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08/21/2005 Archived Entry: "BATF in VA update!"

Update on the BATF issue in VA.

Raving Reporter Thunder here. Here's an update for those clamoring for more info on my previous blog entry about the BATF sending police to gun buyers' homes during a gun show. This update, like the first, is from Philip Van Cleave, President of VCDL.

There has been a huge firestorm on gun-rights sites across the nation on the actions of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE), the Richmond Police Department (RPD), and Henrico County at last week's gun show.

As you recall the police were going to people's houses while the people were at the gun show awaiting approval to purchase a handgun and interviewing family members and neighbors about the purchase.

Serious questions are raised about various laws that might have been broken that weekend.

I have been interviewed by Gun Week, CNS News (an Internet news service), the NRA's First Freedom magazine, and others who are going to be doing their own investigations.

However, very strangely, there is a LOCAL MEDIA BLACKOUT on an event that is stirring up people as far away as Oregon and California! I don't know if the media is asleep at the switch or just not

I have been trying to contact a Lieutenant with the RPD who coordinates with BATFE and Homeland Security to discuss the event, but so far he has not returned my two phone calls. Hopefully he will
return my call next week. I will keep working this until I get some answers. Push come to shove, VCDL can bring the issue up at a Richmond City Council meeting.

I also plan on contacting Henrico. A few members have already emailed Henrico and I will be watching for any response that Henrico sends. Again, VCDL can work the issue at a Henrico Board of
Supervisors meeting if necessary.

An observation: On the various chat rooms where this incident is being discussed at length, a few people who haven't heard of VCDL, quite understandably questioned the validity of the story. It was
truly humbling for me to see so many people jump in at that point to explain who we are and what we do.

For those who question how BATFE/police could pull this off in a timely fashion: At the gun shows in Richmond, the State Police setup a NICS check room where ALL the dealers drop off their NICS forms.
Later, the dealers check back to see if the NICS check has been completed and the forms ready. All BATFE has to do is to grab the forms as they are dropped off by the dealers, call in the contact
info and have an officer dispatched to the house. That officer reports results of survey back to dispatcher, who in turn gives it to BATFE. The form is then approved and released to the dealer the next time he checks back. It is not unusual to have to wait an hour for approval, so the average gun owner wouldn't really be alerted to anything until he got home.

Where the disbelief seems to be coming from is that in many states, the dealer calls in the NICS check from the show floor. Thus BATFE would have to be in the booth with the dealer to get the NICS info
and make the dealer hold the form until the survey results were returned. This would have also alerted dealers as to what was going on. But that isn't how it's done at Richmond gun shows.

As I get more information and the story continues to unfold, I will keep you posted.

Posted by Thunder @ 12:42 PM CST

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