ATF Targets 74-year-old Florida Man Selling Guns at a Flea Market

ATF Agents IMG ATFHQ-IG Public Domain
ATF Agents IMG ATFHQ-IG Public Domain

U.S.A.-( Charles “Chuck” Palmatier will serve one year and a day in a federal prison for selling guns at the Volusia Flea Market in Deland, Florida without a Federal Firearm License.

According to a press release, the ATF first warned Palmatier that he needed to stop selling guns without an FFL.

“According to court documents, on July 28, 2021, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) met with Palmatier and explained that if he wanted to continue to sell firearms he would have to apply for a Federal Firearms License (FFL).”

Palmatier, the ATF claims, ignored the agents’ warning. “Despite that meeting, Palmatier continued to sell firearms …” the press release states.

“It’s my understanding they approached him, told him to knock it off, and he just thumbed his nose at it and kept doing it,” said Volusia County Sheriff’s Office Detective Sgt. Bobby Woell.

Woell is assigned to the Volusia Bureau of Investigation, a task force overseen by the Sheriff’s Office and comprised of deputies and members of other law enforcement agencies, including ATF. The VBI focuses on drugs and violent crime.

“The ATF, along with the Volusia Bureau of Investigation (VBI), began investigating Palmatier and conducted multiple controlled purchases from Palmatier at the Volusia Flea Market from February 2, 2022, through June 8, 2022,” the press release states. However, Sgt. Woell was quick to point out that the press release is dead wrong. The ATF investigation of Palmatier was not a task force case. The VBI was never involved. It was all ATF.

“People buying and selling guns at a flea market is not our responsibility,” he said. “If we got a tip about this, we would turn it over to the ATF. For the most part we’re done at that point.”

The ATF sent undercover agents to the flea market, who made “multiple controlled purchases” of firearms from Palmatier.

“At least two of the firearms purchased from Palmatier were subsequently linked to usage in two separate crimes,” the press release states.

Nebulous Federal Law

It is not easy to determine when someone who buys and sells firearms needs an FFL – even for the ATF. It’s debatable at best. The ATF publishes a 10-page brochure to help people determine whether they should apply for an FFL, titled: “Do I need a license to buy and sell firearms?”

“Federal law does not establish a ‘bright-line’ rule for when a federal firearms license is required,” the brochure states. “As a result, there is no specific threshold number or frequency of sales, quantity of firearms, or amount of profit or time invested that triggers the licensure requirement. Instead, determining whether you are ‘engaged in the business’ of dealing in firearms requires looking at the specific facts and circumstances of your activities.”

In general, the ATF guidance says a license is needed “if you repetitively buy and sell firearms with the principal motive of making a profit. In contrast, if you only make occasional sales of firearms from your personal collection, you do not need to be licensed.”

While Palmatier made some money through his sales, even the ATF acknowledged it wasn’t much. “Palmatier admitted that he would profit $50 to $75 per firearm that he sold,” the press release states.

ATF agents searched Palmatier’s home and vehicle on June 29th, and seized 17 firearms and ammunition, which are now subject to federal forfeiture. They include:

  • two Smith & Wesson .38 special revolvers
  • Smith & Wesson .22 caliber pistol
  • Savage 12-gauge shotgun
  • Winchester 30-30 rifle
  • Mauser .308 caliber rifle
  • two Hatfield shotguns, .410 and 12-gauge
  • two Marlin .30 caliber rifles
  • Winchester 12-gauge shotgun
  • Mossberg .22 caliber rifle
  • Sig-Sauer 9mm pistol
  • Walther 7.65mm pistol
  • Ruger .22 caliber pistol
  • Taurus .380 caliber pistol
  • Western Field pistol (caliber unknown)
  • “Assorted” ammunition

None of Palmatier’s firearms are defined as “assault weapons” by either the Biden-Harris administration or Bill Clinton’s 1994 Assault Weapon Ban. Most are old, collectible and/or sporting firearms, which are no longer in production.

