Via Email April 18, 2014
Dear MSSA Friends,
Most of you will be aware that armed employees of the EPA and FBI recently conducted an armed raid on a company in Bozeman that recycles used cartridge brass. This email is to give you additional information that was not in the news about that, to tell you what I’ve been doing concerning the raid, and to prepare you to help with the next step.
Several months ago, OSHA visited the business, USA Brass, because of allegations of workplace safety issues, notably lead dust in the air from tumbling fired brass (the lead dust would be from primers). There were two employees who had lead levels above what is acceptable. As a result, USA Brass invested a lot of money in expensive air filtration and ventilation equipment, and upgraded employee training and practices. As a result, USA Brass passed a subsequent inspection by OSHA.
However, upon OSHA’s first visit, I’m told, USA Brass managers didn’t kneel quickly enough to OSHA inspectors and offended them by not being subserviently cooperative. So, the subsequent raid by EPA, FBI and others was conducted to teach them a lesson about federal power and proper cooperation.
I have yet to learn if the federal entry was conducted with guns drawn, but that will come out. Many, if not all, of the federal employees were visibly armed (thanks to the local TV station for covering this). The federal employees were aided and abetted by personnel from the Bozeman Police Department and the Gallatin County Sheriffs Office.
Upon arrival, the federal employees forced all the employees into a room or rooms where they were isolated and held for hours. The employees cell phones were confiscated so they could have no communication out of the building. The feds disabled all of the security cameras in the building so there would be no video record of the federal deeds or misdeeds. The feds confiscated and took away all laptop computers and external hard drives, and copied all desktop hard drives, including USA Brass’s contact information for 10,000 customers.
I see this as a Montana version of what’s happening in Nevada. And, I see no reason to put up with it. None!
What is known about the Bozeman raid presents more questions than it answers. I put those questions in a polite letter to the U.S. Attorney for Montana and asked him to look into it. He has not responded. I assume my very polite request went into his round file.
With no response from the U.S. Attorney, I redirected my request for an investigation to Montana Attorney General Tim Fox. That request, which includes the request to the U.S. Attorney, is pasted below for your information. I’ve had no response from Fox yet.
If I don’t get a response from AG Fox by Tuesday (actually, later today as I write this at 2 AM), I’ll turn up the heat.
One additional tidbit: Lawyers for USA Brass have persuaded the principals that they should hunker down and make no waves, for fear of triggering more Draconian and punitive federal actions. While I sympathize with USA Brass, frankly this posture strikes me as similar to advising Jews in pre-WWII Germany to not make any fuss over their neighbors being hauled away in the night by the Gestapo, for fear that the remaining neighbor might be executed right in his apartment then next night by the same Gestapo, rather than just being given a nice train ride to an undisclosed destination.
That’s all. If/when I need your help with this, I’ll get out another email. Stay tuned for more as I learn more.
Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
Author, Gun Laws of Montana