The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has backed off from trying to revoke the federal firearms license (FFL) of Kiloton Tactical, LLC after Gun Owners of America (GOA) stepped in to help the gun store sue the government over President Joe Biden’s zero-tolerance policy for minor mistakes. The case is Kiloton Tactical, LLC v. ATF.
In late August, AmmoLand News reported on a local ATF industry operations inspector (IOI) who seized Kiloton Tactical’s bound book and all the company’s completed ATF Form 4473s with customer information. The IOI took the documents off-site and returned the paperwork a week later. This seizure of the records violated federal law.
The statute reads: “The inspections and examinations provided by this section do not authorize an ATF officer to seize any records or documents other than those records or documents constituting material evidence of a violation of law. If an ATF officer seizes such records or documents, copies shall be provided to the licensee within a reasonable time.”
The ATF would issue a revocation letter to the store over minor paperwork errors. The ATF has been revoking FFLs at a record pace since President Biden introduced his zero-tolerance policy for “rogue gun dealers.” Many FFLs believe that Biden’s ATF has declared war on gun stores and look for any minor error to revoke FFLs.
Some believe the ATF dropping the revocation was a way to moot the case and protect its zero-tolerance policy. The ATF has reversed its decisions to revoke other FFLs after being sued. In GOA’s case against the ATF final rule on frames and receivers, the named plaintiff, Morehouse Enterprises, also received a revocation letter for minor paperwork errors. The Bureau dropped the revocation after GOA helped the gun store sue the ATF.
Even though Kiloton Tactical no longer faces the threat of FFL revocation and the ATF has renewed the store’s FFL, the plaintiffs continue to seek a preliminary injunction against the zero-tolerance policy.
The ATF claims there is no longer irreparable harm since it isn’t seeking to revoke the gun store’s FFL. It also alleges that the plaintiffs are trying to undermine the Bureau’s authority to inspect gun stores and take enforcement actions against FFLs for violations. The ATF also claims that Kiloton Tactical could have challenged the revocation through the ATF’s administrative procedures but sued the government instead.
“Plaintiffs here seek to undermine ATF’s established inspection and enforcement processes in two ways,” the ATF said in its response. “First, Plaintiffs seek to preliminarily enjoin the potential license revocation/non-renewal of Plaintiff Kiloton Tactical, LLC (‘Kiloton’). But the proper way to challenge a threatened license revocation is through established administrative procedures and subsequent judicial review. Here ATF determined not to issue a Final Notice of Denial as to Kiloton. In other words, Kiloton’s license was renewed for a standard three-year period. There is accordingly no license revocation to enjoin, nor any other imminent, irreparable harm to Kiloton that could justify a preliminary injunction.”
The court will rule on the preliminary injunction in the upcoming weeks. This case isn’t the only lawsuit challenging the Biden zero-tolerance policy. Eric Blandford of IraqVeteran8888 is also leading a legal challenge to the policy.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. Mr. Crump lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.