ATF Claims FOIA Request on Hunter Biden Gun Violates His Privacy

Laws for thee but not for me? It’s fair to ask how administration enforcers would react had this story been about anyone’s son but the president’s. (Cropped from photo by acaben: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license)

U.S.A. – -( Six months after attorney Stephen Stamboulieh filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on my behalf regarding the agency’s reported involvement in the case of Hunter Biden’s gun, we have received an answer. ATF won’t tell us anything because it says Biden’s privacy interests outweigh the public’s right to know.

It’s a typical pattern of stonewalling and defiance of federal transparency laws by those who ruthlessly enforce edicts on the rest of us that gun owners really saw come to the fore during the heyday of Operation Fast and Furious investigations into ATF “gunwalking.” As AmmoLand Shooting Sports News readers have seen in a series of exclusive reports, that has extended through the years to this day, with the government’s recent non-responsive “response” to a FOIA request filed with Kent Terry, brother of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, whose murder was the catalyst for the deadly criminal scheme to begin unraveling.

The Blaze reported in late October that “Hunter Biden’s handgun was taken from his vehicle without his knowledge by Hallie Biden,” his brother’s widow with whom he then had an affair, “and she placed it in a garbage can outside a Delaware supermarket.” Readers of this column will recall it tied that account in with the question of if the president’s son had broken the law by denying abuse of controlled substances on the Firearm Transaction Record, ATF Form 4473. Lying on the form is a federal felony.

That report was followed up with two separate FOIA requests being filed a few weeks later, to both ATF and the Secret Service, which had also been reported to be investigating the Biden gun incident.

“In response to your FOIA request, the Secret Service FOIA Office has conducted a reasonable search for all potentially responsive documents,” that agency responded in late January. “The Secret Service FOIA Office searched all Program Offices that were likely to contain potentially responsive records, and no records were located.”

Attorney Stamboulieh filed a complaint on my behalf in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in late April because that position is refuted by numerous media reports and by Hunter Biden’s own account retrieved from a text message on his damaged laptop computer.

ATF’s responses have been more circuitous.

“We have determined that you are a non-media, non-commercial requester pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(A)(ii)(III),” Adam C. Siple, Chief, Information and Privacy Governance Division, asserted in a Feb. 26 FOIA request receipt acknowledgment.

In other words, I’m not what this ATF functionary considers an “authorized journalist,” flying in the face of decades of professional experience, the law, and years of filing FOIA requests with government agencies and then reporting on their responses or lack thereof – just like here. Trying to make it about me was just a feint—empowering government bureaucrats to arbitrarily and inconsistently determine who is or is not a journalist is clearly unconstitutional, and obstructs the ability to investigate and report on matters of public interest.

All to stall and dodge on a FOIA response concerning one of the Democrat political elites?

“Based on the information you provided to us, we were not able to locate any responsive records subject to the Freedom of Information Act,” Siple informed us a month later, curiously parroting the Secret Service position. The information we provided was pretty specific. So, they weren’t involved, either? Are they saying they don’t have any documents subject to FOIA, not that there aren’t any? Could it be all the reports were wrong?

Then something even more curious happened. Two days later, Siple informed us via email that he was withdrawing the “no records” response. Neither Stamboulieh nor I recall that happening to one of our requests before.

Then on May 12, Siple gave us ATF’s official response:

“As you know, my office did initially conduct a search for records responsive to Mr. Codrea’s FOIA request, but I have since determined that this was an error because the subject of this particular records request is a third party and a private citizen. Under these circumstances, the request should have been denied categorically without a search due to the substantial privacy interests retained by the subject of Mr. Codrea’s request.

“In my view, the denial of Mr. Codrea’s records request is required by law under the Privacy Act and the existence of any such material is exempt from disclosure under the FOIA. As you may know, disclosure of records relating to a third party is only permitted with the express authorization and written consent of the third party or a demonstration that the public interest in the disclosure outweighs the personal privacy interests of the third party. Since you have not provided any documentation that would demonstrate your right to access the records of a third party, we cannot confirm or deny the existence of such records or disclose the requested information at this time.”

Would it be fair to suspect they know all about it and don’t intend to do a thing unless forced to? And had this involved an ordinary private citizen, they’d have posted all about it years ago?

