Las Vegas Bump Stock FOIA Claims ATF Not Allowed to Examine Weapons

That seems like quite the “however,” especially considering they've since gone on to push for a rules change.

U.S.A. – -(Ammoland.com)- ATF was “not allowed to physically examine the interior of the weapons” recovered from the Las Vegas shooter’s hotel room, a new Freedom of Information Act production by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives reveals. The baffling revelation appears on page 335 of a response sent to attorney Stephen Stamboulieh as part of an ongoing production of documents responding to his FOIA request.

This leads to another problem for those intending to challenge any finalized rule ATF issues on banning “bump stock”-type devices.

“ATF did not disclose that they had not examined the firearms prior to promulgating the rule,” firearms designer and Historic Arms, LLC President Len Savage notes. “And now that the comment period is closed should they go forward with this rule under the Administrative Procedure Act that information can not be used in a court challenge because it was not submitted prior to closing of comments.

“DOJ is manipulating the APA to make sure that information will NOT be used to shoot down the rule,” Savage concludes. “Does ATF prosecute its firearms cases like it promulgates rules, without ever looking at the evidence? ATF is currently attempting to criminalize an industry and a large swath of the population and NEVER looked at any evidence? They claim they were ‘not allowed'? By whom?”

AmmoLand Shooting Sports News reported on the initial document production in April when Stamboulieh received a CD with 777 pages in four volumes within days of filing his request. Compare that to the response to an identical request by the Federal Bureau of Investigation: The Bureau essentially told him they didn’t keep the kinds of records he was asking for and didn’t have to give them to him if they did. And if he didn’t like it, he could appeal.

“Tons of stuff here,” Stamboulieh notes. “Some of it is a repeat of the previous production. There are also industry communications in here as well (NSSF, etc.) back and forth with ATF.”

Document releases provided to date include:

Obviously “tons of stuff” is not hyperbole and much of it goes far afield of the original request. How some of it can be used to the benefit of gun owners remains to be seen. Much of it is probably of interest to the technically-minded and/or to lawyers, but some also offers more general insights into the players and machinations occurring behind the scenes.

For instance, in the June production, we find a Firearms Industry Associations “Open Discussion of Regulation and Policy Notes” recap, where NRA and NSSF, among others, offer views on a variety of “policy areas and legislation.” If nothing else, it gives a feel for what is being signaled as accepted and some of the priorities being pushed outside of public scrutiny.

The May production includes a letter to President Trump complaining about an approval process for silencers taking 14 months. The March production includes information more directly related to the request, press release remarks on the Las Vegas shootings drafted for the Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s San Francisco Field Division sent to the Deputy Assistant Director of ATF Field Operations – West for review.

And then there’s the “not allowed to inspect” revelation from the July production. Without further information, that’s unbelievable. And we’re just now finding this out only because of a FOIA action? Without apparently even knowing what was used, how could ATF then turn around and upend established rules for any reasons that aren’t political?

I’ve just scratched the surface on these documents and have not had time to even skim everything, let alone read, comprehend and analyze it. What you find that interests you, if anything, is for you to decide.

“This information demonstrates the agency’s interaction with various groups and needs to be public,” Stamboulieh said. “This release further shows how little even the ATF knows about the firearms involved in the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay incident and how the ATF’s attempt at redefining a bump stock as a machinegun will likely fail without legislative intervention.”

However, Stamboulieh commends the ATF for producing the documents at issue without necessity of litigation. In re the FBI’s recent denial of the FOIA appeal for documents from the Mandalay Bay shooting, he said he would be “filing suit shortly for those documents.”

In related developments, the Air Force agreed to pay costs and attorney fees for the lawsuit Stamboulieh filed in order to compel compliance with a Freedom of Information Act request for Texas church shooter court-martial records.


About David Codrea:David Codrea

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.

