A Tennessee man is in custody after doing something insanely stupid — and then taunting the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
On Wednesday, local outlet WZTV reported that police in Putnam County, Tennessee, received a citizen’s tip relating to a video posted online, in which a man appears to taunt the ATF by saying he is making a bomb.
“Hey ATF, let me know if this [is] legal,” he said. “Uh, a pound of Tannerite, a pipe bomb, and a wine bottle full of diesel.”
The ATF confirmed that the man, who was identified as Levi Flatt, was attempting to make a bomb and then issued a search warrant. They then observed Flatt enter a white Chevy van on his property.
They then observed him pulling into a Walmart, where he purchased a propane tank. Believing that explosives were likely inside the vehicle, they stopped him and made the arrest.
Authorities found “three pipe bombs, two Molotov cocktails, a handgun with a tampered serial number, approximately 160 rounds of ammunition, a flak jacket, and a shield” in his car.
They also executed a search warrant on his home.
So essentially, Flatt thought that it would be a great idea to drive around town with explosives, guns, and tactical gear, and then he decided to brag about it to the ATF, leading to his arrest.
Flatt is now in custody facing multiple charges including possessing prohibited weapons and explosives and alteration of an item’s permanent distinguishing numbers.
Honestly, it really goes without saying that what Flatt did was really stupid. Anyone with a modicum of common sense knows that you probably should not drive around town with dangerous and illegal weapons and brag about it to federal agents.
Granted, in this instance, there are probably some mental health issues that are going unaddressed, and if that is the case, Flatt should get some help. Nevertheless, no one should be doing this.
The other thing that needs to be noted is the importance of the ATF in solving this case. Yes, the ATF is one of those bloated alphabet-soup agencies in Washington — full of unelected bureaucrats who make life more irksome for Americans.
But the ATF does still serve a purpose. It does regulate dangerous substances and firearms and helps to ensure that those do not fall into the hands of bad actors.
It was their regulations and their work that allowed police in Tennessee to catch Levi Flatt, potentially preventing a catastrophe.
So, while it may be tempting to talk about defunding federal agencies, like the ATF, it is important to note that there would be a massive law enforcement gap without them.
We do need these agencies from time to time to bring in bad actors.
Perhaps it would be more productive to prune and reform them than to defund them.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.