The Federal Abuse of Gun Collector Albert Kwan

Gun Collector Albert Kwan
Gun Collector Albert Kwan

USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- The following is a slightly edited version of a plea I wrote for a GoFundMe campaign for my friend Albert Kwan. It should make your blood boil.

In 2005, Albert Kwan was living the American dream. Then the US government stepped in and turned his world upside down for no valid reason. They incarcerated him, ruined his reputation, destroyed his businesses, and almost cost him his US Army pension, then they prosecuted him on bogus charges that took Kwan over a decade, and almost a half-million dollars to overcome.

Today, Albert Kwan lives primarily on his small military pension, which he was supplementing with Christian mission work and recruiting of students for a US foreign exchange program, but a recent stroke and subsequent eye surgeries now limit his ability to travel or do that work.

I first wrote about Albert’s abuse at the hands of federal agents, back in 2009. Since then, he’s been exonerated in the gun cases, but the feds are still refusing to issue him an FFL, and now, with his health taking a turn for the worse, a group of us are raising money to help him with his current living expenses, and hopefully to build some savings with which to hire an attorney to sue the US government for the unjustifiable abuse they have put him through.

Caught-Up In an Unrelated Murder Investigation

In 2005, Albert Kwan was approached by federal agents investigating the 2001 murder of a US Attorney in Seattle. Authorities were able to determine that the gun used was a Makarov. They also determined that the gun had been updated with a popular aftermarket barrel. Kwan happened to be among the thousands of people who had purchased one of the 3,500 barrels known to have been sold. As a gun collector and former licensed firearms dealer, it is not unusual at all that Albert had purchased one of the barrels for one of the several Makarovs in his extensive collection, and Albert had no objection to the investigators inspecting his Makarovs or the aftermarket barrel.

Problems arose though, when Albert, in accordance with the advice he had received from his attorney, refused to allow FBI and BATFE agents unfettered access to his home and gun collection.

Instead, he gave the requested guns and parts to his attorney who passed them on to the federal agents. There was also an issue regarding how many barrels Kwan had purchased. Federal agents insisted, based on incomplete and chaotic sales and shipping records, that some 10 years prior, Kwan had purchased two of the suspect barrels, but Kwan insisted that he recalled purchasing only one barrel of the type the FBI was seeking. He turned over all of his Makarovs and barrels, along with similar Walther pistols and barrels, but the federal agents weren’t satisfied.

They felt that Kwan’s refusal to allow them to search his home was suspicious. They also had a suspect in the murder who happened to have lived near Kwan for a time, though there was no indication that they ever met.

With those two issues nagging at them, the agents discovered that Kwan had made arrangements to travel to China. Even though the trip had been planned months before Kwan had any contact with federal agents, and he routinely traveled back and forth to China, often several times a year, they characterized the trip as an attempt to flee.

Agents stopped Kwan at the airport, put him in handcuffs, and drug him to the Federal Court House in Seattle where they informed him that he was under arrest as a “material witness” in the investigation into the murder of US Attorney Thomas Wales.

Albert was held in solitary confinement in a Federal Detention Facility for over 20 days. He was handcuffed and shackled repeatedly and questioned over and over again about the supposed second Makarov barrel. Throughout his incarceration and afterward, federal agents issued press releases naming Kwan, or describing him, and implying that he was somehow connected to the murder of Thomas Wales. This exposure did serious damage to Albert Kwan’s reputation, destroying his commercial real estate business, costing him his Top Secret security clearance, and causing him to be suspended from his position in the US Army Reserves.

ATF Creates Evidence for False Gun Charges

After arresting Kwan, FBI agents obtained a warrant, and with a BATFE “firearms expert” in tow, they searched Albert’s house and gun collection, finding nothing of the “missing” Makarov barrel or anything else related to the Wales murder case. But the BATFE agent used the opportunity to identify certain guns in Kwan’s collection, which he thought might be “questionable,” so the very next day, a new warrant was issued to the BATFE, authorizing them to search Kwan’s home for illegal weapons.

The BATFE search yielded two guns that they claimed were illegal, and Kwan was threatened with prosecution for those two guns if he continued to refuse to tell the murder investigators what they wanted to know. Kwan insisted that he had told them everything he knew and that he was unable to change his story.

Federal prosecutors followed through on their threats, charging Kwan first with illegal possession of an unregistered machine gun, and later with illegal possession of an unregistered Short-Barreled Rifle.

The first “illegal” gun was an M14 rifle that had been legally built by a government contractor as a semi-auto-only, target rifle, and legally sold by a government agency to the civilian market back in the 1960s.

