Our friends at Ammoland Shooting Sports News and the Second Amendment Foundation recently alerted us to a new way Joe Biden and his thugs are attacking the rights guaranteed
by the Second Amendment – they are trying to dry-up the gun supply by putting small local gun dealers out of business and forcing anyone who sells a gun “for profit” to become a licensed federal firearms dealer (FFL).
As Lee Williams, writing for the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project explained, shortly after Biden took office, he announced a war on “rogue” gun dealers. Biden and the ATF created a five-point definition to identify “rogue” dealers:
Refusal to allow an ATF inspection
Transferring a firearm to a prohibited person
Failing to conduct a background check
Failing to respond to a trace request
According to Mr. Williams’ reporting, there were few dealers who violated even one of Biden’s five points. So, ATF was forced to tighten the screws in order to produce the revocations that the White House was demanding.
As a result, the agency changed the meaning of the word “willful,” and promised zero tolerance for any willful violation. Now, the agency considers even a minor clerical error to be a willful violation, which puts the gun dealer at risk for revocation of their FFL.
The ATF recently added a new technique that experts say is evidence of a quota system for FFL revocations. Agents now use threats and intimidation to coerce Federal Firearm Licensees into “voluntarily” surrendering their license. Mr. Williams report the results are staggering.
According to ATF’s own data:
There were 29 FFL revocations and “voluntary” surrenders during the last six months of 2021.
There were 157 FFL revocations and “voluntary” surrenders during all of 2022.
There were 292 FFL revocations and “voluntary” surrenders during the first six months of 2023.
Based on the data and the increase in ATF enforcement actions, there will likely be more than 600 FFL revocations and “voluntary” surrenders by the end of 2023.
No local gun shop owner we know of – and we’ve engaged in the shooting sports all over the country – is getting rich. Competing against the Big Box sporting goods retailers and online mega stores most scrape by as a convenience to their local community. They don’t have the resources to fight oppressive bureaucrats, especially if their means of income is abruptly terminated through the arbitrary and capricious revocation of their Federal Firearms License.
Williams argues, and we agree, that every one of these nearly 800 FFL revocations and “voluntary” surrenders needs to be examined by personnel who are outside of ATF. They’ll likely discover that most of these gun dealers were victims. Their civil rights were violated. Someone needs to be held accountable for this, and a good place to start would be oversight hearings by the House Republican’s Committee on the Judiciary and Oversight and Investigations Committee.
As bad as Biden’s oppression of small gun dealers has been his redefinition of who is a gun dealer is even more insidious and oppressive to the average gun owner.
On August 30, 2023, the U.S. Attorney General signed ATF’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) 2022R-17, “Definition of ‘Engaged in the Business’ as a Dealer in Firearms," which proposes to amend ATF’s regulations to implement the provisions of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), enacted on June 25, 2022.
The NPRM proposes to incorporate the BSCA’s definition “predominantly earn a profit,” creating a stand-alone definition of “terrorism,” and amending the definitions of “principal objective of livelihood and profit” and “engaged in the business” to ensure each conforms with the BSCA’s statutory changes and can be relied upon by the public.
Editor’s Note: The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is a Biden – Democrat bill passed through a typical Congressional Establishment Republican cave-in after the May 2022 killings at the Uvalde school and Tops Supermarket.
According to Gun Owners of America, Biden is weaponizing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act as a backdoor to enact Universal Background Checks and Firearm Registration. They are doing this by claiming that hundreds of thousands of gun owners who sell a few personal firearms must now become federally licensed as gun dealers.
As our old friends at GAO explained:
1. ATF is wrong to suggest a single firearm sale—or no sale at all—might require a license. ATF’s rule does not specify a certain number of firearms sold but instead suggests that “even a single firearm transaction, or offer to engage in a transaction, when combined with other evidence, may be sufficient to require a license.”
However, the statutes enacted by Congress clearly do not intend to regulate the conduct of an individual who merely sells a single firearm. Instead, 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(11), (21), (22), and (23) contemplate regulating someone who “regular[ly]” and “repetitive[ly]” either (a) manufactures and sells or (b) purchases and resells multiple “firearms.”
2. ATF fails to protect unlicensed conduct exempted by Congress. Congress also expressly exempted “occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby.”
3. Wrongfully licensing constitutionally protected activity will lead to warrantless searches and additional constitutional violations. Selling a single firearm—which might make you a newly-minted gun dealer—could subject you to warrantless searches of your home and firearm collection. This is a clear violation of both the Second and Fourth Amendments, and runs totally contrary to the Supreme Court’s Caniglia decision in 2021, wherein the court ruled unanimously that warrantless searches for firearms as part of a "welfare check" is unconstitutional.
4. ATF suggests it might deny a license to applicants who the agency ordered to become licensed due to prior sales without a license. Catch-22!
5. ATF’s backdoor Universal Background Check includes Universal Firearms Registration. So-called “Universal Background Checks” are only enforceable with a gun registry. This rule proposes that private citizens be regulated by the federal government as gun dealers, forcing them to run background checks on every firearm transaction in a backdoor attempt to require private citizens to eventually turn over these registration papers (i.e. Forms 4473, Multiple Sales Reports, and Acquisition and Disposition logs). Failure to do so will be considered a federal crime. The Biden Administration described this as “moving the U.S. as close to universal background checks as possible without additional legislation.”
The bottom line: If Biden gets his way with this new regulation and you decide to “thin the herd” and sell a few guns from your collection, sell off the guns from a relative’s estate or set up a table at your local gun show so you can get in early you might inadvertently become subject to these new rules and be required to become a Federal Firearms Licensee subject to warrantless searches of your home and firearm collection or be charged with multiple felonies.
The comment period on this proposed regulation closes on December 7, 2023, so there are still a few days left to comment in opposition to this bureaucratic overreach. And as GAO explains here, your comments are important. Click here to register your opposition.
Biden administration firearms rules
Federal firearms licensee
universal background checks
private firearms sales
Red Flag laws
Gun Owners of America
Bipartisan Safer Communities Act
Biden Justice Department
Gun dealer registration