The Brady Campaign Sues ATF Over ‘Bad Apple’ Gun Dealer Information

Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence sues the ATF

The Brady Campaign (formerly known as Handgun Control, Inc.) hasn’t enjoyed the best track record in the courts in recent years. But that’s not stopping them from trying to dislodge what they think is an alleged treasure trove of information about so-called “bad apple” gun dealers being withheld by our friends at the ATF. Here’s the Brady Bunch’s press release announcing their latest judicial foray . . .

Brady Center Files Lawsuit Against ATF for Refusing to Release Documents on Bad Apple Gun Dealers, ATF-Authored White Paper

Brady Center and International law firm Covington & Burling LLP announce lawsuit to obtain crucial documents

Washington, D.C. – October 16, 2017. Today, the Brady Center and co-counsel Covington & Burling filed suit against the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The lawsuit was filed after the ATF failed to comply with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for information regarding ATF’s secret — but leaked — memo about reducing regulations on the gun industry as well as documents about gun dealers that, according to ATF inspections, did not comply with their legal obligations to avoid selling guns to dangerous people.

“The ATF has a critical role in monitoring the gun industry and keeping America safe from gun violence. We sought information about its work, and it did not respond, even though it is required to do so under federal law. We certainly hope that ATF is doing its job and the public deserves these documents so we can make sure that the ATF is doing everything it can to stop gun trafficking and other crimes,” said Avery Gardiner, Co-President of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Brady lawyer Mariel Goetz added, “The Brady Center has worked diligently to follow all procedures to obtain this information. Last week, our organization filed a class action suit on behalf of the attendees of the Las Vegas music festival who suffered through the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. Today, we file suit on behalf of all Americans. We all deserve information about our government’s efforts to regulate firearms and stop illegal gun trafficking. We need transparency to make sure that the federal government is doing what it should to stop gun violence.”

Federal agencies have 20 days to respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, but the ATF has failed to respond to FOIA requests filed six months ago by Covington & Burling and the Brady Center. Senior counsel Alan Pemberton of Covington & Burling LLP added, “Many of our lawyers have worked with the Brady Center over the years on a variety of gun safety issues, and this is a continuation of that work.”

In March, the Brady Center filed a FOIA request for documents related to a white paper written by the second highest-ranking official of the ATF, Ronald Turk. That white paper laid out recommendations to remove or reduce federal regulations on guns. These proposed rollbacks have long been priorities of the gun lobby and have been supported by the National Rifle Association, which was a major contributor to President’s Trump campaign.

In August, Brady filed another FOIA request to support its “Bad Apple Gun Dealer” campaign, seeking to obtain recent records relating to annual inspections of licensed gun dealers that showed serious violations of law. Identifying the dealers that violate federal law and are involved in negligent and illegal behavior is one of the most important ways that Brady holds the gun industry accountable for supplying guns to criminals who terrorize our communities.

Both of these requests are central to the Brady Center’s core mission to prevent the 93 deaths and hundreds of injuries due to gun violence every day. Mariel Goetz and Jonathan Lowy of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Kevin Barnett, Alan Pemberton, and Nooree Lee of Covington & Burling, LLP are leading this case.


  1. avatar pwrserge says:

    Hey, if they want to fight the Trump justice department in court, it’s their money they’re pissing away.

  2. avatar kevin says:

    It sounds like the Brady Campaign thinks it is the ATF.

  3. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    “[Brady Campaing] sought information about [ATF’s] work, and [ATF] did not respond, even though [ATF] is required to do so under federal law.”

    Yet another example of our federal government refusing to conduct itself with honor and integrity, much less following the very laws that it enacted for itself.

    Is it me, or are we seeing the breakdown of pretty much our entire federal government?

    1. avatar Ragnarredbeard says:

      You just now noticing the breakdown? Where were you during the “most transparent administration in history?”

      1. avatar Binder says:

        Part of the problem is it is not just the ATF info they are after, it is also the gun dealers. Do you want your info about an inspection that had infractions, but not enough to justify charges given to an anti gun group?

      2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        Oh, I was watching during Obama’s 8 years of “transparency”. I pretty much expected the President and Justice Department to ignore the rule of law. What I did not expect is Congress and the Justice Department to ignore the rule of law under Republican control.

        It sure looks like we are now a nation of men rather than a nation of justice. For all I know, we may have been a nation of men 50 years ago. The difference today: government employees do not see any reason to keep up appearances.

    2. avatar kenneth says:

      The reason that the ATF didn’t resound is that most likely, most of the so-called “bad apple” dealers mentioned were involved in the ATF’s operation “fast and furious”. The ATF would like to keep secret that lots of the “bad apples” were TOLD to be bad by the ATF itself.

  4. avatar former water walker says:

    Brady suing the ATF. “It is to laugh. Bizarro world” ….ComicBookGuy😈

  5. avatar Mark N. says:

    Since the Brady Bunch have no authority to regulate gun dealers, the sole purpose of the information sought is so that they can engage in a publicity campaign to shut dealers down who do not comply with the Brady’s idea of how a gun dealer should run his business, “because the government refuses to act.” OK sure. It seems to me that FFLs get shut down with some regularity because of bad practices (usually missing guns and incomplete records), but it is also true that the ATF generally performs audits only once every three to five years because of a lack of manpower to do so more often. So the suit isn’t about how the ATF performs, but the fact that there are gun dealers out there, and we all know that that is a bad thing.

  6. avatar ATFAgentBob says:

    we didn’t respond cause we’re tired of the Brady Bunch too… seriously constantly whining and mailing us nasty letters and emails and calling all hours howling and crying about a new gun or an old gun they just found out about. Seriously dude they ain’t even hot enough to put up with this crap from so we told them we should start seeing other agencies but now they just drive past our HQ all slow and stuff at night tryin to see what agencies are there and man we’re just sick of this needy relationship.

    1. avatar Brady Campaign for Handgun Preven... wait, what are we called today? says:

      C’mon baby, please take us back. Look, we made you a mix-tape! We’ll stand outside your window tonight, with a boom box over our heads, and play it for you.

      1. avatar ATFAgentBob says:

        no! We didn’t even wanna take you out in the first place. We were just doing it cause the Department of Justice asked us to. Then we went in on that AWB together and we got drunk on power and then things we regret happened…. You got all clingy and started talkin bout confiscation and stuff. We ain’t even into that. You constantly callin too. Seriously b*tch it’s over we’re with the FBI now and we’re very happy together. Lose our number and come get your f**king cat.

  7. avatar Tbrock366 says:

    I curious to know why are they sueing from something they ask 6 months ago. The Vegas crazy did what he did just a couple weeks ago. This will never make it. This is like another commenter said if they want to waste money that’s fine, or hey maybe they will bankrupt the ATF, and then there will be no ATF to interpret the gun laws, and then we’ll be free finally! Lol I know pipe dream.

  8. avatar IN Dave says:

    What has this world come to. The NRA is asking the ATF to get more involved and the Brady campaign is going after the ATF. I am confused. Am I writing this in black and white or is it white and black? Which way is up? If a train leave New Mexico traveling at 50mph and a boat leaves detroit going 10 knots, in which color will they eat at………AAAAAHHHHHHH

    1. avatar Brian says:

      Blue and black? White and gold, maybe?

  9. avatar cruzo1981 says:

    Aaaaand another group of assholes using a tragedy to push BS policy

  10. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    god rest, mr. leahy.

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