Operation Silent Night Targets Purchases From Chinese Websites

ATF Police Raid IMG 2nd instagram.com/atfhq/
ATF Police Raid IMG 2nd instagram.com/atfhq/

STERLING, VA -(Ammoland.com)- A joint operation between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Postal Inspection Service have intercepted multiple firearms-related devices shipped from China to gun owners in the United States.

The investigations led the federal operation titled Operation Silent Night, targeting imported silencers, solvent traps, and firearm devices shipped to the United States from China. The operation has been ongoing since 2019 when the United States Post Office noticed an influx of the named devices purchased on Chinese websites such as Wish and Aliexpress.

The operation claims to have seized 42,888 illegally imported suppressors. Since federal authorities consider solvent traps imported from China the same as fully functioning silencers, it is unknown how many of the intercepted items were actually working suppressors. Most devices sold on Chinese websites are not working suppressors. The end-user still had to convert the Chinese devices to function as a suppressor.

The operation also seized 4,868 “firearms.” Some of these firearms were Glock switches. A Glock switch converts a semi-automatic pistol into a machine gun. These devices have recently turned up on the streets, with high-profile busts taking place across the country. These devices are cheap to produce and were available for as little as $25 on multiple internet sites.

Out of all the devices seized by the operation, federal authorities only arrested 204 people. Most buyers of the items were law-abiding citizens planning to file an ATF Form 1 with the ATF to convert a solvent trap or fuel filter into a functioning silencer. The end-user purchased what the sites listed as solvent traps or fuel filters, thinking they were not breaking any laws. The ATF disagreed.

Solvent traps have been a gray area in the eyes of the Federal Government. The ATF has shown up at multiple people’s homes to confiscate the items. Most of the time, the ATF has not pressed criminal charges since the gun owners purchased the items in good faith. The ATF has been cracking down on Form 1 suppressor applications by issuing mass rejection letters to gun owners. The new ATF rule due to go into effect in August will all but kill off gun owners making their own suppressors.

Federal authorities have also been working with Chinese companies to remove the items from the websites. The Chinese companies have not broken any Chinese laws and are not subject to U.S. gun laws since the companies are wholly operated in China. Despite that fact, most sites have pulled down Glock switches, although the items can still be found on multiple sites.

The operation is also concerned with the 3D printing of suppressors. It isn’t clear how the agencies plan to target 3D printed silencers. Sharing and downloading 3D printing files (STL) is protected speech. It only becomes an illegal item when the end-user prints out the suppressor. The federal government could monitor the sites and track who is downloading the files, but that could be a gross violation of gun owners’ Fourth Amendment rights.

AmmoLand News reached out to the HSI National Targeting Center comment but has not received a response at the time of publishing.


About John Crump

John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.

John Crump

3.5 4 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
51 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Rico1957

So now Minority Report is a thing ? Thought police? If you buy a solvent trap you are automatically responsible for violating the law? Because they ASSUME someone buying one of those is only doing so to convert it. So now the law is “guilty until proven innocent” When did they announce this change? I must of missed it. It’s like the T-shirt says “when guns are outlawed,I’ll be an outlaw. How can they legally enforce a law that contradicts the constitution? Didn’t they arrest the guy who was selling the engraved outline of an auto sear on a flat… Read more »

Wild Bill

Hey, where can I get one of those T shirts?

Wild Bill

Yeah, that was good.

john

What bothers me more than anything reading all these articles is our government was created to secure our freedoms. The US constitution is worded in such a way so it is easy to understand by every American. How is that the elected have strayed so far by empowering so many alphabet agencies that are designed to remove those freedoms in the US Constitution. The ATF FBI CIA NSA and many others are now weapons against our freedoms that we all hold so dear and so many have died to protect. It seems that nothing is questable when it comes to… Read more »

Wild Bill

True, but you realize, of course, that our government has been populated by dishonest people since it was called the Continental Congress and the framing document were called Articles of Confederation.

john

Call it what it is a corrupt government.Today worse than ever.
Remember the cold war !!! don’t worry children duck and cover under your desk HA HA HA. You can survive if you build a fallout shelter Yes ? No
A nuclear winter that would last,, well forever.
And people believed that shit.

DDS

The founders expected that there would be a certain amount of corruption and dishonesty by self dealing politicians. That’s why we have 3 more or less independent branches, designed to limit the powers of each other, an independent press that’s supposed to keep an eye on them, and public schools so that an educated electorate can haul them up short if they get too far out of hand. We have failed miserably at most of that. There are a number of reasons for our failures. One is a never ending stream of do-gooders who think they’re smart enough to fix… Read more »

Wild Bill

I can not argue with any of that!

john

ATF
Hiring a convicted felon to sell guns to law abiding citizen
Use the power of the ATF and Justice department to coerce a person to do their bidding. Than arrest that person and all those involved in the undercover sting.

