February 1, 2013
KRQE in Albuquerque, New Mexico, reports that the Department of Homeland Security – the federal agency initially established to protect the United States from terrorists and respond to natural disasters – has used its ICE division to bust a gun collector.
Federal Homeland Security Investigation agents raided the home of Robert Adams on Thursday and seized 548 handguns and 317 rifles from the collector. They also raided his business and took an additional 599 handguns.
KRQE reports that Adams did not violate any laws and was not charged with any crimes. It said the DHS, however, is not finished with Adams and he may be charged with gun smuggling, tax evasion and violating importation laws.
The government spent yeas surveilling the gun collector and argues that his weapons are “not properly marked possibly to make the guns more valuable and to avoid paying high import taxes.”
KRQE reports the federal government is concerned “that no markings on the guns and missing documents mean the guns are not traceable by law enforcement.”
New Mexico does not regulate or specifically restrict the possession of firearms. Owners are not required to register or license firearms with the state.
“No law shall abridge the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes, but nothing herein shall be held to permit the carrying of concealed weapons. No municipality or county shall regulate, in any way, an incident of the right to keep and bear arms,” Article 2, Section 6 of the state constitution reads.
Gun collectors are protected under the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986. The law states that a firearms dealer is defined as a person who is selling guns for profit or livelihood. Unlicensed individuals are allowed to sell firearms from their private collection without performing a background check on the buyer.