After modifying the gun with numerous parts from another full-auto M14 that Kwan legally owned, and spending some time modifying the receiver with a grinding tools, the BATFE “experts” were eventually able to make the gun fire full-auto.

After hearing the evidence and looking at the amount of work done by the BATFE “experts” to turn the gun into a full-auto, the jury concluded that the gun was a legal semi-automatic target rifle, just as Kwan had maintained. He was acquitted on that charge, but BATFE said they couldn’t return the rifle since it was now a machine gun and couldn’t be legally converted back. They destroyed both that gun and the full-auto M14 used as a parts donor. The original rifle, as a very unique sample, would be valued at several thousand dollars, and the legal, full-auto rifle would sell today for around $20,000.00 or more.

Kwan received no compensation for either.

Kwan was also charged with having an unregistered, Short-Barreled Rifle because they found a HK VP70Z pistol and a combination holster/stock for a VP70M. The BATFE claimed that, since the pistol was capable of accepting the stock, this constituted “constructive possession” of a Short-Barreled Rifle. They made this claim, even though Kwan also owned a legally registered, full-auto VP70M that was registered as a Short-Barreled Rifle. The BATFE insisted that the critical distinction was that the semi-auto version of the pistol was capable of accepting the shoulder stock. They convinced the jury and Kwan was found guilty, but the judge learned that the BATFE had misrepresented several pertinent facts, and he reversed the jury verdict, declaring a mistrial.

It took Kwan almost a decade to finally be declared Not Guilty and exonerated on all charges. It also cost him his life’s savings and then some.

Conclusion

In the end, Albert Kwan, who had served honorably in the US Army and Reserves for 29 years, first in the Infantry and later in Intelligence, where he was granted a Top Secret/SCI security clearance, worked for the US Immigration and Naturalization Service, and had started and run several successful businesses, including a commercial real estate business, interpreter services, recruiting for student exchange programs, and running a federally licensed firearms business, as well as assisting with Christian mission work overseas, was kidnapped by federal agents, held against his will, and prosecuted for non-crimes, all because he followed his lawyer’s advice and said No when federal agents asked to search his home without a warrant.

Now, at the age of 60, Albert suffers from premature health issues, including suffering a mild stroke and needing surgeries on both of his eyes. His reputation in the business community is still tainted. He was able to recover his Army pension but missed the opportunity to serve with his unit in a second deployment to Afghanistan. He was forced to send most of his firearm collection into storage out of state, where it was pillaged by thieves, and he was recently denied his final appeal in trying to force the BATFE to issue him a new Federal Firearms License, which means that he cannot resume his firearm business.

The whole ordeal has cost Albert close to a half-a-million dollars.

The federal government has never apologized for what they did to Albert, and they’ve never paid anything in the way of restitution or compensation for what they took from him. While he’s not destitute, he is struggling to make ends meet, and has been forced to sell some of his most prized possessions, just to cover taxes on his long-time home.

I, and others, believe the US government owes Albert Kwan something, and we’re hoping that a GoFundMe campaign will not only help Albert meet his current financial needs but that it will enable him to fund a retainer fee for a civil rights attorney to file suit for wrongful prosecution and abuse of power against the federal government [read: BATF].

You can contribute to Albert’s GoFundMe campaign by clicking here. Any help you choose to give is greatly appreciated.


Jeff Knox
Jeff Knox

About Jeff Knox:

Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox led many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.

The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona and Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.org.

23 Comments
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Roland T. Gunner
Roland T. Gunner
3 months ago

Q: How is a legally owned fully automatic VP70 registered as an SBR? But thats beside the point. I have read this account several times over the years, and it boggles the mind, the sheer volume of mony, manpower, and legal power the government not only possesses, but is allowed to bring to bear on a citizen when he pops above the radar. Even an actual criminal should have a fair investigation and trial; and that includes some limit on the resources the government is allowed to access and expend. There are so many abuses in this investigation and prosecution,… Read more »

JPM
JPM
4 months ago

This is why you NEVER allow BATFE any leeway when they show up without a warrant, or even want to speak with you. The FBI isn’t any better. “I have nothing to say, please contact my lawyer in the future if you have any questions, and if you continue to question me I want my lawyer present now”, is the most you EVER want to say to agents from ANY Federal agency, EVER!

StLPro2A
StLPro2A
3 months ago
Reply to  JPM

Uh….scariest words in the American English language: “We’re from the government. We’re here to help you.” NOT!!!!

JayWPB
JayWPB
4 months ago

Mr. Kuan risked his life to protect the freedom that my family and I cherish and enjoy. Yeah, I made a donation.

