Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Community and Patrons Rally Behind Texas Firearm Dealer in Battle to Keep His FFL

The ATF has targeted Tom Harris, a home-based gun dealer in Lewisville, Texas. (Photo courtesy Tom Harris.)

If the leadership of Biden-Harris keeps pursuing its stringent stance against firearm dealers, smaller, localized gun sellers might be replaced by only major sporting goods chains, argues Tom Harris, who has operated his firearm business from his Lewisville, Texas residence for three decades.

Recently, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has put Harris' Federal Firearms License under scrutiny


The ATF cited administrative mistakes dating back to 2007 to justify their current objections against him. However, they had previously informed Harris that he was exempt from these almost two-decade-old errors and other recent ones. Harris possesses documentation confirming this.

But to the ATF investigators, these clarifications seemed irrelevant. They started pursuing Harris, a 61-year-old, physically challenged father to five children, driven by their higher-ups’ call for more FFL withdrawals.

"After they absolved me, they resumed their pursuit because their seniors weren't pleased with the outcome," Harris shared with the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project a while ago. "They aim to pressure me into relinquishing my FFL."

A recent article highlighted that Harris is not the only residential firearm dealer in ATF's crosshairs. According to Harris and other affected dealers, ATF seems to be singling out home-based dealers, fully aware of their limited financial capacity to challenge them legally.

"They overlooked their standard procedures," Harris remarked. "Presently, they're fabricating claims."

A loyal customer of Harris launched a GiveSendGo fundraiser that has so far accumulated close to $20,000, but Harris believes he might require significantly more.

"To generate funds, I'm offering everything at its purchase price. While my clientele has been very supportive, most individuals aren’t aware of ATF's actions," stated Harris. "Numerous FFL holders have already retreated out of fear. Soon, neighborhood gun stores might vanish, leaving customers with only big-chain options. These chains back political campaigns, employ high-priced legal teams, and are often owned by overseas-based conglomerates."

And what about fairness in procedure?

Harris intends to contest his license withdrawal in an ATF session the following month. The warning to withdraw his license bears the signature of Krissy Y. Carlson, who heads the Industry Operations for ATF's Dallas unit. Interestingly, Carlson is also the authority overseeing Harris' contestation.

"She's the signatory on the withdrawal notice, and she's in charge of my hearing," Harris pointed out. "Although my FFL expires in April, a successful appeal doesn't guarantee its renewal."

Rumors indicate that the spotlight on Harris' situation has the ATF on edge.

"They're accustomed to having their way unopposed," Harris conveyed. "The ATF’s local branch is a stone’s throw away from my place. While there might be some upright individuals there, they seemingly have two choices: conform or leave. They're not leaving."

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