What would that be called?
I am sorry all the information I have looked up an summited is on hold
Hope readers get the facts.

Wild Bill

Looking forward to those facts!!

john

ATF Entrapment or not big question ??

Hiring felons to sell guns to legal purchasers

Worse, perhaps, in a wide range of cases, undercover ATF agents specifically instructed individuals to behave in a certain manner — and then arrested and imprisoned them for doing so.

john

Waiting for approval

There are some facts that are being held up here sorry
hoping that they get approved for debate about the ATF

Wild Bill

It is just good conversation. We (all) can wait.

john

Could this one sentence be considered entrapment 1  hiring felons to sell guns to legal purchasers. 2 undercover agents specifically instructed individuals to behave in a certain manner — and then arrested and imprisoned them for doing so.  How the ATF Manufactures Crime Among the departments that have become embroiled in scandal are the IRS, the DOJ, the DOE, the EPA, the NSA, the USDA, and, of course, the ATF.   What they found astonished them. Among the tactics they discovered ATF agents employing were using mentally disabled Americans to help run unnecessary sting operations; establishing agency-run “fronts” in “safe zones” such… Read more »

Stag

“The federal government could monitor the sites and track who is downloading the files, but that could be a gross violation of gun owners’ Fourth Amendment rights.”

They’re already committing gross violations of the Second Amendment and they’ve already committed gross violations of the Fourth Amendment by spying on Americans so why would they stop now?

Wild Bill

The socialist marxists that now hold power are loving it. First we need to get power back and then purge, purge, purge.

Rico1957

Having been born in Cuba, I will not stand by and do nothing my parents fled their country. I am an American who happened to be born in Cuba, I will not run, I will stand and fight. Besides where exactly are we to run to? Having lived in North and South America and Europe believe me there is nothing nowhere better. I gave the oath of allegiance twice once in 1967 when I became a naturalized Citizen and in 1977 when I volunteered for the US ARMY Airborne. Those oaths did not and do not have an expiration date.… Read more »

Wild Bill

Huaaah, brother. Y bienviendo a este web site!

john

So do not shoot the messenger I believe that the ATF is guilty of entrapment. On so many levels they are surly violating people’s rights with little or little over site.

https://www.theblaze.com/news/mike-lee-leads-senate-republicans-in-effort-to-expose-secret-internal-guidance-at-atf-used-to-go-after-gun-owners#toggle-gdpr

JSNMGC

.

Last edited 1 month ago by JSNMGC
Ope

The ATF is just trash that should be abolished and locked up themselves. They are an embarrassment to real law enforcement everywhere. They are nothing more than criminals with a badge and a gun. These bastards should spark outrage with everyone.

Wild Bill

Yes, they have done more to destroy public trust in our government than a dozen influence peddling congressmen.

Ope

A real problem too is they destroy the public trust in law enforcement everywhere. Hopefully when Trump is back in office he will put them out of business permantley.

Wild Bill

You are a good man!

Ope

Entrapment is the least of crimes those scumbags are guilty of. Cold blooded murder tops the list.

Wild Bill

This is just the kind of agency activity that proves that the BATFE should be decommissioned. And all it would take is a memo from the right president.

john

We need a fair election in 2022 -2024

Taken bets on that !!!!

Wild Bill

Yeah, so much to lose, scary.

john

Our country is now in a uncertain future that is in the hands of a political party that is dishonest.

RayJN

The Democrat voter fraud machine is still in place. They are working hard to make it stronger. I do not underestimate their ability to stuff every ballot box. I hope I am wrong but 2022 & 2024 are likely replays. Do not be surprised with 100%+ voter turn-outs. Car loads of ballots appearing after the polls close. And of course no voter fraud will be found, or if found not prosecuted.

Deg4u

I hope these senators can go very far with this and do some atf hose cleaning. It is well overdue.

john

Republican lawmakers are demanding answers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives after a conservative gun rights group leaked documents showing the agency developed purported “secret guidance” regulating various firearms accessories. A group of 20 U.S. senators led by Mike Lee (R-Utah) have asked Attorney General Merrick Garland and acting ATF Director Marvin Richardson to turn over “all internal instructions, directives, or guidance” related to the regulation of “solvent traps” and “forced reset triggers” as “unregistered silencers and machine guns, respectively.” “We write to express our grave concern over the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives’ (ATF) continued pattern… Read more »

john

Possible Entrapment ATF

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. — The brother of a local gun shop owner is speaking out, over an ATF raid on Nov. 9, 2021 that he says was entrapment.
On Tuesday, Nov. 9, approximately 20 federal agents in full tactical gear—some with guns drawn—raided Skelton Tactical, in Osage Beach. The owner of Skelton Tactical is Jim Skelton; his brother Ike Skelton owns a locksmith business in an adjoining building.