Gregory Peter DuPont
Gregory Peter DuPont
4 months ago

For a very long time, we’ve allowed the parallel development of our very own Zampolitny/Narodniy Kommisariat/Gehiem StaatzPolizei..not just limited to the BATFingE, but inclusive of them, the EffaBeeEye and others.
Once we accepted the intial infringements,we set both the tone and the course.

Last edited 4 months ago by Gregory Peter DuPont
Pa John
Pa John
4 months ago

Whenever issues / events / investigations become politicized, everything then becomes all about appearances, because in the media / political realm, how things appear can be far more important than reality. You MUST APPEAR to be “actively doing something” in your investigation, even if you as yet have nothing of note worth acting upon. Unfortunately, out here in the real world, sometimes homicides are committed and there is simply no usable evidence left behind on exactly who did what. So if and when the details of any certain case hits the media fan, and important high level authorities are breathing… Read more »

Roland T. Gunner
Roland T. Gunner
3 months ago
Reply to  Pa John

To boil it down, we call that corruption.

Doug G.
Doug G.
4 months ago

Brings to mind the saying, “You can’t fight City Hall and win.”! The government has endless financial and personnel resources and the citizens have…. what? The moral high ground and a piece of paper? Good luck with that. Sometimes some people do win, but then look at Gen. Mike Flynn. You think anyone apologized to him? It’s a sad state of affairs in a self governance country and it’s not supposed to work this way but it does. Thanks goes to the feckless congressional and executive branches that have given up their duties and responsibilities to bureaucracies, unaccountable to the… Read more »

Roland T. Gunner
Roland T. Gunner
3 months ago
Reply to  Doug G.

Use the Go-Fund-Me on a healthy donation to his senators, and then have a healthy one-on-one with them about a Come-To-Jesus with Regina Lombard, Lombardi, whatever her name is.

Dave
Dave
4 months ago

I remember this, because I got a visit from a FBI agent for having a Makarov and a .380 barrel when this happend. Mine was still broke down and I broke the barrel vice trying to change it to .380.I showed this to the agent and he did tell me why they were looking into all the people with Makarovs and .380 barrels.I live in the midwest and have never been to Oregon and never did find out what it hade to do with me.

APG member
APG member
4 months ago

“US Army and Reserves for 29 years, first in the Infantry and later in Intelligence, where he was granted a Top Secret/SCI security clearance, worked for the US Immigration and Naturalization Service.” All that “service” to the regime and look how they do you.

swmft
swmft
4 months ago

the criminal government agencies that have no legal recourse against these are things that need to be shutdown and members jailed on second amendment violations these are the organizations built by demoncrats to keep the slaves

Dry gulched
Dry gulched
4 months ago

Gird your loins because with the current crop of would be dictators in government this is going to be commonplace. Three things dems do when they’re in power: raise taxes, lower the standard of living and TRY to take your guns.

Roland T. Gunner
Roland T. Gunner
3 months ago
Reply to  Dry gulched

And the bastards killed Kenny!

Mainewolf
Mainewolf
4 months ago

Donated!

HLB
HLB
4 months ago

“The federal government has never apologized for what they did to Albert”.

To think of the Federal Government in any such terms is a mistake. They are not any sort of entity that is capable of delivering on the concept of apology. They are only a machine creation of the people that can only be controlled by the people. Once again, the People.

HLB

ruger264
ruger264
4 months ago

Just as was written in Unintended Consequences. They make up stuff, ruin your stuff and arrest you on bogus charges to get you to do something that is illegal. They force you to use all your funds to defend yourself until you are broke and then put you in prison.
It is a must Read , Unintended Consequences.

CourageousLion
CourageousLion
4 months ago
Reply to  ruger264

The ATF was actually following John Ross around to gun shows where he was selling the book and harassing him. What the book portrays is a way that will make them think TWICE about pulling any crap on anyone.
I also donated.

unintended-consequences.png
Last edited 4 months ago by CourageousLion
Arizona
Arizona
4 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Knox

There is tons of videos of Them, like the guy who changed his outfit right after yelling at cops and watching Ashli get murdered. The cops let him by on the steps, and he changed on the landing, among cops, before causing more rucus downstairs. The FBI only busts crimes they themselves engineer and organize.

Arizona
Arizona
4 months ago
Reply to  ruger264

Free pdf available o the web, just search the book name and pdf. All need to read it, especially the last 1/3.

Autsin Miller III
Autsin Miller III
4 months ago

Donated

Desert Ranger
Desert Ranger
4 months ago

Donated!