The Biden administration is abusing the 1968 Gun Control Act to take away gun dealers’ licenses over paperwork mistakes, according to a Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) lawsuit filed Wednesday.
In 2021, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) started revoking dealer licenses for firearm transaction paperwork errors violating the Act, despite the legislation only permitting that penalty for “willful” violations, the federal lawsuit says. The plaintiffs, Michael Cargill and his company Central Texas Gun Works (CTGW), are arguing for their customers as well.
The new ATF approach followed the Biden administration unveiling its comprehensive gun crime prevention and public safety strategy in June 2021, with a memorandum telling ATF agents and directors that license revocation proceedings could be launched over single Gun Control Act violations, according to the lawsuit. License revocations have allegedly risen by 500%.
“In most of these instances, these are not people who transferred a gun to a prohibited purchaser,” TPPF Center for the American Future Senior Attorney Matt Miller told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “In other words, they didn’t give a gun to a criminal, or to a kid. They just committed simple paperwork violations, and the administration is now using that to revoke these licenses.”
The ATF last inspected CTGW in 2018, finding that a 0.5% error rate across 35 of the company’s transactions never led to a gun falling into prohibited hands, the lawsuit reports. It argues that the bureau’s enforcement policy means “accidental typos and other minor paperwork errors could cost business owners their livelihoods.”
“It’s kind of typical of what you see with this administration, where, it wasn’t like there was any law that was passed that they’re going out and enforcing,” Miller said, citing the Biden administration’s actions over COVID-19-related rules. “They’re dusting off these old laws, cleverly reinterpreting them, and then using them to advance administration policy agendas and initiatives.”
An ATF spokesperson told the DCNF the bureau could not comment on ongoing litigation.
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