When the News Stops

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by Zaron Burnett III
06/10/2015

-Most comprehensive story yet on Jeffrey Alan Lash, the “secret agent” “alien” found dead in his car in July, 2015
 
-$5 million worth of guns and $230,000 were found at his condo, and there may be more
 
-Interviews and transcripts with lawyers and other who knew or had met Lash
 
-ATF explains why massive personal arsenal did not raise red flags
 
-Radio host George Noory addresses Lash “alien” rumours
Why would a dying man lie about what will happen to his dead body?
He gave his fiancée very precise instructions about how to handle his corpse whenever he finally lost his fight to live. On July 3, 2015 he collapsed in the parking lot of an upscale Los Angeles grocery store. After she and others tried and failed to resuscitate his body, his fiancé did as she was told. She wrapped his body in dry ice and blankets. Then she left it in an SUV parked on a long, hilly, residential street in Pacific Palisades. She trusted that his super-secret black ops agency would find and dispose of his body. The next day, the Fourth of July, she and her personal assistant blended into the holiday traffic and got the hell out of town. They drove to Oregon and hid out while they mourned.
Catherine Nebron-Gorin had prepared. She knew this day would come. She was not a well-trained CIA agent like her dead fiancé had claimed he was, but she did have a personal mantra to motivate her.
“If he can, I can.”
Back in California, the personal assistant’s mother grew worried when she didn’t hear from her daughter. Days passed. On July 10th she filed a missing person’s report. The bulletin went national: “Woman missing under suspicious circumstances.”
Four days later, a deputy from an Oregon sheriff department found her car and located her at a hotel. She said her name was Dawn Marie VadBunker. Twenty minutes later the woman’s mother, Laura, awoke to a phone call and learned that her daughter was no longer missing. She’d been found safe in Oregon.

LAURA VADBUNKER’S FACEBOOK POST ANNOUNCING THE GOOD NEWS (NOTICE THAT SHE ADDS: “THIS STORY IS NOT OVER.”)
The next day, Catherine Nebron-Gorin left her personal assistant, Dawn Marie, and traveled to Los Angeles alone. A handwritten letter from Dawn Marie was sent to her family. The postmark was July 15, and it was mailed from Sacramento. California’s capital city is halfway between Oregon and Los Angeles, on your way south if you take the interstate. The letter let Dawn Marie’s worried mother know that she was “with like-minded people” in a place “where she could heal.” It was the last her mother would hear from her.
On July 17 Nebron-Gorin returned home to find her fiancé’s body right where she left it, in the SUV, in the summer sun, partially mummified in blankets. She phoned her lawyer. She told him what had occurred. He called the LAPD and told the cops where they could find a dead body.
The next morning international headlines blared1,200 guns. $230,000 in cash. Dead body found in SUV. Left to rot for weeks. Parked on the street in wealthy L.A. neighborhood.

