By Lee Williams
It took the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives more than three months just to acknowledge receipt of a simple FOIA request. Quite the work ethic they have there…106 days just to reply to an email.
That’s crazy slow, even by ATF standards. Most federal agencies work a lot harder to comply with the Freedom of Information Act which, by the way, has been law since 1967. ATF, not so much.
Why the shenanigans? The ATF has data that proves Joe Biden lied. They could access the requested information with a couple keystrokes. But instead of complying with federal law, they’re playing games.
The lie they’re covering up isn’t Biden’s biggest or boldest, but it defames more than a few friends of mine, so it needs to be debunked.
I have no doubt the ATF is trying to keep a low profile when it comes to Biden, especially since his nomination of David Chipman resulted in such a thorough public thrashing and a stunning national embarrassment. But this saga started in June, long before Chipman imploded, when Biden was looking for a scapegoat he could blame for skyrocketing violent crime rates in big cities run by his fellow Democrats.
The pressure to do something was great. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was under fire for her city becoming more dangerous than a Friday night in Fallujah. The bodies stacked up three-deep on Chicago street corners had to be someone else’s fault. The public and the press were starting to question Lightfoot’s competence. Riding in to the rescue, Biden found the perfect group to blame – “rogue gun dealers.”
These “rogue gun dealers” Biden alleged during a press conference, were those Federal Firearm Licensees who “willfully” transferred a firearm to a prohibited person, and/or who refused to cooperate with a tracing request from the ATF.
To verify Biden’s spurious claims, I emailed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the ATF. I was seeking the numbers of gun dealers, by state, who, over the past three years, have been prosecuted for willfully transferring a firearm to a prohibited person and/or for refusing to cooperate with a tracing request from the ATF.
If Biden was right, hundreds of rogue FFLs should have been arrested, especially in and around Chicago, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and other large metros. However, we all know what the ATF will find: nothing. There will be a mere handful of arrests, out of the approximately 60,000 licensed gun dealers currently operating throughout the country.
The reason? Federally licensed firearms dealers are a law-abiding bunch. They’re not going to suddenly go rogue and start selling guns to prohibited folks.
Biden knows this. The ATF knows this. All they need to do is fork over the data and the public can know this too. Instead, the ATF is going to make things difficult and delay the process, at least according to an email they sent last week.
“For your information, this office assigns incoming (FOIA) requests to one of three tracks: simple, complex, or expedited. Each request is then handled on a first-in, first-out basis in relation to other requests in the same track. Simple requests usually receive a response in approximately one month, whereas complex requests necessarily take longer,” the email states. “At this time, your request has been assigned to the complex track.”
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This story is part of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project and is published here with their permission.