In addition to being a field editor/columnist at GUNS Magazine and associate editor for Oath Keepers, he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

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    Rocketman
    Guest
    Rocketman

    One, someone told the BATF that they couldn’t examine the evidence??? That someone(s) had to be EXTREMELY high up, like presidential aide high up. Secondly, the only released the information AFTER the comment section was closed??? This seriously stinks. Stick like fish that been left out in the hot sun for a week stink.

    tg
    Guest
    tg

    If you mean that this article is what stinks, then you’re right. If what you mean is to imply a cover-up, then no, that’s just more black-helicopter BS. Not uncommon for these pro-gun parts.

    Clarence Cochran
    Guest
    Clarence Cochran

    Typically, Prosecutorial Jurisdiction defers to Local Law Enforcement. State Investigative Bureaus come next in the hierarchy, then FBI, ATF, and other Federal units. If that was the case in the Mandalay Bay shooting, then the Sheriff’s or Police Departments set the restrictions on any other investigation parameters that were employed. They can choose to listen too, solicited and unsolicited impressions/advice, and also the extent of examination of collected evidence. This really isn’t a surprise, but there should have been some serious questioning of ATF’s proposed Bump Stock Administrative changes before that plan was put in motion. If the weapons used… Read more »

    Gregory Romeu
    Guest
    Gregory Romeu

    The only thing you run into with firing with a bump stock as you might have a hiccup with around where you have to clear your round(s) and return to firing. You can put a belt-fed upper on an AR and run belt after belt with a bump stock. Firing with a bump stock does not make you tired. You hands cramping may slow you down. Your palms getting sweaty and losing your grip on your forward handguard may throw you off. But getting tired? I have burned up over 500 rounds consecutively and the only time I slowed down… Read more »

    CinciJim
    Guest
    CinciJim

    It’s not much of a strain for a thinking mind to redefine nearly every major newsworthy killing incident in this country. There is almost always enough holes in the “official” explanation to suspect, and with reason, a governmental cover-up. The Vegas mass shooting is certainly no exception; there are far too many unanswered questions here. The problem I see is that it’s human nature to take the path of least resistance and so most citizens, if concerned at all, choose to accept the “official” explanation. This course of action (or inaction as it were) is a self-preservation reaction inherent to… Read more »

    VT Patriot
    Guest
    VT Patriot

    Having followed the ‘Sandy Hoax’ school shooting since it happened, I am dumbfounded at how sloppy that entire operation was. Pictures of children, supposedly killed, Broadway actors involved top to bottom, no childrens funerals or processions, 6 FBI cars on the scene within minutes, etc. And 45 days later, Many states enact ‘assault weapons’ bans. All, with the exact same wording. Wow, what a co incidence. I used to visit a great gun store in CT that was closed 3 days after the ‘incident’ because they sold the gun. Personally carried out by Eric Holder. Seems one of their book… Read more »

    Scotty Gunn
    Guest
    Scotty Gunn

    Aww shadddup. Conspiracy nut. It did happen, unfortunately.
    You are not helping Gun Rights by being a looney tune.

    pigpen51
    Guest
    pigpen51

    One need not be a conspiracy nut to see the instances where the Feds or local police made a mess of the investigation, thus lending credence to those people who tend to mistrust everything that the government does. It is because of shoddy police work that many conspiracy theories get started. Sandy Hook was one of them. That being said, it is never a bad thing to look more closely at what the government does, and try to find out if we are being lied to. The 9-11 WTC bombing and Pentagon building bombing, while they obviously happened, was investigated… Read more »

    bad bob
    Guest
    bad bob

    Where is the common sense? Rambo with a .50 BMG could not have shot down hill 390 yards into a crowd with 10 minutes of random gun fire and taken out over 600 people. Any witness, and there were a lot saying there were more than one shooter was ignored, the supposed shooter is dead, and police had it all figured out before the bodies were cold. Then there is the recording of the shooting made by the taxi driver. All phones were taken by police and wiped clean. Bump stock?! All you supposed experts know you don’t need a… Read more »

    Serge Storm
    Guest
    Serge Storm

    Whenever those dogs refuse a FOIA demand the signer of the refusal letter needs to be threatened with a lawsuit. Qualified immunity doesn’t apply when a government official is willfully violating the law, When reminded of this fact they often have a change of heart.

