ATF killed executive director of Clinton National Airport in Arkansas during pre-dawn search warrant raid amid investigation of unlicensed firearms dealing

 March 23, 2024

A senior airport executive with nominal ties to former president and first lady Bill and Hillary Clinton was shot and killed this week by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives agents in a pre-dawn raid on his home in a wealthy neighborhood of Little Rock, Arkansas.

The deceased, Bryan Malinowski, who was the executive director of Little Rock's Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport, was the subject of an ATF investigation into his alleged dealing of firearms without a license and making false statements on federal gun purchase forms, according to the New York Post.

Malinowski is alleged to have opened fire on ATF agents as they attempted to serve a search warrant during a 6 am raid on Tuesday, and wounded one agent with non-life-threatening injuries. The ATF agents returned fire and hit Malinowski, who ultimately died of those injuries on Thursday.

ATF investigation results in deadly search warrant raid

In the aftermath of the controversial ATF raid that resulted in Malinowski's death, a heavily redacted version of the probable cause affidavit used to obtain the search warrant was unsealed by a court and released to the media and general public.

Malinowski had been under ATF investigation since December 2023, when the agency received a tip from Canadian law enforcement that he might be selling firearms that were later suspected of being used in crimes. Serial number traces later revealed that six firearms linked to Malinowski had been recovered by police during various arrests in Arkansas and other states like California.

The subsequent investigation uncovered an apparent scheme in which Malinowski would legally purchase firearms online from others through, fill out the necessary federal forms to acquire the firearms through a licensed dealer after they were shipped -- though he allegedly falsely checked the box that claimed he was the sole and final recipient of the firearm -- and then would sell those same firearms for a profit at local gun shows without asking purchasers for identification or conducting background checks or criminal records searches on them.

In addition to tracing firearm serial numbers and tracking his online purchases, ATF agents also conducted surveillance on Malinowski for several months, including installing a tracking device on his vehicle and physically tailing him as he drove around the city. Undercover agents also made multiple purchases from him at a gun show where he was set up as a private vendor.

Accused of being an unlicensed dealer and lying on federal gun purchase forms

In all, Malinowski was alleged to have purchased upwards of 150 firearms, mostly handguns and AR-style pistols, over a roughly two-year period, most of which were then sold at gun shows within a matter of days, weeks, or months.

His actions were alleged to have violated two provisions of the Gun Control Act of 1968, including 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(1)(A), which makes it "unlawful" for "any person" to "engage in the business" of "dealing in firearms" without a federal license, as well as 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(6), which makes it "unlawful" for any person to "knowingly to make any false or fictitious oral or written statement" in connection with a federally licensed firearm sale.

In other words, Malinowski was alleged to be an unlicensed dealer who falsely asserted that the firearms he legally purchased were only for himself -- or, in more plain terms, an American citizen making private sales of firearms he owned outside the confines of the government's onerous rules and regulations.

Attorney says Malinowski's alleged crimes "don't begin to justify what happened"

The private citizen making private sales point was raised by the local Little Rock attorney who represents the Malinowski family, former U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

In a statement released after Malinowski's eventual death from the gunshot wounds he sustained during Tuesday's 6 am ATF search warrant raid on his home, Cummins said the family did "not understand the government’s decision which led to a dawn raid on the private home and triggered the use of deadly force."

"Even if the allegations in the affidavit are true, they don’t begin to justify what happened," the attorney added. "At worst, Bryan Malinowski, a gun owner and gun enthusiast, stood accused of making private firearm sales to a person who may not have been legally entitled to purchase the guns."

Over the several months of investigation, the ATF had multiple opportunities to question or arrest Malinowski -- including at his job or while driving around Little Rock -- in a safe manner but opted instead to conduct a pre-dawn raid on his home that provoked justifiable self-defensive actions on Malinowski's part and unfortunately resulted in his unnecessary death for alleged crimes that do not warrant summary execution.

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