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If you missed the BATFE hearings in the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, held on the February 15th, we’d like to give you a brief wrap up.

Annette Gelles, a gun show promoter, testified about outrageous harassment and abuse at the hands of ATF agents and other law enforcement officers at gun shows in Virginia.

Stories were told of customers having agents show up at their homes to grill their family members about gun purchases, sometimes before they even returned home from the show. If no one was home, neighbors were questioned.

James Lalime, a private citizen who worked as a salesman for an FFL dealer sometimes, was detained and questioned, all while law enforcement agents, some with obscenities printed on their tee shirts, made ridiculous and unsupported accusations against him.

But as is so often the case, the star of the show was a FFL dealer whose comments were largely an attack on private collectors. John White, a former police officer, seemed more concerned that collectors were able to sell guns without the onerous background checks that are required of dealers, than he was about the abuses being perpetrated by the ATFE agents and other police officers.

The legislators present expressed more than a little skepticism at the stories they were told. Congressman Delahunt, from (where else?) Massachusetts, virtually accused the witnesses of lying about the good men and women of BATFE. And he and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee used the hearing to promote even more gun control.

The Chairman,Howard Coble, missed no opportunity to repeat over and over, that they were NOT there to criticize ATFE.

No one from ATFE testified, although the chair indicated that they would be at a future hearing.
We believe that these hearings may easily turn into a new attempt to impose Oregon style gun show restrictions (or worse) on a national level.

The behavior of law enforcement at gun shows in Virginia was inexcusable and frightening. BATFE has a long history of abuses against gun owners, and this was only one more example of that abuse. If Congress members continue to bend over backwards to defend or deny the actions of BATFE, look forward to a new attack on your rights and privacy, both by rogue law enforcement agents and members of Congress.