(COURTESY OF THE PALISADIAN-POST / PHOTO BY RICH SCHMITT)
SOME OF THE $230,000 ALONG WITH THE LAPD’S MONEY COUNTER (COURTESY OF THE PALISADIAN-POST / PHOTO BY RICH SCHMITT)
(COURTESY OF THE PALISADIAN-POST / PHOTO BY RICH SCHMITT)
Rumours quickly followed. The dead man claimed he was an alien hybrid. He said he was a super-spy fighting to save the world. He confided in a trusted few. He told them he worked with a black ops agency—one that dealt with aliens.
Nebron-Gorin’s lawyer warned the world: “He could have been working for anyone.” It was soon reported the dead man might have had multiple storage units around Los Angeles. No one knows for sure how many, but they were thought to contain more guns, along with survivalist toys like amphibious assault vehicles and modified SUVS with bulletproof glass.
(COURTESY OF THE PALISADIAN-POST / PHOTO BY RICH SCHMITT)
(COURTESY OF THE PALISADIAN-POST / PHOTO BY RICH SCHMITT)
A waiter named Francesco Schiff came forward. He told news reporters the dead man obsessively ate at the same restaurant, Casa Nostra, with a regular and reliable pattern. He always ordered raw filet mignon. The dead man believed it was important to eat a diet rich in bloody cuts of meat. Just before he died, he was reportedly eating raw buffalo steaks.
His raw meat diet supported online theories that he was an alien hybrid. Most certainly, part-Reptilian. There are vast, complex theories about shape-shifting aliens who have conspired for centuries to rule the earth, disguised as the elite and royal families. The shape-shifting aliens are called Reptilians.
The alien talk about the dead man came from Laura VadBunker, the personal assistant’s worried mother. She told the press that she was frightened for her daughter because Dawn Marie VadBunker had told her that her boss was an alien. In fact, she’d said he was a Reptilian and his fiancee was also an alien, from a water planet. The VadBunker daughter claimed she’d seen him change into his Reptilian alien form.
But now, Dawn Marie VadBunker is no longer talking to the press. Or anyone. In a twist that fits this strange story, ever since law enforcement officers called her mother and declared her daughter was no longer a missing person, Dawn Marie VadBunker’s been missing. Or in hiding, depending on whom you ask. Other than that one handwritten letter sent from Sacramento, she still has not contacted her family.
When I started my investigation a few weeks after his death, the body of the deceased was listed in the coroner’s office as a John Doe. It was being held for identification by the LAPD. The autopsy had yet to be released. Naturally, this fueled speculation. Suspicious folks in online forums said, obviously, it’s because the dead man is half-alien, and the LAPD still hasn’t figured out how to cover this all up.
Others, not as skeptical, or paranoid—instead just merely cynical—say there’s no autopsy because the dead man has no next of kin, and the LAPD would like to keep his $5 million cache of guns. This would obviously be easier to do with a John Doe.
You may be wondering: did you just say his 1,200 guns are worth $5 million dollars? And hold up—1,200 guns? Why aren’t the feds involved? Shouldn’t the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) be all over the mysterious death of a man who had a small arsenal in his L.A. condo? And who will get all those guns?
More on that later.
For now, a glass menagerie of cousins (nine at last count) has come forward to lay claim to the estate of their dearly departed cousin, the mystery man at the middle of this tale, because $5 million tends to grab hold of folks’ attention.
This story is so unrelentingly strange some part of it must be true. Every bit of this story that I investigate, every fact I check only makes the mystery grow deeper and weirder.
When you consider all the questions this man’s story raises, you wind up with an investigation into what we believe, what we want to believe, and how others will try to control what we believe for their benefit. This story says more about us than it will ever reveal about the dead man at the center of it. But there are answers. There is truth to be found inside the swirl of this bizarre mystery.
Was this man what he claimed to be: an alien-human-hybrid superspy who needed a 1,200-gun arsenal and multiple assault vehicles to protect the world from extraterrestrial invasion?
Or was he just another obsessive gun-stroke, an American eccentric who wrote for obscure websites, who shrouded himself with lawyers and abused people’s love of mystery and desire to feel important as he seductively spread fear – a sociopath who enriched his life using his very human powers of manipulation?
A woman who knew him said it’s either one or the other. There is no third way.
His neighbors called him Skinny Bob. But when he was born on Dec. 3, 1954, his parents named him Jeffrey Alan Lash.