Stamboulieh responded, citing Biden’s own public admissions, credible media reports, and that “Mr. Biden’s purchase of a firearm (and subsequent loss and lack of prosecution) is of such a public interest that twenty-two House of Representative members are asking that Mr. David Chipman ‘publicly commit to investigate allegations that Hunter Biden falsified information during a background check in order to illegally obtain a firearm…’”

That’s a key point, and I’ll get back to it, but first, here is our response:

There is a real opportunity during Chipman’s Senate Judiciary hearing scheduled for Wednesday (watch here beginning at 10 a.m. Eastern) to ask him pointed questions under oath about the Hunter Biden allegations. It will tell us much if he defers to the ATF “privacy” excuse and it will tell us even more if all the Democrats champing at the bit to confirm him and impose “universal background checks” support giving Chipman, and thus the president’s son, a pass on his.

About 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. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

David Codrea

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APG member

Federal police respect the privacy of the elected caste, not yours…


Only so long as they swim in the same swamp. They didn’t cover for President Trump at all.


If they swim in the same swamp that falls as a true statement. They didn’t cover for President Trump at all.

Mystic Wolf

Why do you think they tried to push TRUMP under the treads of a tank, the fed police had only hate for PRESIDENT TRUMP.


Abolish the ATF


Since when does a free press have to have a government issued permit? The body of the literate people constitute the free press in a free republic. This term, “authorized journalist,” smacks of life on the wrong side of the Berlin Wall. This is no surprise. Federal law enforcement looks more and more like the Stazi or GRU every day. It is time for a massive reset. Federal law and federal law enforcement is stop number one in that reset. It is either an Article V Convention of States executed to get the rogue federal government back in the box… Read more »


MASSIVE RESET will likely require lots of lead ,so we will need to dig up tons of old service lines to slums in nu yak and chic kag o . you know the lead in the water in these big cities my be why the people are so stupid and vote for the demoncrats


Lets not forget the chemicals they add too like bleach and fluoride.


We have a rogue government.



This term, “authorized journalist,” smacks of life on the wrong side of the Berlin Wall This is a great line. Imma gonna steal it, OK? Life on the wrong side of the Berlin Wall. INdeed. The “press” is not free if it requires licensing, regulation, any ability to decide who is ON and who is NOT. Just like our “gin permits” we have accepted for far too long. EVERY piece of the Bill of Rights is ours, no gummit interference, permission slips, fees, taxes, licenses, rules or regulations….. if David can own and carry about a firearm he can also… Read more »

Green Mtn. Boy

No transparency when it comes to his fraudulencey’s drug addled son.


The American public has determined the Fsquad is an illegal and unconstitutional entity with zero legal authority.


I think that finding that the atf is not applying the law equally and not putting up the case tothe AG for prosecution is more important than the privacy of an admitted user of crack and meth.


We are all equal. Some are just more equal than others.


“Animal Farm”


sam colt made us equal, that is why they want to take guns


Cam, do you nreally think that BATFE and the AG are legit, and on the citizen’s side?


Possibly further evidence of the blanket illegitimacy of the entire Executive, as well the 2020 election at every level and (how) many elections preceding 2020 (?).

Dry gulched

Agreed. Every presidential election it’s always a swamp candidate: h w bush, mccain, another bush, dole, romney, etc. And the dims are even worse. No wonder Trump was a burr in their pants.

Last edited 1 year ago by Dry gulched

well it has been openly admitted that at least six thousand dead people in CHicago voted for John F Kennedy back in nineteen ought sixty….. as they’ve had planty of time since them to up their game, I’d guess perhaps six million dead folks voted for the ded presidunce this last time around. The Arizona Maricopa County recount is quit an interesting sideshow to watch.


batfe and almost every government agency is filled with bureaucrats that will deny our freedoms in a second. they are not to be trusted and definitely not listened to. they are the ones creating home grown terrorists here our of law-abiding citizens for their abuse of power. they do nothing to stand against or stop domestic terrorists; antifa, blm, ms 13, gangs. the day of reckoning becomes closer with every illegal act they commit.

WI Patriot

Funny how that works…


The entire family is trash


funny with all the proof, more than needed to arrest ,and prosecute no federal prosecutor will even convene a petite grand jury to have hunter biden tried , do it in dc the majority criminal element are his peers


Watch the shiny revolver and forget about that nasty laptop.


They aren’t looking at either one.


