A group of House and Senate Republicans are requesting records from the Biden administration about its “zero tolerance” policy for federal firearms licenses (FFLs).
Congressional Republicans are demanding the Justice Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) turn over communications about how the legal definition of “willful” is being abused to revoke FFLs from gun dealerships.
They are also asking for records of how the “zero tolerance” policy is being implemented and specifics about FFL revocations since the Biden administration released its gun crime “fact sheet” in June 2021. Biden officials have until March 1 to turn over the appropriate information.
What does this mean?
It means if the ATF deems any FFL action a “willful violation,” then they skip all warning letters & conferences and:
or Suspend the gun store
— Gun Owners of America (@GunOwners) February 10, 2023
Republicans believe Biden officials are abusing the word “willful” as written in legal statutes to justify revoking FFLs for basic paperwork mistakes, rather than serious offenses. ATF license revocations have reportedly increased by 500% up to 273 FFLs, up from an average of 40 per year, in the first 11 months after the Biden administration’s guidelines.
“The Biden-Harris Administration claims this policy will increase public safety and reduce crime. But revoking a FFL over minor a paperwork issue turns a teachable moment into the end of a dealer’s livelihood. This new policy runs counter to the close working relationship firearm dealers have had with ATF for decades,” the letter says.
Under the Biden administration’s “zero tolerance policy” for FFLs, gun dealerships have no incentive to report crimes because doing so could jeopardize their license, the Republicans said. Decisions about FFLs have been consolidated at ATF headquarters in DC, sidelining state level regulators who have relationships with the local gun industry, the letter says.
“Biden’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy is just the latest example of the Administration weaponizing the ATF against gun owners and the firearms industry,” said Aidan Johnson, Director of Federal Affairs for Gun Owners of America.
“We thank Senator Budd and Rep. Harshbarger for leading this effort to demand transparency for the sake of gun stores and the communities they serve. Federal bureaucrats have no business regulating Second Amendment protected activity, much less persecuting an entire industry over their disdain for a constitutional right.”
Republican North Carolina Sen. Ted Budd and Tennessee GOP Rep. Diana Harshbarger co-led the demands for records from Biden officials. They are joined by 11 Republican senators and 26 Republican house lawmakers.