Gun Shop Raided by Heavily Armed IRS Agents
In a shocking turn of events, a small gun shop in Grand Falls, Montana, was raided by 20 heavily armed agents from the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI). The shop, Highwood Creek Outfitters, was searched for 10 hours on June 14, with agents seizing thousands of documents containing private customer information.
Owner Tom Van Hoose was taken aback when he arrived at the store to find IRS agents carrying semi-automatic rifles and dressed in full tactical gear. He expressed his confusion over the federal search warrant, which stated that he was under financial investigation by the IRS-CI.
“They somehow think a small mom-and-pop gun shop makes enough money to justify 20 heavily armed agents,” Van Hoose said.
“There is no justification for what happened.”
During the raid, the agents confiscated financial records and over 12,000 individual firearms transactions spanning 13 years of business. These records, which filled more than 20 boxes, were a significant portion of the documents seized.
Unlike larger gun retailers, Highwood Creek Outfitters keeps physical copies of Firearms Transaction Records, ATF Form 4473, for the duration of the business. These forms contain vital information about buyers, including their name, address, and photo ID.
Van Hoose emphasized that these records are not financial in nature and should not be in the possession of the IRS. They are only disclosed if a firearm is involved in a criminal incident.
Van Hoose revealed that his gun store had been under surveillance for the past two years. An unidentified FBI agent had been taking photographs outside the shop, raising concerns about a potential robbery.
Local police were called, and the agent was instructed to show identification or face consequences.
“Nobody knew this guy,” Van Hoose said. He later discovered that his business was on a Department of Homeland Security domestic terrorism watchlist.
“We don’t know why,” he added. “The level of harassment just continues to grow.”
Highwood Creek Outfitters specializes in selling firearms that many larger stores refuse to carry. Van Hoose believes this may have attracted attention from those with differing political perspectives.
Gun Owners of America (GOA) expressed concern over the seizure of firearm transaction records, especially considering the existing database maintained by the ATF.
‘Weaponized’ Federal Government
GOA Senior Vice President Erich Pratt condemned the raid, highlighting the IRS’s history of targeting conservatives.
“This continued weaponization by the Biden Administration of federal agencies to go after their political opponents once again underscores the dire need for Congress to act, including defunding the ATF [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms] and demanding answers from the IRS,” Pratt stated.
U.S. Congressman Matthew Rosendale (R-Mont.) also criticized the IRS action, describing it as an example of President Biden weaponizing federal agencies to harass law-abiding citizens exercising their constitutional rights.
As more details about the raid emerge, the public awaits an explanation for this alarming incident and the rationale behind targeting a small gun shop.
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