    Len Savage
    Guest
    Len Savage

    @ Bjarky, It’s obvious you are familiar with federal investigations. Your assertion fails to address many things…ATF flew their experts to LV and they were there next morning but were refused access. ATF did not receive the firearms from FBI until May (long after ATF began it’s rule making process under the APA). ATF to date has not released any report of technical examination (by you called them “qualified professional armorers”). I stand by my statement as it is a fact, not an opinion. The fact remains that DOJ/ATF went forward prior to examining any evidence. Ask yourself dear Bjarky… Read more »

    markm
    Guest
    markm

    I’m not surprised that the FBI would not want a bumbling ATF incompetent disassembling crime scene evidence.

    joefoam
    Guest
    joefoam

    Are you saying that the ATF hires incompetent bumbling agents. Say it isn’t so!

    Gregory Romeu
    Guest
    Gregory Romeu

    No ATF office in LV?

    Matt in Oklahoma
    Guest
    Matt in Oklahoma

    C I A

    Nottinghill
    Guest
    Nottinghill

    Domestic Ops: FBI involed.

    circle8
    Guest
    circle8

    I don’t know how many readers were alive when the GCA 68 was passed but I was. It was nothing more than a “Knee Jerk” law passed due to the death of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. The congress had to do something, even if wrong, to quite the media and certain segments of the public. Since the DEMOCRATS controlled the 1968 congress they passed this mess called the 1968 GCA. It was hastily written and passed since they were trying to avoid any more criticism because of the mess in Vietnam caused by LBJ and McNamara’s screw ups.… Read more »

    Nottinghill
    Guest
    Nottinghill

    Sidetracking everyone, well almost everyone away from the real people whom killed them by making about crazies with easy gun access.

    Chris Mallory
    Guest
    Chris Mallory

    And as a percentage of seats held, more REPUBLICANS voted for the GCA 68 than Democrats did.
    The same as with those other mid to late 60’s abortions known as the Civil Rights Act of 64 and the Immigration Act of 65.

    Both parties are evil and want you dead.

    Wild Bill
    Guest
    Wild Bill

    @Chris, Yes, both parties corrupt the Constitutional system debated, designed and deeded by the founding fathers. It is long past time for parties to be banned. Lobbyists, too!

    Bjarki
    Guest
    Bjarki

    The key words in the response are that “on scene ATF personnel” weren’t allowed to inspect them. That doesn’t mean lab techs (qualified professional armorers) didn”t go over every inch of them. Anybody familiar with conducting an investigation and maintaining the chain of custody for evidence knows that field personnel only secure weapons. Doing more than that could jeopardize the case as it would allow an allegation of mishandling.

    LarryArnold
    Guest
    LarryArnold

    You don’t need to see the innards.

    Make darn sure firearm is unloaded and pointed in a safe direction.
    Close bolt, click safety off.
    Squeeze and hold trigger to dry fire.
    Holding trigger, pull bolt open and release.
    If the hammer falls/striker is released/bolt closes to dry fire again, the firearm is automatic. If it remains cocked, it’s semiauto.

    Easy-peasy.

    Nottinghill
    Guest
    Nottinghill

    Yep! Yep! Great definition for all laymen.

    Gregory Romeu
    Guest
    Gregory Romeu

    If Iwere there as ATF or any other agency investigating I damn sure DO want to, “see the innards”! What if there was a drop-in, binary type trigger of some type installed in there? Squeeze the trigger a shot is fired, release the trigger a shot is fired and on and on and on….

    l2a3
    Guest
    l2a3

    OMG! You have common sense and know something about firearms, contrary to the Feds and LEOs! But when they are allowed to change the definitions of words at their whim, you can’t win.

    ROBERT POWELL
    Guest
    ROBERT POWELL

    this entire cluster-fuck was a sham done by the obama/clinton letter agencys. NOTHING THAT HAS BEEN RELEASED BY THE JUST US DEPARTMENT HOLDS WATER. there was a different story every day, the fbi said one thing the lvpd said another. all bullshit. helicopters with airliner transponders ,multiple radar contacts scrubed by the government.temporarly “missing”helos gone at night and back the next day scrubed clean.. this entire story stinks of the central intel agency…

    rich
    Guest
    rich

    Someone is hiding something (a lot) about this case . It was closed way to soon with too many UNANSWERED questions .

