In what many gun owners will consider an act of karma for the ATF’s recent pistol brace guidance, a federal agent was tased earlier this year by two police officers in Columbus, Ohio, while he was attempting to confiscate a shotgun. The agent is seeking damages from the two officers and the city for the “physical and psychological” injuries he suffered during the incident.
Agent James Burk, a 16-year veteran of the ATF, said in his lawsuit that he was working a “routine” assignment on July 7 to confiscate a shotgun from someone who was not permitted to own a firearm, according to local media.
The homeowner called 911 when Burke knocked on the door and demanded that he produce his credentials. The dispatcher told the homeowner not to open the door and dispatched to the scene two 20-year veteran officers, Joseph Fihe and Kevin Winchell.
“When Fihe arrived at the scene, Agent Burk stood outside the home’s front door and waved the officer over to where he was standing,” the lawsuit said. “Even though Agent Burk had both hands raised and had represented that he is a federal agent, officer Fihe immediately drew his weapon and pointed it … while simultaneously screaming at (Burk) to get on the ground.”
Burk claims he was wearing “casual professional” attire and had his credentials on a lanyard around his neck.
Fihe pointed his firearm at the ATF agent for more than 90 seconds, Burk claims in his suit, before both Fihe and Winchell “climbed on his back while violently twisting and pulling his arms to handcuff him.”
The officers also tased Burk multiple times before handcuffing him and placing him in the back of a cruiser.
Burk was released without charges about an hour later, but not before he was “frequently disparaged… to everyone in earshot” by Fihe and denied water. Burk also claims the Columbus Police Department shared the body cam footage of the incident within the department “for no apparent purpose.”
The federal agent was so traumatized and physically injured by the incident that he has moved to an administrative role within the ATF.
In a strange and equally hilarious twist, this “James Burk” appears to be the same ATF agent who was accused of stealing wine from a grocery store in 2015.
The ATF has been in the news frequently in the last few months for its back-and-forth rulings on arm braces designed to be used with large-frame pistols. After years of guidance suggesting these arm braces did not transform a pistol into an NFA-regulated short-barreled rifle, the agency seems to have reversed course this week, issuing guidance that each firearm will be judged on a “case-by-case basis.”
Gun-rights groups have vowed to challenge the notice, and gun owners will have the chance to comment on the proposed rules.