Documents Point To ATF Raid On ‘lanza Gun Shop’ Being A Staged Media Event

Evidence points to a December raid of the Riverview Gun Shop in East Windsor, Conn., where Sandy Hook Elementary School murderer Adam Lanza’s mother reportedly purchased the Bushmaster rifle used in the massacre, as being an event staged more for media fanfare than for public safety, legal documents issued to authorize the raid indicate.

Gun Rights Examiner has been sitting on much of this information since since the evening of the raid, but has held onto it pending further corroboration of certain information. With the publication in this column on August 29 of such information, further details can now be shared.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which conducted the raid with local police to close the shop and seize records and contents, had been documenting and communicating with the store owner about compliance issues for years, and had even withheld from that owner evidence of illegal activity on the part of a key employee for months, the warrant and notice of revocation authorizing the store’s closure reveal. Further, the timing of a detailed news report of the raid suggests the bureau had set the reporters up with a complete story ready to publish before the raid took place, a marked deviation from practices relied on by ATF and the Justice Department when they have refused to share information with oversight investigations because ongoing investigations might become compromised.

The sale of the firearm to Nancy Lanza complied with all applicable laws, so that was not an issue behind the raid, although it guaranteed a national media spotlight guaranteed to create the impression that the enforcement agency was responding swiftly and decisively on the case. At issue are a series of noncompliance findings against Riverview dating back to 2007, according to the notice of revocation signed by Director of Industry Operations Kenneth E. Hoachens, and “delivered” to Riverview/Federal Firearms Licensee David E. LaGuercia “by personal service” on December 20. [Note: Gun Rights Examiner has been allowed to review these documents. Those interested in tracking down a copy should refer to Case Number BNX: 120655 from ATF’s Boston Field Division.]

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