On Wednesday, Bud Cummins, the attorney for Bryan Malinowski, testified in the House Judiciary Committee’s Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. The hearing focused on the actions that led to the shooting death of Bryan Malinowski on March 19 and the possible overreach of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). 

What happened to Bryan Malinowski?

Bryan Malinowski was one of the highest paid officials in the City of Little Rock, serving as the Executive Director of the Little Rock airport. On March 19 at about 6:01 am, the ATF attempted to serve a search warrant at the Malinowski residence. The warrant was in relation to the sale of illegal firearms. Cummins has stated that this was mainly due to a licensing dispute and whether Malinowski had the proper licensing to make those sales. The affidavit of the warrant stated that Malinowski had purchased at least 150 guns over a three-year period. When serving the warrant, the ATF agents stated that they returned fire on Malinowski, fatally wounding him. Malinowski was transported to the hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries. 

What is the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives?

During the hearing, there were many attacks on the ATF and their practices. According to the ATF website, the government agency is responsible for protecting our communities against the illegal use and trafficking of firearms, among many other things. In 2023, the ATF traced almost 623,000 firearms associated with crimes. The ATF is crucial in reducing violent crime and strengthening public safety.

Cummins’ Testimony

Bud Cummins testified in front of the Select Subcommittee alongside Andrew Graham, Ryan Cleckner, and Kelly Sampson. He was introduced by Congressman French Hill, who notably is not a member of the Subcommittee but introduced Cummins as a “constituent.” Cummins largely focused his testimony on criticizing the ATF’s use of an alleged “no-knock warrant.” Cummins claimed that Malinowski most likely believed that the ATF agents were intruders and that would explain why he opened fire. No-Knock warrants allow law enforcement to enter a property without knocking or announcing their presence. 

These warrants have been widely criticized nationally because of the likelihood of deadly use of force by law enforcement and resulting deaths of civilians. The committee pointed out, however, that the affidavit of the warrant did not state that it was a no-knock warrant. Cummins also criticized the ATF agents for not wearing body cameras. This is also corroborated by U.S. Senators Tom Cotton and John Boozeman in a statement made earlier this year about the incident. Along with a lack of body cam footage, Cummins also notes that the ATF agents disabled the electricity to the home and covered the Malinoskis’ ring camera that would have provided context on how the ATF agents entered the home. 

Additionally, Cummins criticized the time of day that the ATF agents served the warrant, stating that it would have been easier to serve the warrant at Malinowski’s workplace or at a more convenient time. 

It is important to note that this is still an ongoing investigation, and it is not the job of the Select Subcommittee to litigate this incident. We will find out more about this situation soon, but until then follow along for more updates.