American Guns' Gunsmoke Guns: Did Wyatt family rip off the I.R.S. for years?
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Since then, however, another law enforcement agency has descended on the store -- the I.R.S., whose agents came armed with a search warrant. The timing triggered suspicions in at least one blogger that the raid was politically motivated.
American Guns told the story of Gunsmoke owners Rich and Renee Wyatt and their kids, Kurt (seen above) and Paige. The ratings for the first two seasons of the program were solid, leading to expectations that a third would be launched. But last December, following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and the subsequent debate about guns and gun violence, Discovery pulled the plug on the program.
A couple of months later, during the early morning hours of February 27, a thief or thieves gained access to the shop through a hole in the roof. Witnesses saw a silver, two-door car drive away from the scene shortly before police arrived. An inventory later determined that twelve handguns and three rifles (but no assault weapons) were missing.
Reached this morning, Wheat Ridge Police Department Division Chief Joe Cassa says there have been no new developments in the case. Officers have yet to identify suspects or find the car. "Everything is status quo," he concedes while emphasizing that the investigation is continuing.
In the meantime, the Wyatts have concerns beyond being crime victims. On Friday, 7News reports, Internal Revenue Service reps executed a search warrant at Gunsmoke as part of what a spokesman described as a financial investigation.
The store was closed on Friday, but Cassa says it's his understanding it's back open for business as usual. He adds that the IRS inquiry will have no bearing on the Wheat Ridge PD's burglary inquiry.
But is it connected to something else -- like the Colorado gun legislation that's gotten national attention?
Five bills continue to move forward at the State Capitol. latest: Yesterday, the Colorado Senate passed five measures, with one, about fees for background checks, headed to Governor John Hickenlooper's desk. The other four, including a limit on high-capacity magazines and a broadening of the background-check statute, face further debate in the House.
Paige and Kurt Wyatt.
The subject of gun-control legislation has certainly whipped up passion among Second Amendment absolutists, and one -- Examiner.com blogger Timothy Miller, who writes under the title "Colorado Conservative Examiner" -- jumped on the Gunsmoke raid in a post headlined "Freedom of speech attacked by the IRS." He writes:
Currently, there is no way to ascertain the Wheat Ridge gun-shop owner's guilt or innocence. [Rich] Wyatt did, over the last several months, become increasingly critical of, and vocal about, proposed gun-control legislation and gun rights. Shortly thereafter exercising his right to freedom of speech, the small businessperson's retail location was raided by the IRS, and it's quite apparent, just like the Tea Party, Wyatt and Obama do not see eye-to-eye. There is no immediate proof that Wyatt's freedom of speech was limited by presidential bully-tactics, but Obama has been known to silence the opposition by using the IRS.Here's a 7News piece about the IRS raid, followed by our previous coverage.
The initial media exposure was immense and local news outlets continue to cover the story daily. The question the media neglects to address is why, again, is a group or individual spoke publicly against the Obama administration's agenda aggressively investigated by the Internal Revenue? More importantly, is the IRS President Obama's private character assassination tool?
Continue for our previous coverage of the burglary at Gunsmoke Guns, including photos and videos.