by Lee Williams
Twenty-five Republican Congressmen – including every Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee – sent a letter Wednesday to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Acting Director Gary Restaino, demanding an explanation for “the Department’s broad and unprecedented effort to revoke Federal Firearms Licenses (FFLs) from law-abiding business owners throughout the country.”
Led by Rep. Andy Biggs, (R-AZ), the Congressmen are seeking answers to issues first revealed in a Special Report by the Second Amendment Foundation, titled: “ATF Federal Firearm License revocations up a staggering 500%.”
The Special Report revealed that in the years before the Biden-Harris administration took over the White House, the ATF usually revoked an average of 40 Federal Firearm Licenses per year. But, in the 18 months since Joe Biden declared war on “rogue gun dealers,” the ATF has revoked 273 FFLs. Rather than targeting the true law breakers, Biden’s ATF is revoking FFLs for the most minor of paperwork errors, which were never a concern until Biden weaponized the agency.
“The Biden Administration’s radical anti-gun agenda is infiltrating the ATF and law-abiding business owners are having their businesses destroyed,” Congressman Biggs said in a press release. “Under this Administration, the number of FFL revocation proceedings initiated by ATF has skyrocketed and are often based on minor infractions.”
In the letter, Biggs and the other lawmakers said the ATF is launching revocation proceedings based solely on past ATF inspections, up to 18 months earlier, even after the agency had decided the inspection did not merit revocation.
“This pattern is deeply troubling and makes it abundantly clear that this Administration seeks to advance its anti-firearm agenda at any cost,” Biggs said.
The lawmakers’ questions
According to the Daily Caller, the Congressmen are seeking answers to the following:
- Is there an official or unofficial competition among ATF field divisions related to FFL revocations?
- Has the DOJ or ATF established quotas related to FFL revocations or any other metric related to FFL revocations?
- How many FFLs were revoked by ATF from 2009-2016?
- How many FFLs were revoked by ATF from 2017-2020?
- How many FFLs were revoked by ATF from 2021-present?
- How many FFLs is ATF in the process of revoking?
- Please provide all email communications from DOJ or ATF leadership to field division leadership regarding the revocation of FFLs.
- Please provide all email communications from ATF field division leadership to field agents regarding the revocation of FFLs.
“Acting Director Restaino must provide us with details surrounding ATF’s FFL revocation policies,” the letter states.
The information the lawmakers are seeking from ATF is similar to data the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project sought in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the ATF, which was sent more than a year ago:
Copies of documents that show the number of Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) and their state of residence, who have been prosecuted for willfully transferring a firearm to a prohibited person over the past three years (from June 23, 2018 to June 23, 2021.)
Copies of documents that show the number of Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) and their state of residence, who have been prosecuted for ignoring and/or refusing to cooperate with a tracing request from the BATFE, over the past three years (from June 23, 2018 to June 23, 2021.)
(Note: We did not seek the names or other identifiers of any FFL.)
To date, the ATF has not responded to SAF’s FOIA request.
The other co-signers of the letter include: Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL.), Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA.), Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), Rep. W. Gregory Steube (R-FL), Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-WI), Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC), Rep. Michelle Fischbach (R-MN), Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN), Rep. Scott Fitzgerald (R-WI.), Rep. Cliff Bentz (R-OR), Rep. Burgess Owens (R-UT), Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA), Rep. Michael Cloud (R-TX), Rep. Fred Keller (R-PA), Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL), Rep. Andre Clyde (R-GA), and Rep. Ted Bud (R-NC).