Joe Biden
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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By Lee Williams

Shortly after taking office, Joe Biden weaponized the ATF and then announced a zero-tolerance policy for “rogue gun dealers,” who he claimed were responsible for increased violent crime rates in many major U.S. cities.

“Rogue gun dealers” the President explained, are those Federal Firearm Licensees who willfully transfer firearms to prohibited persons, and/or who refuse to cooperate with a tracing request from ATF.

“Merchants of death are breaking the law for profit,” Biden said in June 2021. “We will find you and we’ll seek your license to sell guns. We’ll make sure you can’t sell death and mayhem on our streets.”

Now there is ample proof Biden’s ATF is targeting all gun dealers, not just the few who meet the president’s “rogue” definition. FFL revocations have skyrocketed, but most for only clerical errors. Gun dealers have noted a tremendous difference between how they were treated by the ATF before Biden took office, and how they are treated now. 

The latest victim was a longtime gun dealer on the East Coast whose Federal Firearms License was recently revoked. The dealer didn’t want his name used in this story. “I may want to pursue this matter through federal court after the current administration leaves office,” he said. 

Before Biden, ATF was interested in fixing minor mistakes to make it easier to trace a firearm, if necessary. Unfortunately, that has changed. “The engagement difference between agents four years ago and one year ago is drastically different,” the dealer said. 

He and many other dealers complain that ATF changed their definition of what constitutes a willful violation. ATF now says that every gun dealer has been told to submit only proper paperwork, so any error – even clerical – constitutes a willful violation of ATF rules. 

ATF agents
(AP Photo/David Goldman)

“If a box was blank, they could accuse you of failure to fill out a 4473 or a different error,” he said. “Now, they can accuse you of failure to complete a background check, even though the transferee passed a background check.” 

During his most recent audit, the ATF scrutinized thousands of ATF Form 4473s. 

“There are data points on a 4473 that are created by the FFL holder and the transferee,” he said. “Those data points are duplicated in other locations. There is a total of around 200 data points per transaction, so the ATF was auditing millions of data points.” 

Agents discovered just over 100 errors among the forms, all of which were minor, clerical errors. None of them resulted in a prohibited person receiving a firearm. Before Biden, the dealer said, the ATF would have allowed him to fix those errors. Now, the penalty is much higher. 

The ATF sent him a letter announcing their intent to revoke his Federal Firearm License, which he immediately appealed. The officer who presided over the hearing, though, was the same ATF agent who signed his revocation letter. 

“The appeal process is internal and presented as though it’s a court environment. It was me and my counsel versus a room full of people,” he said. “But what really matters is that it’s a non-adversarial legal environment. You can’t attack their witnesses because their witnesses are agents of the court. To discredit their witnesses is to discredit the court.” 

The hearing officer affirmed his own decision to revoke the FFL. As stated, the dealer may pursue the matter later though federal court. “Given the hostile nature of this administration, it seems like a terrible decision to pursue a legal matter anywhere but at the base level,” the dealer said. 

To be clear, he was never accused of transferring a firearm to a prohibited person, failing to comply with a tracing request, or failing to run a background check. 

Kenosha gun store sales
(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

This dealer and many others believe ATF agents now have to achieve a certain number of FFL revocations. 

“I am sure it’s a quota system. I have no direct evidence but my gut, which affirms it,” he said. “Years ago, they were there to help. Nowadays, the entire entity as a whole – not at all. They want revocations because it clears people out of the business. I wouldn’t say I personally felt hunted, because I didn’t take it personally, but they were definitely looking for targets of opportunity. They’ve only got a certain number of agents, who are working seven times as hard to get their quotas. In a fashion, I guess they’re hunting.” 

The dealer has received employment offers from other gun shops, which he has refused because he doesn’t want his presence to draw additional scrutiny. 

“Congress should defund ATF or at least its enforcement capability,” he said. “We’ve got a president who signs executive order after executive order, and there’s no will of Congress there, just the will of the President, and he’s not supposed to be the one who makes the laws.” 


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This story is part of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project and is published here with their permission.

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  1. Well, of course he is. Get your heads out of your butts. Fascism has replaced the left. Corporate billionaires bought the left and now it is fascist. With support from folks like miner49er and dacian.

    All gun owners will be wearing a yellow star on their clothes if these evil bastards have their way about it.

  2. What gets missed is that the House doesn’t have to fund this bullshit but they sell you out. Quit voting for either party, put new people in!

  3. The ATF, HUD, DOE and other three letter Federal and some state agencies are unconstitutional. The Federal government has taken an abusive stance of the the necessary and needful clause so they can take more than the delegated authority that We the People intended them to ever have. We the People have four boxes we can use to stop this nonsense. The soap box, the ballot box, the jury box, and last is the cartridge box. As I believe the our first boxes have been crippled by Federal-government over reach we can see why the Feds are trying like hell to limit the last option.

    • DOE, Department of Entertainment.
      Calling Monica.
      I take great pride in America, its presidents, and the countries they represent.
      Build Back Better and let’s start with those cracks in the sidewalks.
      A president could hurt himself.

    • FFL dealers may as well start wearing shirts with a target on their backs…weaponizing the justive dept. like this should be an impeachable offense….

  4. Army releases Maine assailant information… RESTRICTED from guns, referred to Sheriff’s office.

    • In Chicago community ‘activists’ and ‘leaders’ are almost all scum bags and/or gang related and scams for free money that is appropriated by the administrators.

  5. Nothing like sacrificing a few agents for an agenda. Cause that’s what’ll happen when they push good folks backs to the wall and take their living.
    I sure don’t wanna be here but here we are

  6. Going after gun dealers is another way to keep guns out of the hands of civilians. The Sleepy Joe Administration will go to whatever leangths it has to do impose “gun control” (should read gun confiscation”.

    • first they want to make you an FFL for private sales…then you get targeted for being an FFL…anybody can see where this is going…

      • frank – great minds think alike 😉
        I had the exact same thought. Even if we all became ‘dealers’ by executive edict they would still find a way to prevent dealer to dealer transfers, after all we would be in it to make a profit, or something. Can’t have deplorables making an honest living……….

  7. I fully expect to see license and registration requirements for ammo tried in NY within the decade absent some nasty court losses. They are being careful on several laws to not involve interstate commerce (can buy ammo body armor other stuff out of state no issues) for fairly obvious reasons. I don’t expect that trend to continue.

  8. There is an old saying. “They won’t come after your deer rifle, first they’ll call it a sniper rifle”.

    • Pete – “they’ll redefine it as a sniper rifle” – there fify. Even a bolt action .22 will get that new ‘definition’.

  9. Just wait until next year (election year). FJB will sign an Executive Order banning the sale of guns & ammo to all private citizens due to ‘public safety concerns’. They will either jail Trump or kill him and then declare martial law and suspend the Presidential election. They will rig the rest of the elections so that Democrats ‘win’ back the House. FJB will keep his job as POTUS as the ‘interim’ President and the new Democrat-controlled Congress will ‘appoint’ a new President and the Deep State will go after anyone who opposes them as ‘domestic terrorists’. This will not be a scary movie. This will be America 2024. The Second Amendment will then be used for it’s original purpose.

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