Palmatier was charged through federal information rather than an indictment. He was accused of “not being a licensed dealer of firearms within the meaning of Chapter 44, Title 18 U.S. Code, did willfully engage in the business of manufacturing and dealing in firearms.”

On September 7, Palmatier pleaded guilty to the single count, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He accepted a plea deal and was sentenced last week to serve 366 days in a federal prison.

Assistant United States Attorney Beatriz Gonzalez, who prosecuted Palmatier, did not return calls seeking her comments for this story.

William C. Daniels, a Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida said in an email, “Our office does not wish to comment on this case.”

Calls to Jason Medina, Public Information Officer for ATF’s Tampa Field Division, were routed to ATF’s Washington D.C. headquarters for reasons unknown. ATF’s headquarters staff said it was against their policy to give out direct phone numbers of their staff – even PIOs – but they promised to give Medina a message to call. Medina has yet to return the call.


It’s not known why Palmatier refused to stop selling guns after the ATF warning. Maybe he needed the money. Maybe he’s just stubborn. It really doesn’t matter. Sending him to a federal prison was not the right answer. I’m sure his refusal bruised a few ATF egos, but therein lies the problem: a bruised ego should never serve as a predicate for a full-blown federal investigation. In this case it clearly did.

After Joe Biden weaponized the ATF and sicced them on gun owners and gun dealers, the agency’s conduct has been reprehensible. Unfortunately, Palmatier’s prosecution is just the latest in a long line of other unconstitutional actions:

  • Because of Biden’s zero-tolerance for human error policy, FFL revocations have increased by 500%.
  • ATF’s unconstitutional home inspections, which they call “knock-and-talks,” have become more like home invasions and have scared the daylights out of more than a few law-abiding gun owners who were unlucky enough to answer the door.
  • An ATF inspector was caught red-handed creating an illegal gun registry with her cell phone.
  • A congressional whistleblower revealed that Biden’s crackdown on homemade firearms, which he calls “ghost guns,” was based on an ATF hoax.
  • Four million Americans are poised to become felons overnight because the ATF is tinkering with rules and regulations regarding pistol braces and aftermarket triggers.

It’s not surprising that no one at ATF or the U.S. Attorney’s Office was willing to answer questions about this case, much less defend their actions. They can’t, really. They know there’s one question they cannot answer truthfully. It’s a simple question: Is this justice?

This story is presented by the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project and wouldn’t be possible without you. Please click here to make a tax-deductible donation to support more pro-gun stories like this.

About Lee Williams

Lee Williams, who is also known as “The Gun Writer,” is the chief editor of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project. Until recently, he was also an editor for a daily newspaper in Florida. Before becoming an editor, Lee was an investigative reporter at newspapers in three states and a U.S. Territory. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a police officer. Before becoming a cop, Lee served in the Army. He’s earned more than a dozen national journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. Lee is an avid tactical shooter.

Lee Williams

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Charles Palmatier did not break any laws, what he did is supposed to be LEGAL and was until the creation of the BATF. The creation of the BATF is NOT in the constitution, and their very existence is an affront to the constitution.


The BATF is now a reality. He was told, he was warned – and yet, he kept doing it! Why? I don’t like the IRS – in fact, I think they are the most heinous federal agency out there. But, I’m not an idiot. If I don’t pay my taxes, even after being warned – I know what is going to happen!. I don’t agree with ANYTHING the Biden administration does – I don’t like the existence of the BATF – but this guy Charles Palmatier is a damned idiot. Stupid is as Stupid does. He’s lucky he did not… Read more »


So he should have just shut up and bent over to willingly let his rights be violated?


LMAO – I bet you think long and “hard” about that bending over part don’t you? Get a grip pal – being a dull witted internet lawyer is no way to go through life. And guess what? That 74 year old bullheaded fool will be bending over a lot in a Federal Prison – his guns are now confiscated and going to be shared amongst corrupt Fed Officers. There’s reality and there’s the world you live in. The ATF was formed in 1972 – probably before you were even thought of. All this gun control crap was being shoveled back… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Steve

Your lack of manners is obvious.Grow up!


Odds are high that he’s a fed.

