Aaron: This is Talkin’ to America. I’m your host, Aaron
Zelman. Our guest today is Richard Celata. He is the owner of KT Ordnance.
They are famous, perhaps infamous now at this point for making firearm
parts, chunks of metal, that people can buy to make their own gun, and
the government doesn’t like that, so Richard is going to talk
to us today about what happened to him because the government decided
to act in a criminal manner.
Richard, how are you?
Richard: I am fine Aaron. Thank you for having me on.
Aaron: Richard, why don’t you start with the basics and tell
us what happened on June 6th?
Richard: On June 6th we were raided by the ATF, the FBI, and the Canadian
ATF. The search warrant said that they were looking for firearms and
other items pertaining to the manufacturer of sale and receipt of such
items. They also claimed that we were manufacturing without a license,
which obviously isn’t true because we don’t make anything
that requires a license. All our products are nonlicensable.
Aaron: Can you describe the raid and what was said to you and how they
reacted and things they did?
Richard: At the beginning of the raid, I was called in by the sheriff
on false pretences to speak about some political issues that I wanted
to talk to the sheriff about and assuming that is what the meeting was
about, I brought my literature, which was 10 or 15 items, one being
“Innocents Betrayed” and several other JPFO DVDs and also
two constitutional study courses and pocket constitutions, which were
all deemed subversive and seditious by the FBI.
Aaron: Now do you have any speculations as to why they thought that
“Innocents Betrayed”, which is our documentary film showing
the connection between gun registration, confiscation, governments going
bad and then governments murdering people, would be considered subversive
by the FBI.
Richard: I am not sure. Probably because that is exactly what it tells
them and exposes them for what they really are.
Aaron: Did the ATF also think that “Innocents Betrayed”
was also subversive?
Richard: Yes, they had mentioned it. They asked why I watched such
information and did I believe it. In return, I asked them if they believe
everything that the government told them and the responded with a yes.
Richard: Well, I used the word everything and they said yes to it,
so I assumed everything.
Aaron: Well, I guess applesauce is shoe polish then, okay? What do
you think they were trying to accomplish by claiming that people who
were exercising their first amendment rights to read or watch something
were somehow engaged in subversive activity?
Richard: I think it would have to do with Dr. Edwin Vieira’s
articles that I have been passing around locally, which is to reconstitute
the state militias, which the constitution requires both federally and
the state of Montana, so I think they were worried about that. The FBI
questioned me extensively on my knowledge of am I part of a militia,
do I know militia leaders, am I trying to start a militia and so on.
Aaron: Did they at one time suggest that JPFO was a militia?
Richard: Well, they asked about you, JPFO, and you specifically, and
if you were subversive and were you anti-government and were you trying
to start a militia or were you part of a militia, and they asked the
same questions also of Devvy Kidde and Edwin Vieira, and other people
that are no so well-known.
Aaron: I think it might be helpful for you to tell people about Dr.
Vieira’s background as to what he does and what kind of law he
Richard: He is the constitutional attorney who practices in the federal
courts. He has a Ph.D. and a J.D. and he writes for News with Views
on the corrupt money system, the corrupt judicial system, and also on
the militias. He is writing legislation now to be put into all fifty
states to have lawful money again and also to reinstate the militias,
which would be the true homeland security and just to note that that
National Guard is not the militia contrary to popular belief.
Aaron: That’s part of the army.
Your lawyer, Quentin Roads, has suggested that he thinks this whole
raid was really a fishing expedition. Can you comment on that?
Richard: We believe that at the time because of items that they took
and things that they didn’t take, questioning me more about militias
and that activity, and just the records that they were after, the types
of records, my client list and sales receipts to things I purchased
and resold to someone else, so we think it was geared on that.
Aaron: So, they wanted to know who your customer base was?
Aaron: I really want to know who is exercising their right to build
their own firearms as outlined at the BATF website, telling people the
guidelines to follow to legally build your own guns and they didn’t
like this. Do I understand this?