A classic example of the old double standard. Say it was one of President Trumps children. It would be in every media outlet in the world!


And he would already be facing penalty for purchasing a fire arm while being a druggie and lying to the federal government on the form.


Yup. With true copy of the 4473 he filled out, including the number of the gun he was buying. AND his mark in the relevant NO box. Meanwhile California are assuring that anyone who has a medical marijuana card AND has bought a firearm will be prosecuted. Just how they can manage to prosecute a federal offense they don’t seem to explain very well. But word has it they ARE going about matching medical hootchie cards with ATF forms, and taking guns and people captive;.


Does anyone trust ANY federal agency at this point? ANY of them!


no tot really, even the military has been getting purged started under obummer , they want officers that are partisan just like fbi , and atf set up by communists with those ideals ,to subvert and destroy constitution and bill of “RIGHTS”


I was in during those days and you’re so right about that, even the lower enlisted were drinking the kool-aid.





Some animals (like donkeys) are more equal.


Notice the 8 steps from Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” to create a Socialist State. Then see how many are happening in our country today.   THE BEST SLAVE IS ONE WHO THINKS HE IS FREE…  Saul Alinsky died 43 years ago, but his writings influenced those in political control of our nation today…….    Recall that Hillary did her college thesis on his writings and Obama writes about him in his books.   Died: June 12, 1972, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Ca Education: University of Chicago Spouse: Irene Alinsky Books: Rules for Radicals, Reveille for Radicals   Anyone out there think that this stuff isn’t happening… Read more »

Mystic Wolf

He died more than 43 years ago, more like 48 years ago.
And yes quid-pro-joe is in part using the rules for radicals the fact is the DEMONcrats have been using that book since at least the mid 1980s.


This is what happens when you have a senile brain dead president with a criminal family.


So are you talking about Biden or Trump? I support Trump the first time around, but he is just more of the same old same old. I consider Biden a step up from Trump, but Trump ended up setting the bar real low.


Lets see what you think in a few months when the recession hits. Job scores are already getting worse not better while the economy is supposedly doing so great and we are getting stronger and coming back as we are progressively climbing out of the covid hole. House values are falling, interest rates for homes are coming down, food, gas and everything else is on the rise price wise and more taxes are on the way. Everything is going up except for your pay check. When prices rise and your check doesn’t that is a bad economy, When your check… Read more »


MM44, the response fron the current administration will be (as always) this is because of the previous administration. Everytyhing bad is bad orangeman’s fault.


quote:”Everything is going up except for your pay check.”

Paycheck??!!? PAYCHECK????? We doan got no steeenkeeeng PAYCHECKS. We gots dem STIMMYless checks.

It cost me a hunnert bucks to fill up my van yesterday at the cheapest station in the entire Portnald Metro area. Trhee months ago that same fill cost me seventy at the same place.

Has anyone else priced things lie structural steel, lumber (I paid EIGHT BUX for one stinking two and better eight foot stod. a few weeks back) C market coffee was $089 back in December, last week it was $1.59 and rising.


Well I guess we know what world you are living in. Rod Sterling use to talk about that world all the time. Lost your way did ya! Just think, if you still had Trump you could buy yourself some insurance now and get a new car with a tank full of gas and a trip to the grocery store. But with brainless Biden in office that won’t happen . No insurance, no new car, no gas and no groceries. Its coming pal so get ready for the BIDEN YEARS.

Mystic Wolf

Last year I could buy a gallon of milk for $1.89 now that same gallon costs me around $3.59, yeah the DEMONcrats really know how to ruin the economy, I am just waiting for when the taxes hit, that is not going to be fun at all, and why should I listen to an alzheimers ridden old foggy when it comes to the car I drive, I want something with pull to it, electric cars have no range and no pull power, for more than a few minutes.

Mystic Wolf

TRUMP was all for giving the power back to the people but look what quid-pro-joe has done? The quid-pro-joe has killed how many jobs right out of the gate? The biden is killing off as much industry in this country as he can, TRUMP never did that! TRUMP did all he could to bring industry back to help put people back to work, besides TRUMP had the lowest unemployment rate ever, the only reason it went up was because he was given very bad info by that fauci fiend (demon). Now all of a sudden the virus is not as… Read more »


You are a lying troll.
Nobody here believes what you just said.
Lol “More of the same”. Not sure what planet you’re from…..
Go home troll…..