Roland T. Gunner

Odds are high that his vagina is sore.


So. The ATF was founded in 1972? Where in Hell did you get that information from? Did you pull it out of your Arse? The ATF has been around since the 30s!
Ala Elliot Ness! Also, the NFA of 1934 and the term” Revenuers!”
You should study a little American History, you dimwit!
And yes, I was a formerly Federally Licensed Firearms Dealer and Manufacturer!


If people want to take your rights away, you had just better let them. Right, Steve? Cower and obey, that’s your only way.


is your tongue not tired from all that licking?


Just how many boogers do you gobble down in a day – dimwit?


Your right hes is a boot licker !

Roland T. Gunner




And how long have you been a Constitutional Law Expert? What Stall do you rent out at the local Civic Center? Are you also in charge of Toilet Paper dispensing and oversight of the skidmark patrol? By the way, “screaming” your comments by using all Caps – it’s an indicator you are in fact a total bull-chitter. Now run along Perry Mason.

Roland T. Gunner

I was yelling at you, asshole.


Let me see…so you have to be a Constitutional Law Expert to understand what the words SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED means? Maybe if you don’t understand those and feel the need for a Constitutional Law Expert to explain them to you, you’re a simpleton village idiot. A daft moron who probably ties his shoe laces together quite frequently and has fallen down a few stair wells due to your mental inadequacy. Or possibly your mental capacity has been diminished by continual use of some sort of opioid prescription. Whatever it is, you need some help.


That logic is how we have ended up here.
I despise the ATF since they are an unconstitutional organization (how is it we have a 4th branch of Government)?

I do agree that Pamatier is a moron for fighting an unwinnable battle.
Maybe this will makes it way to SCOTUS (Don’t hold your breath).

When my generation dies off the battle will be over. I’m in my early fifties.
The fight for our rights dies with my generation. 🙁

FJack Dorsey
PS Hillary is as bad at singing as she was a politician.


The fight will go on LONG after you and those your age are gone my friend. This battle has been going on since the days of our Nation’s expansion out west. Back in the 1870s, guess who enforced laws in the territories against selling firearms to the “savages”?? Yep – the US Army, US Marshals etc..And what do you think the Earp brothers and Old West Heroes like Doc Holiday were doing at Dodge City? Oh yeah, trying to enforce Gun Ban Laws inside city limits. Laws they came up with and were never voted on. What bugs me is… Read more »


I’m shocked. Are there two Steve’s on here or do you have a split personality? This one post actually had some obvious truth in it.


You sure sound like Superman or the Green Watchdog. Thanks for your useless advice.




Did you even read the article? Two of the guns were traced to crimes in the local area – or does that even concern you? Not that it matters if it wasn’t your Mom, Sister, Wife or Girlfriend that was raped at gunpoint huh? Or your elderly father robbed or carjacked by some thug with a gun bought from this bullheaded moron. But hey, his constitutional rights were violated huh? The “Right of the People, to Keep and Bear Arms shall not be Infringed”. How many Supreme Court Rulings have defined that as selling as many guns as you want,… Read more »

Roland T. Gunner

2 guns were traced to crimes? Actuallu, you are correct; tgat does not bother me a bit. They are irrelevent.


So are you.


Alcohol is Legal.
Tobacco is Legal.
Firearms are Legal.
Explosives are Legal.

“Crimes” involving any of the above can more than adequately be investigated by State Police and / or the FBI.

Defund and disband this behemoth of a taxpayer burden.


Incarcerating a 74 year stubborn old man doesn’t seem to do the public any good. Just looking at the firearms the ATF stole, l mean confiscated tells you the man was more than likely selling off his collection. I also can’t see how he was selling stolen firearms that was linked to crime, unless he sold them to people and they used them in a crime. What a weird prosecution.


AFT (*) made controlled purchases over a five month period (Feb – June 2022). When they sprang their trap, he still had 17 firearms. While there are those with enough firearms to make such an extended sale believable – sounds to me like he was buying used guns and trying to turn a profit by reselling them. This would be consistent with some of the guns he sold tracing back to crime, as criminals are more than happy to get paid for someone else disposing of evidence — see gun buybacks. He clearly was engaged in business of buying and… Read more »


only the government sells stuff at a loss, remember they are spending our money. we the taxpaying citizens cannot afford to sell things at a loss, we have to live within our budget.


