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By Lee Williams 

Reggie Wilson, owner of Wilson Gun Works & Design in Sapphire, North Carolina, makes benchrest-quality precision hunting and competition rifles, which are guaranteed to shoot half-inch groups at 100 yards. His motto is “We build one rifle at a time.” 

Wilson is a machinist by trade in nearby Fletcher. Building high-end rifles is his side business. Over the years, his bolt-guns have taken impressive trophies and game, and his customers rewarded him with accolades and devotion. 

According to court documents, during an inspection in March 2022, ATF Inspector Shawn Cook “cited Wilson Gun Works with multiple violations of the Gun Control Act (GCA).” 

The ATF alleged that Wilson transferred two handguns on December 30, 2021 to his stepdaughter, a Florida resident, without conducting a background check. The agency also claimed Wilson did not report he had sold “multiple pistols to an unlicensed person.” 

On March 17, 2022, ATF issued a notice to revoke Wilson’s Federal Firearm License, stating that they believed Wilson had violated the GCA. Wilson requested a hearing, which was held on July 26, 2022. During the hearing, court documents show that Wilson admitted that he “personally transported the firearms to (his stepdaughter) in Florida and completed the ATF Form 4473 there. Because the transfer did not occur in North Carolina at the licensed premises, Wilson Gun Works also violated 18 U.S.C. § 923(g)(1)(A) and 27 C.F.R. § 478.100(a). (Id.).”

Wilson Gun Works & Design rifle

Based on the violations, ATF revoked Wilson’s FFL on September 27, 2022, concluding that Wilson had “willfully violated the GCA.” On November 16, 2022, Wilson appealed to federal court, seeking “judicial review of the ATF’s decision.” 

The case, WILSON GUN WORKS AND, DESIGN, LLC, Petitioner, v. STEVE ALBRO, Director of Industry Operations Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Department of Justice, Respondent, was assigned to United States District Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr., an Obama appointee, who is best known for striking down North Carolina’s gay marriage ban in 2014. 

In his order, Judge Cogburn had no choice but to rule in favor of the ATF, stating: “Here, the Court finds that no genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether Petitioner violated the GCA. Thus, under Section 923(f)(3), the ATF was authorized to revoke Petitioner’s license.”

However, it is what the judge said after announcing his decision that should serve as a strong warning to the ATF.

“Finally, the Court notes that Mr. Wilson, who sold firearms as a side business, sold the guns to his own stepdaughter. Nothing in the record indicates that Mr. Wilson’s conduct of selling two guns on one occasion to his own stepdaughter affected public safety or hampered the ATF’s ability to reduce violent crime, which is of course one of the purposes of the GCA. Of course, the ATF has been delegated the authority to revoke the license of a licensee who has willfully violated any provision of the GCA, even if the revocation seems a heavy-handed punishment in response to the violation at issue. Still, this sort of heavy-handed exercise of revocations, as opposed to warnings or suspensions, foments antipathy for government agencies,” Judge Cogburn wrote. 

Contacted Tuesday, Wilson didn’t yet know he had lost the appeal. He was also unaware of the judge’s comments. 

“It doesn’t do me any good,” he said. 

ATF’s decision to revoke Wilson’s FFL was affirmed, and he became the latest casualty – one of hundreds – of Joe Biden’s war on gun dealers. 

A GiveSendGo account has been established to help Wilson with his legal fees. 


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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. Should have appealed on Second Amendment grounds that the GCA is prim facie unconstitutional under Bruen.

    • It would not have worked. Courts have long held that firearms dealers are subject to regulation by the federal government, and that the 2A does not apply to the conduct of their business.

      • Stated more accurately…

        Courts have long defied the Constitution, as have the legislative and judicial branches of the government. They continue to do so.

      • Mark N.,

        Granted (what you said). Does Bruen change that though?

        The implied rationale for all firearm laws is the well-worn “compelling government interest” construct which somehow trumps everything. And yet the recent Bruen decision struck down that rationale for restricting individuals who desire to exercise their Second Amendment rights both inside and outside the home. If Bruen is the foundation for eliminating nearly all provisions of the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the National Firearms Act of 1934 for individuals, how would it not also apply to anyone who wants to be in the business of selling firearms? After all, there are no historical analogues of government requiring anyone in the business of selling firearms to have government licenses, much less requiring said businesses to fill out forms, perform background checks, and go through various additional hoops when selling to someone in another state.

        • Along this line, I occasionally buy a firearm part directly from a firearm manufacturer. It would be nice if I could buy the firearm directly also. However, we now have a system of distributors that would fight tooth and nail to keep their piece of the action.

        • hawkeye,

          I think it would be the opposite: more people would purchase more firearm parts from the manufacturers.

          For example: someone who owns a Gen2 Glock 17 may want to purchase a replacement polymer frame in case their stock frame cracks. Or better yet, if most of the parts were interchangeable, the Gen2 owner may want a Gen3 or Gen4 frame and move their parts from their Gen2 to the Gen3 or Gen4.

          Think AR-15 platform and how many pieces and parts people buy.

      • “Granted (what you said). Does Bruen change that though?”

        Likely not. Scalia in ‘Heller’ admitted that regulating the commerce side was constitutional.

        What we have here is clealy the weaponization of the regulatory state. What we must do is sue those cocksuckers into reasonableness.

        With the current court makeup, that’s doable, since Justice Thomas is clearly aware of the bullshit the ATF is pulling. The Justices don’t live in an informational vacuum. They read the newspapers.

