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Texas Gun Dealer Sues Feds Over Reporting Requirement
texastribune.org ^ | 25 August, 2011 | Julian Aguilar

Posted on 08/26/2011 10:57:54 AM PDT by marktwain

A new federal reporting requirement for firearms dealers in four border states, including Texas, intended to curb the flow of weapons into Mexico has prompted a veteran San Antonio gun dealer to file suit against the federal government.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives issued a rule last week requiring licensed firearms dealers to report to the agency any time two or more long rifles are sold to the same buyer within a five-day period. The move comes as the ATF continues to deal with the fallout from its controversial "Operation Fast and Furious," an investigation into gun trafficking in which federal agents let hundreds of weapons fall into the hands of Mexican drug-cartel operatives.

The new requirement specifically pertains to rifles with calibers greater than .22 and capable of holding a detachable clip and that are sold in the four states that border Mexico, including Arizona, California and New Mexico. The ATF will use its National Tracing Center to analyze the information reported by dealers.

“The whole thing is a waste of time,” said Alex Hamilton, president of 10-Ring Precision Inc., a San Antonio-based firearms seller, who brought the suit against ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson. “They don’t need to cause me to do more useless paper work when they have all the tools at their disposal.”

Hamilton’s suit was filed in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Texas in San Antonio. It alleges that under the requirement, “10-Ring has been, and will continue to be, threatened with, and subjected to, irreparable harm” which includes “economic loss as a result of having to devote employee time to preparing the reports and the loss of business from both in-state and out of state potential purchasers … who would have been dissuaded from doing so because they wish to protect their privacy rights.”

Earlier this month, the National Rifle Association filed a similar suit against the government on behalf of two firearms dealers in Arizona.

Hamilton and his attorneys, Allen Halbrook and Richard Gardiner, also allege the rule exceeds the agency’s authority because the new rule is not required by current law and not necessary for a “bona fide criminal investigation.”

Hamilton says the ATF’s screening practices before the new requirement was issued already made it difficult for gun dealers to engage in or aid smuggling.

“Let’s just say I got a bunch of AR-15s, I got 20 of them, and I sell 20 guns to one man,” he said. “When the ATF comes in here for my annual inspection, I am going to tell you, that [sale] is a red flag as big as a garrison flag out at Fort Sam Houston.”

In El Paso this month, Robert Champion, the ATF’s special agent in charge of the Dallas Field Division, which includes a large swath of the Texas-Mexico border, defended the new rule and said it does not infringe on a person’s Second Amendment gun rights. Champion said it expands on a similar reporting requirement for handgun sales that has been in place for decades.

“It just asks the gun dealer to let us know if someone has purchased two or more long gun. That way we can ascertain if he’s doing it on a constant basis,” Champion told the Tribune. “We’ve had cases where if that requirement would have been implemented years ago, it would have helped us identify these traffickers a lot sooner. We are not here to infringe on anyone’s rights. [But] if we are going to ID the traffickers, we have to be able to at least ask where these guns are going.”

Champion said the move is one way to tackle illegal gun-running enterprises near the border, though he acknowledged the breadth of the problem extends far beyond the region.

“This is not just a border issue. It's an internal issue — we’re having trafficking coming all the way from Minnesota, from Indianapolis, from the Seattle area,” he said. “And it’s coming south.”

Opponents of the ATF’s rule question why it only applies to a handful of border states if gun trafficking extends far beyond them.

“So if you’re in Texas you know you’ve got to do it, but if you go some cases 20 miles north, you don’t,” said Alice Tripp, the legislative director for the Texas State Rifle Association, the state’s lobbying arm of the NRA. “Like a bad guy wouldn’t go to Oklahoma?”

“Trust is earned”

Even months before the “Fast and Furious” scandal broke, opposition to the new reporting requirement was fierce. The requirement was first proposed in December, leading to complaints directed at both countries’ governments: the United States' for threatening to infringe on constitutional rights and Mexico’s for placing too much blame on the U.S. The Mexican government, opponents said, was submitting for tracing only the weapons it knew would have originated in the U.S. But the "Fast and Furious" scandal has created even more resistance to the agency, which Tripp and Hamilton said should not be trusted.

“When our own government buys guns or allows these guns to be purchased and allows them to become lost across the border and agents are injured, then pretty much any credibility is just lost,” Tripp said. “You don’t want to be a rock in the stream when it comes to a plan that makes sense, but trust is earned and there’s just not any there.”