(VIA KTLA / DMV PHOTO OF JEFFREY ALAN LASH IN HIS 40S)
“You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”
-Mark Twain “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”
There’s one man who might be able to help me make sense of all the alien oddness of this story: George Noory. He’s the host of “Coast to Coast”, the AM talk radio show that focuses on the paranormal, the extraterrestrial and the strange. I’m betting he may have heard a story like this before.
When I call Noory, he’s friendly, open and cooperative. He’s also quick to say, “What a bizarre story you’re tracking.”He tells me he’s never heard a story like this before. Ever. I ask about his show’s callers. What’s their reaction? He tells me, like him, they’re flabbergasted.
“Has anyone mentioned Jeffrey Lash’s father?” I ask.
Noory says not yet. I lay out a theory I found in an online forum. Lash’s father was a microbiologist who founded his own lab and was its director for 30 years. But when little Jeffrey was born, his father was working with a sex change surgeon named Dr. Elmer Belt.
That same doctor would later found the Da Vinci library at UCLA. For some folks online, this association with Dr. Belt alone lends credibility to the theory the dead man really was an alien-human hybrid. One created here on Earth by his father’s sex change pioneering boss. Wild, right?
All of this is news to Noory. He tells me how microbiologists have been turning up dead. Often suspicious circumstances are involved. He tells me if I Google it there’s plenty of discussion about it online. He and his listeners have been speculating about whether the deaths of microbiologists are meant to reduce our chances of creating an antidote. But an antidote to what, they’re not sure.
Noory also mentions that natural medicine doctors have been dying in suspicious ways. They’ve been reporting on that story for the last three weeks. He tells me, “Some of them died after the feds raided their offices; it’s very strange.”
One thing is certain: plenty of people die or go missing, and their deaths leave those close to them perplexed. The idea that the government or secret forces might be responsible becomes a legit possibility to them. For some, it’s almost soothing to believe a loved one died for a higher cause, done in by evil forces.
Noory tells me, “Here’s my big quote on the Lash story: it’s absolutely bizarre. The fact of the matter is: he had munitions, he had ammunition, and he had a lot of cash stored away … how does someone accumulate all that?”
The city of Oxnard is roughly 45 minutes north of Los Angeles. I head north on the 101 Freeway, and I’m stoked when it doesn’t take me long to drive there in the middle of the day on a weekday. These things matter in Los Angeles.
Once you crest the Santa Monica Mountains, up there at the top of the valley, the land below you looks like an art student painted an idealized landscape—patchworks of agriculture lay across the land like a family blanket.
The descent into Camarillo is so steep it feels surreal. Down at the bottom of the mountain, you go left to the coast, and Oxnard waits for you.
When I locate the VadBunker house, it looks so suburban it feels like a memory. Like, I’ve seen it before, only in the Northern California town where I grew up. It feels that familiar. The family is in the backyard, enjoying the early afternoon. I feel bad interrupting them. But I knock anyway.
A middle-aged man answers the door, and I greet him with, “You must be David.”
This immediately sounds rather creepy both to him and me. I tell him I called earlier and ask if I can speak with his wife, Laura. Bewildered by the disadvantage of how much I know about him and his wife compared to how little he knows about me, he stands there, unsure what to do or say. Watching me with a wary eye, he tells me, “Laura’s not home.”
Friendly as I can muster, I reassure him, “I’m a journalist, doing a story on Jeffrey Lash. I’d just like to ask her some questions.” I give him my card and ask that he tell Laura I’d like to interview her. He inspects it and says she might call later.
Standing at the VadBunker family home makes me reluctant to entertain most of the conspiracy theories surrounding the case. Folks online have been spinning so much out of so little. There’s very little structure in their theories. Like spun sugar, they crumble if you touch them. Yet the research is often exemplary.
For a quick moment I wish some of them could be where I am standing, seeing what I’m seeing and immediately understand how vastly different a man looks in his doorway than he looks online, frozen in a snapshot from Facebook.
A day later, Laura VadBunker calls me. She wants to know what I want to know from her. I say I’m curious about Dawn Marie, and I want to hear a mother’s insight into her daughter. She confides that she just adopted Dawn Marie earlier this year. I confess that I knew that, and I find it all rather fascinating. Laura VadBunker warms up and says that if I want to speak with her, now’s the time. She has a half-hour. Maybe.
Dawn Marie came into the VadBunker’s life because of love. Laura tells Dawn Marie’s sad strange story like a reality TV fairy tale gone horribly awry. “She was dating our son. We helped her and her daughters get a house. But then, he (Laura’s son, Dawn Marie’s husband) left. She lost the house. She lost the car. Just about everything.”
But unlike every other time in her life, this time when Dawn Marie stumbled, the VadBunkers were there to catch her. They knew she’d had a tough childhood, one shaped by abuse, and that Dawn Marie was no longer in touch with her birth mother. She’d married into the VadBunker family. And even though she annulled her marriage to their son, after knowing Dawn Marie for seven years, on March 27, 2015, the VadBunkers made their feelings official and adopted Dawn Marie, a 39-year old single mother of two. She was now her former husband’s legal sister.