Richard: They actually told me that the website was wrong when I commented
that even on their own website on their frequently asked questions,
also states the corresponding legislation that actually enacts that
piece of wording that they have, you can build your own firearms for
your own personal use as long as you do not sell them.
Aaron: So they claim that what is on their site is wrong?
Richard: That is what one of the ATF ladies said.
Aaron: Did she tell you when they are going to change the site?
Richard: No they didn’t.
Aaron: Did they tell you when the law is going to change?
Richard: No they didn’t.
Aaron: Curious. What was it like while you were being raided? Tell
us how they treated you and your family.
Richard: The sheriff was the key pivot point in that. He called me
in so that I would not be on the premises and cause a problem when they
came in to clear the house. The sheriff also against the ATF’s
recommendations allowed me to call my wife to let my wife and my two
small children leave. As we all know, they shoot first and ask questions
later, and my little 3-year-old son runs around with a toy rifle most
of the time and I could just see them breaking in the door and him carrying
a rifle and shooting him, so I didn’t want that to happen, so
the sheriff did allow me to call against the ATF’s recommendations
and they were able to leave prior to them coming in. I also had my wife
leave the doors open, not just unlocked, but open so they didn’t
have any cause to blow them off the hinges or batter them down. After
she left, I guess they sent in their team to clear the house. Then the
sheriff escorted me back to my house where I sat in my kitchen and I
let them go through all my stuff as I watched. A funny thing is that
there are two bathrooms in my place, one in the house and one in the
shop, but they chose to use the back of my building as the bathroom
instead of using the facilities inside.
Aaron: Did they comment on why they chose to act in such a manner?
Richard: I have no idea why. My neighbor watched them intently from
across the road, binoculars in one hand and rifle in the other. He actually
witnessed them going to the bathroom on the back of my building. I wish
he had had a camera, which would have been a nice photograph.
Aaron: That would be fascinating. This whole raid really boils down
to your manufacturing a partially finished chunk of metal and then people
have to take this and hopefully they have the skill to complete it,
so they can use it on the firearm that they are building for their own
personal use. What kind of a chunk of metal is this and how useful is
this chunk of metal unless it is properly machined by somebody else
because they said you were making an illegal firearm, so what constitutes
a firearm based on their latest interpretation?
Richard: Well that is what it comes down to is their interpretation.
We have known from previous determination letters that they really don’t
mean much even after they issue one. They have issued several letters
claiming that the AR15 in such a configuration is not a firearm along
with also the 1911s, yet it is arbitrary. You can send in two 80% frames
to the ATF at two different times and get two different answers. One
time one person will look at it and say it is a firearm and another
time another person will look at it and say, no it is not, so there
is not much determination on that of what constitutes that, but the
general rule of thumb that they go by is that if it cannot be assembled
in any manner and fire a single round, it is not a firearm. It would
take a considerable amount of time, depending on your skill level; of
course, my skill level is above most average people who buy these, so
it would take me less time than someone else who would not have my skill
level, but still the AR15 style rifle, you can’t assemble it,
you can’t put a hammer trigger, you can’t put the buffer
tube in, you need to drill and tap. I think it is pretty much about
18 or 20 holes in it before it will work properly and if you don’t
do the hammer and trigger hole properly, it will never work. The sear
will not engage. So it is not like you just buy something and assemble
it and 10 minutes later, you have a working firearm. Most people take
an average of between 20 hours to finish one to bring it to 100% receiver.
Aaron: Well, alright, I guess they have a problem with people again
doing what is legal based on what is on their website, which they now
claim is wrong, but they can’t tell you what is wrong or what
is right? I guess this is close enough for government work. Do you think
that would be a good way to describe it?
Richard: Yes, that would be.
Aaron: Your attorney is Quentin Roads in Montana. I was very curious
to see if this will ever go to court.
Richard: I hope it doesn’t in one way, but you know, in other
ways it may be a good thing. I don’t know.
Aaron: If it was a good thing, why would it be good?
Richard: Then there would be an actual set of rules that we would all
know and we could just look up and read and say well at this point a
chunk of metal now becomes a firearm. Then we could all manufacture
our 80% up to that defined point and then there would be no discrepancy
on what we are doing.
