Army Reservist pilloried by ATF

| January 4, 2023


Bear with me on this one – it’s a little convoluted.  Doesn’t make the big ‘pro-gun’ groups look too good, either. It all starts with the 2001 murder of an Assistant US attorney Thomas Wales (who was also a leader of the gun ban movement in Seattle).

Allegedly, ballistics tests revealed the murder weapon was to be a Makarov pistol outfitted with an after-market replacement barrel. The FBI went on a quest looking for every one of owners of the known 3,500 barrels ever made.

That quest brought the FBI to Belleview, WA gun collector Albert Kwan’s home. The bureau agents wanted to borrow and test fire Kwan’s Makarov pistol they believed was outfitted with an after-market replacement barrel. Kwan refused the request because the gun was new and unfired. Kwan’s reasoning was that this would destroy the value of his property.

Never knew I could have been under suspicion, had an after-market .380 barrel for a 9×18 Makarov once. Now, one would think some middle ground could have been found – Makarov barrels aren’t THAT hard to change, albeit not as easy  as a 1911 or HiPower, but it can be done by many home enthusiasts. Remove the barrel, fit it into another gun, and fire IT, get your rifling data. Problem solved. (Noting in fairness that with a different barrel than original, that ‘collector value’ sounds a bit of a straw argument.)

Now’s when it gets ugly on the part of ATF:

They obtained a search warrant, kicked his door down and seized every firearm in his home. Kwan legally owned 100 machine guns along with some run of the mill semi-automatic firearms. The Agents took one of Kwan’s rifles, a Springfield, semi-automatic M-14 copy, remanufactured the receiver, and installed new parts turning it to a machine gun! Since that Springfield was not registered as a machine gun the agents charged Kwan for the federal felony under the National Firearms Act of 1934. CrimeWeb

Yes, a semi-auto M-14. This particular gun started life as an auto, was made inoperable (the term is “DEWAT” – DEactivated WAr Trophy”, sorta like the welded-receiver machine guns you can find) and then refurbished as a semi-auto legal rifle. Not that it mattered much, Kwan had several collectors’ licenses and could have legally owned an M-14 anyway. But understand this…the ATF took one of KWAN’s guns, remachined it and replaced parts to make it a functional full auto – and then charged KWAN with having an unlicensed full auto.

This exposure did serious damage to Albert Kwan’s reputation, destroying his commercial real estate business, costing him his Top-Secret security clearance, and causing him to be suspended from his position in the US Army Reserves.

The goal of the ATF investigation was to turn Kwan into a witness against someone else. Reminds me of Ruby Ridge, when the ATF persuaded Randy Weaver to cut off shotgun barrels, then charged him with having sawed-off shotguns below legal length.

As I understand it, they contacted Kwan and asked to look at his gun collection (housed in his home, along with his home-based FFL business),” Knox recalls. “In accordance with advice from his attorney, Albert told them they would need to talk with his attorney. He subsequently turned over his entire Makarov collection, through his attorney, including the gun with the aftermarket barrel installed, but the investigators were unsatisfied and felt that Albert was being ‘uncooperative,’… As for the charges Kwan was brought to trial on, the first being illegal possession of an unregistered machine gun, as Knox notes, the jury decided it was a semiauto—but because ATF had converted it to fire full auto to try and convict him, there was no “legal” mechanism for them to convert it back and return his property. The jury did side with the government on the second charge, possession of an unregistered Short-Barreled Rifle (again, as noted, Kwan had an HK VP70Z pistol that “was capable of accepting” a shoulder stock, “but the judge learned that the BATFE had misrepresented several pertinent facts, and he reversed the jury verdict, declaring a mistrial.”

Buckeye Firearms

Since then ATF has denied renewal on any of his licenses. And, despite pleas to the major gun-rights groups (by which I would assume Mssrs. Gottlieb’s and LaPierre’s organizations) zero assistance has been forthcoming.  Must not have enough new suits in the offing for LaPierre’s wardrobe, I guess.

Maybe the folks who call for the FBI to be disbanded should shift their their attention to the BATFE?

Apropos of nothing, here’s a quote for you: “Just the minute the F.B. I. begins making recommendations on what should be done with its information, it becomes a Gestapo.” Look Magazine, 1956 – J. Edgar Hoover

Category: Politics, Second Amendment

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AT1 ret

Vee hav wayz of making you talk…
*agent slaps a pair of black leather gloves togeter while saying it.

USMC Steve

If we had a real attorney general’s office, criminal charges could be filed against the ATF people who were involved in those particular criminal conspiracies. But of course, we don’t.


It’s never wrong when gov’t does it! –Democrats

Last edited 1 year ago by Anonymous

Let ol’ Poe fix that for you, Anon:

It’s never wrong when a Democrat government does it.

