Saturday, November 20, 2010

"Cease and Desist." ATF fires a shot across the bow of a Montana firearms component manufacturer. His lawyer fires back.

Regular readers will be familiar with the Montana Firearms Freedom Act. The ATF and U.S. Justice Department have been making threatening noises, vowing legal action against anyone who thumbs their nose at the federal leviathan by obeying a state law.

Some of you will also be familiar with the case of Richard Celata and KT Ordnance from back in 2006. Richard was manufacturing 80% complete receivers and the ATF decided they'd seize his property.

Well, the rumor is going around Montana that Richard might be interested in manufacturing firearms consistent with the Montana Firearms Freedom Act. Enter the Arrogant Thug Force. I certify that this is a true transcript of a copy of a letter I received just this afternoon. I will post the original later, probably on Scribd.




Richard P. Celeta
382 Adams Lane
Dillon, Montana 59725


Dear Richard Celata,

Recently your participation in the purchase and sale of firearms has come to the attention of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). ATF is responsible for enforcement of the Federal firearms laws and, as part of that duty, ATF licenses those persons lawfully dealing in firearms and prevents unlicensed dealing in violation of Federal law. We seek the cooperative efforts of the general public in fulfilling this mandate.

Your firearms activity appears to bring you within the definition of a dealer in firearms as that term is defined by the Gun Control Act. A "dealer" in firearms includes persons engaged in the business of buying and selling firearms at wholesale and retail. A person engages in business as a dealer in firearms by devoting time, attention, and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms. See 18 U.S.C. S 921(a)(21)(C). A person convicted of unlawfully engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license is subject to imprisonment for not more than 5 years and/or a fine of up to $250,000.

This letter serves to officially advise you to cease and desist engaging in the business of dealing in firearms until you have sought and obtained a Federal firearms license. A Federal firearms license would authorize the purchase and resale of firearms from a licensed business premises, Continued activity without the required license could result in a recommendation for criminal prosecution.

An Application for License, ATF Form 7, may be obtained from the ATF Distribution Center by calling (301) 583-4696, or by placing an order for an application at

Sincerely yours,

(MBV Note: Scrawled signature which appears to be D. Dawson, which would be Douglas Dawson, Assistant Special Agent In Charge, Denver Field Division.)

Special Agent in Charge

(MBV Note: Maybe Dawson gave himself a promotion.)

So that was the shot across the bow. Mr. Celata's lawyer decided that one shot across the bow deserved another, so he fired this back:

1821 South Avenue West, Third Floor
Missoula, MT 59801
Telephone: (406) 721-9700

Stewart Brown
Division Counsel
Denver Field Division
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
1961 Stout Street, Room 674
Denver, Colorado 80294


Dear Mr. Brown,

We represent Richard Celata. He was hand-delivered the enclosed undated "Notice of Unlicensed Firearms Dealing in Violation of Federal Law" on November 10, 2010.

Be advised that Mr. Celata is not now, and has never, dealt in the purchase and sale of firearms, with or without a license to do so. Still, he does make a living, in part, by manufacturing and selling components that can be made ultimately into firearms. He is therefore very worried and intimidated by your agency's letter. In short, you vague but very intimidating demand that Mr. Celata "cease and desist" threatens his livelihood, as well as his freedom, without stating any factual basis for your command.

Frankly it is shocking to me that the Government of the United States of America would make such vague and intimidating demands absent all specific allegation or direction. This is a clear and inexcusable violation of due process. In response to your demand, we demand, on behalf of Mr. Celata, the the BATFE identify the specific items in which you allege he is dealing that you allege to be firearms. (MBV Note: Emphasis in the original.)

Please respond to this letter immediately. Every day that goes by is another violation of Mr. Celata's due process, and costs him not only money, but peace of mind. If we do not hear from you by December 1, 2010, Mr. Celata has authorized us to sue the Government in federal court for a declaratory judgment, as well as actual damages and attorney fees.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.