    Oldfart
    Guest
    Oldfart

    This is worse than anyone wants to believe. The Mandalay Bay shooting was a false-flag attack, pure and simple. As was the Parkland school shooting – as was the Sandy Hook shooting – as was the (insert recent mass shooting here) shooting. Each of these had things in common. The “shooter” was a nobody who was killed for his efforts or – as in the Parkland HS shooting – quickly swept under a convenient rug. There was no plausible reason for the shooting, it had to be “explained” to us afterward. Almost before the last spent case hit the ground… Read more »

    Nottinghill
    Guest
    Nottinghill

    @Oldfart: Right, right, right, right and right to the end. Enter the Knowledge:The Rules of Don’t Get Sucker Punched or How I’m Nobody’s Fool by Dr. Strangelove.

    Gregory Romeu
    Guest
    Gregory Romeu

    Someone in LV searching the ground area for bullet holes may produce some interest?

    American Patriot
    Guest
    American Patriot

    That’s S.Nev we up North want the wall built, Clark county is the Sh**Hole of Nevada.

    joefoam
    Guest
    joefoam

    American, I see this comment on too many occasions. Don’t know what they put in the water in the cities around the country and especially on the coasts but it seems to inhibit rational thought. Even red states have an ugly blue stain around population centers. Unfortunately the population centers control the vote as they have greater numbers which is why democrats actively pursue the votes in those areas and largely ignore rural areas.

    Jim
    Guest
    Jim

    It is the moron mist that alien spaceships spray around the country after midnight. LOL

    tomcat
    Guest
    tomcat

    Another matter all screwed up by the feds. All the secretive hush, hush surrounding this tragedy says the government is not on our side even though they are paid by us. Something is wrong with this picture and I hope someone gets to the bottom of it.

    Oldfart
    Guest
    Oldfart

    Unfortunately Tomcat, we keep expecting some “government official” to come to the bottom of all this while it’s government officials who are responsible for it. In the end it will have to be some private citizen who can muster the balls to bring that second set of government officials to the end of a rope – and most of us are so busy taking care of our families that we can’t – or won’t make that final, fateful step. On that rare occasion when one of us actually does step across the line, the vast majority of “Patriots” fall all… Read more »

    Woody W Woodward
    Guest
    Woody W Woodward

    “We work for the government. We’re not required to answer to the people.” – – quote from various state and federal employees over a period of a 45 year career in criminal “justice” professions. And, We The People are astonished when we learn of corruption in government agencies??
    [W3]

    Joseph P Martin
    Guest
    Joseph P Martin

    The whole event and the ensuing “investigation” stinks to high heaven. Local Law enforcement is always suspicious, and rightly so, of any involvement with BATFE or FBI. Good for the local LEOs to not let the corrupt Feds have the evidence so they could “analyze” it as they saw fit.

    Doug
    Guest
    Doug

    I’m surprised that the ATF produced anything at all. Look how the DOJ is slow walking records to congress on the Trump-Russia thing. It seems private individuals, like this attorney and people at Judicial Watch, are the only ones getting anything back out of the government.

    hippybiker
    Guest
    hippybiker

    I agree wwith ‘Trumped.’ I’ve never fired belt fed weapons, but I’ve fired all kinds of other fully auto weapons, as well as bump firing semi auto weapons.
    I can tell the difference hands down! Unfortunately, the average uneducated American doesnt know, and they believe the BS the fake news outlets shove down their unsuspecting throats.
    BOHICA Baby!!

    CL
    Guest
    CL

    Yup, listen to the audio tape, his rate of fire slows after the first mag, by his 3rd he is getting almost to tired for the bump stock to work.