DAWN MARIE VADBUNKER
Very soon after she was adopted she began to help take care of Jeffrey Alan Lash. The VadBunkers noticed how their new daughter changed. It all started with her new job. And her time spent with the man she called Bob.
Laura tells me Dawn Marie first got her job working for Catherine Nebron-Gorin as her personal assistant. She needed help running her real estate holdings. It was nothing massive, or growing, but Nebron-Gorin needed someone to help manage it. Laura says that she still has boxes of contracts and other legal paperwork for Nebron-Gorin’s properties, ones that Dawn Marie had brought home and left there.
For the first few years she worked for her, Dawn Marie never met Nebron-Gorin or her mysterious fiancé. This seems odd, and I ask her to clarify. She can’t explain it, and to make sense of it all she chalks it up to the aura of secrecy that surrounded Nebron-Gorin and Lash. Eventually, Dawn Marie began to meet with Nebron-Gorin at coffee shops to exchange paperwork. As Laura remembers it, roughly six months ago, Dawn Marie was finally brought into the true inner circle of trust. She met Bob, aka Jeffrey Alan Lash.
Laura says Dawn Marie’s personality shifted. Her beliefs morphed. Her diet changed. She wanted to only eat raw foods. Dawn Marie said this was at Bob’s suggestion. He only ate raw meat. It had to have blood in it.
Dawn Marie boasted to Laura about how important she was in Bob’s life, telling her mother, “I’m healing him. I’m helping to save the world.” She also told her adoptive family strange stories about her secretive new boss. Laura didn’t know what to make of this. Soon enough, she met Bob for herself.
Trained as a healer, Laura was called in to perform a Reiki healing on Bob. It was a Thursday. She sat in an SUV with him, read his energy and tried to provide what healing she could. Laura tells me, “He was the sickest alive man I’ve ever seen.”
It was clear to her Bob was dying “and there was nothing we could do about it.” He could barely move. He had to be helped in and out of the vehicle where she performed the Reiki healing. Bob asked her to come back and perform a second pass of healing energy. Those were the only two times she met the fiancé of her adopted daughter’s boss.
I ask Laura what Bob was like. She thinks a moment. “He was extremely bright. And he would tell you stories, and then tell you if you passed his test—and I didn’t know I was being tested. He was quite charming, I thought.”
I have to ask, “You met Bob. You read his energy. Do you think he was a half-alien?”
“I’ve thought about this for a long time. Either he believed this one hundred percent, or he’s one hundred percent sociopath. It’s one, or the other. There is no third way.” Laura says this without equivocation.
“Dawn Marie believed that Bob, aka Jeffrey Lash, was a legit hybrid alien?” I ask, trying to make sense of what each woman believes.
“One day she came home very emotional and crying. She said, ‘There’s a God, there’s a God, there’s a God.’ I said, ‘OK … what’s going on?’ And she says ‘I saw Bob, and really, he has yellow eyes. He’s got like a reptilian body.’ And I said, ‘How did this happen?’ And she tells me ‘I saw him in the SUV like that.’ And I’m like, ‘OK…’ So, I started being very careful with her, mentally and emotionally. I saw major changes in six weeks that I could not explain. She was devoted to Catherine and Bob,” Laura says, hoping to explain her daughter’s behavior, but not understanding it herself. “It was like she gave up her whole life to do this.”