Champion acknowledged the scandal has tarnished the agency’s reputation but said the ATF has long been underfunded and understaffed, which hinders its ability to move forward. It has also lacked a permanent director for six years. He blames the political winds and the power of the pro-gun lobby.

“We’re at 2,500 agents. We began as an agency, as a bureau in 1972, and we were at the same levels we are now,” he said. “I hear these other agencies like the Border Patrol that have 21,000 agents [while] we have not had that luxury of having that increase for some time. It really is difficult to work some of these investigations.”

The ATF’s budget has remained at about $1.12 billion since 2010, and an ATF spokesman said the number of ATF field agents has remained at about 2,500, with an additional 2,500 in support personnel.

The “Fast and Furious” scandal and the reporting requirement has also caused two Texas lawmakers whose congressional districts combine to include a large part of the Texas-Mexico border to split on their assessments of the agency. U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-El Paso, a former border patrol sector chief, said the public should wait until the government concludes its investigation into the flaw operation to pass judgment.

“Remember this was under the direction of an OCDETF [Organized Crime Drug Enforcement] task force, which means there was an assistant U.S. attorney in charge,” he said. “Normally the OCDETF task forces get and give the information through their chains of command, so that’s something we need to wait on and see what those investigations reveal.”

Asked about the power of the pro-gun lobby, specifically the NRA, and whether he thinks it wields as much of an influence as Champion says, Reyes said: “I wouldn’t dispute their power. When they can shift attention to an agency versus the issue itself of drugs and other contraband coming north and guns and money going south, that’s quite a bit of stroke they have.”

Fellow Democrat and Laredo-area U.S. Rep Henry Cuellar doesn’t necessarily agree.

“I’ve always supported ATF but in this [Fast and Furious] case I think they need to come clean, especially when Congress is asking them questions,” he said, adding that he stands with the NRA in opposition to the new requirement. “At least in my perspective they could have done what they had [to] under the current law. But they still messed up. They seem — and I’ll say ‘seem’ — to have violated the protocols. So what we are saying is ‘Hey, you got to start following your own current rules before you start talking about something else.’”

With respect to the funding, Cuellar said, at least in his area, the ATF has actually expanded its operations. The agency now has an office there with a modest staff when just a few years back there was no agency presence.

Champion said, however, that adding more agents in one area means pulling some out of another. And if the agency has beefed up its presence on the border, it’s been a reaction to increased activity.

“I was assigned in Houston as assistant special agent in charge there, and I covered Laredo, McAllen — all that area — and we saw in 2005-2006 a substantial increase [in weapons smuggling],” he said.

He and Reyes also refuted recent allegations that a situation similar to “Fast and Furious” occurred in Texas. On Aug. 11, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, wrote to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder requesting information about the allegations.

“I write to express my deep concerns regarding press reports of an ATF “gun-walking” program that allegedly operated in the state of Texas,” Cornyn wrote. “I request that the Department of Justice immediately brief my office regarding the scope and details of any past or present ATF “gun-walking programs operated in the state of Texas.”

Champion says the reports are without merit.

“I understand that’s not correct at all. That information is not valid,” he said.

Hamilton’s case is pending.

Meanwhile, the ATF is keeping the spotlight on smuggling in Texas. On Wednesday the agency issued a press release announcing lengthy sentences for two Texans convicted of weapons smuggling. Aurelia Ochoa Hernandez and Pedro Daniel Tovar were sentenced to 30 and eight years, respectively, in federal prison. Both were convicted of conspiracy to smuggle firearms and making false statements in firearms records.

Federal prosecutors said the two were members of a gang directed by Juan Carlos Ramirez Zuniga, a member of the Los Zetas drug cartel, according to testimony presented at trial. Prosecutors said the two were involved in making straw purchases of firearms and smuggling them into Mexico.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: atf; banglist; batfe; batfeisajoke; castaway; cia; dea; dhs; doj; dojisajoke; donttreadonme; fastandfurious; fbi; govtabuse; gunrunner; gunwalker; holder; ice; mx; obama; rapeofliberty; tx; tyranny; unconstitutional
"Prosecutors said the two were involved in making straw purchases of firearms and smuggling them into Mexico."

Sounds like gunwalking to me.

1 posted on 08/26/2011 10:57:56 AM PDT by marktwain
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To: MestaMachine

Gunwalker ping.