Wrong…Federal taxes are only there to help cover up the FRAUD. They want you to “believe’ that the pieces of paper they force us to use are valuable. If no one paid taxes at the federal level…they could just print up with they need and thumb their noses at us.

Roland T. Gunner

You are assuming a lot.

I would bet my next pension check that many of the posters on here have gun collections that would support that kind of extended sales effort.

This prosecutiob is absolutely unconstitutional, criminal, unethical and a waste of our taxes


If i started selling mine today ,sold 2 or three every week would take over 2 years to sell them all ,and more fun a friend sent me his collection all black power and antique ,last living act was to “return” stuff I had stored in his garage …… to outlive your friends but better than the alternative


There I thought I had a collection. My wife thinks I have too much, I’m always considering additions and consider myself way short on ammo. Just glad wife doesn’t know half of my collection! Just wish AFT(*) knew less than her instead of practically everything (through their non-registry – registry-database).

If you were to sell your firearms, would we be more or less impressed with items AFT listed from this bust? Would you bother going to flea markets to sell one or two a weekend? Having never sold a gun, I’ve got to wonder how I’d go about it…


Two years? I’d say it would take me three or more.


Defund the ATF !!!


arrest atf agents and disband the criminal organization


I firmly believe that needing a FFL is totally unconstitutional.

I guess  Palmatier will have the standing in federal court to prove it now.

But on the other hand one has to question why after the warnings.

Roland T. Gunner


Because he is a patriot.

And in the modern United States, if you pop up on the radar, our government plays whack-a-mole.


Why after the warnings? Because he’s an idiot. Just like the folks that don’t understand the laws that have been in effect since 1968 (FFLs first required). The Batfe has been around since 1971. I don’t believe in jailing idiots – however, this guy obviously chose to take on the jerkoffs and he lost. Oh well. And all those that say he’s a Martyr – good for you. Now, go out and tell all the registered/licensed gun dealers that they’re idiots for obeying the law and selling firearms despite having to put up with all the regulation and hassle.


I think he made the grave error of following the surpreme law of the land which supposedly NULLIFIES horseshit “laws” like this. You know the LAW that says SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED? You’re a bit on the mentally challenged side, aren’t you?


After the Bruen decision, it sure seems to me that if you go by history and tradition the FFL is unconstitutional.

Deplorable Bill

A well regulated militia, being necessary to a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; the second amendment, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW. There is nothing here that restricts one’s right to keep and bear arms or to sell them or to give them away. What IS RESTRICTED here is the government’s interference with anything pertaining to firearms. The government SHALL NOT INFRINGE. The atfe, fbi, epa, irs etc. have all been weaponized by congress and sitting presidents past and present against the very nation, people and constitution which they are sworn before GOD… Read more »




When are these clowns at the ATF going to charge all the criminals responsible for ” Fast and furious ” and the sale of all those illegal guns ? Until then they are just another government criminal enterprise that lacks credibility. We have private sales in Montana and the ATF can get F☆cked ! Buy more guns through privates sales and cut these clowns at the ATF out completely .


This is what “Non-compliance” looks like. As the laws rumble down the bowels of the AFT, it will be more and more difficult for the law abiding to follow the law. These laws are obviously designed to complicate firearm ownership for people who intend to follow the law. This man obviously reached his moment of “I will not comply” and the agents got to add another bust to their work history. Not sure his year and a day sentence made me feel any safer….


There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. ~Ayn Rand


“Show me the man, and I’ll show you the crime.”
–Lavrentiy Beria, head of Joseph Stalin’s secret police


“No right is absolute.”

–the Usurper Bidet

Roland T. Gunner

A year in federal prison for violation of an unconstitutional federal law that has no fixed parameters, that resulted in taking a handful of lever action rifles, bolt action rifles and .38 revolvers “off the street”.

