Our first indication that a Victoria, TX FFL was in deep trouble was a rather badly-written TV story. (We’ve just pulled a few short grafs out, Read The Whole Thing™ if you doubt our criticism. On the other hand, unlike us, he was writing to a deadline, so there is that):
On March 13th, ATF agents raided [Garrett] Riedesel’s Double D Gun Shop, and took almost 117 firearms.
According to documents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Riedesel possessed items that were not registered with the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, which is a federal offense.
Riedesel was only licensed to deal firearms that did not require those specific registrations.
The writer noted that Riedesel is being held without bail in an undisclosed location. (Apparently that’s not just for terrorists now. Maybe it’s not for terrorists at all, these days, kind of like the intelligence agencies).
A more detailed article is available from a local paper. The specific charges against him are that he possessed four short-barreled weapons without NFA Registration. Under the National Firearms Act of 1934, a shotgun must have an 18″ and a rifle a 16″ barrel, and both weapons must have an overall length of 26″, or be registered in the NFA Registration and Transfer Record database. (We are in the midst of registering a rifle because the barrel is 1.3″ short. Arrgh). The four firearms at issue are:
- A 12 Gauge Remington 870 Express, SN X170853M, with a 7.25″ barrel and overall length of 14.875″;
- A 20 Gauge Savage Arms/Stevens 940D, no serial number, with a 9″ barrel and an 11.375″ OAL;
- A 20 Gauge Winchester 1200, SN L535649, with a 13″ barrel and a 23″ OAL;
- a 30-30 Marlin-Glenfield Model 30, SN 6888731, with a 13.25″ barrel and 21.875″ OAL.
Riedesel is threatened with ten years’ imprisonment on each count.
It’s unlikely that he had registrations for these NFA firearms, or he wouldn’t still be under lock & key. (Unless he did the unwise thing of having the NFA weapons and the registrations in the same place, where ATF raiders can seize and destroy the original registrations. It has happened before).
The odd thing is that if you really want weapons like these, it’s not hard or especially burdensome to own them within the system. It just takes a lot of time when the ATF’s preferred politicians are in power; then (like now) they can slow-walk the registrations, not like that’s hard to persuade government workers to do.
That’s so neat-looking we want it, and we’ll resist the temptation to clamp the ol’ deer gun on the bandsaw table and have at it — an easy temptation to resist when you realize it’s worth a decade in the slammer. That’s one of the curious things about the law: the gadget shown above is a pistol, but only because it was built ab initio as a pistol: convert one from a rifle, wind up with the exact same gun at the end, and you’re a felon.
Ah, the Majesty of the Law™.
Special Agents Robert Noble, FNU Taylor, and SAIC Rick Miller of the Corpus Christi, TX field office, were among the agents involved in this case. Noble wrote the complaint, which notes that Taylor queried the NFRTR but avoids any assertion about the accuracy of the NFRTR (it’s been estimated as low as 50% in the past, and ATF has been exposed for encouraging agents to testify falsely that it is 100% accurate). All of these agents are likely to advance; ATF managers value arrests of gun dealers much more highly than arrests of violent criminals.
In addition, the ATF seized 113 other firearms, alleging that they were not entered in Riedesel’s Acquisition and Disposition Record (i.e., “bound book”). At present Riedesel has yet to be charged with violations relating to these additional guns.
The exact nature of the 113 seized guns are unknown, but they did include at least two firearms Riedesel was merely shipping for warranty service for a customer, some consignment weapons, and some lay-away weapons that have been partly paid for. ATF agents have said they will post instructions for individuals whose property may have been swept up in the raid, but usual ATF practice is to destroy all the guns seized.
One of the collateral damage victims was Kyndell Brandt, who had left a .50 Beowulf rifle and a semi-auto MG42 (illustrated; Brandt photo) at the shop to be returned for warranty service.
According to an ATF FAQ for gunsmiths, the firearm must be entered in the dealer’s bound book any time he has possession overnight (and there’s similar wording on another ATF FAQ for gunsmiths), but according to the FAQ for dealers in general, the dealer has seven days (similar wording on another ATF FAQ, also). There are US Attorneys and ATF managers who see this inconsistency not as a bug, but as a feature.