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Old October 8, 2012, 09:30 AM   #1
Skans
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ATF at Gunshows....

I attended a gun show this weekend and, for the first time, notice that ATF actually had a table with literature there. Perhaps, because they don't have any guns, I simply haven't noticed them. I've grown accustomed to glazing over the beef-jerky guy, knife folks, toy peddlers, and what-not sellers that I'm thinking that I just never noticed them.

Is ATF setting up tables at gun shows something new, is it a random thing, or have I just been mesmerized by all the gun bling and simply never noticed this?

Also, can you gun dealers (or attendees) really spot the ATF plain-cloths agents? I can't (but then again, I'm looking at guns, not really people). What's the give away?
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Old October 8, 2012, 09:51 AM   #2
Woody55
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Never noticed. It seems like they would be a good source of information if you were interested. Go to the source instead of getting someone's opinion on the internet or in a gun store.
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Old October 8, 2012, 09:58 AM   #3
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I've never seen them at a gun show here. I think I would have noticed an ATF table.
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Old October 8, 2012, 10:55 AM   #4
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New in our area and helpful

Quote:
Is ATF setting up tables at gun shows something new, is it a random thing, or have I just been mesmerized by all the gun bling and simply never noticed this?
I would say that it is something fairly new or at least to our area and yours. They were there at our first Gun Show of the season and when you spend some time at their table, they do come across as different from your other dealers. Handing out lots of literature and trying to answer any questions you might have. ....

I would add that of the two questions I asked one of them who was a big black guy and seemed very intelligent, he could not give me a specific answer and instead, just refered me to someone else. Seemed like a couple of nice guys but perhaps, just not happy to be there. ...

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Old October 8, 2012, 11:45 AM   #5
Tom Servo
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I've seen their tables at numerous gun shows over the years. It's a good idea to have them there, as they can provide valuable information.

Might they have plainclothes guys walking around? Sure. Public event. They can do that.
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Old October 8, 2012, 12:13 PM   #6
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They were at the last show here in central FL, had plenty of paperwork to hand out. They had the Project Childsafe (?) info, printouts of the Personal Firearms Record, etc. I asked her if she had any Form 1s or any NFA stuff, no luck there.
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Old October 8, 2012, 12:39 PM   #7
Skans
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Maybe that's what happens to ATF agents who made a boo-boo - they are sentenced to serve as "PR" representatives at a gun show, but prohibited from looking around or buying anything! That would be torture for me.
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Old October 8, 2012, 12:42 PM   #8
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If you were involved to any extent with "Fast & Furious" you wind up working gunshows and handing out literature.

Probably NOT career-enhancing!

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Old October 8, 2012, 12:50 PM   #9
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I saw the ATF at the last gun show. Does anyone subscribe to the thought that maybe they are staying close to the action, kind of like keep your friends close and enemies closer? I don't know, just a thought.
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Old October 8, 2012, 01:06 PM   #10
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ATF regularly has tables at DFW area gun shows and has for over a decade.
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Old October 8, 2012, 01:08 PM   #11
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ok thanks tom...this was the first time I noticed them at the show in Chantilly
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Old October 8, 2012, 01:10 PM   #12
powell
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Atf has been at our gun shows in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids for about 10 years now. Never had a problem with them.
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Old October 8, 2012, 01:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Atf has been at our gun shows in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids for about 10 years now. Never had a problem with them.
I do not remember them at the Des Moines shows. I will make a point of looking next time, I have a few questions to ask them.
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Old October 8, 2012, 01:22 PM   #14
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Hey, I'd much rather have the ATF at the gun shows, instead of your elected officials shutting them down. If that makes the feds happy, then I'm fine with it. I just find it a bit odd for them to have a table there. I'm assuming that they need to pay the same rate as everyone else to have a table at the show.