Aaron: Do you think that the ATF really wants something that well defined?
Richard: Judging from the way they handle things, no, I don’t
think that they would want that.
Aaron: In fact, I would remind people that they don’t have standardized
testing procedures as we have documented on our website at JPFO.org
in the Len Savage case and the John Glover case, and that the government
really does not like to be put into a situation where they have to clearly
explain their activities and justify them.
Richard: Tyranny always likes to work in the dark. They don’t
like to be in the spotlight.
Aaron: How is your family doing after all this?
Richard: Well, we are doing quite well as far as that because again,
the children were not traumatized by men in suits coming in and pointing
guns at them, so they just thought that some bad people came to the
house, so they are pretty good, but again we are a little more cautious.
We used to leave our doors wide open and I had no problem leaving my
garage door open and then going into town for an hour and worrying about
anything, so that has definitely changed.
Aaron: How is your wife holding up?
Richard: She is holding up well. She is either putting on a very good
façade or she really is doing well.
Aaron: Okay. Let’s go back to the court situation. What do you
suppose the court will be asked to decide? In other words, what questions
do you suppose the jury should hear so there would be some honesty at
the ATF once and for all?
Richard: I would think that they would want to know the exact procedure
and when the line is crossed between a piece of metal and a firearm.
You know I buy a bar of stock 12-feet long to make stuff, at one point
does that bar of stock now become a firearm? That would be the key question
on that and do they have such a standard, and if not, why? Why don’t
they have one? How can you prosecute somebody for making something that
nobody knows what it is? So I think to get an honest answer, they would
first have to come up with some kind of standard. Again, the ATF doesn’t
recreate law, it is congress that creates law, so I would assume that
congress would have to go into session and create a law that says you
know, at this point, this is considered a firearm, and then the ATF
could enforce that.
Aaron: Assuming they are still in business, which I think the American
people have to realize this is a rogue agency that should not exist,
unless they can prove otherwise. These are the Waco folks who like to
murder people in operation show time. Tell me, you have heard from people
around the country now and what kind of response are you getting or
what kind of support are you getting from people who were outraged by
the criminal activity of the BATF folks.
Richard: Everybody seems to be very supportive of this. They are all
starting to realize, you know, until this happened, I was pretty much
a nobody, and if they can go after me, they can go after anybody, and
I think they are trying to start to go after the manufacturers and take
them out of the process. That way there is nothing for the retailers
to sell, so people are starting to support. Many of the message boards
and blog sites are running stuff. Several people have put up items for
auction to help support the legal costs and that. JPFO has donated stuff
and I thank you for that and Claire Wolfe has put up some stuff on her
site. Also, Gun Owners of America stepped up the day it happened during
the raid. I was talking to Larry Pratt on the phone while we were being
raided and they pledged their support. Then just the general population.
The other thing we have to realize is that there are 80 million gun
owners. If every one of them put up a dollar for this defense fund,
you can imagine the kind of financial backing we would have to fight
this, and just imagine what would happen if they all put up $10, and
I am sure that every one of those 80 million gun owners could afford
$10 to fight this because once they take us down, you know everybody
else is going to go with it. You know, this is not just a hunting issue.
You know they don’t take my clay pigeons away from me then it
doesn’t affect me, but it will because they will come for your
shotguns and your clay pigeons and your target rifles and hunting rifles.
We will start with the most obvious stuff, you know that looks like
military weapons and we will just work our way down.
Aaron: There is a new wrinkle that the ATF is following. As you know,
in the Len Savage case he submitted an accessory and they wrote him
a letter stating that this is a nonfirearm. Nine months later they came
back and said well we have decided to reclassify this as a firearm and
make it a machine gun as a matter of fact based on characteristics and
features. There were no definitions of what characteristics and features
were. It was all very vague, so if they can take a nonfirearm, reclassify
it based on what they call characteristics and features, then they can
certainly take every existing firearm which would have characteristics
and features of a firearm and declare them to be illegal. What I have
seen from our congress, they would probably go along with that. I don’t
think we gun owners have any friends in congress. It would be nice to
be proven wrong on that point.
