INVESTIGATION: Biden had cache of illegal ghost guns, AR rifle parts at the White House (PHOTOS)
Part 3 -- FOIA reveals ATF gave Secret Service firearms and 3D printed guns
Pres. Joe Biden pushed the House this week to pass a bill to codify his executive order to regulate ghost gun kits as real firearms. So it matters if he abides by the same laws as every other American.
Now we know the White House ordered the Secret Service and ATF to get a cache of ghost guns, 3D printed and AR-type rifle parts for a press conference in April. Experts in firearms laws say the photos of all the gun parts from my FOIA to Secret Service —see below— raise more questions about how the federal government legally procured and transported them.
INVESTIGATION, PART 1: I started investigating after Biden held up a ghost gun at the White House and displayed the kit in a dramatic effort to sell his executive order, which goes into effect in August. These gun parts and kits are illegal to possess in the District of Columbia, and the Metropolitan police said they had nothing to do with it.
INVESTIGATION, PART 2: I uncovered that the ATF supplied the parts and somehow transported them through D.C. to give to the Secret Service at the White House.
FOIA Secret Service and ATF
Since both ATF and Secret Service refused to tell me who ordered the ghost guns to be transported to the White House and how it was done, I filed a Freedom of Information Act request. It took over a month to get a response, and then it came from the Department of Homeland Security on behalf of the U.S. Secret Service.
The FOIA offices withheld many documents for various reasons (see the letter to me attached at the bottom) including considering the "Foreseeable Harm" standard and an unknown number of pages that originated with another agency (ATF, I assume) “for review and direct response.”
I’ve already sent a FOIA to the ATF, so we’ll see if I get the documents leading up to the event directly from them instead.
The Secret Service only released one email about the guns (uploaded at the bottom). It was dated April 11. The names are redacted. It says this:
Subject: Ghost Guns Event Today - Weapons Info
Following up on our discussion this morning at the 0900 meeting, photos of the weapons that will be coming the WHC today are attached. Photo #2 and photo #3 show a 9mm pistol, however, there is NO firing pin. The magazine well is zip tied and there will be NO ammunition.
We just completed a final coordination call with ATF and I don't anticipate any issues today.
I asked the White House press office why only one of the 11 ghost guns was shown with the president at the event. I’ll update if they answer.
Biden’s ghost guns in photos
The FOIA back to me had 11 photos of gun parts that were at the White House. I’ve put them all below with what they are identified by in the Secret Service email.
New legal issues
I asked Todd Vandermyde, who was the NRA’s lobbyist in Illinois for 25 years, to analyze the Secret Service photos. While he said that government law enforcement is exempt from laws like the D.C. ghost gun possession, there are other laws that appear circumvented.
“It’s the old adage, the coverup is bigger than the crime,” he said. “There are a lot of unanswered questions here about the nexus of this stuff —other than a cheap political PR stunt.”
Vandermyde, who was also the Executive Director for Federal Firearms Licensees of Illinois, said that the photos raise these questions:
Where did ATF get these? Were they seized? Did they order them?
3D guns— Were these confiscated frames, or did someone at ATF physically print them?
Finished frames— Were these confiscated completed frames (which makes it a firearm), or did someone in a governmental agency complete it? Is the government making firearms for a political purpose?
If the completed firearms came across state lines, did they go through an FFL [licensed gun dealer], or did a governmental agency such as ATF transport them?
I’ve gone back to the spokespeople at ATF to ask these new questions about these guns. I’ll update if I get a response.
Biden’s ghost gun order and Pelosi’s bill in effect
The House passed Wednesday a sweeping gun-control bill that included codifying the Biden executive order to regulate ghost gun parts. (I put the link to the bill at the bottom to read the details.) It doesn’t have the votes to pass the Senate now.
I asked Mark Oliva from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), which represents gun manufacturers and dealers, how this new Biden law will affect their business dealing with the buyers.
Oliva said that the NSSF is advising its members that all frames and receivers for privately-made firearms for 80 percent receivers will require serialization before being distributed when the rule goes into effect on Aug. 24. All firearms will require background checks for transfer.
Dan Eldridge, the owner of Maxon Shooter’s Supplies outside of Chicago, told me that he will not be serializing privately manufactured firearms (PMF), which is the proper term for ghost guns.
“This focus on PMF's serves not public safety, but rather to divert public attention from limp enforcement of existing gun laws,” said Eldridge who is an FFL. “While the case that PMF's contribute in a meaningful way to crime statistics has not been made, prosecutorial disinterest in punishing violent criminal misuse of firearms is facially obvious."
Pres. Biden and House and Senate Democrats are spending these weeks pushing for more gun control because they say more laws will reduce gun violence. But it seems the White House and its agencies use their executive powers to get around those laws. And that’s the point of this investigation.
There are thousands of gun laws on the books at every level. If there was a magic bullet, gun-control law that stopped innocent people from getting shot and killed, we would have already seen the evidence. The president easily skirted the gun laws for a publicity stunt. By doing that, he shows how gun laws only work for the people who care to abide by them.
FOIA RESPONSES FROM HOMELAND SECURITY FOR SECRET SERVICE
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