2 posted on 08/26/2011 10:58:40 AM PDT by marktwain (In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.)
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To: vette6387; MetaThought; 60Gunner; XHogPilot; FreedomPoster; Josephat; Prince of Space; ...

FOR REFERENCE:

DAVID CODREA'S PROJECT GUNWALKER

A Journalist's guide to 'Project Gunwalker'-Part One

A Journalist's Guide to 'Project Gunwalker'-Part Two

A Journalist's Guide to 'Project Gunwalker'-Part Three

A Journalist's Guide to 'Project Gunwalker'-Part Four

A Journalist's Guide to 'Project Gunwalker'-Part Five

JULY 26 GUNWALKER HEARING & VIDEO


3 posted on 08/26/2011 11:00:34 AM PDT by MestaMachine (If the truth hurts, prepare yourself for a LOT of pain.)
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To: marktwain

The BATFags are at it again. Not content to assist in the murder of Border Patrol agents, they must now continue harming this country. ABOLISH BATF NOW!


4 posted on 08/26/2011 11:02:13 AM PDT by 10thAmendmentGuy ("[Drug] crusaders cannot accept the fact that they are not God." -Thomas Sowell)
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To: marktwain

ATF should be a Convenience Store, Not a Federal Agency.


5 posted on 08/26/2011 11:05:31 AM PDT by mylife (OPINIONS ~ $ 1.00 HALFBAKED ~ 50c)
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To: marktwain

Get some, Bro!


6 posted on 08/26/2011 11:08:14 AM PDT by TigersEye (Life is about choices. Your choices. Make good ones.)
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To: marktwain
Why doesn't the GOVERNMENT obey the gun laws we already have, and then maybe we can see whether there is still a problem.
7 posted on 08/26/2011 11:08:38 AM PDT by In Maryland ("The Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers." -Justice Clarence Thomas)
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To: marktwain
A similar lawsuit was filed recently by a prominent Albuquerque gun dealer.
8 posted on 08/26/2011 11:15:19 AM PDT by SpaceBar
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To: marktwain

Mark, share your concern, but are you knowing that this texastribune is a Soros backed rag intent on promoting liberals and nobama?


9 posted on 08/26/2011 11:21:17 AM PDT by dusttoyou ("Progressives" are wee-weeing all over themselves, Foc nobama)
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To: 10thAmendmentGuy

Abolish the ATF and charge all the players (in a decision making capacity) of Operation Fast in Furious with all of the crimes committed.


10 posted on 08/26/2011 11:22:02 AM PDT by Durus (You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. Ayn Rand)
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To: dusttoyou
Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in awhile.
11 posted on 08/26/2011 11:23:37 AM PDT by Durus (You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. Ayn Rand)
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To: dusttoyou
Mark, share your concern, but are you knowing that this texastribune is a Soros backed rag intent on promoting liberals and nobama?

I did not know that. Thank you for the information.

12 posted on 08/26/2011 11:25:21 AM PDT by marktwain (In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.)
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To: marktwain

“We’ve had cases where if that requirement would have been implemented years ago, it would have helped us identify these traffickers a lot sooner.”

BULL!

Why would anybody traffing in semi-autos, when the cartels have easy access to to full-auto/select fire weapons from corrupt armies, police forces, in Central and South America, as well as direct shipments from Asia?


13 posted on 08/26/2011 11:39:36 AM PDT by G Larry (I dream of a day when a man is judged by the content of his character)
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To: Jet Jaguar; NorwegianViking; ExTexasRedhead; HollyB; FromLori; EricTheRed_VocalMinority; ...

The list, ping

Let me know if you would like to be on or off the ping list

http://www.nachumlist.com/gunrunner.htm


14 posted on 08/26/2011 12:36:49 PM PDT by Nachum (The complete Obama list at www.nachumlist.com)
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To: EdReform

bookmark


15 posted on 08/26/2011 12:42:29 PM PDT by EdReform (Oath Keepers - Guardians of the Republic - Honor your oath - Join us: www.oathkeepers.org)
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To: Durus

We should also charge all agents involved with the operation.


16 posted on 08/26/2011 12:43:36 PM PDT by 10thAmendmentGuy ("[Drug] crusaders cannot accept the fact that they are not God." -Thomas Sowell)
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To: marktwain

THe feds likes you to report white people, not the stuff they screw around with in order to organized their half baked fubar Fabian pimphood of f@gs from hell...

What a bunch of unfocused retarded intrigue obsessed irrelevant incompetent morons we have in government.


