August 7, 2013 by Barbara With
Bulletproof Securities, the paramilitary militia illegally employed by Gogebic Taconite LLC (GTac) last month to guard their drill sites have been granted their operating permit for the State of Wisconsin. Despite an investigation into their illegal activities, they have been given the permits they did not apply for the first time.
GTac hired the security forces on July 2 in response to an isolated event on June 11, in which a GTac geologist wrestled with an unknown assailant while workers looked on passively. Katie Kloth has been charged and is facing trial for her participation in the raid. There have been no other incidents.
The armed militia was discovered in the Penokee Hills by Rob Ganson, who photographed the team dressed in camouflage carrying assault rifles while walking through the public land with his family.
“One of the three mercenaries was armed with an FN Scar, a military full auto rifle sold primarily for military special forces,” explained Ganson. “The other two were M-16 types, which may be full or semi-auto. All three were equipped with 30 round magazines. Two of the arms were fitted with sound suppressors, essentially silencers, discernible from flash suppressors or muzzle breaks because they were solid, not slotted. In some of the pictures, you can see their fingers inside the trigger guards, on the triggers while observing five peaceful middle-aged hikers, attempting to engage them in friendly conversation.”
Not only did Bulletproof not have proper permits to operate legally in the state, they did not wear name tags or carry identifying credentials as is required by law. State gun law also bans machine guns from the state except under certain circumstances. The NRA outlines the law:
No person may sell, possess, use or transport any machine gun or other full automatic firearm, unless it is done so in strict compliance with all applicable laws.
A “machine gun” includes any weapon that shoots, is designed to shoot or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.
State law provides exceptions to the general ban on possession of a machine gun and those include, for use in a scientific purpose; the possession of a machine gun not usable as a weapon and possessed as a curiosity, ornament or keepsake; or the possession of a machine gun other than one adapted to use pistol cartridges for a purpose manifestly not aggressive or offensive.
Even though several parties made formal complaints to the Department of Safety and Professional Services, including the Sierra Club, apparently the Board felt Bulletproof deserved another chance.
Despite being given a permit to operate a security company, Bulletproof has still broken the law, and will continue doing so if they bring machine guns into the State, and any weapons onto Iron County Forest Land.
Call Martin Lipske, Iron County DA and demand he uphold the law and press charges against Bulletproof.
UPDATE from Attorney Anthony Stella: Barb, just to clarify the Iron County Forest Rule: It allows for firearms, but makes it a violation to unlawfully possess a firearm in the County Forest, which is what Bulletproof did, because they possessed firearms without the required state permits for a security guards.
GTac lobbyist Bob Seitz, confirming that Bulletproof is returning to the state despite their record of violating state law: