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In Defense of an ATF-Assaulted Gun Dealer

by Angel Shamaya
Director, KeepAndBearArms.com

http://www.KeepAndBearArms.com

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, second, third)

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 Michel's attorney had requested that the full affidavit not be published for several reasons, like the fact that it contains false statements.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..." B.E.

"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 wrong..." L.P.

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.

Quiz

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?

  1. Handgun Control, Inc.

  2. Center to Prevent Handgun Violence

  3. Arizona Citizens to Prevent Handgun Violence

  4. Violence Policy Center

  5. The Democrat Party of Arizona

  6. The 2nd Amendment Police Department

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 here.)

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 Following Orders"?

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?

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