November 15, 2021
By Mark Chesnut
A raid by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) on a local gun shop in Osage Beach, Missouri, is providing people involved with more questions than answers.
According to reports, about 15 ATF agents entered the Skeleton Tactical gun shop in Osage Beach on Tuesday morning with a federal search warrant and seized all the shop’s firearms inventory—reportedly more than 300 guns. No arrests were made at the time.
Jim Skelton, owner of the shop, told LakeExpo.com, a local internet news source, that ATF agents claimed he sold a gun without a background check. However, Skelton said what he sold was an 1898 Krag-Jorgensen, which didn’t require a background check.
“They’re here to confiscate my guns,” he told the news outlet by phone as the agents searched his shop. “They’re putting them all in the trailer and they’re going to take off with them. It’s against my constitutional rights.”
In an extensive interview with KRCG Television later in the day, Skelton expressed frustration at what he called a “constitutional violation.”
“They say that I have so many infractions, that they’re going to recommend they take my license,” he said in the interview. “They told me there were over 200 infractions. How am I supposed to know that? I can’t just take their packet, slap it to my forehead and absorb it.”
According to the public information officer for the ATF Kansas City Field Division, John Ham, a federal search warrant was issued as part of an ongoing criminal investigation into violations of federal firearm laws. However, Ham said he couldn’t provide any more details on the raid because of the ongoing investigation.
“The next step, usually in several days, through the federal judiciary, the warrant will be unsealed by the court,” he said. “Then we will give more specific information on the criminal investigation and the reason we applied for, and obtained, the search warrant from a federal judge.”
For his part, Camden County Sheriff Tony Helms expressed frustration that nobody from ATF let him know that the raid was going to occur beforehand, a normal law enforcement practice in such a situation.
“It makes me mad I was not notified,” Helms told LakeExpo.com on Wednesday. “ATF agents were in my office the day before, to discuss a separate issue and they did not tell me a thing.
“They called me at 1 p.m. on Tuesday and apologized for not telling me, saying they were not comfortable having too many people know about the raid before it happened. They were hitting several gun shops as part of an annual thing.”
We’ll continue seeking further details concerning the raid and will publish an update when additional information becomes available.
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 the past 20 years.