Monday, July 24, 2023

The ATF Exhibits Zero Tolerance Except for Its Own Alleged Misconduct


Gun Owners of America (GOA) has reported that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has been weaponizing its zero-tolerance policy against Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs). In particular, this policy was used as a means of retaliation against a firearms store that had joined GOA in a previous lawsuit against the ATF. 

GOA stated that the way the ATF conducted itself throughout the investigation and consequent revocation of the store's FFLs suggests political motivation behind their actions. Morehouse Enterprises, a North Dakota-based firearms store, had teamed up with GOA to resist the ATF's attempts to regulate unfinished frames and receivers via bureaucratic means. Following the lawsuit filed by Morehouse Enterprises, the ATF initiated an inspection of the store.

The inspection resulted in the ATF finding five policy violations, three of which were merely paperwork errors, as reported by John Crump for Ammoland. In May 2023, Morehouse Enterprises was notified by the ATF of their intent to revoke both of the company’s FFLs, despite one of the licenses having no recorded violations. According to Crump, this move was heavily influenced by President Biden's urging of the ATF to shut down FFLs through his zero-tolerance policies.

Crump's article also recounts two past incidents highlighting the ATF's inconsistent application of "standards" and another case demonstrating the agency's tolerance for its agents committing perjury. The first incident involved the ATF's attempt to close Red’s Trading Post in Idaho over minor record-keeping errors. The second instance revolves around the ATF's unjust revocation actions against Brinks, Inc. against policy and law.

Regarding corruption and violations of the law, the Morehouse/GOA complaint highlighted that as far back as 1995, Thomas Busey, then-NFA Branch Chief, admitted that the NFRTR (National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record) had an error rate between 49 and 50 percent. Despite this, the ATF continues to testify in court that the NFRTR database is 100 percent accurate, which Busey himself admitted may not be completely true.

The takeaway is the gross hypocrisy of the ATF presuming itself to be the judge of "zero errors," regardless of whether they are willful or not. This behavior is seen as nothing short of abhorrent, especially considering their ultimate mandate is to "enforce existing gun laws," despite their destructive implications for the livelihoods of their countrymen.

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