Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Biden's Campaign Against ‘Rogue’ Firearm Sellers Escalates to Include All Gun Merchants

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Shortly after stepping into the presidency, Joe Biden weaponized the ATF, announcing a strict policy targeting what he labeled as “rogue gun dealers,” believed by him to be a major factor in the spike of violent crimes in numerous significant U.S. cities.

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According to the President, “rogue gun dealers” are those Federal Firearm Licensees who intentionally sell firearms to unauthorized individuals or who reject compliance with ATF’s tracing requests.

In a statement from June 2021, Biden referred to such dealers as “merchants of death,” committing illegal acts for financial gain. He sternly stated, “We will find you and we will strip your license to sell firearms. You will no longer be able to distribute death and chaos on our streets.”

However, it has become evident that Biden’s ATF is now casting a wider net, scrutinizing all gun dealers and not just the “rogue” ones as initially defined by the president. There has been a significant surge in the revocation of Federal Firearm Licenses, predominantly for minor clerical errors. Many gun dealers have expressed their concerns, noting a stark contrast in their interactions with the ATF before and after Biden’s presidency.

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A seasoned gun dealer from the East Coast has recently had his Federal Firearms License revoked. Opting to remain anonymous, he expressed his desire to possibly challenge this matter in federal court once the current administration is out of office. He reminisced about the past when ATF’s primary focus was on rectifying minor errors to aid in smoother firearm tracing when necessary. However, this approach has drastically changed. “The interaction difference between ATF agents four years ago and now is night and day,” he remarked.

He, along with numerous other dealers, has criticized the ATF for altering their definition of a willful violation. The ATF now asserts that since every gun dealer has been instructed to submit accurate paperwork, any mistake, even if it’s a clerical error, is considered a deliberate violation of their regulations.

He explained, “Previously, a blank box could lead to an accusation of an incomplete 4473 form or another error. Now, they could accuse you of neglecting to conduct a background check, despite the buyer passing the check.”

In his most recent audit with the ATF, the dealer underwent a thorough examination of thousands of ATF Form 4473s. He stated, “There are specific data points on a 4473 form filled out by both the FFL holder and the buyer. These data points are replicated in several areas, totaling about 200 data points per transaction, which means the ATF was auditing millions of data points.”

The agents found slightly over 100 errors within the forms, all minor and clerical in nature, with none leading to a prohibited person acquiring a firearm. Before Biden’s administration, such errors would have been corrected upon discovery. However, the stakes are now much higher.

The ATF informed him of their intention to revoke his license, prompting an immediate appeal from his end. Interestingly, the officer overseeing his appeal was the same ATF agent who had signed off on his revocation letter.

He described the appeal process as internal, with a semblance of a court setting, but highlighted its non-adversarial nature. “Challenging their witnesses is akin to challenging the court itself,” he noted.

The appeal resulted in the affirmation of the revocation. As mentioned earlier, the dealer is contemplating taking this issue to federal court in the future. He emphasized, “Given the adversarial stance of the current administration, it seems impractical to pursue legal avenues beyond the basic level at this time.”

It’s important to note that he was never accused of selling a firearm to an unauthorized individual, failing to adhere to a tracing request, or neglecting to conduct a background check.

This dealer, along with several others, suspects that the ATF agents are now working under a quota system for FFL revocations. “It’s a gut feeling backed by observations over the years. The entire agency’s demeanor has changed; they are no longer here to assist but to revoke licenses, which seemingly clears the field of dealers. I wouldn’t say I felt targeted personally, but there’s a palpable hunt for opportunities to revoke licenses.”

Having received job offers from other firearm dealerships, he has declined, wary of drawing unnecessary ATF attention.

In closing, he expressed his desire for Congress to either defund the ATF or significantly reduce its enforcement capabilities. He criticized the excessive use of executive orders by the President, stating, “There’s no Congressional will involved here; it’s all about the president’s will, and he is not supposed to be the one making the laws.”

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