According to Great Falls-based KRTV, Tom Van Hoose, the owner of Highwood Creek Outfitters, told the outlet that he has been under constant surveillance by state and federal authorities. He also maintains that he runs a clean operation and sells firearms and other products by the book.
“At 7:30, I came in, and they pulled in behind me with 20 heavily armed agents," he said.
Van Hoose alleges that his gun shop has been under surveillance by various state and federal agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the State of Montana, and most recently, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), for a period of two years.
“The fact that they think we make so much money as a gun business that they had to come investigate all the thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of dollars whatever it is we supposedly absconded with, anybody that knows the margins in the gun business knows they’re not that high,” said Van Hoose.
Van Hoose states that he was simply informed that his business had been reported without being provided information about the source or the motive behind the report. He believes that it's part of a larger trend happening across the country and perceives it as being politically motivated, the outlet said.
“I can only assume that it’s because of the style of weapons that we have and the press that’s so against them,” said Van Hoose. “The current administration seems to be hell-bent on getting those guns out of the hands of average Americans.”
He was also upset because he lost a day's worth of business. “I got 30 minutes of operating time in and made one $16 sale,” said Van Hoose.
“We have a reputation of dotting all the i's and crossing all the t's because there's so much legal fun to be had,” said Van Hoose. “It's just not worth doing things that are going to get you in trouble.”
Meanwhile, Montana’s Republican congressman, Matt Rosendale, is demanding answers.
“This event is another example of President Biden weaponizing federal agencies to target and harass hardworking Americans for exercising their constitutional rights,” Rosendale said in a letter to leaders of the Internal Revenue Service and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as reported by The Blaze.
Background check forms containing sensitive personal information of all customers who had purchased guns at the store were confiscated by IRS agents.
But such forms do not include financial information, Rosendale said, leading him to describe the act as an “egregious breach of privacy” that “showed no regard for federal law.”
“There is no circumstance in which 4473s would be necessary in an investigation spearheaded by the IRS,” Rosendale noted in a letter he sent to ATF Director Steven Dettelbach and IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel.
The shop owner said the agents were respectful, but he nonetheless felt “invaded” and angry at losing almost a day’s worth of business.
“Given the positions of the Biden Administration, this raid appears to be an attempt to intimidate firearms dealers and owners,” Rosendale said in his letter.
“This pattern [of intimidation and harassment] appears to be orchestrated directly from the White House,” Rosendale also wrote.
Meanwhile, in a blow to Biden's anti-gun agenda, the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 on Friday that some individuals convicted of gun crimes may receive reduced prison sentences. In those cases, gun-related offenses can be served concurrently, The Epoch Times reported.