In an unprecedented move, twenty armed Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents carried out a raid on a gun store in Great Falls, Montana, seizing all Form 4473s – documents that record buyer’s information during firearms transactions.
Tom Van Hoose, owner of Highwood Creek Outfitters, alleges that he has been under constant surveillance by state and federal agencies for over two years, KRTV reported.
On Wednesday, the gun shop owner reported an unexpected visit from 20 heavily armed IRS agents at his store.
The agents reportedly arrived at the shop early in the morning, as Van Hoose was opening for the day.
“We have now confirmed that both the IRS and the ATF were at Highwood Creek Outfitters in Great Falls around 7 am this morning. Both the IRS and ATF would not say why they were there,” KMON Radio reported.
“A spokeswoman for the IRS would only say they were there on official IRS business. The ATF says it was providing assistance to the IRS. We attempted to enter the store today and were stopped by agents at the door who would only say that the gun store is closed and will reopen tomorrow,” the news outlet added.
According to Hoose, the federal scrutiny began two years ago and has involved various agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, and now, the Internal Revenue Service.
“They must think we’re making a fortune in the gun business to investigate us like this, assuming we’re hiding thousands, hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars. However, anyone familiar with gun business profit margins would know that’s not the case,” Van Hoose told MTN News.
Van Hoose claims that he was simply told his business had been reported, although he remains in the dark about who reported it or why. He conjectures that the whole episode is politically motivated, part of a nationwide pattern.
“I can only assume that it’s because of the style of weapons that we have and the press that’s so against them,” said Van Hoose. “The current administration seems to be hell bent on getting those guns out of the hands of average Americans.”
While he admitted that the agents were professional in their conduct, Van Hoose couldn’t help but feel violated. The day’s operations were disrupted, leading to a significant loss of revenue.
“I had about 30 minutes to operate, making just a single $16 sale,” Hoose said.
Highwood Creek Outfitters is America’s largest online firearms and accessories mall, according to its website. The store is known for selling what Van Hoose calls “fun guns,” including AR-15’s and AK-47s. He believes that the type of weapons they offer results in greater scrutiny due to the licensing requirements associated with such firearms.
Despite this, Van Hoose emphasizes his good relationship with the ATF, which was also present during the IRS visit. “We are known for meticulous adherence to laws and regulations. It’s not worth getting into trouble,” he added.
The Great Falls Police Department confirmed it was informed about the investigation and provided security.
Although the Montana Department of Justice claimed no involvement in the incident, an IRS spokesperson confirmed their presence at Highwood Creek Outfitters but refrained from providing further details.
The recent incident has attracted political attention, with Congressman Matt Rosendale expressing his concern over the IRS and ATF’s actions, interpreting them as another example of the Biden regime’s weaponization of federal agencies against hardworking Americans.
“I’m incredibly disturbed by initial reports that the IRS and ATF closed Highwood Creek Outfitters without any warning today,” said Rep Rosendale in a statement.
“This is yet another example of the Biden Administration weaponizing federal agencies to target and harass hardworking Americans. We cannot allow Biden to continue expanding these agencies to infringe on our liberties,” he added.
On Friday afternoon, the congressman announced he sent a letter to ATF Director Steven Dettelbach and IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel, asking for answers.
“Under Director Dettelbach’s leadership of the ATF, a pattern of intimidation and harassment against hardworking Americans has emerged – Montanans will not tolerate these political witch hunts. I remind both Director Dettelbach and Commissioner Werfel that Congress has the power of the purse, and I will ensure that funding for these agencies is not weaponized against the American people,” Rosendale said in his letter.
Read the full letter here.