        Start launching legal challenges seeking relief in the form of reasonable steps-of-action *before* an FFL can have their license revoked…

        • To clarify, we are now at the same point in history when the Civil Right’s Act came into being. Lots of redneck state governors saying they would fight it every step of the way. You notice they aren’t doing that anymore (no more ‘colored only’ signs anywhere.

          That’s the playbook we need to use, the exact same one the Leftist-Fascists use to get what they want…

    • Unconstitutional?
      So your one of those that believe the constitution has any teeth.
      SCOTUS says No and the violators just keep on infringing.
      Some countries militaries get tired of the sht, To Protect and Defend the Constitution, Hello.

      • “So your one of those that believe the constitution has any teeth.”

        How many ‘Colored Only’ signs are still up?

        That’s how to fight…

  2. They scream “de-fund the police” to the voter base all the while they have their preferred enforcement with hobnail boots on the necks of small business and citizens. It’s of my opinion they prefer ‘their thugs’ over the rest of us,,, much easier to push more draconian restrictions on us.

  3. Seems to me there is an exception for the whole background check charade when the transfer is between close family members, which would surely include a chid or step child.

    Where did THAT exception go?

    • I thought that it might be legal if he were to purchase the guns himself, and then sell them to his stepdaughter in FL as this state does allow private sales without a background check.

      But the Federal rule that “A private seller cannot sell or deliver a gun to a purchaser who does not live in their state” would seem to negate that. Title 18 U.S.C. 922(a)(3) —

      • Unlike most of the other revocations that were for minor paperwork errors, Wilson actually erred here. He should have delivered them to a Florida dealer who would transfer them to the daughter, or transfered them from the FFL inventory to his personal ownership. As non-licensed citizens, we should do the same when gifting to someone in a different state, but we probably won’t get in trouble for it unless the gun gets stolen, used in a crime, and traced back.

        As an FFL, he’s audited and held to account. I have a Federal license to handle refrigerants. if a non-licensed individual dumps CFCs into the air, there’s no repercussions. If I do it, I get fined and lose my license. The Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce. A gift isn’t commerce, but the SC decided in Wickard that not participating in interstate commerce affects interstate commerce and can be regulated.

    • “Seems to me there is an exception for the whole background check charade when the transfer is between close family members, which would surely include a chid or step child.”

      That applies only as long as the person giving isn’t aware if the person receiving isn’t a disqualifying felon…

  4. Next time go into pharmaceuticals. You can make billions killing millions and the feds will just gobble your knob all day long.

  5. ATF could care less what some judge said in his/her commentary as long as the judge’s legal decision upheld ATF’s authority.

    This is akin to the joke about unarmed British police (a.k.a. Bobbies) yelling at a fleeing violent criminal, “Stop! Stop I say or I’ll say ‘Stop!’ again!”

    Just as a violent criminal could care less what some unarmed law enforcement officer is yelling at him/her, government agencies could care less what some judge yells at them.

  6. “‘It doesn’t do me any good,’ he said.”

    That’s the bottom line. So an Obama judge gave the ATF a few stern words. Big deal. The Fifth Circuit has repeatedly spanked the ATF and ruled their actions are illegal — but even losing in court dissuades them not a whit.

    This agency is completely out of control. Why the GOP House does not simply zero out the ATF’s budget is beyond me.

    • LKB,

      Why the GOP House does not simply zero out the ATF’s budget is beyond me.

      Setting aside all the political circus acts involved, does the U.S. Constitution even allow that? I thought the U.S. Constitution spells out that the President submits the budget and the House of Representatives either approves it or denies it. I don’t recall the U.S. Constitution saying that the House of Representatives can alter the budget which the President submits to them.

      I thought that is why we have had ongoing budget resolutions (rather than lawfully submitted and approved budgets) for the last umpteen years because the Presidents keep submitting budgets which the U.S. House of Representatives never approve.

      I suppose that I will have to break out my U.S. Constitution and review.

      • Nope. Government budgets are just like any other bill, except that appropriation bills must originate in the House. Congress can set funding for various agencies at whatever levels it wants, and can place all sorts of restrictions on what the money can’t be spent on (e.g., the longstanding Hyde Amendment, which prohibited any federal funds being spent on providing abortions).

        The ongoing budget resolutions are the stopgap (now essentially permanent) solution to the fact that spending bills can’t pass both houses, and the GOP doesn’t have the stones to just let it all shut down.

        • LKB,

          I responded to my above comment after additional research and basically parroted what you said.

          I will add one additional clarification on the relatively recent practice of ongoing budget resolutions: not only have spending bills been unable to pass both houses, even if the spending bills passed both houses by some miracle, the President is almost always going to veto the bill and Congress lacks the ability to override the veto. Hence ongoing budge resolutions.

      • LKB,

        Looks like my characterization above is wrong.

        Here is what I am seeing in a transcript of the U.S. Constitution under Article 1:

        Section 7
        “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives …”

        Section 8
        “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes …”
        “… to pay the Debts …”
        “To borrow Money on the credit of the United States …”

        Section 9
        “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law …”

        Those few snippets seem to spell it out pretty clearly that the U.S. House of Representatives (and the U.S. Senate when implicitly referenced as “Congress” or “Law”) control federal taxing, borrowing, and spending. Of course references to “Law” require the President’s approval (either via signature or failure to veto) or Congress to override a President’s veto.

        That last bit–laws require the President’s approval or Congress to override a President’s veto (which is effectively impossible)–is why Congress settled on the process where the President submits a budget which Congress then haggles over.

    • That’s just terrible, and what’s even worse if it is found they fcked up nothing will happen, the SWAT soldiers may get a couple weeks paid vacation but that’s about it.
      The citizens have become civilian causalities of War.

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