WASHINGTON, D.C. -(Ammoland.com)- Newly leaked documents have shown the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has stepped up its zero-tolerance policy against federal firearms licensees (FFLs).
The documents were turned up by Gun Owners of America (GOA) and show that the ATF is targeting FFLs with license revocations. The Biden administration has vowed to target “rogue” FFLs, and it seems like the ATF is capitulating to his demands. An earlier AmmoLand News report shows that revocations increased by 500% last year.
“Joe Biden has weaponized ATF against gun owners and the firearms industry in an attempt to violate the Second Amendment and expand his illegal gun registry,” Aidan Johnston, GOA’ Director of Federal Affairs told AmmoLand. “Rather targeting those who display clear negligence and disregard for the law, ATF now revokes licenses without warning at the discovery of a first mistake by honest gun dealers. When Federal Firearms Licensees are forced out of business, ATF adds their records to its digital gun registry that has nearly a billion gun and gun owner records. GOA is already working with Second Amendment champions like Rep. Michael Cloud on Capitol Hill to address this alarming issue and eliminate this unconstitutional gun registry.”
The documents lay down the new one-strike policy that is being implemented nationwide by the Bureau. The guidelines were sent to Industry Operation Inspectors (IOIs) across the country. These ATF employees are responsible for inspections of FFLs to ensure compliance with the law.
The new policy will see more FFLs lose their license for a litany of violations. Transferring a firearm to someone that is in the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) indices as prohibited will get an FFL revoked. It goes even further. Even if a person passes a NICS check, and the IOI determines that the FFL has reasons to believe that person is prohibited, the IOI can revoke the gun shop’s license and shutter the operation.
The ATF will shut down the gun store if an FFL fails to run a background check or verify an alternate permit. Certain states, like Arizona, allow a concealed carry permit to be used instead of running a NICS check. If an FFL runs a NICS check and it is delayed, the FFL can transfer the firearm legally after three days. If the FFL transfers the gun early, this is reason enough for the FFL to have their license revoked.
Even if the NICS check is approved, if the gun shop transfers the firearm 30 days after the FBI gives the go-ahead, the ATF will put it out of business. The dealer must run a new background check. This policy even applies to pawn redemptions and consignments.
Gun shops also must respond to trace requests within 24 hours or have their FFL revoked by the ATF.
This standard could have devastating effects on tabletop dealers that do not operate the phones every day. When this writer owned a gun shop in Virginia and worked for a Silicon Valley-based company somehow, the ATF got my California number and called for a trace request. Since I spent almost all my time in Virginia, I missed the trace request for three days. If that had happened now, my FFL would have been revoked.
Anything the ATF considers false or misleading on an FFL application would be grounds for revocation. This provision includes withholding information. The document does not provide any additional information about what would be considered misleading.
The final reason for the revocation of an FFL would deny entry to an IOI during business hours. When an FFL application is filled out, applicants must provide business hours even if they only plan to work by appointment. If an IOI shows up during those hours, they must be granted access to the business. This provision also might affect tabletop dealers that do not keep regular hours.
The IOI’s discretion is removed from the document, making revocation the default standard.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.