After relating the history of his life and how the business was built up. Rick was asked about his Day Timer System. Rick explained that this was basically a diary of the last 35 years. He described it as an informal system he used to make notes of what happened on a day, and all 35 years were in storage. When asked if they were seized, he replied, “I would think so.”
Rick related his business philosophy was to become the biggest and the best, and the best liked and highest respected in his field.
He described the helpers he had at the store, which included current and retired officers from the local county sheriff’s office, the local Deming police, and federal law enforcement. They helped talk to clients, sweep floors, and hang out. As far as pay, he would give them discounts on the purchases of items, including ammunition.
He described how the sales business includes getting a feel for different types of conversations, in order to address the needs of the customers. When asked if customers are always truthful, Rick explained that gun stores are like barbershops, or a bait and tackle store. There is a lot of macho bragging going on, people having fun, joking around, and generally an enjoyable environment.
There was some division of labor between family members. Rick did the ordering of supplies as he was more familiar with the cost of goods, and it was an efficient way for him to use his time in the morning. Terri became an expert in the paperwork, and kept the papers organized and set up the office. He described the paperwork as being the 4473 forms, A&D log books, financial papers. The books were kept by a CPA, Steven Phillips, who is located in Tucson, AZ. They shipped him their financial documents. Terri kept the 4473 forms in numerical order for the ATF inspections. The boys helped with the clients if Terri was tied up, and all of them were cross trained, so as needed they could cross over to other duties.
Rick explained it was a standard practice that every weapon sold had a form 4473 completed, and he never sold any weapons without a 4473. Terri was generally responsible for maintaining the A&D log of weapons acquired and sold, but sometimes Rick would help with that. Those records are updated daily.
He explained how they sell hundreds of weapons annually, and that in earlier years when they reviewed the forms to update the A&D, sometimes things were missed. Several years ago they found a computer program at a trade show, which has been a great help to eliminate errors.
When asked when his last audit was, he replied possibly in 2009, and asked if he had received a notice of violation. He had, and then corrected the year to 2008.
Rick described the ATF audit process and that he has always fully cooperated. There is no forewarning. One or more ATF agents show up and then he would stop working and assist the agents. They would pull the 4473 forms, put them out on the counter and start their review. The audit time varied, and at times could last from a couple of days up to 1 1/2 months. During the time period of 2008-2011 Rick recalled he sold some 1000-1300 guns per year, including the guns sold at guns shows. He stated the ATF would know how many, as they count the 4473 forms during the audits.
In the 2008 audit, Rick spoke of an “old gray license” and copies of a new license being given to all. At that time, the ATF raised concerns that his license was issued in the name of an LLC (Limited Liability Corporation), which wasn’t allowed with an early license, and wanted him to get a new license issued.
Rick went over items noted on the notice of violation from the 2008 inspection, which covered an approximate one year period. He described that a major failure would be failure to report a model or serial number of a weapon. When reviewing the errors, on one 4473 form, they missed checking off if the weapons was a long gun or hand gun. On another, they missed putting in the NIC number (the number from the NCIC background check). He explained how there were some problems related to people who winter in Deming, yet live other places the rest of the year. And he had transferred 13 weapons to young troops in the military. Rick explained he did not understand until ATF explained it to him during the audit that there are two kinds of duty orders, temporary & permanent. The 4473s in question had the temporary duty order information on them.
When asked if the audit was sufficient to revoke his license, he didn’t recall. He did recall that some inspection agents were argumenttaive and tried to bully around, and that inspection agents move frequently. He described one inspector from Las Cruces as very decent and very professional.
During the September 2010 inspection, he recalled how this inspection went much better and was much shorter. He did tell them he wasn’t going to put up with an “inquisition” like the last inspection. There was no advance notice of this inspection either. He didn’t withhold or alter anything. After the review, there were no violations, no suspensions, no prohibited transactions. He is familiar with and was issued a Federal Firearm Regulation Guide.
Rick recalled seeing Penny Torres in the store, and that she was a customer of his son or his wife, he wasn’t sure. He did greet her in the store, would just say, “hi”.
He was shown a 4473 involving Penny Torres, but didn’t recall if he had seen it before because Terri processes them. He stated her sale was not treated any differently than any other sale, and explained how they keep the original sales receipt and the customer keeps the copy.
Rick recalled Mr. Roman coming into the store on prior occasions and stated he’d buy ammunition him. Rick told him that he could beat Walmart’s prices. He couldn’t recall if New Deal sold Roman a gun, stating they have sold thousands of guns.
Rick stated Ryin was probably the salesman for the Penny Torres sales. When asked if Roman was there with him, he recalled she had a daughter with her, and only remembered seeing her one time. He recalled her first purchase was a rifle, but had no actual knowledge of the sale.
Rick explained how the computer program processed the 4473 form. The first question asked if the person is the actual buyer. If the buyer enters no, the program locks. When asked if Rick knew that she was lying, he replied, “Absolutely not.” If she was lying, he could not transfer a firearm to her. When asked when Penny Torres paid in cash if that raising suspicions, Rick answered many customers transact in cash. He explained many Hispanic persons pay in cash because they don’t trust banks, and that he doesn’t trust banks either.
Rick explained the reason for not trusting banks. He related his experience during the S&L debacle. As a 27-28 year old, he had approximately $3500 in a S&L, which closed. He lost his $3500 to a failed banking institution, and he was never reimbursed by the FDIC. As a result of his experience with that, they decided against using banks.
Rick was asked if a 33 year old woman purchasing weapons was suspicion, and he stated no, she knew what she was looking for.
When asked about the June 30th purchase of 10 rifles, which were picked up on July 8th, and whether Rick knew she wasn’t the true purchaser and that she was lying, he again replied, “Absolutely not.”
When asked if he had any inkling what-so-ever that she was trying to commit a Federal crime, again, “No”, and that if he had any inkling he wouldn’t have sold Torres any of the weapons.
[testimony continues in part 3]