(MBV Note: Illegible scrawl signature.)

Quentin M. Rhoades.

cc: Richard Celata

We will see how this goes.



Dennis308 said...

Mr.Celata is a very brave man and I wish him the best of luck and he will be in my prayers.


Anonymous said...

God Bless this guy and his attorney(s). I'll be praying for them.....they'll need it.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Sipsey for posting this.
I would like to clarify the comment on “the rumor is going around Montana that Richard might be interested in manufacturing firearms consistent with the Montana Firearms Freedom Act (MMFA).”
It is true that I am interest, I had input in writing that law, BUT, I have never acted on that interest.
I am waiting for the law suit Gary Marbet filed. So, I do not believe this terrorist aggression by the ATF is related to MFFA. At this point we do not know what it is related to.
Richard Celata
KT Ordnance

Pat H. said...

I have notified some "friends" in Montana of this event, they'll be tracking it closely.

Further, if any FreeFor are located in Colorado, they may wish to monitor the BATFAE office there.

As an aside, note that the initial letter contains one of the BATFAE's fictions, that is their desire to be referred to as a "three letter agency", by reducing Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives down to ATF. Unless Arson was removed from their actual name, they are in fact the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, Arson, and Explosives, BATFAE (pronounced Batt Fay).

Always refer to them by their full identifier; they hate it.

Defender said...

NAPA, Auto Zone, Advance Auto Parts and Pep Boys have shelves and shelves of car parts you can go and buy. Do they have to have a car dealer license? No, that wouldn't make ANY sense. It's amazing what some people think DOES.
Then there's that "shall not be infringed" thing.
Question authority.

Anonymous said...

Check out this ruling. Way back in 1997. I'd say that Montana has the leverage.

Anonymous said...

We may see, but ultimately it may just be not in words but rather actions!
Plan, prepare and survive.

Bad Cyborg said...

I certainly hope Mister Quentin M. Rhoades is a criminal defense attorney - and a damn good one at that. If the boys and girls can get a guy sent up the river for selling a machine that can be made to exhibit a KNOWN malfunction, then putting Celata away for a good long time should be trivial. Something tells me that with Travers at the helm it will also become a LOT more common.


Bad Cyborg X

Anonymous said...

I like the Auto Zone, auto dealership analogy.

What's more disturbing is the need for "licensing" of virtually every trade and profession out there. Jeez, you need a license to cut someone's hair.

The fact that we jump through these hoops simply to eke out a living is disconcerting.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Celeta, you are standing toe-to-toe with the Leviathan. For that, sir, you are a brave and honorable man.

I am sorry the government, which no longer operates at the will of the people, is trying to bankrupt you and alienate you from the rights granted you by Almighty God.

Have courage, sir. Stand Fast! We are watching.


Anonymous said...

For those of you who haven't read it yet, I must adamantly beg you to read "Neither Predator Nor Prey" by Mark Spungin. $20 pp.

Story of fedgov cracking down on Wyoming gunowners and the consequences of their actions. Great read, right along with "Unintended Consequences" by John Ross and "Molon Labe" by Boston T. Party.

As Pat H. says, it's time to start watching the watchers.
Semper Fi,0321

Ilya said...

If the law does NOT specify "firearms and/or parts there of" then Mr. Celata should be on the safe side. It's another question if he manufactures all components that make a firearm usable as such. Then he might be in trouble. So far the loophole is in his favor and I wish him all the best.

Anonymous said...

I see this situation as great news re: .gov overreach. The BATFAE wish to retry CW1. The US Constitution clearly delineates the "powers" of the States vs. the limited powers of the federal government.
I pray that both the target of this infringement and his legal firm (heroic) stand strong in the days ahead. Millions of citizens are watching. We wish justice be done. We will be heard.

TheBronze said...

His lawyer should've spell-checked that letter, before he sent it to the ATF.

I doubt the ATF is worried about a lawyer that isn't professional enough to spell-check his work.

Prayers be with Mr. Celeta.

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