INVESTIGATION: How did Biden get a ghost gun to the White House? (Part 2)
ATF refuses to give legal defense or gun manufacturer
This story has been updated with responses from Homeland Security for the Secret Service at the bottom.
Note to readers: It’s a challenge for me to do this work without the power and resources of the big media corporations behind me. So I absolutely love when my readers jump in to help solve investigations. We are getting closer each step to finding out how President Biden got a ghost gun kit at the White House….
I published the first part of the investigation that the Secret Service wouldn’t answer, and D.C. Police said they had nothing to do with the gun parts. Former LAPD homicide detective and paid subscriber Sal LaBarbera wrote in the comments:
since those gun parts are illegal in DC there must be a chain of custody whether it be from ATF, Secret Service, local PD. It came from somewhere.”
So I called ATF and — boom —solved one big piece of the puzzle thanks to Ret. Detective LaBarbera.
But, after I updated the story, a paid subscriber who goes by BMWTwisty asked in the comments:
ATF just claims, “We’re allowed to possess and transport prohibited items because we do cop stuff.” I’m picking nits but just out of curiosity I’d like to know what statutes they’re using to justify their actions.
I told him I would ask. So I called ATF last Friday and the chief spokeswoman April Langwell told me to put it in an email, here:
I just tried calling you about follow-up questions from my readers about the ghost gun from ATF to Pres. Biden...
1. What is the exact statute that allows your agents to take privately made seized firearms for this event?
2. What law allows for your agents to transport seized privately made firearms across DC where those items are illegal?
3. What is the make and model of the frame and received that the president was holding?
4. What is the make or brand of the box that was displayed at the White House?
I got an email back from Erik Longnecker, a Program Manager at ATF, on April 25:
Federal law authorizes agents to receive, possess, carry and transport firearms in the course of their duties. Questions related to DC law, and exemptions contained involving receipt, possession, and delivery by agents of the United States in performance of official authorized functions, should be addressed to DC.
We will preserve the privacy of those companies who made any of the firearms or parts used at that event.
That was an odd answer. The ghost gun makers who are about to be heavily regulated by the federal government — via the ATF —need “privacy" from the public?
I wonder why the ATF won’t tell us the manufacturer or the model? I’m thinking a FOIA might help get that answer. Are you interested?
Also, you’ll notice Longnecker didn’t give a statute and basically reiterated what BMWTwisty said in his comment about this issue:
ATF just claims, “We’re allowed to possess and transport prohibited items because we do cop stuff.”
Right. The federal government — via the ATF —- claims the power to possess firearms at all times and in all places if it’s part of their duty.
But was it the duty of an ATF agent to bring gun parts to President Biden to use as props at a press conference for gun control? Was that official taxpayer business?
Also, ATF deflects the D.C. gun laws back to the city, basically saying, in the words of another paid subscriber, Gerry Santomassimo:
Flaunting it, even for the purposes of a "show and tell" is no less a violation than if a private citizen did it.
I don’t think we will get any further on the legal issues. If you do, let me know in the comments.
Speaking of FOIA, I confirmed that the one I sent to the Secret Service on April 18 was received on April 26. (I watched the post office tracking and the letter seemed to move about 5 blocks a day across the city. I wish they had let me walk it to the building.)
The Secret Service FOIA sent me a letter by email that acknowledged receipt. I uploaded it below with my personal information redacted.
The Secret Service has 20 business days to give me the information, which would have been May 20. But the letter said my request “seeks documents that will require a thorough and wide-ranging search” and…
Paid subscribers can read the Secret Service response below. Free subscribers can jump ahead to part three of the investigation.