In an alarming act of regulatory overreach, federal agents armed with high-powered firearms descended upon a gun store in Great Falls, Montana on Wednesday, demanding hundreds of background check forms that contained the personal information of its customers.
The raid, undertaken by at least 20 IRS and ATF agents, was met with acrimony from Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.), who said it was an example of Joe Biden "weaponizing federal agencies to target and harass hardworking Americans for exercising their constitutional rights."
The incident prompted Rosendale to send a letter to the heads of the IRS and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives insisting that this case did not warrant the confiscation of 4473s, the federally mandated forms all firearm buyers must complete before undergoing a background check.
"There is no circumstance in which 4473s would be necessary in an investigation spearheaded by the IRS," he wrote, adding that it was an "egregious breach of privacy" that showed "no regard for federal law."
Highwood Creek Outfitters' owner Tom Van Hoose was opening his store when he saw the agents pull up in the parking lot. He said he felt immense powerlessness as they seized the forms, which he had no legal obligation to relinquish. Many are now concerned that this is part of a larger effort to harass gun owners and trample the Second Amendment.
The incident came just days after the Biden Administration announced its plans to hire 87,000 IRS agents, an act Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) said "conveyed an ominous message: the IRS is preparing for a major tax collector’s era of heavy-handed enforcement activities."
Nate Catura, vice president of the National Rifle Association and President of NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, echoed this sentiment and called on the Biden administration to stop weaponizing federal agencies.
"This raid on a Montana gun store is directly related to the Biden White House’s antipathy towards the Second Amendment," Catura said. “It also serves as a troubling reminder of the power of the federal bureaucracy".
The situation is being closely monitored by gun rights advocates, who view it as a sign that the federal government is using heavy-handed tactics to undermine the Second Amendment. If true, this would be deeply concerning to anyone who values freedom and respects the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.