February 15, 2022
By Mark Chesnut
A repulsive and dangerous Valentine’s Day tweet by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has many wondering if the agency wanted to see someone get hurt or killed on the very day when most Americans were celebrating love.
The tweet, which included a picture of a broken heart, started off: “Got an ex who buys or sells guns illegally? We would love to meet and treat them to a Valentine’s Day surprise!” It also listed numbers to call to turn someone in.
Below that, the text part of the tweet read: “Valentine’s Day can still be fun even if you broke up. Do you have information about a former (or current) partner involved in illegal gun activity? Let us know, and will make sure it’s a Valentine’s Day to remember! Call 888-ATF-TIPS or email ATFTips@atf.org.”
The fact that ATF would basically call for a disgruntled ex-partner to possibly have their ex SWATted is quite alarming, giving the tweet more of a KGB feel than ATF. After all, how American is ratting out your ex on Valentine’s Day, anyway?
It’s important to note that the tweet could easily have resulted in a vengeful ex putting someone in danger of presumed guilt culminating in a no-knock warrant, like is called for in many of the red-flag laws cropping up around the country. And with the complexity of gun laws, it’s likely many exes, whether men or women, could turn in exes for doing things that are perfectly legal in many states, like making private sales or owning legal guns some might believe are banned.
In the Twittersphere, newsmakers responding to the ATF tweet made their disdain for the entire matter more than clear.
“Oh look,” tweeted conservative commentator Beth Baumann. “The ATF is giving us a PERFECT example of what’s wrong with red flag laws. Nothing says Happy Valentine’s Day like having an ex SWATed just because you can’t stand them.”
Young Americans for Liberty had a similar reaction: “This is basically an invitation to SWAT an ex you don’t like. So incredibly dangerous. Abolish the ATF.”
Other responding to the tweet actually used the opportunity to “report” one high-profile American who is known to have broken federal firearms laws but has never faced questioning, much less prosecution. Yep, I’m referring to Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden’s son, who purchased a gun illegally after making false claims on a background check back in 2018—a five-year felony for other Americans.
Author Deb Heine tweeted: “He’s not a former or current partner, but here’s a tip regarding an illegal gun purchase. Name: Robert Hunter Biden.”
Similarly, Human Events’ Jack Posobiec wrote: “You mean like this guy?” captioning a photo of Hunter Biden.
At the time of this writing, ATF had yet to comment on the tweet or the resulting furor it caused.
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for more than 20 years.