In Defense of
an ATF-Assaulted Gun Dealer
by Angel Shamaya
December 5, 2000
Jerry Michel's Specialty Firearms
in Mesa, Arizona was raided on October 25, 2000, when the Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco & Firearms confiscated 274 guns valued at over $300,000. Items taken
from Mr. Michel included his entire business inventory, his entire personal
collection other than the two guns on his person, guns he held on consignment,
and guns he was storing for an ailing friend. Mint condition collectibles
were removed from their boxes and thrown, unprotected, into a trash can with
other guns. (Previous reports: first,
The dealer whose entire life was
turned upside down has yet to be charged.
When he was raided, the agents
said they were taking his life's collection -- thus ending his 14-year business
-- because he violated a Mesa city ordinance requiring a $100 pawn permit. They
also alleged he'd made strawman sales.
To my knowledge no local media
covered the raid, and KABA's the only group that reported on the events besides
Neal Knox's Report. I wrote our reports, and they were quite inflammatory.
Volatile, actually. Given the circumstances, and in the opinion of those aware
of all the details, rightfully so.
But another organization, ignoring
invitations to talk to the dealer or his attorney, acquired and published the
search warrant affidavit and the statements of probable cause that ATF had used
to get the judge to sign on. Mr. Michel's attorney had requested that the full
affidavit not be published for several reasons, like the fact that it contains
false statements. It didn't make sense to publish government lies and help turn
Mr. Michel's own community against him. If it hadn't been for that we'd have
published it ourselves. The other group didn't care.
Now that group has taken sides
with the ATF, calling Mr. Michel "a bad guy, a felon, a draft dodger"
and worse. But Mr. Michel maintains his innocence against all charges. And he
can prove there are false statements on the affidavit. He had and still has a
clean record, even a clean driving record.
David T. Hardy, a renowned 2nd
Amendment attorney who wrote the definitive Law Review of the Gun Owners
Protection Act (complete with 521 footnotes), has enthusiastically agreed to
represent Mr. Michel. Mr. Hardy told me, "I know exactly how we're going to
win this." He knows the Gun Control Act of 1968 as well as anyone alive,
and he showed me several holes in the warrant. Two of them appear to be gaping.
I asked Mr. Hardy, "Is there anything else
you're willing to let me say about this?"
"Sure," he laughed. "The agent
in charge, well, let's just say he's not going to like realizing how bad he
screwed up." Mr. Hardy hasn't seen such a helpful case against ATF,
"since we won those cases in the late 70's and early 80's. It's time to put
them in check again, and this case will help."
But the leading members of the
group siding with the gun confiscators have had this to say:
"In my opinion, the arrest
and confiscation of Michel's inventory was entirely justified by law....there
is no question the warrant was justified..." B.E.
"[Jerry Michel]...is a
draft dodger and person who apparently routinely violates and circumvents the
law...made sales in violation of federal and local laws on numerous occasions
to undercover officers...Jerry Michel is a bad guy...a felon..."
"Nobody in Arizona is
mourning for Jerry Michel." J.H.
"I am not familiar with
Jerry's case other than what Shamaya has written and
the affidavit contents, and have no reason to contact him or his attorney...I
couldn't care less about the outcome of the criminal proceedings...Angel was
These folks have taken to calling
me names like "liar", "Judas", "demon", etc.
Attacking on ATF's behalf, some of them even stoop to making fun of my name.
Their attacks have been public, and they've gone to fellow leaders in the gun
rights movement to convince them that I'm a "greedy" cop hater,
"getting rich by feeding the anti-cop flame." They say I'm harming the
gun rights community by defending an innocent man rather than helping them cover
for the Waco Killers.
Who do you think would say such
things about a gun dealer who has yet to be charged, who maintains his
innocence, who has proof of false statements on the search warrant affidavit,
who's defended by one of the best attorneys in the gun rights movement -- if
this ever gets to court?
Handgun Control, Inc.
Center to Prevent Handgun
Arizona Citizens to Prevent
Violence Policy Center
The Democrat Party of Arizona
The 2nd Amendment Police
The correct answer, unfortunately
and curiously, is #6. In the above quotes: B.E. stands for Bruce Emmott, former
NYPD; J.H. is Joe Horn, retired LAPD; and L.P. is Leroy Pyle, Chief of the 2nd
Amendment Police Department -- a group I helped found and promote. Joe &
Bruce are Mr. Pyle's right hand men. We don't understand why they're defending
gun confiscators and condemning a gun dealer based solely on an ATF document,
before the victim has even been charged. The few statements we've received from
them, other than name-calling, haven't made sense.
We can only surmise that my
inflammatory statements about federal gun confiscators upset them. We understand
why active duty, pro-gun Law Enforcement Officers might shy away from
criticizing the ATF or publicly affirming the duty of LEOs to honor their oath
to defend the Constitution by leaving illegal laws and orders unenforced. But
why all this should upset retired, "pro-2nd Amendment" LEOs, we
do not know. They are retired, aren't they?
We encourage RKBA activists not to
condemn gun owners and dealers before they're even charged. We urge you to keep
in mind that the vast majority of Federal gun laws are unconstitutional to begin
with and enforcing them dishonors an LEO's oath to defend the Constitution. We
encourage you not to believe everything you see on BATF documents (e.g., Waco,
Ruby Ridge). And, finally, we encourage you to support gun owners and dealers
who meet the business end of unregistered, taxpayer-bought, fully-automatic
HK-MP5's arrogantly wielded by gun confiscators. We thought these things were
self-evident, but it looks as though we were mistaken.
Mr. Michel is grateful for the
few donations he has received and has set up a P.O. Box to receive more
assistance from helpful Americans. Mr. Hardy is so interested in this case he's
offering to do the legal legwork on his dime if necessary, but we will also
require a lead federal defense attorney to do the filing and handle the court
proceedings, and they aren't cheap. Send checks, money orders, cash or your
credit card information to: Jerry Michel, 11518 E. Apache Trail, #117-10
Apache Junction, Arizona 85220. Mr. Michel is the only one who checks the
mailbox. He has also vowed that, paraphrasing, if the ATF gets wise to their
mistakes and drops the case, he will return every penny promptly.
Questions for the "Second
Amendment" Police Department
1) What is the definition of
"infringe"? (Hint: Click
2) Regarding the right of the people to keep
and bear arms, does the ATF ever infringe? If so, how much, how often, in what
ways and to what extent?
3) Jerry Michel maintains his innocence. His
attorney says it's one of the best gun rights cases since the late 70's/early
80's. We told you all that, so why side with the ATF gun confiscators?
4) What is YOUR definition of the "Second
Amendment" portion of your group's name?
5) Is it an act of lawlessness
for a cop to ignore an unconstitutional law? If so, what's the point of having
all LEOs swear an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States?
6) What's the meaning of Marbury v. Madison and
how does it relate to the legitimacy of unconstitutional acts?
7) What is the Nuremberg Defense and how does
it relate to the concept of "Just
8) Does an officer violate the oath to defend
the Constitution if he arrests a decent, otherwise law-abiding woman for the
"crime" of carrying concealed for self-defense?