DAWN MARIE VADBUNKER DURING HAPPIER DAYS
Early in our conversation Laura expressed shock that two intelligent women could be drawn in and believe a man who tells him that he’s a half-alien hybrid working to save the world. I must admit I find it hard to believe, too. But let’s be real. Apparently, Jeff Lash had game. Most dudes couldn’t get women to go for that alien trip. But Lash did.
When I ask Laura point blank if she thinks Bob was an alien or not, Laura demurs. She won’t say no. It doesn’t seem realistic, but she won’t rule it out.
Her answer is born of an odd mix of skepticism and belief. “Our government says there’s no Area 51. Our government says there’s no UFOs. Our government says we’ve never recovered aliens. Well, we all know, if you do research on it, that’s a 100 percent lie. Because, apparently, we, as humans, cannot accept the truth that we are not the only ones here,” she says.
Laura claims a man came forward and said he worked with Jeffrey Alan Lash at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).
Laura says that Lash “told Dawn he was half alien, half man. He was a hybrid. He was a high security operative for a government agency that we don’t know about. And the only thing that I can think of that would be higher than the CIA is the DIA. There was also a man who came forth who sent us a picture and he said Bob worked with the DIA in 1996.”
“Wait, someone told you Bob worked for the DIA?” I ask, excited by her digression.
“Yes. Under a different name. It wasn’t Jeffrey Lash,” she says. “The man came forth from another agency that deals with extraterrestrials and things like that. What I got out of my conversations with Bob was that he was working on aliens. But you can’t find any information online about Bob or Catherine, just what their parents did. That seems very odd to me.”
I ask Laura about this DIA man, but she has no way for me to check on this guy or his story about Bob working for the DIA.
Later on, after I speak with Laura, I phone the DIA to confirm whether or not Lash ever worked for the agency. As you might imagine, the HR woman for the DIA whom I spoke with said, with a happy note coloring her voice, “I’m sorry we’re not going to be able to answer that question.”
Of course. It’s no great surprise that one of America’s most covert intelligence agencies will not confirm or deny the existence of a possible operative, even if he’s now deceased.
The other rationalization Laura uses to legitimize the idea that Lash was an alien hybrid is the fact that her daughter is still missing. Laura says that her adopted daughter is hiding from something. She thinks she’s scared. Laura tells me that she still receives Dawn Marie’s bank statements. Dawn Marie hasn’t spent a dollar since the day she disappeared. Laura wonders: Who’s paying for her daughter to eat? Who’s giving her shelter?
She may be her adopted daughter, but a mother is always a mother.
“As far as my daughter being lost in it, I don’t believe that she’s lost in it. I think she’s being taken care of very well because she’s not here. She’s being supported somehow. And she’s hiding. Is that the government? Is that Catherine paying for it? I have a million questions.”
Mixed in with her confusion, Laura feels betrayed by Dawn Marie’s ability to cut her out of her life so easily after all she and the VadBunker family did for their adopted daughter. Yet, mostly, Laura’s worried about Dawn Marie’s safety.
To find a place to make sense of her emotions, Laura leaves open a space of doubt: Maybe her daughter’s boss really was an alien hybrid working with the government. Otherwise, why isn’t my daughter coming home? Dawn Marie must be hiding from something or somebody.
Laura has yet to hear from her.
There is another possibility, of course. Dawn Marie’s boss may be taking care of her. Nebron-Gorin could be sheltering her and paying for her food. As far as we know, Nebron-Gorin has the means to support herself and someone else.
Her lawyer, Harland Braun, recently told the press, “[Nebron-Gorin] still very much believes that her dead fiancée was working with the CIA.” Perhaps Nebron-Gorin feels guilty for dragging her personal assistant into this hell of intergalactic super-spies and undercover black ops agents skulking in the dark, and she’s paying to hide the poor girl while she pulls herself back together. Maybe the handwritten letter Dawn Marie sent to her adoptive mother was legit. Maybe she is “with like-minded people” staying “in a place where she can heal.”
All we know for certain is that Nebron-Gorin is back in Los Angeles. She’s working with her lawyer, Braun, to make some sense of the chaos she calls her life. Her condo is a crime scene that’s suffered $300,000 in damages due to poorly built renovations such as walls and doors erected by Lash to ensure he felt safe in her townhouse. Now her fiancée is dead. Her personal assistant is missing or on the lam. And Nebron-Gorin is at the center of one of the strangest cases to happen in Los Angeles since Charles Manson was running deadly in the hills.
The LAPD was quick to determine that there was no foul play involved in the death of Jeffrey Alan Lash. All evidence paints such a picture. So, at least Nebron-Gorin is not a murder suspect. She has that going for her. Meanwhile, the LAPD is sorting through the $5 million dollars worth of guns in her condo. Once a probate court determines how to divide up the estate of her dead fiancé, perhaps then she can return to the business of getting on with her life.
The web sleuths online have speculated about whether Nebron-Gorin and Lash were espionage partners. Perhaps she was his fixer. Others felt she was his operator, and he was a deep cover mind control agent. He could have been a future presidential assassin, they say. Theories abound online. Everyone in the forums works so hard with so little information it often feels like someone trying to describe the 1970s using one single episode of The Brady Bunch.
One question I keep wondering about is rather simple: Why did he need or want so many guns? What if he was holding them like a bank for other gun nuts? What if when a guy rolled in to Los Angeles he could swing on over to Bob’s House of Guns, pick up a sniper rifle and be on his merry way? You see where I’m going. How could a guy buy that many crazy-ass guns and not catch the attention of the FBI or the ATF? How the hell can one man build a huge arsenal in a condo without anyone ever noticing?

 