17 posted on 08/26/2011 12:43:54 PM PDT by JudgemAll (Democrats Fed. job-security Whorocracy & hate:hypocrites must be gay like us or be tested/crucified)
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To: marktwain

Barry did a backdoor new gun regulation...just ain’t goin’ fly...Barry has NO authority to do this...


18 posted on 08/26/2011 12:46:52 PM PDT by shield (Rev 2:9 Woe unto those who say they are Judahites and are not, but are of the syna GOG ue of Satan.)
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To: In Maryland
Why doesn't the GOVERNMENT obey the gun laws we already have, and then maybe we can see whether there is still a problem.

How about because those laws are blatantly unconstitutional? The NFA Act of 1934 is unconstitutional. The Gun Control Act of 1968 is unconstitutional. The Firearm Owners Protection Act (what a misnomer) of 1986 is unconstitutional. All federal gun control laws are unconstitutional. I don't get why the NRA takes the position that we should be enforcing the laws that we already have when those laws are an affront to the Constitution and our God-given right to defend ourselves. When they appease socialist gun-grabbers, they weaken their arguments.

the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

19 posted on 08/26/2011 12:48:54 PM PDT by 10thAmendmentGuy ("[Drug] crusaders cannot accept the fact that they are not God." -Thomas Sowell)
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To: marktwain

Hamilton is a serious gunsmith, IIRC, head of the American Pistolsmith’s Guild, etc. He does REALLY nice work, and I doubt seriously that he’d be the supplier-of-choice for the Cartels. Though they COULD afford his work, it’s more than they’d care to pay.


20 posted on 08/26/2011 1:50:57 PM PDT by Mr Inviso (ACORN=Arrogant Condescending Obama Ruining Nation)
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To: marktwain
The new requirement specifically pertains to rifles with calibers greater than .22 and capable of holding a detachable clip and that are sold in the four states that border Mexico, including Arizona, California and New Mexico
Well then. There's no reporting required.
No Rifle has a 'detachable clip'. Magazines, yes. 'Clips', no.

Don't ya love when metrosexuals like this Julian tries to talk 'gun stuff' and use cool words like 'CLIP'. Bet it gets his yuppie girlfriend all excited.

Ohhhhh Julian, you sound like Dirty Harry!
...............

21 posted on 08/26/2011 2:23:12 PM PDT by Condor51 (The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits [A.Einstein])
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To: Durus

Yep, found you didn’t it?

By the way, how your guy’s Sex with Perry ad thing going?


22 posted on 08/26/2011 2:31:01 PM PDT by dusttoyou ("Progressives" are wee-weeing all over themselves, Foc nobama)
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To: Durus

Yep, found you didn’t it?

By the way, how your guy’s Sex with Perry ad thing going?


23 posted on 08/26/2011 2:31:01 PM PDT by dusttoyou ("Progressives" are wee-weeing all over themselves, Foc nobama)
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To: dusttoyou

What are you going on about?


24 posted on 08/26/2011 5:10:09 PM PDT by Durus (You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. Ayn Rand)
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To: 10thAmendmentGuy

“How about because those laws are blatantly unconstitutional? The NFA Act of 1934 is unconstitutional. The Gun Control Act of 1968 is unconstitutional. The Firearm Owners Protection Act (what a misnomer) of 1986 is unconstitutional. All federal gun control laws are unconstitutional. I don’t get why the NRA takes the position that we should be enforcing the laws that we already have when those laws are an affront to the Constitution and our God-given right to defend ourselves. When they appease socialist gun-grabbers, they weaken their arguments...the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Not quite yet. According to the SCOTUS, evidently the Founders meant to add “unless you’re a felon, or a court says you’re crazy, or you are carrying in places we feel particularly worried about, or you’re carrying a lot of guns to sell.” Can’t you see the red marks on the side of the Constitution there where the SCOTUS has “corrected” those omissions? Because, after all, it’s impossible to imagine that the 5 vote majority that allowed those reasonable ‘corrections’ will ever become a 4-vote minority when the left finds a bunch more of those ‘corrections’ to the plain language.


25 posted on 08/26/2011 5:12:17 PM PDT by LibertarianInExile (When Republicans don't vote conservative, conservatives don't vote Republican.)
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To: Durus

What were you going on about? Your’se was the odd comment on my post to marktwain about the source of his thread.