That really sounds like a “private collection” of sporting arms.

Not an arsenal.

ATF’s enforcement has progressed from disgusting to obscene.

Anyone else feeling the tyrant’s boot on their neck yet?

I’m starting to wonder if our elected representatives are all brain dead.


No wonder – They are.


You’re just starting to wonder? I figured that out back in 1972.

Roland T. Gunner

Nothing but crickets from both houses of Congress.


“Our office does not wish to comment on this case.” Because he should have never been prosecuted.

Roland T. Gunner

I dont understand why, as public servants, they have an option.


Notice the sentence of a year and a day. The government could have agreed to a 364 day sentence and the punishment would have been as severe. The extra two days are entirely intended to bar him from ever possessing a firearm legally again, because the sentence made the crime a felony. The article said the feds are going to seize his firearms. A guy I know was able to get permission to have me sell his gun collection after he was convicted in a bullsh*t ATF case. The US Attorney fought it, but the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals… Read more »


The ATF cannot articulate how many firearms a person can sell in a period of time before they are considered a dealer rather than a private citizen. Therefore, the guy shouldn’t have accepted a plea deal at all and he should have gone to court.


the brochure states

Which brochure? Where?. If that is the case then orgoneistan is breaking the law by forcing anyone who sells or trades a gun to go through and FFL. I think now I know why now at one time the FFL’s were refusing to do it but they were just reluctantly accepting them before the passing of measure 114 taking away your right to buy a gun without a gun purchase permit that you cannot obtain because the shooting training is not in place to do so.



“Palmatier admitted that he would profit $50 to $75 per firearm that he sold,” the press release states. That’s the standard margin for new handgun sales. Looks like the ATF is just like most of my customers, ignorant on the cost retailers pay wholesalers for their product. The number of people who think I am making $450 in profit for that $450 pistol is legion. My guess is this guy would buy a firearm from someone and put it on his table and sell it the same day … when you do that, you can’t claim it’s part of a… Read more »


Pg – I wasn’t going to comment as most of the high and low points have already been hit.
But at only 50-75 bucks per gun profit, it would be a really big stretch to make a case that this oldster was ‘making a living’ at it. Even the bats didn’t make that claim. They were most likely just miffed that they couldn’t control him (as others have intimated)


The Administrative State, or Deep State in the current vernacular has thrived on the imprecise language of federal law for decades. Actually, the 16th Amendment opened the flood gates and now are up to our ears in intentionally nebulous federal law. As a result bureaucrats and wanna-be Brown Shirts are free to make their own rules. You will know. what I mean if you have ever dealt with a Bureau of Land Management Field Office. They make their own rules law be damned. So when you arm up a gang of Keystone Cops and give them a loose leash you… Read more »

Matt in Oklahoma

Should be titled “When Two Idiots Collide”


Why am I seeing this in my Email today, the 19th and I come here to comment and there are all kinds of comments from 5 days ago? I guess I missed the first post of this.


“Four million Americans are poised to become felons overnight because the ATF is tinkering with rules and regulations regarding pistol braces and aftermarket triggers.” FOUR MILLION? The lowest number I had heard up to this point was FOURTEEN MILLION. And the high number was FORTY MILLION. However many it is, it should be ZERO. As for this 74 year old heinous criminal? You HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! I bet he accumulated some firearms in his 74 years on this insane asylum called “Earth” and he was simply selling off what he had. I feel SO MUCH SAFER knowing… Read more »


So, here’s the deal. The firearm laws are bad, and the enforcement of them is severe. I get it. Most of us hate the situation. But you cannot openly violate the law – as interpreted by the government – and expect not to be hung. That is a fact. Whether we like it or not is irrelevant. In this case, the subject was warned to get a license. In federal government, that is a clear red flag that (a) you are on their radar/under investigation AND (b) you will be destroyed if you don’t comply. It is possible that they… Read more »


“A regrettably large share of our legal experiences operate not in the shadow of the Constitution and its constraints, but rather in the shadow of explicitly unconstitutional rules, actions, and orders. In the time it takes for improper Executive Orders to be reined in, for illicit administrative decisions to be corrected, and for misinterpretations of constitutional power to be overturned, so much of society’s activity is framed by what we might call the not-Constitution — all those acts of government that are deemed illegal only after they have caused enduring harm. A most troubling aspect of government power is its… Read more »


These fatheads likely went to that flea market chasing their stupid “machine gun” fantasy again [even though it never happens ever] Once they realized no machine guns were involved, they became desperate and dug up with this petty technicality to keep from looking like chumps.