When I phone the ATF, the woman I speak with tells me the ATF will answer what questions it can, but I need to understand that it’s an ongoing LAPD investigation so the agency won’t be able to answer all my questions. We set a time to meet, and I head over to the ATF field office in Glendale.
Waiting in the lobby, I’m surprised by how casual everyone is. You kind of expect the ATF to be like a semi-militarized command center from the movies. But like everything else in this case, it’s nothing like you expect.
Special Agent Meredith Davis steps out of the elevator and immediately I know I’m in trouble. She’s attractive. Damn it, Burnett, you’re a journalist. You can’t let the government distract you by throwing a stunning special agent at you to answer your questions.
She smiles, introduces herself, and I can’t hear anything other than the sunshine in her Southern accent. If I had to guess I’d say she’s a Texan. Behind her wide and friendly smile I see her eyes gauging me, taking her initial read. This special agent is a total pro. I wonder how many of my questions she’ll answer.
In her office Special Agent Davis shows me pictures that document a new trend in guns. People are machining their own guns–not 3D printing them, but stamping and then cutting metal with computer design. It’s a way to get around buying and legally registering guns. Where there is a will, there is always a new way.
Since I’m unfamiliar with the intricacies of federal gun laws, Davis has generously offered to explain how gun licensing and registration works in America. I’m hoping she’ll also tell me if and how the ATF is involved in the Lash mystery.
Once we get down to the business of the Lash cache of guns, I start out with a simple question of jurisdiction, “Why is this an LAPD case and not one for the FBI?”
“Why do you think it would be the FBI and not LAPD—in my mind, I don’t see why it would be the FBI,” Davis parries my question with ease.
“You’re right—there is no specific crime. There’s just a dead body. But there was the search for the missing Oxnard woman that brought national attention to the case. Of course, she was found unharmed, so, no crime there, either. But what do you think about the well-armed dead man? Like, maybe he was a major West Coast distributor of sniper rifles for survivalists and paranoid extremists. Is that too Hollywood?” I ask.
“I don’t see any federal crime. Who would be the defendant in this case?” Davis says, refusing to entertain any pointless speculation without evidence. She sticks to the reality of actionable evidence, saying, “There’s no further investigation needed on something that’s legally obtained.”
If you’re wondering how it’s legal for a man to buy, register and store a 1,200-gun arsenal in a residential Los Angeles townhouse, you’re about to learn it’s not that difficult at all.
In California, state law requires a 10-day wait period whenever you buy a gun. During that time the FBI runs a check to ensure you aren’t prohibited from owning a firearm.
Other states only follow the federally mandated 72-hour waiting period. At the end of the three days a gun dealer may choose to hand over the firearm to the new owner. However, sometimes, after the gun owner takes possession of the new firearm, the FBI discovers the person isn’t legally allowed to own a firearm. The FBI asks the ATF to go out and get the gun back. This is rare in California because of the longer 10-day waiting period.
In California, where Lash presumably bought his guns, all firearm purchases require an FFL (Federal Firearms License). That includes gun shows and private sales.

 

If a father dies and bequeaths a family heirloom firearm to his son, that transaction requires an FFL. If you are a prohibited person you can’t take possession of the gun. There are nine reasons that disqualify a person from having a gun permit. They include reasons such as: being a felon, being an illegal alien (no jokes, please) or if one is a fugitive from justice, has a conviction for domestic assault or is subject to a domestic restraining order.
So, according to federal and state law, Jeffrey Alan Lash legitimately purchased and licensed his guns. One might think that so many guns registered in the same name, or one person consistently purchasing so many guns, particularly, high-powered sniper rifles, might grab the attention of one or more of the state and federal agencies that checks gun owners and gun ownership records. But Lash never triggered a home visit from the FBI or ATF. Why is that?
How does someone like Lash stay off of everyone’s radar? What sort of national gun registration records does the ATF keep and monitor?
Davis’s answer is to the point. “There’s no gun registry. It is not permitted by federal law for us to keep any type of electronic firearms records or registry.”
“You guys can keep a paper record or registry but not electronic records? So, that’s what slows down the FBI’s check?” I ask, imagining all the microfiche required.
She nods, patiently. “Yes. We perform our duties within the constraints of the United States Code.”
“Then how does the ATF track guns and gun buyers?” I ask, unsure I want to hear the answer.
Davis takes a breath. Her eyes sparkle like she’s been waiting for this moment to help the ATF be better understood by a layman like me.
“Federal law requires manufacturers and importers to put the manufacturer’s name, a serial number, the model, the caliber or gauge, then the city and state of the manufacturer or importer on every gun they make. Also, the country of origin, if it’s imported. Because the manufacturers are required to put this on there, we can perform a trace. In this case, we’re talking about Mr. Lash, but this could be applied to anyone, and any gun you find in the street. You pick it up. You see that it has Colt on the side of it. You call Colt and they say, ‘Yeah, here’s the serial number. And this is who we sold it to or who we shipped it to.’ So, we contact the gun store. And the gun store identifies who the last legal purchaser was. In a perfect world, that person is in possession of the firearm. In California, if it was sold again, there needs to be another 4473, if it was a private sale. If it was in Texas, you aren’t required to fill out any paperwork for a private sale. You can stand on the corner and have an AK-47 for sale–”