Richard: Well, you probably have one.
Aaron: One is not going to be enough.
Aaron: A hundred won’t be enough either quite frankly.
Richard: Right, we have to have a majority and the gun owners really
need to step up to the plate on this. I know, you know, the trap shooters
don’t like the target shooters, the target shooters don’t
like the black powder people, the black powder people don’t like
the military shooters, and the military shooters don’t like the
cowboy action shooting, so we are all fragmented and we really all need
to ban together because they will take everybody’s firearms if
we don’t stop them.
Aaron: It almost sounds like the ATF and the United Nations have a
symbiotic relationship when you think about it? You have done some newspaper
interviews and how did those go?
Richard: Most of the papers have been quite fair. They have quoted
me correctly. They have done some really good articles and we actually
got the most information; of course, we haven’t been contacted
by the ATF yet or FBI with any details, our local newspaper has printed
more information from the ATF and the sheriff’s department than
we have been able to get trying to contact them. Now the warrant didn’t
have the signed affidavit which is supposed to accompany it. They all
claim it exists but nobody has seen it except the supposed ATF agents,
and even in the newspaper this week, the July 12th issue of the Dillon
Tribune, the sheriff has admitted that he did not see the affidavit
but was confident that everything was in order. I don’t know how
you do that.
Aaron: This is why the sheriff was not reelected.
Richard: Actually this happened the day after the election, so I can’t
say that was it.
Aaron: I stand corrected.
Richard: I know the new sheriff is going to be far worse.
Aaron: Or less helpful, I guess. Well that is interesting. The sheriff
is supposed to work for the people and not for the Federal Government
and now you have a situation, and of all places, Montana, where they
have infiltrated the state to put in their own lackeys, so it appears.
Richard: One of the other things. This is Agent Glenn from the ATF.
She quotes “In regard to Celata’s claim that he is not under
the constraints of the law due to his interpretation” (Now they
can have interpretations but I can’t) of the 80% statement”
that is essentially the fact issue that is going to have to be determined
by a court. When I read the law and what requires an 80%, that is my
interpretation, but when they read it, it is the law and they interpret
Aaron: Again, there are no standardized testing procedures and there
are no standardized details given to people to comply with their interpretation.
This is a good example of arbitrary and capricious approach of the ATF
in enforcing their regulations, which we all know there is nothing new
about that, which is one of the reasons why the agency must be abolished.
I might add that this is one of the reasons why we are doing the movie,
The Gang, the documentary to help people understand all the problems
that you have outlined along with other people who have suffered at
the hands of a government gone bad. Why don’t you tell people
where they can reach you.
Richard: My website is www.ktordnance.com. The phone numbers is (406)
Aaron: I understand that your lawyer has told you to go back into production?
Richard: He has. We are having our big open house on July 15th and
we hope to actually cut metal at the beginning of the following week.
Aaron: Well, tell people to bring along some guns. They can do a little
Richard: Actually our Whiskey Day Memorial Machine Shoot, 80% Gun Bill,
and Ice Cream Social that we do every year, this year we won’t
be building anything because they have stolen all of my inventory, so
we will just be doing some shooting. We have two training courses. The
Montana Shooting Association is going to be here doing a two day rifle
course and a one day hand gun course. We just have a lot of fun. A lot
of like-minded people. So if you can make next year’s, visit the
website and get details on it.
Aaron: You have a 200 yard range, don’t you?
Richard: 800 yard range. For all your people that have those big 50
BMGs, you can come out and do some real shooting.
Aaron: Yes, we need to get those folks on board.
Richard, I want to thank you very much for being on Talking to America
today. Our guest has been Richard Celata with KT Ordnance. My name is
Aaron Zelman. I have been your host and I would like all of you to remember,
if you won’t defend your rights, don’t complain when you
Opinions expressed on this program do not necessarily reflect those
of JPFO.org or its members. Talkin’ to America is a production