26 posted on 08/26/2011 5:28:37 PM PDT by dusttoyou ("Progressives" are wee-weeing all over themselves, Foc nobama)
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To: 10thAmendmentGuy

They still fondly remember thier “glory days” in the early 1990s when they incinerated 80+ citizens. I have zero doubt they would like to provoke such a situation again.


27 posted on 08/26/2011 10:57:54 PM PDT by jospehm20
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To: jospehm20

Oh yes I remember what the BATFags did at Waco and Ruby Ridge. That’s what I was referring to. Yeah, they sure saved those supposed child molestation victims, by killing them. I was only a youngster, but I remember. I also remember the people killed in DEA (Drunk Every Afternoon) raids. The alphabet agencies are filled with incompetent idiots who could never survive in the private sector. These pigs will never stop unless Congress shuts them down. I wonder what it will take for that to happen. How many more American citizens will they be allowed to kill before they are held accountable for their crimes against the constitution? The problem is not just with the leadership of agencies like this. The problem extends to the rank and file thugs with the guns as well. Holocaust victims say never forget. Well I will never commit the crimes committed by ATF and DEA. And let’s also not forget Len Horiuchi from the FBI.


28 posted on 08/26/2011 11:21:11 PM PDT by 10thAmendmentGuy ("[Drug] crusaders cannot accept the fact that they are not God." -Thomas Sowell)
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To: jospehm20

Sorry, that line near the end should say that I will never forget the crimes committed by ATF and DEA.


29 posted on 08/26/2011 11:23:18 PM PDT by 10thAmendmentGuy ("[Drug] crusaders cannot accept the fact that they are not God." -Thomas Sowell)
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To: marktwain

Champion is a pig for blaming gun rights groups for the fact that the BATFags lack a permanent director. His whole agency is corrupt and he blames defenders of the Second Amendment who only seek to prevent BATF from stepping oh the throats of even more gun owners.


30 posted on 08/26/2011 11:29:49 PM PDT by 10thAmendmentGuy ("[Drug] crusaders cannot accept the fact that they are not God." -Thomas Sowell)
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To: 10thAmendmentGuy

I won’t either.


31 posted on 08/26/2011 11:51:03 PM PDT by jospehm20
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To: jospehm20
Just so people don't think I am making this up about the DEA. We all know about the crimes of the BATFags, but here's a prime example of the DEA's propensity to kill:

Teenager Shot By Drug Agents Dies - 14-Year-Old Taken Off Life-Support

"SAN ANTONIO -- A teenage girl who was shot by Drug Enforcement Administration agents died Tuesday night at Wilford Hall Medical Center.

Ashley Villarreal (pictured, left), 14, was taken off life-support equipment after she was declared brain dead from a gunshot wound she suffered to the back of her head late Sunday night."

----------------------------------------------

Yep, you read that right. Gunshot wound to the back of her head. At least the BATFags pretend to cover up their murders.

32 posted on 08/27/2011 12:11:58 AM PDT by 10thAmendmentGuy ("[Drug] crusaders cannot accept the fact that they are not God." -Thomas Sowell)
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To: dcwusmc
Decent thread going on here. No BATFag/Drunk Every Afternoon defenders to be found, just good, respectful constitutionalists.
33 posted on 08/27/2011 12:17:42 AM PDT by 10thAmendmentGuy ("[Drug] crusaders cannot accept the fact that they are not God." -Thomas Sowell)
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To: 10thAmendmentGuy

Thanks. Good thread. Now I’m off to Napa for Tea Party Express national tour rally. See ya later!


34 posted on 08/27/2011 8:25:17 AM PDT by dcwusmc (A FREE People have no sovereign save Almighty GOD!!! III OK We are EVERYWHERE)
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To: dcwusmc

Awesome. I will be at the Albany stop of the Express next month. Enjoy!


35 posted on 08/27/2011 10:31:33 AM PDT by 10thAmendmentGuy ("[Drug] crusaders cannot accept the fact that they are not God." -Thomas Sowell)
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To: shield

All border state gun dealers should sue the BATF and DOJ. Could they do some kind of class action suit for each state, I wonder?


36 posted on 08/27/2011 11:30:09 AM PDT by smokingfrog ( sleep with one eye open ( <o> ---)
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To: smokingfrog

The BATFags will claim qualified immunity. JBTs all.


37 posted on 08/27/2011 1:22:44 PM PDT by 10thAmendmentGuy ("[Drug] crusaders cannot accept the fact that they are not God." -Thomas Sowell)
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