The head of the Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA) says reports of an EPA raid on a Bozeman ammunition company raise more questions than answers.
The response from the MSSA’s Gary Marbut is below. But first, here’s the initial report from NBC Montana which is getting some national attention via The Daily Caller:
The FBI raided Bozeman based USA Brass Thursday morning. We were tipped off by a viewer who told us federal agents were on scene by 9a.m. Throughout the morning we saw agents from the FBI, EPA Criminal Division, and Bozeman Police come and go from the Bozeman business.
USA Brass cleans and resells used ammunition casings. Last fall the Gallatin City-County Health Department reported 22 people, all current or former USA Brass employees showed elevated levels of lead in their blood. In September of 2013 the US Department of Labor cited USA Brass with 10 serious violations and proposed more than $45,000 in penalties and fines.
The Daily Caller: EPA agents raid ammunition company on alleged ‘environmental violations’
It’s still unclear whether or not EPA and FBI agents were also looking into lead exposure issues. An OSHA inspection in March actually found that the company complied with federal requirements for several months, apparently learning from its mistake last year.
USA Brass now back open, according to ABC-Fox Montana.
FULL RESPONSE FROM MSSA’S GARY MARBUT
Federal raid in Bozeman – more questions than answers
According to NBC Montana, agents of the FBI and EPA raided a Bozeman business Thursday. USA Brass is reported to clean and resell fired small-arms cartridge brass.
Although NBC reported what it could, the dearth of information available generates more questions than answers.
Gallatin County Sheriff? Was the Gallatin County Sheriff informed of this federal operation in advance by federal officials as directed by policy of the Montana Legislature. (House Joint Resolution 28, 1997) If not, why not? If the sheriff was informed in advance, was the sheriff or a deputy present to protect citizens of Gallatin County and make sure that no federal excesses occurred? If the sheriff was informed in advance and no representative of the sheriff’s office was present, why not?
Warrant? Were the federal officials operating with the benefit of a warrant? If so, was it an arrest, search or seizure warrant? If so, what was the probable cause for the warrant? If so, what persons or materials were specified as the subjects to the warrant? If so, what judge signed and granted the warrant? If not, by what authority was the raid conducted? If not, and this was just some sort of administrative visit, why was it conducted as a raid? If just an administrative visit, was it conducted by armed personnel just for intimidation purposes, or is there some law that requires or allows an administrative visit to become an armed raid under the circumstances present?
Personnel? Were raid personnel armed? If so, which ones? Did raid personnel enter with guns drawn? Did raid personnel carry machine guns? Were any machine guns present and available to raid personnel? Why was the FBI involved? Was this a federal criminal matter subject to FBI authority? It may be news to Montana people that a “Criminal Division” of the EPA even exists (as reported by NBC Montana). Where is this EPA Criminal Division located in Montana? How many personnel are assigned to it anywhere in Montana?
Laws? What federal laws (specifically, not generically) allow for armed raids by the EPA Criminal Division because of allegations of crimes, rather than action as a civil matter? How many times in 2014 and 2013 has the EPA’s Montana Criminal Division conducted similar raids? Which ones have been authorized by criminal laws, and which ones by civil laws? How many criminal cases have been prosecuted because of such raids, and how many civil actions?
Bozeman Police Department? Why was the BPD involved? Who requested BPD assistance? Who in the BPD authorized BPD involvement? What was the BPD function at the scene? How many BPD personnel were involved, and for how long? Was it necessary for the BPD to pull personnel away from other assigned duties to provide personnel for this operation? Was overtime paid to BPD personnel involved? How do the taxpayers of Bozeman benefit from such BPD involvement?
Public answers to these questions will allow Montana people to better evaluate the propriety of this federal operation and others involved, or not involved.