https://www.lakeexpo.com/news/politics/atf-sting-at-lake-of-the-ozarks-gun-shop-was-entrapment-family-member-says-video/article_3174504c-430f-11ec-9ba1-e36d03894a2f.html

JSNMGC

Thanks for posting that article.   “They took my camera, put it down on the counter, and said no I cannot record it. I went to grab it again, they were a little more forceful about things at that point”   Many in law enforcement fought against the right of Americans to record them. They came up with all sorts of reasons why it isn’t allowed. Finally, the courts ruled law enforcement has no right to prevent people from video recording them.   I hope both the gun shop and the locksmith shop had security systems with both video and audio.  … Read more »

Wild Bill

The government’s actions were certainly sneaky. The entrapment defense would be stronger if the seller, now defendant, would have objected many times and the government agents insisted many times, and the unwillingly defendant gave in to them. But we are stuck with the facts.

I suspect that some government dullard will be using this as a career stepping stone.

john

Agreed
It is he said they said then the burden of proof becomes your accusers to deeney. I do not believe that ATF agents would not entrap those that they are out to get.

I do believe that they would try to cover their tracks hiding any evidence of their wrong doing.

Sneaky yes alway what’s behind the door that remains closed by you accusers. Then there is the Judge that’s another problem !!! In the end what will he allow !!!
Thank you

john
john

Springfield, VA—On Friday twenty senators sent a letter directly to Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Marvin Richardson demanding accountability for its “incredibly troubling […] pattern of secret regulation” and for making “blanket threats” for “possessing various firearms accessories, none of which are illegal based on any statute or regulation.”  Through documents leaked by the Gun Owners Foundation, GOA was also able to provide internal ATF technical bulletins to the senators which shed light on the ATF’s long and malicious history of secret guidance documents:   Disturbingly, ATF made these… Read more »

Wild Bill

How many years has this been going on?

john

I am not sure I was trying to find information on entrapment as you can read below. I was asked to site case law ??? If I was a lawyer I would be wondering why the ATF who knew of the placed orders did not notify the buyers of the product that they were investigating as illegal as they had already built a case.
You everything possible that’s is what the government does

Wild Bill

Entrapment is an affirmative defense against alleged criminal conduct. Entrapment is not illegal conduct for which BATFE agents can be convicted. Entrapment was first recognized as an affirmative defense in the case of Sorrells v. United States (1932) you can find it at 53 S. Ct. 210 The essence of the case was that the defendant, Sorrels, was repeatedly induced by the government agent to buy illegal liquor even though the defendant had no prior intention to do so. The agent bugged Sorrells until he gave in. The crime was born in the mind of the government agent. Next Shermen… Read more »

Ope

Bill,you sure educated me on a few points that I was unaware of. Thanks.

Wild Bill

Yeah, it is complicated.

john

I understand Thank you There are few pieces missing from all ATF opps that never become public knowledge. It is now caught the elected off guard as you read that the second amendment might have been violated. If my experience has taught me anything is that once a informant or money has been paid for information , then that information was used to build a case. A can of judicial worms has been opened who broke what law becomes a matter of investigation seeking the truth. Example what led to the Mueller investigation at that point in time you are… Read more »

Lesko Brandon

Pro tip when ordering from China websites: use the name ‘Hunter Biden’. The ATF will leave you alone.

Happy Everafter

Can’t apply enough resources to stem the invasion at the border, but resources to conduct house to house confiscations seem to be easily granted…

hippybiker

According to some miscreants in the government, these people should be allowed to overrun OUR borders! After all, they’re just looking for a better life! Sarcasm off! Screw them! Fix your own F*cking Sh*thole countries!

john

Hire a good Lawyer if the ATF and the postal service new this in advance they are guilty of entrapment. Government agencies guilty of criminal behavior again above the law. Ice and border patrol now need to investigate the ATF actions

vepr

Can you cite any case law about this ?

Last edited 1 month ago by vepr
Roland T. Gunner

I agree with the sentiment, but from a legal perspective, it’s only entrapment if the government actor induces the “suspect” to commit a violation he would not have been invlined to commit without the government’s inducement. Doing a web search for a Glock switch or a “solvent trap” prior to ordering one negates any inducement. Now, if our “suspect” can show the gubmint knowingly allowed an email, with an advertisement and a link to the Glock switch or solvent trap that was susequently ordered online… Lets just do away with AFT and all the unconstitutional laws.

Last edited 1 month ago by Roland T. Gunner