When I was in the Navy, a buddy of mine and I were FFL holders. We had gotten the FFL because we wanted to buy guns at wholesale prices. We also made a bit of cash on the side, selling guns to fellow service members. This was in the Reagan/Bush timeframe, so Clinton hadn’t yet begun his attempt at killing “kitchen table gun dealers.” To make it legal for the weapons to be in my off base apartment while we were out doing various Navy things, we made my (then) wife a part owner of the business.
I had this hardcore, lefty Lieutenant (O-3) from New York city that was in my chain of command, and he found out about our little side gig. He called us into the office and began yelling at us, calling us “Soldier of Fortune, Rambo wannabes.” He then ordered my buddy and I to shut down our business and turn over all inventory to the police. He claimed it was a direct order, and we would be prosecuted under the UCMJ under Articles 89, 91, 92, and 134, and he would have us court-martialed. We both refused, and pointed out that since my (then) wife was part owner of the business, such an order would be unlawful, as he had no jurisdiction.
He became irate, and called us “sea lawyers” and then promised to make our lives “a living hell.” The point of this story is that Big Country’s tale is not a surprise to me. It has been going on for years.