I, Saeid Shafizadeh, a naturalized citizen of the United Sates and resident of Jefferson County, Kentucky, make the following declaration;
1. Since 1982, pursuant to various appropriate licenses and permits issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (hereinafter BATF) of the United States Treasury, I have been "engaged in the business" of "firearm," and "ammunition" as defined by Title 18 United States Code (U.S.C.) § § 921(a)(3), (17)(A) & (21). Initially, I was a sole proprietor, however, my subsequent involvement has been as an officer of a corporation that is engaged in the business of firearms and ammunition.
2. Presently, I am the responsible person as described by 27 C.F.R. § 55.49(b)(2) and § 178.47(b)(2) who has the power to direct or cause direction of the management and policies of Pars International Corporation (hereinafter Pars), located at 509 Cheyenne Avenue, Louisville, Kentucky 40209. Pars is organized under the laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and is treated as a "S" corporation pursuant to the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C. § 1362.
3. Pars possesses a Federal Firearms License (hereinafter FFL) type 11, issued by the BATF, as an importer defined by 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(9) of firearms and ammunition including destructive devices and ammunition for destructive devices and armor piercing ammunition defined by 18 U.S.C. § § 921(a)(4), (17)(C). Pursuant to provisions of 18 U.S.C. § § 843(a) & (b), Pars is also licensed by the BATF as a type 23 "Importer of High Explosives" which is defined by 18 U.S.C. § 841(g). Pursuant to provisions of Arms Export Control Act and Title 27 C.F.R. § 47.31, Pars is registered with BATF as an importer of U.S. Munition List Items.
4. Pursuant to provisions of Title 26 U.S.C. § 5802, Pars has registered with the Treasury Secretary and paid the Special Occupational Tax imposed by 26 U.S.C. § 5 801 which authorizes it to deal in National Firearms Act (hereinafter NFA) firearms as defined by 26 U.S.C. § 5845(a).
5. Pars has filed the identification Number 61-1140738 with the United States Customs (hereinafter USC) as an importer pursuant to provisions of 19 C.F.R. § 24.5, and as such, it has posted the appropriate surety bond with the USC pursuant to provisions of 19 C.F.R. § 113. Pars is also the custodian of a U.S. Customs High Security Bonded Warehouse in Kentucky.
6. As the responsible person who has the power to direct or cause direction of the management and policies of Pars, I have devoted time, attention and labor to the business of importing and/or dealing in firearms and ammunition as a regular course of trade or business with the principle objective of livelihood and profit through the purchase, importation, sale or distribution of firearms and ammunition.
7. Since 1982, I have handled over 73,000 transactions in firearms some of which were NFA firearms the "transfer" (See 27 C.F.R. § 178.11) of which require filing of an appropriate application with the BATF's NFA branch and strict observation of provisions of Title 18 and 26 U.S.C. and 27 C.F.R. § 179.
8. Pars' customers include various law enforcement agencies and their officers/agents, manufacturers, distributors, dealers, movie industry, members of the armed forces, national guard units and private individuals authorized to lawfully obtain firearms and/or ammunition.
9. Title 26 U.S.C. § 5841 states: " The Secretary shall maintain a central registry of all firearms in the United States which are not in the possession of or under the control of the United States. This registry shall be known as the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Records and shall include: (1) identification of the firearm as required by this part; (2) date of registration; and (3) identification and address of person entitled to possession of the firearm."
10. Title 26 U.S.C. § 5861(d) states: "it shall be unlawful for any person... (d) to receive or possess a firearm which is not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Records;"
11. As an importer, I have registered imported NFA firearms with the NFA Branch of BATF by filing the notice of firearms imported on Form 2 (ATF F2). I have also transferred NFA firearms by filing application and receive approval on Forms 3, 4 and 5, therefore, I maintain routine contact with the NFA Branch.
12. After enactment of the Public Law 99-308 in May of 1986, I learned that at least one examiner at the NFA branch instead of going through the task of entering registration and transfer records submitted by the industry members into the NFRTR system destroyed some records. At that time BATF officials assured the industry that was an isolated incident, however my experience over the years has proven otherwise. The conduct of that examiner exposed the applicant(s) for registration who were in possession of NFA firearms which were not entered in the NFRTR system to the charge of violating the provisions of 26 U.S.C. § 5861 (d). The penalty for such violation is prescribed by 26 U.S.C. § 5871 as fine not more than $10,000, or imprisonment not more than ten years, or both.
13. I believe Title 26 U.S.C. § 5841 imposes an implied obligation upon BATF to ensure the accuracy of the NFRTR. The accuracy of NFRTR has perhaps become the single most significant concern of our industry. There has been a number of occasions when BATF inspectors conducted an audit of my firm's inventory of the NFA firearms and have discovered discrepancies between the print out provided by the NFA branch and the actual inventory which have always been resolved in my favor.
