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Bryan Malinowski and Biden's New Rules For Gun Owners

Will the ATF knock on your door even in rural Arkansas?

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Bryan Malinowski sold firearms as a hobby. He sold them at gun shows and to private individuals. He collected them, too.

Did his hobby kill him?

On March 19, agents with the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives raided Malinowski’s Little Rock home at dawn with a federal search warrant.

Gunfire was exchanged. Malinowski, who was executive director of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport, was shot in his head and died on March 21.

Last week, it was confirmed that the ATF agents were not wearing active body-worn cameras when they raided Malinowski’s home. However, the Department of Justice has said that the requirement for body cams is rolling out in phases. The Arkansas phase is not fully implemented.

Numerous Arkansas elected officials, including Republican U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton have called for an investigation.

An ATF policy issued on June 2, 2022, about body cams, stated that “ATF agents shall wear body worn cameras when executing search warrants.”

On Monday, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to Steven Dettelbach, director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, asked the ATF to provide all documents and communications connected to the raid.

The House Judiciary has jurisdiction over the ATF.

A spokesperson for Bruce Westerman, Arkansas’ congressman from the 4th District, told South Arkansas Reckoning on Tuesday that “Congressman Westerman has spoken to other members regarding the Malinowski case, including Judiciary Chairman Jordan and Oversight Chairman Comer. He has serious concerns with the limited information provided by the ATF thus far. The Congressman is going to continue to work with his colleagues in Congress to gather more information and work hard to hold the appropriate people accountable, if needed.”

Arkansas State Police officials in a news release on Monday stated the Malinowski case file compiled by Criminal Investigation Division agents will be sent to the 6th Judicial District prosecuting attorney’s office today.

Was Malinowski a victim of a Biden-Harris final rule to implement its Bipartisan Safer Communities Act’s expansion of firearm background checks?

That’s unclear — so far — but the Safer Communities’ Act is against firearm enthusiasts like Malinowski.

Bud Cummins, a former U.S attorney in the George W. Bush Administration, is the Malinowski family’s attorney.

“Based on my own DOJ experience, this feels like an agency trying to score brownie points by targeting a high profile person to arrest right before the President’s political announcement of new gun show regulations,” Cummins said. “It looks more and more like ATF targeted Malinowski for politics and publicity. They had a search warrant so they didn’t need him to be present at all but they intentionally came at 6:00 a.m. because they wanted him to be there. Publicity.”

The Biden-Harris Administration

 

On April 11 the White House released a lengthy “Fact Sheet” entitled “Biden-⁠Harris Administration Announces New Action to Implement Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, Expanding Firearm Background Checks to Fight Gun Crime.”

“This action is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s strategy to stem the flow of illegally acquired firearms into our communities and hold accountable those who supply the firearms used in crime,” it stated. 

Vice President Kamala Harris said in the fact sheet,“Today, as the head of the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention, I am proud to say that all gun dealers must conduct background checks no matter where or how they sell,”

This final rule changes gun licenses and gun selling — two issues that have recently become hot topics because of Malinowski’s death.

The fact sheet stated that the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) final rule “clarifies the type of conduct that requires a person to get a license to sell guns and to conduct background checks. By setting clear standards for when someone is dealing firearms, the rule provides the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) with proactive tools to enforce the law and keep our communities safe.”

That new rule notes that if a person is repetitively selling guns of the same or similar make and model within one year of their purchase, they are supposed to become a licensed dealer. 

The same goes if a person “repetitively sells firearms within thirty days of purchasing those firearms, or selling firearms and tells potential buyers that they can acquire additional firearms for that buyer to purchase, the seller is supposed to become a licensed dealer.”

The release continues: “It does not matter whether you are dealing firearms at a gun show, online, in your home, in the trunk of a car, at a flea market, or anywhere else—you must obtain a license and run background check results. Evidence that a person placed ads online or reserved a table at a gun show shows that the person is intending to profit from the sale.”

Did Malinowski know?

 

According to Page 21 of the ATF search warrant that ultimately led to the Malinowski’s death, it states that “ATF S/As acting in an undercover capacity, conducted an undercover purchase of firearms at a gun show.”

The warrant states on Page 22 that “Malinowski stated he was a private seller therefore no paper work was needed to be filled out for a purchase. Malinowski stated that the customer just had to be over 21. Malinowski stated he receives payment via cash, paypal and zelle.”

Malinowski sold guns as hobby, according to several people including Cummins. Malinowski often attended gun shows around the state. The ATF unsealed search warrant stated Malinowski bought more than 150 guns from 2021 to 2024.

“I have not found anyone who thinks Bryan had any inkling about ATF concerns or that he might have even known he was possibly in violation of the subjective regulations,” Cummins said. “Everyone I have interviewed who knew Bryan is completely convinced that he would have never jeopardized his career for the sake of his sometimes weekend hobby.”

Cummins added: “Fundamental fairness and common sense dictate that the appropriate action here would’ve been a warning letter. ATF wanted a high profile prosecution to offer up to get brownie points from this administration which was simultaneously trying to close the gun show loophole through the same regulations.”

Gun owners cite that many people collect guns and ultimately sell them to friends and family. In rural Arkansas, for example, families often inherit large valuable gun collections. 

The Biden-Harris Release states, “The final rule makes clear that a personal collection of firearms is limited to collections acquired for specific reasons like study; comparison; exhibition; or for a hobby, like hunting or sport shooting. A bona fide personal collection is not the same as business inventory.”

But what really constitutes a collection?

Even having a single firearm transaction may be sufficient to require a license, under the Biden-Harris Administration, if “other behavior to suggest commercial activity. For example, a person selling just one gun and then saying to others they are willing and able to purchase more firearms for resale may be required to obtain a license and run background checks.”

Gun dealers often have their licenses revoked and sell their former business inventory without running background checks. Business inventory cannot be “transferred to a person’s personal collection after a license is revoked. Instead, a business could dispose of this inventory through another licensed seller who runs background checks.”

President Joe Biden “secured the confirmation of ATF Director Steve Dettelbach, the first permanent ATF Director in over seven years to lead the agency tasked with enforcing our nation’s gun laws.”

Dettelbach is now a key player in yhe Malinowski case. 

The 6 a.m. encounter

 

The raid on Malinowski’s house occurred on March 19. The Biden-Harris Administration announced the new rules on April 11. The rules are expected to take effect in 30 days.

Even without the Malinowski case, gun owners see a disturbing pattern eroding their Second Amendment rights.

“The Community Safe Act is designed to implement universal background checks which creates a registry prior to future confiscation,” said Gary Epperson, president of Gun Owners of Arkansas.

Epperson is not alone. Westerman said he has already signed onto legislation to counter the Biden-Harris Administration on guns.

“This announcement by the DOJ is just another overreaching step by the Biden Administration in its attack on Americans’ Second Amendment rights,” Westerman said. “I’ve already signed onto legislation to defund this rule, and I am working with my colleagues to advance further legislative solutions to defend our Second Amendment rights and directly counteract this onerous regulation.”

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