It’s easy. If the government says you are breaking laws, you are breaking laws. If they say that you are not, then you are not. Democrat donors and politicians have this sewn up for themselves. For the rest of us, we now live in the Soviet Union. Law is whatever the authorities say it is, and in any case, it does not apply to them.


I am not a fan of the ATF. With that said, as a small town (Pulaski, NY) dealer, I have dealt with the ATFcouple of times. They have been helpful and firm in their dealings with me. The article state”, “acording to court documents, on July 28, 2021, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) met with Palmatier and explained that if he wanted to continue to sell firearms, he would have to apply for a Federal Firearms License (FFL).” Palmatier, the ATF claims Palmeatier ignored agents warnigs. Despite that meeting, Palmatier continued to sell firearms.”… Read more »


Excellent comment OSR – but, your logic will not convince some of these booger chewing zealots. I suspect some are just paid government “bomb throwers” trying to get some folks fired up enough to write some outrageous comments/threats etc..Those comments then give government goons the greenlight to start surveilling the fools that get sucked in and all riled up. It’s an amateurish method but still effective against the low IQ dimwits ranting and raving on these comment boards.


What it really boils down to is that you’re a boot licker and he wasn’t. What if NO ONE took a license and EVERYONE that sold firearms told the ATF to pound sand and were actually willing to FIGHT FOR FREEDOM if it came down to it? “And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every “law enforcer”, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as… Read more »

Roland T. Gunner
Roland T. Gunner

Meant to be 2 thumbs up.

AZ Lefty

No the ATF targets a CRIMINAL


How many felonies did you commit today? So many crazy laws it’s pretty much impossible to follow them. It is a mistake to equate breaking laws with being evil, violent, antisocial or just plain bad.

So yeah I object to prosecuting anyone who harms no one.


one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. ~Ayn Rand


What exactly made him a criminal? Did he harm someone? Crimes need to have victims. No victim, no crime. No crime…NOT GUILTY.

Roland T. Gunner

Yeah, but was he really a “hardened” criminal? Or a “mastermind”?


The ATF are criminals.

AZ Lefty

Amazing how so many defend criminals like the Author does


Amazing how so many support rights violations like you do.

Roland T. Gunner

Stag, very politely put. More than I would have been.


You are a dimwitted booger chewer. There – no politeness required.

Roland T. Gunner

You can french-kiss my ass.


And you’re an boot licking stooge. A proud slave who believes he is free.


Democrats have defunded police and released violent criminals back on the street on thier O.R. , now tell me again who defends criminals .

Roland T. Gunner

I can only think of two valid gun laws: minimum age, and posession by currently incarcerated prisoners.


Old – lucky you 😉
I got my first ‘evil gun’ (aren’t they all?) when I was the ripe old age of 12, a bolt action .22 which I still have.


Gome, exactly the same here…. lot of meat delivered to the family with it. the year was ’58 and I still have it. Last time I shot it, it still shoots 1/4 MOA @50 yards.


I still have my Remington Nylon 66 that I was gifted by my dad at 14. That was back in 1969.


I don’t have mine, but I sure wish I did. I DO have most of the ones that fell into my clutches, though. My theory is, “they don’t eat,” by which I mean they cost nothing to own.

Last edited 1 month ago by TGP389
Roland T. Gunner

It might not have stunted your growth, bit I’ll bet your shoulder was sore.

To clarify, minimum age to purchase, not to posess.


Minimum age…6 years old. My kid knew how to shoot a single shot .22 at that age and knew it wasn’t a toy.


Ditto my first .22 rifle.