14. Years ago I made a routine habit of calling the NFA branch and ask for a copy of the NFRTR print out of NFA firearms registered to my firm. BATF used to provide the print out which I used to perform a self-audit that usually resulted in discovery of some discrepancies. I always reported the inaccuracies to the NFA branch and requested the mistakes in their system to be corrected. In 1990, when Wayne Mille was appointed as the chief of the NFA branch I called him and asked for a copy of the print out. He asked me to send him a request in writing which I gladly complied with on November 6, 1990 (Exhibit 1). Miller sent a reply dated November 15, 1990, declining to provide a copy of the print out (Exhibit 2).
15. In 1992, pursuant to provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Title 5 U.S.C. § 552, I obtained a copy of the NFRTR print out of the NFA firearms registered to my firm which contained a number of serious errors. On May 14, 1992, I wrote a letter to Miller and described the errors I had discovered (Exhibit 3). I provided the serial numbers for seven NFA firearms that had been transferred out of my inventory, however, the NFRTR still showed them registered to my firm. That is, I had applied to the NFA branch for the transfer of those firearms and NFA branch had approved the transfers after presumably NFRTR had been updated. I also provided the serial numbers for two firearms that had never been in my possession but the NFRTR showed them registered to my firm. Finally, I provided the serial number for a firearm that was lawfully in my possession pursuant to an approved application by the NFA branch but the NFRTR did not reflect that. On September 2, 1992, Miller sent a letter indicating that the NFRTR had been amended to correct the errors (Exhibit 4).
16. On January 20, 1992, I received one machine gun serial number 3471 from Nampa Police Department for repair, the transfer of this NFA firearm had been approved to my firm by BATF on January 6, 1992 (Exhibit 5). After the firearm had been repaired and I applied to transfer the firearm back to the Nampa Police Department, I received an "ERROR LETTER" concerning three other NFA firearms with a notice on the bottom regarding the serial number 3471 (Exhibit 6). BATF, indicated that the NFA firearm serial number 3471 was still registered to Nampa, however, the examiner who suspected the error might be on part of the NFRTR, requested a copy of the approved transfer (proof of registration) to my firm. When I established that the error was on NFRTR part, that transfer was approved.
17. During an inspection conducted by BATF in 1995, the inspector asked me to produce one NFA firearm serial number B071497M that according to NFRTR was registered to my firm. I was unable to find any records showing that I ever had that firearm in my inventory, the inspector demanded that I write a note indicating that I did not have that firearm in my inventory. At that time, unaware of my rights, I wrote a brief letter indicating that I did not have that firearm in my inventory (Exhibit 7). Later on, BATF sent me a copy of a letter addressed to a dealer clarifying that NFA firearm was indeed registered to his company and not to my firm.
18. On July 26, 1995, Pars imported and registered six NFA firearms by filing an ATF Form 2 with the NFA branch (Exhibit 8). Along the left margin of the exhibit the stamped signature of "Thomas B. Busey" can be seen which signifies the registration in the NFRTR had been processed. The back of the exhibit is stamped by the BATF showing July 31, 1995, the date on which the application had been received. When I applied to transfer these firearms to customers, NFA branch declined to approve the transfer by sending an "ERROR LETTER" indicating that the firearms were not registered. When I contacted the examiners on August 15, 1995, unaware of the Exhibit 8, they indicated there were no records of those firearms ever being registered.
19. On January 19, 1996, I abandoned to the BATF one NFA firearm serial number E1212611 that had no further use for my firm. On February 2, 1996, I informed NFA branch of the abandonment and provided a copy of the receipt and requested the removal of that firearm from the NFRTR (Exhibit 9). On May 23, 1997, BATF approved the transfer of five NFA firearms to a customer, one of those firearms is serial number 54570. Based on the latest NFRTR record print out of the NFA firearms registered to my firm which was obtained pursuant to another FOIA request, the serial numbers E1212611 and 54570 are still registered to my firm. These latest errors have been averred in Shafizadeh v. BATF, 3:97 CV-767A (D.C.W.D. Ky. filed Nov. 24, 1997).
20. The Exhibit 10 is a self-explanatory letter by BATF's Director to Senator Ford of Kentucky concerning a complaint I had lodged that dealt with the records getting lost or destroyed at the NFA branch. Those were registration and transfer records for two NFA firearms that were filed on February 20, 1998, but were not entered into the NFRTR system until June 29, 1998, after I had complained to Senator Ford. The type of errors, mistakes and inaccuracies in the NFRTR that I have described are common complaints in the NFA firearms industry. Although BATF officials are aware of these errors, they continue to ignore them. While the industry's access to NFRTR print out is severely restricted, the burden of establishing the system's sanity, errors and inaccuracies falls squarely on the shoulder of the licensees.
I am prepared to testify in person as to the truth of the here above statements. In accordance with Title 28 United States Code (U.S.C.) § 1746, I hereby declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.
Saeid Shafizadel Sept-22-98