ATF director questioned on March raid of home of Little Rock airport executive Bryan Malinowski

ATF director questioned on March raid of home of Little Rock airport executive Bryan Malinowski
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WASHINGTON D.C. – Questions from U.S. lawmakers continue for the second day in a row about the circumstances leading to the death of Little Rock Airport Director Bryan Malinowski.

Thursday, lawmakers asked the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) about the March early morning shootout that led to Malinowski’s death and one agent being injured.

D.C. lawmakers hold hearing on Little Rock Airport Executive Bryan Malinowski’s death

Director Steven Dettelbach was careful not to comment specifically on the search warrant because of an investigation in the hands of the Pulaski County prosecutor. However, throughout three and a half hours of testimony, there were some revelations.

“There are numerous different things that I believe that are out that may not be shown to be the facts when the investigation happens,” Dettelbach said.

The ATF director stated he was not aware of the mission which turned deadly until after the fact, and that the agency does 11,000 of these types of missions a year.

“You got to admit this is a little unique,” said House Judiciary Committee Chair and Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan.

“The highest-paid official in the municipal government of Little Rock, Arkansas, making $260,000 running the airport. No criminal background, history, nothing and he’s dead at a pre-dawn raid when it sure looks like you could have served this search warrant when he was not there, but you chose not to,” Jordan said.

The oversight hearing revealed new videos showing ATF agents gathering in a Walmart parking lot near Malinowski’s home on Mar. 12 and the same spot, on Mar. 19, the day the warrant was executed. Malinowski’s family alleges the first attempt was canceled because Bryan was not home.

U.S. House Judiciary Committee asks ATF for details of March raid on Malinowski home in Little Rock

Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California questioned why Malinowski needed to be home since there was no arrest warrant issued, just a search warrant for “dealing with firearms without a license” and “unlawful acquisition of a firearm”.

“So you alleged a crime, but you didn’t seek to arrest him?” Issa asked.

“It’s not fair to do this during the pendency of a criminal investigation,” Dettelbach said in questioning.

Lawmakers asked some general questions about tactics, policies and body cameras. Not much was shared to avoid giving a blueprint to the public, but Dettelbach stated three years after the implementation of body cameras became mandated within ATF, a third currently have them.

“How long will this take to implement?” Democratic Rep. Jose Luis Correa of California asked.

“Currently with what we have now, without anything else, we will be implemented across by the end of 2026,” Dettelbach responded. “If there’s more resources we can try to speed that up.”

$47.5 million was cut from the ATF’s $1.7 billion budget last year when President Joe Biden requested the budget be increased to $1.9 billion.

Regarding Malinowski’s case, the ATF director said the most common firearm trafficking now is selling guns without a license and 60% of those trafficked are going to felons and those prohibited from having them.

“Firearms trafficking is not a victimless crime,” Dettelbach said multiple times.

Just over a week ago under an ATF rule change in compliance with the 2022 Safer Communities Act, those who can legally sell guns privately changed.

Arkansas gun owners react to new ATF regulation to close gun show loophole

“How many firearms does someone have to sell to be engaged in the business of firearms dealing?”, Republican Rep. Matthew Louis Gaetz II of Florida asked.

Dettelbach said the law does not give a number but focuses on different behaviors and intents.

“There is now more information than ever in the form of that rule for specific conduct based…”, Dettelbach said before being cut off by Gaetz.

“I know but I think just for a regular person, more information than ever is less helpful than if you sell three guns you’re not a dealer, but if you sell four guns you are a dealer,” Gaetz said.

A Texas judge recently stopped the implementation of the new ATF rule, and an Arkansas judge has heard arguments and is yet to rule a decision.

‘It’s a senseless tragedy’ Family attorney speaks on death of Bryan Malinowski following Tuesday ATF raid

The Malinowski family attorney sent a statement following the hearing:

“ATF killed Bryan Malinowski to enforce a law nobody understood. The ATF Director was unable to explain his new version today. Last Monday, DOJ attorneys were reportedly unable to explain ATF’s new law to US District Judge Moody in Little Rock. That adds up to unconstitutionally vague law enforcement. It’s truly outrageous.”

Bud Cummins, Malinowski family attorney

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