Montana GOP Rep. Matt Rosendale told Newsmax on Friday that the Internal Revenue Service’s raid and subsequent closure of a store licensed to sell firearms and accessories earlier this week is the agency’s latest attempt “to create a database” on conservatives who want to own a gun.
“This is stormtrooper-type activity, and we’re not used to seeing it in our country whatsoever,” Rosendale said while appearing on “The Chris Salcedo Show.” “This is the kind of activity that demonstrates why we were trying to, in the House of Representatives, defund those additional 87,000 IRS agents.”
On early Wednesday morning, 20 IRS agents, with the assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), raided and closed Highwood Creek Outfitters, a Great Falls, Montana-based gun shop.
Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter said that he was not notified of the operation in advance, though the Great Falls Police Department was made aware beforehand and provided security.
The business reopened following the raid, though not before losing just about all of its business for the day.
Rosendale on Wednesday issued a press release, stating: “I’m incredibly disturbed by initial reports that the IRS and ATF closed Highwood Creek Outfitters without any warning today. This is yet another example of the Biden Administration weaponizing federal agencies to target and harass hardworking Americans.”
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“We cannot allow Biden to continue expanding these agencies to infringe on our liberties,” the statement said.
The Montana congressman told guest host Todd Starnes how “disturbing” it was to speak with the store’s owner, Tom VanHoose, and hear how 20 IRS agents carrying ARs (ArmaLite rifles) had “stormed” and searched the facility.
“[VanHoose] said they were polite,” he said, “but, you know, people tend to be a little bit more polite mannerly when everyone’s walking around with an AR threatening them.”
Rosendale also condemned the IRS for what the agency took during their search. “IRS, right? Financial records, accounting, making sure what transactions were taking place? No. They took all of the [ATF] 4473 forms. The 4473 forms are what everyone fills out when they go to purchase a firearm, and it’s just a big disclosure to make sure that you don’t have a criminal background or other reasons where you should not be purchasing a firearm.”
“I am concerned that this is another attempt by the IRS to create a database on people that they can target for being conservatives because they want to own their own firearm,” Rosendale said.
Starnes next asked the congressman about the truce that was struck this week between the Freedom Caucus and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, after a dozen conservative members of the caucus had shuttered House business one week earlier in protest of the California Republican’s leadership.
“We’re trying to make sure that we proceed through this next Congress and represent the people across America — [with] me, the people across Montana — in the form with which they expect of us,” Rosendale said.
“And that is to limit the size and scope of government. To demand personal responsibility. To have reforms on the House floor that will provide for an open and transparent process.
“We want regular order restored to the House of Representatives, and that’s all I have been asking for,” he continued. “So as long as we can find that mutual ground with Speaker McCarthy, then then we’re going to proceed through the through the rest of the session.”