Watch: Armed ATF Agents Show up at Gun Owner's Home Unannounced, to Inspect Lawfully Purchased Guns

ATF agents conduct a surprise inspection of a Delaware gun owner's firearms at his home without a search warrant. Credit: Armed American News

Remember the claim from the ATF — that no one is coming for your weapons and no one is keeping track of your weapons? Meh, maybe they are.

Apparently, there are several parts of the Gun Control Act of 1968 that allow the ATF to show up at your door unannounced, and without a warrant, ask to see the weapons you just bought. I knew of the allowance for unannounced inspection of National Firearms Act of 1934 NFA licensees (ATF can show up without a warrant, once a year, for inspection of business premises), but beyond that, the feds require a reason and that reason needs to be in a warrant signed by a judge. Apparently you still have 4th Amendment rights, even with an NFT. The Gun Control Act applies, of course, to a Federal Firearms Licensee FFLs, but inspection of records or firearms or premises do not apply to private residences. That, presumably, requires a warrant.


Nonetheless, ATF can, and apparently will, show up at private residences of firearm owners, announced, and ask to see your firearms. If this seems out of a dystopian novel or the fevered dreams of Biden nominees, you’d be wrong. It happened in Delaware, according to an exclusive report and video by Armed American News. Anytime guys with badges and guns ask you questions, most law-abiding people get flustered. Even getting stopped for a broken taillight can rattle people, but if a half-dozen armed men show up at your door and ask to see your weapons, you might feel intimidated.

A man in Delaware had the local cops and agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms show up at his front door recently. He’s a law abiding gun owner, not a suspected criminal. The cops and agents were all armed, of course. ATF wanted to see his weapons. The man owned several guns, and he had made a number of purchases since 2020. ATF didn’t have a warrant; they just had a list of his firearm purchases, and they wanted to see the guns he purchased.

You can watch it here or at the Twitter link below.


I didn’t know that this process was part the Gun Control Act, but it is. If, for instance, you decide to buy two handguns at the same time, the FFL is required to submit a form informing ATF of that purchase. You’re then on a list, and the ATF might show up at your door with a list, asking to see your weapons. There are (apparently) three reasons for ATF to show demanding to see your recent purchases.

  1. Tracing: If your legally purchased gun is later stolen, and then used in a crime, the ATF will show up asking questions. This seems perfectly reasonable.
  2. Investigating multiple gun purchases. That is what happened in Delaware. The owner purchased his guns, the FFL filed out the paperwork, and AFT showed up at his door.
  3. Conducting a welfare check. If you thought “Red Flags” were new, they are not.

Assuming ATF shows up with local cops in tow, do you have to let them in your home? No, not without a warrant. And if they have a warrant, they are required to hand you a copy. Do you have to show them the weapons you purchased? No, not without a warrant, and there has to be specificity in the warrant allowing for that.

The Delaware owner took the “I have nothing to hide” route and for him, it was the right route to take. The agents were respectful and didn’t demand to see more than one weapon. They didn’t demand to enter the residence, and they left, satisfied.


Bottom line, if you purchase more than one gun at a time, don’t be surprised if ATF shows up at your door.


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