Tactics of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms outlined in this report from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel make about as much sense as… putting guns in the hands of Mexican drug cartels:
Aaron Key wasn’t sure he wanted a tattoo on his neck. Especially one of a giant squid smoking a joint.
But the guys running Squid’s Smoke Shop in Portland, Ore., convinced him: It would be a perfect way to promote their store.
They would even pay him and a friend $150 apiece if they agreed to turn their bodies into walking billboards.
Key, who is mentally disabled, was swayed.
He and his friend, Marquis Glover, liked Squid’s. It was their hangout. The 19-year-olds spent many afternoons there playing Xbox and chatting with the owner, “Squid,” and the store clerks.
So they took the money and got the ink etched on their necks, tentacles creeping down to their collarbones.
It would be months before the young men learned the whole thing was a setup. The guys running Squid’s were actually undercover ATF agents conducting a sting to get guns away from criminals and drugs off the street.
The tattoos had been sponsored by the U.S. government; advertisements for a fake storefront.
The Journal-Sentinel’s report also includes other examples of “rogue tactics” used by the ATF, an agency with a $1.2 billion budget. Needless to say, tattoos promoting fake gun shops are just the tip of the iceberg. There’s also evidence that the ATF:
- used mentally disabled individuals and drug addicts;
- oversaw minors using drugs and provided them with alcohol;
- participated in the buying and selling of stolen goods and weapons, including several stolen from local police;
- sold firearms to convicted felons; and
- damaged private property and left repair bills unpaid.