'Soviet style intimidation': Armed IRS agents raid, close gun shop, U.S. lawmaker says

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Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) is demanding answers after he says a group of armed IRS agents raided and temporarily closed a Montana gun shop in Great Falls Wednesday.

"This event is another example of President Biden weaponizing federal agencies to target and harass hardworking Americans for exercising their constitutional rights," Rosendale said in a letter to leaders of the Internal Revenue Service and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Twenty heavily armed federal agents pulled in behind Highwood Creek Outfitters' owner Tom Van Hoose as he arrived at his shop Wednesday morning, KRTV reported.

IRS agents confiscated background check forms from the store that contained sensitive personal information about all customers who ever purchased a gun at the shop. The forms do not include financial information, Rosendale said, calling the act an "egregious breach of privacy" that "showed no regard for federal law."

"There is no circumstance in which 4473s would be necessary in an investigation spearheaded by the IRS," Rosendale said in a letter addressed to ATF Director Steven Dettelbach and IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel.

Rosendale asked the ATF and IRS to "cease conducting these Soviet-style intimidation raids." He also included a list of questions about what spurred the action, setting a June 23 deadline for response.

Van Hoose told the outlet his shop has been surveilled by state and federal agencies for the past two years. He says he believes the actions are part of a pattern.

"The current administration seems hell bent on getting those guns out of the hands of average Americans," Van Hoose said, referring to the style of weapons he sells.

Van Hoose said that though the agents were cordial and professional, he felt "invaded" and lost nearly an entire day's business.

"Given the positions of the Biden Administration, this raid appears to be an attempt to intimidate firearms dealers and owners," Rosendale said in his letter to the leaders of the ATF and the IRS.

"This pattern [of intimidation and harassment] appears to be orchestrated directly from the White House," Rosendale also wrote.

"The weaponization of our government must be STOPPED, which is why I sent a letter to ATF Director Dettelbach and IRS Commissioner Werfel demanding answers about this outrageous attack, and have used every tool available to me to remove funding for the 87,000 additional IRS agents!" Rep. Rosendale wrote in a Facebook post Friday.
Rosendale responded to initial reports of the investigation on Flag Day, June 14, saying he was "incredibly disturbed" about the IRS and ATF reportedly closing Highwood Creek Outfitters without warning.

"This is yet another example of the Biden Administration weaponizing federal agencies to target and harass hardworking Americans," Rosendale tweeted Wednesday.

\u201cI\u2019m incredibly disturbed by initial reports that the IRS and ATF closed Highwood Creek Outfitters without any warning today. This is yet another example of the Biden Administration weaponizing federal agencies to target and harass hardworking Americans.\u201d
— Matt Rosendale (@Matt Rosendale) 1686785205

The Great Falls Police Department received notification of the operation and provided security, KTVQ reported.

A spokesperson for IRS Criminal Investigation told the Billlings Gazette they would reach out when more information became available, saying only that "IRS Criminal Investigation was on site as part of their official business." The ATF referred the Gazette's inquiries to the IRS.

TheBlaze reached out to Van Hoose for comment, but did not hear back in time for publication.

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Gun shop owners see spike in Asian Americans buying firearms amid ongoing attacks

Gun shop owners are seeing a spike in firearms purchases by Asian Americans according to a new report, reupping a trend that began at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What are the details?

Forbes reported Thursday that one New York gun store owner says "his gun sales have doubled during the pandemic, and about half of his business comes from Asian-Americans."

A shop in California told the outlet that "there's been a 20% increase in Asian-American first-time customers to her store over the last year, compared to the year before."

Another dealer in Oregon relayed to Forbes that "there's been a significant increase in Asian-American customers to about five or six per day, compared to before the pandemic, when there were only two or three per month."

Firearms sellers reported seeing the same trend a year ago after the coronavirus began impacting the U.S., and as violence against Asian Americans surged. But the surge of purchases — and violence — is ongoing.

According to KPIX-TV, "hate crimes against Asian Americans rose 150% in 2020, even as hate crimes overall declined."

The Hill reported that the issue is boiling over in Congress, after being ratcheted up this week after eight people — six of whom were Asian American women — were gunned down allegedly by a white male in Atlanta, Georgia.

Officials have not ruled out the possibility that the murders were a hate crime, but questions loom over the motivation of the suspect who is purportedly a sex addict targeting massage parlors over the "shame" of his addiction.

Several Democratic politicians have pointed to the tragedy as an example for why the U.S. should implement further gun control laws. Folks on the other side of the argument say the spike in violence is why Asian Americans should utilize their Second Amendment rights.

Competitive shooter and Second Amendment activist Chris Cheng told Bearing Arms in the wake of the Atlanta tragedy and other attacks against Asian Americans that he is encouraged to see the evidence that more members of his community are arming themselves.

"It's a mindset," Cheng said. "It's an attitude. It's a philosophy and a set of values that says 'I am responsible for my self protection and personal defense, and I have the Second Amendment right to own a firearm; to defend myself, to protect my family and protect my community."

Cheng asserted, "That rooftop Korean mentality is making a comeback," referring to "rooftop Koreans" who protected their businesses during the 1992 Los Angeles riots following the beating of Rodney King.

"It's surging throughout the Asian American community and spurring, at minimum, conversations about whether an Asian decides to purchase a firearm," he continued. "And then, of course, many Asian Americans are taking that step of going to the gun store and purchasing their very first firearm, and I applaud that."