BATFE Adds Theft To Its Crimes

BATFE Adds Theft To Its Crimes

Coloseum Software Corporation has developed software that will help dealers record all of the information that is unconstitutionally required by the federal government — and to keep that information in a way that insulates them from bogus prosecutions at the hands of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (aka The Gang).

The document that is most often involved in “gotcha” injustices is the Form 4473 which all customers must fill out when buying from a licensed federal firearms dealer — a requirement that is yet another unconstitutional imposition by the feds.

One of the favorite tricks of the BATFE has been to pounce on trivial customer errors such as writing “Blto” instead of “Baltimore” on the 4473 Form. One dealer supposedly showed his willfulness in breaking the law when his clerks missed some sixty-plus instances when customers tried to “sneak” Blto past those eagle-eyed inspectors from The Gang.

While this does nothing to fight crime, it has allowed The Gang to reduce the ranks of dealers by some 85 percent since the Clinton presidency.

The genius of Coloseum’s software is that it allows a dealer to walk a customer through the Form 4473 without making a single mistake. With an electronic signature, the computer’s form can be printed, providing a perfect 4473 available for The Gang to inspect.

A foolproof way of filling out the 4473 would reduce the number of dealers put out of business. That’s the advantage of using the Coloseum software.

So Coloseum approached the BATFE several months ago to discuss its plans to release the first eForm 4473. The company wanted to make sure that it was complying with all applicable federal laws and get the agency’s approval for the product.

The BATFE wanted to see the details of the program, which left the directors at Coloseum a bit hesitant, as companies are reticent to expose the details of a product before it’s released to the market place.

No problem, Coloseum was told. The agency would protect the details of their product.

Well, that was a lie.

The Gang assigned a liaison, Ms. Melinda Whitworth, to work with Coloseum. She dealt with the company for several weeks, asking many detailed questions. Again, Coloseum was led to believe that, if they worked with Ms. Whitworth, they would get approval for their product.

Well, one of the Gang’s representatives called for a meeting with Coloseum — a meeting which took place earlier this month. It was at that meeting that Coloseum was told by an ATF agent that, “The BATF is in the process of creating our own technologies.”

Coloseum asked for clarification — did that mean that BATFE was developing its own software, similar to Coloseum’s? “Yes” was the response.

James LaMonte, the CEO and founder of Coloseum Software Corp. was dumbfounded. “As a small business owner, I never would have thought that our biggest competition was the United States Government,” he told Gun Owners of America.

After all, the IRS does not publish a “government version” of Turbo Tax. It’s private companies that produce such products for public use. The Gang, as it is so apt to do, was once again trampling on the little guy.

Oh, and what about their “liaison,” Ms. Whitworth? At the recent meeting, Coloseum found that Ms. Whitworth — who was supposedly helping the company get ATF approval of its software — was in charge of the team that is developing the copycat software at ATF.

Ms. Whitworth even had the effrontery to apologize for not having developed a product as good as Coloseum’s.

Here is the bottom line. If The Gang gets their software out to dealers (probably for “free”) before Coloseum gets to market, then the government’s stolen version of the software is public domain. No one would ever need to buy Coloseum’s intellectual property.

Coloseum is sending a free copy of its product to dealers so they can install the software on their store computer. If dealers need additional copies for a second or third computer, they can buy additional copies, as well. Hopefully, dealers will pounce on this opportunity.

What Coloseum is doing is unprecedented. And so, it seems, is the blatant thievery brazenly carried out by The Gang.

If dealers decide they just want to use the Bureau’s software, they should first consider that they will be getting a much inferior product. Moreover, The Gang’s software means that the government will have unrestricted access to all of the dealer’s business records because it will allow “back door” access by the ATF. This kind of untrammeled access of all dealer records would not be possible with Coloseum Software.

It is long overdue that President Bush clean house at the BATFE. He needs to fire the Acting Director of the Bureau and command that employees destroy their stolen property.


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