun in his toolbox.  Phillips was prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition due to two prior convictions for domestic violence.
Law enforcement also executed a search warrant at Donald Paul Phillips’ residence in Mineral Ridge, where he lived with his father (Donald Roger Phillips) and step-mother.  During the search warrant, law enforcement found another handgun under Donald Paul Phillips’ bed, and over a dozen firearms in a gun storage room immediately adjacent to his bedroom.  The firearms discovered in the gun storage room included multiple high-capacity magazines and a device that was later determined to be a silencer.  Law enforcement also found more than 500 homemade explosive devices in the breezeway of the home, and a loaded shotgun in Donald Roger Phillips’s bedroom closet.  Donald Roger Phillips was also prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition due to a prior domestic violence conviction.
ATF agents then conducted a search of Syacsure’s home in Niles, and found evidence of explosives manufacturing in Syacusre’s basement, which included workbenches, tubs of ingredients used to make flash powder, and empty cardboard fuses and tubes.
In total, the ATF seized over 900 homemade explosive devices and over a dozen illegally possessed firearms during the investigation.
The case was investigated by the ATF, with assistance from the Niles Police Department, the Weathersfield Police Department, and members of the Youngstown Bomb Squad.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James Lewis.
Columbus Field Division

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
ATF is the federal law enforcement agency responsible for investigating violations of the federal firearms and explosives laws and regulations. More information about ATF and its programs can be found at www.atf.gov.
The post Last of Four Sentences Handed Down in Trumbull County Explosives & Firearms Case appeared first on AmmoLand.com.


Worcester MA Man Sentenced for Illegal Possession of Loaded Semi-Automatic Pistol

Worcester MA Man Sentenced for Illegal Possession of Loaded Semi-Automatic Pistol iStock
BOSTON – -(AmmoLand.com)- A Worcester man was sentenced today in federal court in Worcester for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Leroy Byron, 34, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman to 60 months in prison and three years of supervised release, after pleading guilty in November 2019 to being a felon in possession of a firearm.
On Nov. 5, 2018, Byron was arrested for carrying an Intratec TEC9 semi-automatic pistol loaded with 32 rounds of ammunition. Byron is prohibited from possessing a firearm due to prior convictions punishable by more than one year in person.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Kelly D. Brady, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, Boston Field Division; and Worcester Police Chief Steven M. Sargent made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney John T. Mulcahy of Lelling’s Worcester Branch Office prosecuted the case.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. PSN is part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
Boston Field Division

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
ATF is the federal law enforcement agency responsible for investigating violations of the federal firearms and explosives laws and regulations. More information about ATF and its programs can be found at www.atf.gov.
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$8,000 Reward Offered for Information on Phantom Tactical

$8,000 Reward Offered for Information on Phantom TacticalHouston, Texas – -(AmmoLand.com)- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms industry have announced a reward of up to $8,000 for information leading to the arrest of the suspect(s) responsible for burglarizing Phantom Tactical, located at 15626 Galveston Rd., Houston, Texas.On October 22nd at 2:21 am, four suspects entered Phantom Tactical, while the store was closed. The suspects gained entry by using a sledgehammer to break the front door and stole two (2) firearms and $4,000.The suspects are described as 18-25 years of age, slender, and wearing all black clothing with their faces covered. One suspect was wearing a sweatshirt with the logo “Thrasher” on it.“Recovering these firearms quickly before additional crimes are committed remains a top priority for ATF,” said ATF Houston Field Division Special Agent in Charge Fred Milanowski.Anyone with any information about this crime should contact ATF at 1-888-ATF-TIPS. Information can also be sent to [email protected], through ATF’s website at www.atf.gov/contact/atftips. Tips can be submitted anonymously using the Reportit® app, available from both Google Play and the Apple App store, or by visiting www.reportit.com (link is external).”The reward is part of a larger national cooperative initiative between the NSSF and ATF in which NSSF matches ATF rewards in cases involving the theft of firearms from federally licensed firearms retailers. ATF works closely with members of the firearms industry to curb the criminal acquisition and misuse of firearms.ATF is the lead federal law enforcement agency with jurisdiction involving firearms and violent crimes and regulates the firearm industry. More information about ATF and its programs is available at www.atf.gov.The post $8,000 Reward Offered for Information on Phantom Tactical appeared first on AmmoLand.com.


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Silencer Shop selects Orchid Advisors as their Regulated Compliance Partner

Silencer Shop selects Orchid Advisors as their Regulated Compliance PartnerU.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- Silencer Shop, the industry’s largest distributor of suppressors and operator of most visited silencer specific website, has partnered with Orchid Advisors, #1 in FFL Compliance Solutions, to streamline their regulated processes and optimize their internal ATF compliance program. Additionally, the partnership will grant hundreds of dealers utilizing the Silencer Shop kiosks access to additional technology-driven compliance solutions for the acquisition/disposition record keeping and 4473 processing.“Combining Orchid Advisors’ and Silencer Shop’s prowess in both technology and compliance applications will benefit our combined dealer network of 2,000 by increasing compliance efficiencies. We are delighted to offer all FFL / SOTs an enhanced experience!” said Dave Matheny, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Silencer Shop.About Orchid Advisors:Orchid Advisors provides ATF and ITAR compliance services to manufacturing, distribution, and retail FFLs. The firm offers FFL and export licensing, deep record inspections, e4473 / NFA eForms, eBound Book software and delivers the largest online ATF and ITAR compliance training platform available. For additional information, visit www.OrchidAdvisors.comAbout Silencer Shop:SilencerShop.com provides customers with the platform and knowledge they need to make the most informed purchase; from reviews and videos, to the fastest shipping and lowest costs. Silencer Shop is the one-stop suppressor shop. For additional information, visit www.SilencerShop.comThe post Silencer Shop selects Orchid Advisors as their Regulated Compliance Partner appeared first on AmmoLand.com.


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