Gun owners who are targeted will find it almost impossible to learn about federal conniving. ATF claimed a surprise attack was necessary because Koresh almost never came out of his home. Six years later, thanks to FOIA hounding by lawyer David Hardy, the ATF finally disclosed a memo revealing that, nine days before the raid, two undercover ATF agents (recognized as such by Koresh) knocked on the door of the Davidian residence and invited Koresh to go shooting. Koresh, two other Davidians, and the two agents had a fine time shooting AR-15s and Sig-Sauer semiautomatic pistols. But easily arresting Koresh that day would have preempted the biggest raid in ATF history.
Federal guilt will vanish in the bureaucratic catacombs. After the raid turned into a debacle, leaving four ATF agents and six Davidians dead, the ATF claimed Davidians “ambushed” their agents, a story promoted by the vast majority of the media. But after ATF agents told superiors that the ATF shot first, the ATF ceased its shooting review to avoid creating documents that could subvert any court case against the Davidians. The ATF “ambush” narrative spurred the FBI to become far more punitive against the Davidians in the subsequent 51-day siege.
Gun control advocates may shrug off ATF misconduct at Waco as a once-in-a-bureaucratic-lifetime fluke. Tell that to Mexicans – 150 of whom died because of the ATF’s Fast and Furious gun-running scheme that illegally sent thousands of firearms into Mexico during Obama’s presidency.
Gun owners fear a revival of 1990s federal enforcement efforts that endlessly vilified them. In a 1994 Supreme Court case, the Clinton administration argued that gun owners are the legal equivalent of drug dealers who should be presumed guilty. The Justice Department solemnly told the Court: “One would hardly be surprised to learn that owning a gun is not an innocent act.”
The case of Harold Staples vs. U.S. involved an AR-15 that the ATF had tampered with after seizing to convert it into an illegal automatic weapon. Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the 7-2 court majority rebuke of the Clinton administration, declared, “The government’s position, is precisely that ‘guns in general’ are dangerous items. (For) the Government … the proposition that a defendant’s knowledge that the item he possessed ‘was a gun’ is sufficient for a conviction.” If the White House is occupied by someone who derides the Second Amendment, scores of millions of gun owners could be victimized by similar or worse toxic legal nonsense.
“Show us the gun and we’ll find a crime” crackdowns work out great for bureaucrats but ravage citizens and the Constitution. There are already sufficient laws on the books to disarm people who pose stark public threats, such as alleged Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz. Sweeping gun bans multiply the number of criminals while doing little or nothing to reduce violence.