    Gregory Romeu
    Guest
    Gregory Romeu

    The only thing you run into with firing with a bump stock as you might have a hiccup with around where you have to clear your round(s) and return to firing. You can put a belt-fed upper on an AR and run belt after belt with a bump stock. Firing with a bump stock does not make you tired. You hands cramping may slow you down. Your palms getting sweaty and losing your grip on your forward handguard may throw you off. But getting tired? I have burned up over 500 rounds consecutively and the only time I slowed down… Read more »

    joefoam
    Guest
    joefoam

    Amazing how quickly the reporting on this shooting went dark. The last thing I saw was the police standing in a stair well a floor above the shooter waiting for the gunfire to stop. Brave cops on display there.

    Dan in Detroit
    Guest
    Dan in Detroit

    so what you’re saying is that some sheet metal could have been the real criminal here instead of bump stocks… but that’s not politically palatable because certain uses of sheet metal are already illegal, and pointing that out won’t get another thing banned.

    Gregory Romeu
    Guest
    Gregory Romeu

    Being that this is an investigation into inanimate objects, there should be no question about open and full disclosure to both parties, that being the government, ( and whatever alphabet agencies need to be involved) and attorney Stamboulieh and his team. It is obvious that at the very instant that once either side doesn’t play nice that THAT is where the major problem begins and THAT is where, We, the people need to look to start the investigation, indictment and prosecution of those working against full and open disclosure to all parties in this matter. Anything less reeks of criminal… Read more »

    Trumped
    Guest
    Trumped

    Wow. This is fascinating news. 100% of the people I know in person who have fired or been around belt red machine guns all say the sounds coming from vegas were a belt fed, not some stupid rusty shackleford bump stock. I also wonder if the supposed shooter was working for the feds and making some sort of gun deal with antifa or isis types and it is being covered up.

    Why is so much being withheld about this case?

    Arock
    Guest
    Arock

    You can’t be serious.

    Tionico
    Guest
    Tionico

    Sadly, he makes a valid and strong point about collusion with the Feds on some level. Examine some of the arms deals that have been exposed over the years. I mean, the initially clandestime ones. Iran COntra is one that broke wide open, shortly after a C 130 loaded with small arms for some rebel forces was downed near Lago Nicaragua back in 1986….. a Mister Hassenfus was taken captive. He was one of, or the, surviving crew of that plane. The Hilliarious Incident in Bengahzi where one of our Ambassadors was killed with three other US personnel seems, upon… Read more »

    Wild Bill
    Guest
    Wild Bill

    @Tcat, I agree with your last paragraph completely. We need to get back to the Constitution.

    Arch
    Guest
    Arch

    Problem is, I would imagine many FBI agents do NOT know that!!!!

    Trumped
    Guest
    Trumped

    Good points. Not to mention Operation PATCON from the 90s and its links to the OKC bombing. For anyone who doubts what we are discussing i would urge you to Google Jesse trentadue – but once you go down that rabbit hole you can never come back. And of course codrea and Mike broke and kept alive the fast and furious scandal. We know PATCON existed in the 90s, and I believe there is a Muslim version of it being run now in America. I wonder if the vegas shooting was an operation gone bad just like the OKC bombing… Read more »

    Trumped
    Guest
    Trumped

    Let me guess: you believe that was no motive and this guy decided to just shoot up the place?

    CWT
    Guest
    CWT

    The guy had over $30,000 worth of firearms in his hotel room seems to me he could as easily purchased a legal full auto lower or internals. Something is definitely off.

    Trumped
    Guest
    Trumped

    Great point. He has the money to buy all those firearms and he is stuck with a bump stock?

    Ridiculous.

    Trumped
    Guest
    Trumped

    Wow. This is fascinating news. 100% of the people I know in person who have fired or been around belt red machine guns all say the sounds coming from vegas were a belt fed, not some stupid rusty shackleford bump stock. I also wonder if the supposed shooter was working for the feds and making some sort of gun deal with antifa or isis types and it is being covered up.

    Why is much being withheld about this case?

    Nottinghill
    Guest
    Nottinghill

    Hmmm… refusal of evidentiary FIOA requests is not suspicious at all !? Establishment of these evidentiary matters by subpoenas are nolonger valid in this nation. The USA appears to be more than 50% compromised on the federal level and beyond in many states. Surprising but not!