That is the BATF we know and love. “Consistency is last bastion of mediocrity, and the hallmark of small minds.” Now they’re Biden’s Bitches.

uncle dudley

When little Joe junior wrote a book and is out hawking it on tv he no longer is a private citizen, he is in the public domain and should not be given any extra protection from public scrutiny and he is fair game.
The good old boy syndrome has been kicked in to protect him because of who daddy is.


Unc, good point !!

Protect defend serve

What total bullish-t!!! While the FOIA request is important, why isn’t he prosecuted!!!!!! If it was the average American citizen we would be-and everyone knows it!!


Look at these 2 POS…… walking down the street…. giving the finger to everyone. (where’s CornPop when you need him)

Mystic Wolf

Just ate a bowl of corn pops for breakfast! That corn pop was a figment of quid-pro-joes imagination, REMEMBER THAT QUID-PRO-JOE HAS AT LEAST STAGE THREE ALZHEIMERS AND CAN BARELY TALK.

Last edited 1 year ago by Mystic Wolf
Capn Dad

There were organizations colony wide in 1774-1775 just prior tom the American Revolution. They were called “The Committee’s of Correspondence”. Precursors to The Minutemen”. Everyone should read about those committees and then get busy. They worked then and they will work now.


Those both rose up side by side. The militia (three groups, the Regulars. everyone between 17 or so and 55 or so able to train and fight), the Minutemen, (men typically single who were very young and could quickly be availble to get out the door “in a minute’ when a need manifast) and the Alarm Guard, the “too old to fight” heroes who remained behind when the other two groups mustered out, to protect the homes and communities this left undefended). The COmmitteesof COrrespondence” were the eyes and ears “out and about” that spread word concerning the actions, plans,… Read more »

Deplorable Bill

Biden, his children, maybe his wife and the atfe absolutely are corrupt. Pushing the American citizen that much closer to a war for freedom and independence.

Arm up and carry on


Welcome to the DCP (Democrat Communist Party).


You got that right hoss but I don’t think If or When are in the equation anymore. Take a look around you. It’s happening now.

Mystic Wolf

Well thats what you get when you put demons in charge of things?

Mystic Wolf

There are no true dems left, what we have now are just plain ol demons and they have proven time and again that they are satanic in every way, so what we have running the country are 100% evil demons that care nothing for freedom just control over the people.


Satin is everywhere and he walks among us.

J Gibbons

ATF is wrong on privacy rights trumping FOIA requests on federal forms like the 4473 and any subsequent firearm-related investigations. Take it to court. The law on FOIA is pretty clear.

Mystic Wolf

You know that.
When it came to TRUMP everything was fair game even the number of times he went to the bathroom, TRUMP could do nothing without someone plastering all over the place, now with quid-pro-joe everything has to be kept as quiet as possible yeah don’t 2ant to turn the potato cart over.

Mystic Wolf

Well gee they never gave PRESIDENT TRUMP that consideration, the demons always played fast and loose with TRUMP on everything including his finances and they filed every kind of foia they could.


Then if the ATF prosecuted him we would not be asking for food information. Anyway his dad wants gun control, well let’s start here!


That’s FOIA information not food information.


Did we expect cooperation? Uncle Joe isn’t going to let Hunter get charged like any other person. It is just the usual Biden gang’s corruption.


David, Its a s,all club and you ain’t in it.

But I’m glad you are persuing these sorts of things and thereby exposing the true character of those who ARE in that club.


What is goo for the goose, is good for the gander…


OUTSTANDING ! Equal justice under the law ! We can justly tell the ATF to pound salt. Truly , I know full well the laws dont matter to, and dont apply for Democrats. Lock & load gentlemen & ladies. HeII is coming like a speeding frieght train. More & more, we are on our own. Learn in your neighborhood, who are aware and concerned, and willing to defend our liberty and our sacred Constitution. Keep the powder dry & eyes peeled.


The ATF already shares all of our information with interpol so why is it different in this case?


ok mama

Last edited 1 year ago by abirahemmed
Get Out

Do up another FOIA request on someone else’s gun records that’s not politically connected and let’s see if the ATF sends back another privacy act excuse.


The good news is, 530 days till mid-term elections.


All we have is hope. If that HR1 passes, elections will no longer matter.


What good is that going to matter? Remember what happened in the last election, it’s how we got where we are today.