Congressman Mark Green demands accountability from ATF over attacks on Tennessee’s federal firearms dealers
Reports have been out for months that the ATF under Biden has increased its assault on the Second Amendment Supply Chain by targeting federal firearms licensees with inspections designed specifically to generate revocations of licenses – most for mere human errors or immaterial technical violations. (See, ATF Revoked 500% More Federal Firearms Licenses in 11 Months Since Biden Declared War on Guns). Congressional members can step forward, particularly if the powers change in November, to start the “revocation” of the ATF’s abuses if not the ATF’s authority over 2nd Amendment issues entirely. Some are doing so, including Tennessee Congressman Mark Green (who recently spoke at the TFALAC Annual 2022 Event).
While ATF may claim that it is only going after “rogue” dealers, that must remind conservatives of the games that Bill Clinton used when he quibbled with the definition of “is”. From the actions of the ATF over many years and now even more under Biden, the definition of “rogue” could simply be anyone who manufacturers or sells firearms to the citizens of this nation. That is exactly how the leaders of other nations, nations that sought to disarm their citizens, would have seen the activities of individuals who were selling and supplying firearms to “the People.”
The rights declared to be protected from any infringement by government under our Constitution include the right to purchase AND therefore to sell firearms. The right to sell firearms in lawful commerce. The right to manufacture firearms, ammunition and accessories. These are all rights clearly within the scope of the prohibition on government infringement. They are also the specific rights being infringed, trampled and suppressed by Biden and the ATF.
On October 5, 2022, Congressman Mark Green wrote to the ATF on his concerns, and those of constituents in Tennessee, that the ATF and the Biden administration are abusing the limited authority that Congress established by limiting adverse license action only to those instances of “willful” violations of the law. Instead, as Congressman Green states, ATF has redefined the word “is”, uh, “willful”, to mean what it wants it to mean rather than what Congress meant for it to mean.
The term “willful”, according to the ATF now means (it could mean something different tomorrow):
Willfulness means the intentional disregard of a known legal duty or plain Indifference to the licensee’s or permittee’s legal obligations. ATF is not required to prove that the licensee or permlttee intended to violate the law. There is no set formula for establishing willfulness; e.g., a percentage of violations per total transactions. While large numbers of violations may establish willfulness, courts have also upheld revocations based on a single violation, such as a straw sale or a sale to a prohibited person have also upheld revocations where there was no prior history of violations, but there was other evidence of willfulness. ATF Counsel is a resource available for determining whether willfulness has been established. Willfulness may be proved in a number of ways, including:
a. A history of similar, repeat violations.
b. Statistical evidence; e.g. number of incorrect ATF Fs 4473.
c. Blatant disregard for storage and Table of Distance requirements.
d. General compliance history, including any efforts by ATF personnel to educate and inform the licensee or permittee as to his/her legal responsibilities (e.g., the review of the Acknowledgement of Rules and Regulations during the qualification and subsequent inspections).
e. Licensee or permittee, employee, or third party statements and admissions.
f. Actions by a licensee or employee during the inspection that hindered or obstructed the inspection.
g. Violations that clearly indicate intentional disregard of the law, such as a licensee or permittee knowingly entering false information in the required records.
See, ATF Industry Operations Manual, October 2019
Congressman Green demanded in his October 5, 2022, letter to ATF that it report back to him by December 1, 2022, concerning inspections and the results of inspections targeting Tennessee FFL’s since January 1, 2018. Will ATF provide the information requested, probably not. It is an unaccountable federal agency that has as its mission the interruption of the Second Amendment Supply Chain rather than the improvement and expansion of that resource. It will not abide by the laws Congress enacted, or those that it might enact.
Congress needs to understand that the way to deal with rogue agencies, like the ATF, is to cut their funding, statutorily restrict their authority, criminalize conduct by agency officials which infringe constitutionally protected rights and, perhaps most effectively, terminate the agency’s existence entirely. We did not have or need the ATF when this nation was founded and we don’t need it today.
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