Also, I wonder if the ATF agents have to pay the same admission fee?
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Old October 8, 2012, 01:39 PM   #15
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There are ATF guys who walk around large gun shows in "casual clothes" and try to talk dealers and customers into doing something illegal. We all knew they were ATF but they would come to our shows anyway. I used to see this all through the 1990s on the Midwestern U.S. show circuit. They all looked like they got lost from the country club and stood out from everybody else. Yeah, I would like to know if they paid the same table fees as the rest of us. Nah. Pay no attention to the ones sitting at a table. They're just window dressing. But look at everybody else like they might have a gold badge.
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Old October 8, 2012, 04:49 PM   #16
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Have seen them at a few gunshows. And honestly, I like it. They have documentation on getting an FFL, they can hand out Form 1s and Form 4s along with fingerprint cards, etc.

Also it's nice to meet ATF agents that aren't kicking down doors and shooting dogs because someone put a vertical foregrip on their pistol.
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Old October 8, 2012, 05:16 PM   #17
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Quote:
Also it's nice to meet ATF agents that aren't kicking down doors and shooting dogs because someone put a vertical foregrip on their pistol.
While I won't deny the horrific abuses that have taken place, the majority of agents on the ground are just trying to do an honest job. If they can do some good by educating folks, all the better.
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Old October 8, 2012, 05:20 PM   #18
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did they sell any thing?

Lots of people like their products
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Old October 8, 2012, 06:13 PM   #19
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Seems like a good way to get some good PR with gun owners- just get a nice personable agent or two at the table, and they must also be a source of good info. I'm not seeing a problem
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Old October 8, 2012, 10:11 PM   #20
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They have been at the Arizona shows regularly for quite some time. The ones doing PR duty wear black polo shirts with ATF embroidered on the breast. The rest of them are undercover and you can bet they are hard to spot. I ws going out to my car and they were busting a couple dudes for something as they reached their car (about 3 cars down from mine). There must have been 8-10 agents with their badges hanging around their necks, there were even two females. What I noticed was they were a mix of white and hispanic (lots of that ethinic in Az) and they seemed to fall into two visual types...
1. Tall (like 6'5" tall) clean cut, late 20's-mid 30's athletic type.
2. Dirtbag biker material, unkempt slob looking - these you would have a very hard time spotting in a typical gun show crowd - they look like many of the bubba's and low life so often seen (no reflection of current company... just say'in).
3.Same for the females - they looked well kempt but a little on the lower end of town side- like a normal gun chick, but their badges sure were bright and shiny.

One tip off is they almost always work in pairs when trying to get someone to screw up. One does the talking and the other is the silent buddy observing everything.
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Old October 8, 2012, 10:36 PM   #21
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Never seen ATF, but locally PD, uniformed and Non-uniformed but with badge out on belt.
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Old October 9, 2012, 08:23 AM   #22
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Quote:
One tip off is they almost always work in pairs when trying to get someone to screw up. One does the talking and the other is the silent buddy observing everything.
Never seen them at a table, but have suspected the above to be true - you know, those "deals" that seem too good to be true. The random, shady looking guy who has a van out in the lot with stuff that you'll just love.

Happened a couple times now - may have been legit sellers, but I always trust my gut, and my gut said run
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Old October 9, 2012, 10:05 AM   #23
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Yup, almost always two of them. Just like the FBI.
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Old October 9, 2012, 10:19 AM   #24
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Just Private and Protective !!

I'm finding some replies of interest. It should be obvious that these guys would not be there if they didn't have to. Yes, they are providing some service but what is their agenda? Next time I run into them, I'm going to ask them why they are there. .....

Be Safe !!!
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Old October 9, 2012, 10:33 AM   #25
dogtown tom
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Some of these descriptions of "ATF agents" are hysterical....really.

The ATF folks sitting behind the tables at gunshows ARE NOT Enforcement Agents, but Industry Operations Investigators....ie they don't carry guns, they're beancounters.

If you don't know the difference, how the heck do you think you can recognise them?
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