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BATF Victim Gets Hundreds of His Guns Back

BATF Victim Gets Hundreds of His Guns Back

And Now for the Civil Lawsuit...

by Angel Shamaya
Founder/Executive Director

March 27, 2002 — In November of 2000, we reported that:

"On October 25, 2000, The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms sent approximately 30 federal and local agents in stormtrooper attire to confiscate firearms from a dealer who, according to what they told him, 'did not have his papers in order.'"

"The fact that BATF has caved in should speak for itself — they simply didn't have a case."

—Dave T. Hardy
BATF Victim's Attorney



Arizona gun dealer Jerry Michel — formerly of Jerry's Guns & Ammo d.b.a. Specialty Firearms, no longer in business due to BATF assault, harassment and theft — has had all but a handful of hundreds of guns returned to him.

And he was never charged.

The federal machinegun-wielding, machinegun-ban-enforcing thieves known as BATF had the stolen property in their evidence room for well over a year, too.

To say that the BATF has egg on its face is an understatement. According to Mr. Michel's attorney, Dave T. Hardy, "the fact that BATF has caved in should speak for itself — they simply didn't have a case."

Mr. Hardy wrote The Firearm Owners' Protection Act: A Historical and Legal Perspective, 17 CUMB. L. REV. 585 (1986) — a 519-footnote law review article on federal firearms laws, which has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court and by eleven of the thirteen U.S. Courts of Appeals. He was also an active participant in exposing BATF's unscrupulous practices during the Congressional hearings of the early 80's. And BATF's ineptitude is once again out in broad daylight, thanks to Dave T. Hardy's able assistance. According to Hardy, the BATF attempted to claim ownership over some of Michel's guns by saying they'd been reported stolen. When the Tucson-based attorney requested NCIC records on those guns to challenge the feds' assertions, at least two pieces of information surfaced that show BATF's overly ambitious "Special" agents to not only be liars, but complete bumbling idiots:

1)  One of the weapons the BATF alleged to be stolen was registered to Jerry Michel. Laughing while he relayed this piece of information, Mr. Hardy said, "I guess the BATF thought Jerry stole the gun from himself."

2)  Another of the guns the BATF alleged to be stolen was allegedly stolen in Philadelphia while it was in the BATF evidence room in Arizona. "The theft report was dated after the BATF's raid" on the innocent gun dealer, said Mr. Hardy. (NOTE: That may have been possible if a rogue BATF agent was peddling "evidence" in Pennsylvania — and they sure had the guns long enough to sell them and steal them back from their unsuspecting buyer.)

Aren't you glad BATF's budget was raised to an all-time high of $767 Million during Clinton's last year in office? That's some fancy police work!

Mr. Hardy also said that there is some discrepancy in the list of what BATF claims they returned and what they actually returned. According to Hardy, Mr. Michel says at least a couple of the allegedly returned guns are nowhere to be found.  (NOTE TO BATF: Check with your agents in Philadelphia.)

When haggling with the BATF's thieves, Hardy said the negotiation "got down to two guns that were allegedly stolen over 25 years ago. There were no records of the thefts, but we just let those go."

A few of Jerry Michel's guns weren't returned to Mr. Michel because he held them on consignment for his customers. The BATF claims to have withheld them from Michel in order to return them to their rightful owners. And we can trust them to follow through on that.



We also reported in November 2000 that BATF's thieves handled Mr. Michel's guns roughly while stealing them:

"They were throwing vintage collector's items in mint condition through the air and into a trashcan 10 feet away," said Jerry Michel, licensed gun dealer, after being assaulted and pillaged by the ATF. "I felt like I was going to throw up."

BATF Victim Michel says he has videos of the returned stolen property and suggests that there is plenty of damage to them.



When the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms kicks your door in and points a gun in your face, it's their word against yours, and their word is backed up by brute force that can stomp you into mush if they are so inclined. I'd suggest that you confirm that fact with Member Charlie Puckett, but he's unavailable after being railroaded by BATF's illegal enforcement of an ex-post-facto and thus unConstitutional law — with a $5,000 BATF bounty on his head, paid for by your tax dollars. (Anyone who says we shouldn't claim Charlie Puckett as a member of our organization can unclaim us at any time — his dues are paid and current, by him, and he's another in a long line of BATF VICTIMS.) You can write Bob Stewart and ask him how honest the BATF is, too, if you like — he's sitting in federal prison in Florence, Arizona while his customer list is being used by BATF to harass innocent people, and we are urging those potential BATF victims to be careful. Or we can wait until next month for their next victim to disappear, go to jail or die.

Or we can go on the offensive with a winnable case such as this one, and expose the BATF for what it truly is.

The BATF is long overdue for dismantling.

When asked if Jerry Michel has a viable, winnable case for a civil lawsuit against the BATF, Mr. Hardy responded with an enthusiastic "YES!"

So how does one go about determining the monetary value to place on such a dereliction of justice as has rained down on Jerry Michel? The Mesa, Arizona resident was put out of business by BATF — that's what happens when a gun dealer's entire inventory and livelihood are stolen by armed Anti-Second Amendment forces. He lost his livelihood for well over a year. His health took a hit under the stress of it all. And he suffered vicious character assassination attempts from not only a few gun owners but from "pro gun" police officers who declared him guilty until proven innocent, too.

What's it worth to the BATF to put this mess behind them? Hopefully, we will get to find out.

Dave Hardy has referred Mr. Michel to a trusted legal team in Phoenix. Mr. Hardy said a civil suit of this kind will require many appearances, and he lives two hours away — too far to be on hand with the required frequency, but he said he'd advise as needed.

Many gun owners would love to see the BATF pay out the nose for abusing an innocent gun owner. Even though the BATF can get more money out of everybody's back pocket including your own, their losing a case like this can help move us one step closer to exposing their entire organization. To help make it happen, we are offering to throw some money in the hat to hire Mr. Hardy's recommended legal team. Jerry Michel knows we are with him all the way on this case, and we've offered to help him raise funds for legal action. As soon as he confirms his intent by establishing the legal relationship and the lawsuit is on, you'll hear about it on