Biden, ATF gaslighting the public about ‘rogue’ gun dealers

by Lee Williams

Joe Biden, his weaponized ATF and their sycophants in the legacy media launched an elaborate campaign this week to change the public’s perception of the thousands of federally licensed gun dealers in the country, whom Biden desperately wants to put out of business.  

It is classic gaslighting, but it should not come as any surprise. Biden declared war on guns and gun dealers just months after taking office, and he foreshadowed his latest move earlier this month.

In an Executive Order issued March 14, Joe Biden promised to “provide the public and policymakers with more information regarding federally licensed firearms dealers who are violating the law.”

The problem for Biden is that gun dealers aren’t violating the law. They’re making minor clerical errors, but that isn’t stopping the most anti-gun president in modern history from trying to create a new narrative.

“Gun dealers violating federal law put us all at risk by increasing the likelihood that firearms will fall into dangerous hands,” Biden’s executive order states. “The President is directing the Attorney General to publicly release, to the fullest extent permissible by law, ATF records from the inspection of firearms dealers cited for violation of federal firearm laws.”

As if on cue, the ATF just released the names of nearly 100 gun shops it has put out of business by revoking their Federal Firearms Licenses, or FFLs, on a website page titled: Enhanced Regulatory Enforcement Policy.   

ATF strongly implies that the revocations resulted from five serious violations of the Gun Control Act (GCA), specifically:

  • Refusal to allow an IOI to conduct an inspection
  • Transferring a firearm to a prohibited person
  • Failing to conduct a required background check
  • Falsifying records
  • Failing to respond to a trace request

However, the ATF points out that the actual reason for the revocations may include but are “not limited to, the above list.” That is a massive understatement, since the real reasons for the majority of recent FFL revocations are far less serious. They are, in fact, minor clerical errors, which the ATF now considers willful violations of its self-written rules rather than simple mistakes, because of its zero-tolerance policy that Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland announced in June 2021.

In other words, Biden and the ATF strongly imply that the scores of gun dealers whose shops they’ve shuttered transferred firearms to prohibited persons or failed to run background checks or barred an ATF inspector from entering their shop. But that is certainly not the case.

The ATF website lists the gun shops and their owners by name, and each entry contains a link to their revocation letters, which only say that the revocations were a result of violating the GCA. Nowhere in the documents does the ATF give the actual reasons for the revocation. Again, they imply the revocation was the result of the five major GCA violations, but the real reasons for the revocation are not provided.

Missing data

The ATF provides the number of FFL revocations and the number of dealers who voluntarily surrendered their FFL after an inspection from July to December 2021, and for all of 2022. The ATF did not provide any revocation data prior to July 2021, when Biden launched his war on guns and gun dealers. Therefore, it’s difficult to gauge the actual percentage increase in revocations, which some ATF watchdogs have said is more than 500%.

The data does show that revocations are still increasing dramatically. When you compare the number of revoked and surrendered FFLs during the last six months of 2021 to the last six months of 2022, there is an increase of more than 96%.

Given the lack of revocation data prior to Biden taking office and the lack of reasons for the revocations, ATF’s data raises far more questions than it answers. 

It should be noted that the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project made a request under the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for FFL revocation data prior to Biden taking office. The ATF has ignored this FOIA request for nearly two years.

Friendly media

USA Today was the first newspaper to take ATF’s bait, which is not surprising. Gannett’s flagship newspaper has long maintained a partnership with The Trace, the propaganda arm of former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun empire. The newspaper has even allowed reporters and editors from the Trace to write and edit stories, which USA Today then published as their own.

In a story published Thursday titled “‘Rogue’ gun dealers revealed: What to know as ATF names gun shops that flout federal laws,” reporter Nick Penzenstadler parrots many of ATF’s talking points, and he names and shames several of the gun shops ATF forced out of business.

Penzenstadler was the first member of the legacy media to jump on board with Biden and the ATF, but he certainly won’t be the last. Biden’s war on our guns relies upon a media that’s willing to parrot his nonsense and overlook his civil rights abuse.