It’s always wrong when a Republican government does it.


But why do they always employ the same people no matter who’s elected?


“the investigators were unsatisfied and felt that Albert was being ‘uncooperative”.

You’re damn right he was being “uncooperative”.

Last edited 1 year ago by SFC D
President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neande

It’s his Constitutional duty, right and responsibility to be “uncooperative”.

Roger Clinton

Ok, so this has been going for over 20 years and there is some more going on underneath the hood here.

The reason the Feds became fixated on Kwan was because they have records of him buying barrels for the Markov that they believe he sold one of them to the killer. The reason they believe that is because he took a poly and flunked it when asked how many barrels he purchased and where they were currently.

My opininon on polys is that they are mostly accurate and sometimes they aren’t. The problem is more with Law Enforcement, who once they find who they believe the criminal actor is, focus all their efforts on finding evidence to support their theories instead of continuing to work the crime itself.

The reason he never got his FFL back was because he refused the inspection and refered them to his lawyer. This is one of many reasons that I have never jumped into the FFL pool. I’d rather not have agents crawling around my house at their whimsy.


A friend had an FFL. He dropped it and he turned all his records in to the ATF. That is what this guy should have done, then had memory failure.


Yep, If you are going to go FFL, best just to cooperate up front.

I’m not a business man myself but pimping stuff seems too much like work. Pimping guns seems like a lot of work AND a lot of government BS to put up with for what is basically a low margin product anyway.

USMC Steve

INteresting that the BATFE Gestapo can obtain records on a non serialized (nongun) part that is not restricted.


Had a family member who was professionally knowledgeable on polygraph.

Called it voodoo. The examiner is the lie detector. The box is a stage prop, and the gobbledygook spoken of it is worthless.

Pro investigator with high success rate.

So no. Would never give such exam any value. Convinced that folks pass/fail if the examiner so wills it.


There are good reasons that polys are not used as evidence. They are, at best, unreliable. Or, sometimes the machine tells the operator what the operator tells it to tell him.

Last edited 1 year ago by UpNorth



As long as the police carries out the will of the leadership, it is acting legally”. (Werner Best, 1935)

Hermann Goring & Company grin.

President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neande

Reads like the opening chapters of “Unintended Consequences” (John Ross).


BATF and FBI and DOJ and… all acting illegally?

Who’da thunk it? /s

Dunno why NRA-ILA isn’t jumping on this one. Some possibilities:
LePee-Eeew’s ego hasn’t been stoked enough
NRA-ILA is afraid of a real fight
There are facts of which we are unaware concerning Albert Kwan which make defending him ‘iffy’ due to optics
All the above
None of the above

I hope some legal defense groups help him out.


“Contempt of cop”

A Proud Infidel®™

Sounds like something the Gestapo, KGB or Stasi would do.


Actually, what happened to Weaver was that an undercover ATF agent convinced Weaver to shorten the barrels so they were only 15.75 inches long. Weaver let the guy show him where to cut. That is how he fell into their trap to get him to spy on the neo-nazis in Idaho.

This case is further proof of the New American Stasi aka DOJ and with it foot troopers.


My understanding is that it was an “any other weapon” violation. He cut the stock such that the 18″ bbl gun was under 26″ overall.

Thus it was over a 5 dollar tax.


Well, I am sure I read that the undercover showed him where he wanted it cut, knowing that would be a violation and could be used as a threat to get him to spy on that neoNazi group in Northern Idaho. And Weaver was prosecuted on the gun charge because he refused to spy for the feds.


The word of the day is pilloried…which could also have been used to descirbe the current events in the House of Representatives.

Very interesting what happened here. So how did he prove that the ATF did the remanufacturing vice what they were saying that he did it?! I presume he had pictures of what it looked like, but how recent? Man that woul dbe an awesome case to watch in court!
ATF lawyer: You honor we confiscated this weapon from the defendents residents and noted it was remanufactured to be returned to a machine gun and even though the defendent has over one hundred legally owned machine guns, this one was not.
Defense Lawyer: Your honor, we have video and biometrtric evidence that it was in fact the ATF who did the remanufacturing to return the said weapon to a machine gun, while in their posession…
ATF lawyer: Ummm, let me get back to you on that…


Nothing is as exciting in a courtroom as when you can prove the other side has just put on false testimony.


It got the first conviction thrown out.

Sadly if the FBI is a 10/10 on the corrupt politics scale the ATF is 30/10. It’s sad really.

I’d like to think there are some people there that joined never intending to run into the political hornet’s nest. One has to wonder if the leadership would let them go after the real problems what they could do.

Last edited 1 year ago by 5JC

The BATFE has long been out of control. It should have been disbanded long ago.