Bill introduced to hold ATF accountable and aid the law-abiding

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

The ATF has not been in the best graces of the American people for quite some time now. At least, the law-abiding gun owners of the United States are well aware of the egregious actions they’ve executed, as well as illegal regulations they have enacted. Everyone else that’s not paying attention could afford to crack open a history book and be re-acquainted with the ATF’s historic slaughtering of innocent people at the Waco massacre or learn about their affinity towards dogs. With all of the negatives of the ATF, they must have some positives, right? Given that, a new bill has been introduced that’ll allow the ATF to shine by keeping their more negative traits at bay.


U.S Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) with Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), and Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-Kan.) today introduced legislation to enhance review fairness, speed, and transparency for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ (ATF) background check and application processes for National Firearms Act (NFA) items. The ATF Transparency Act will ensure law-abiding gun owners experience a fair and speedy application process when exercising their Second Amendment rights.

“The ATF’s huge backlog of applications is triggered by a burdensome, seemingly endless process that fails to allow citizens access to an appeals process in the event of a wrongful denial. The result: law-abiding Americans are prevented from exercising their Second Amendment rights,” said Risch. “As the Biden administration continues to create more and more hurdles for law-abiding gun owners, it is more than fair to demand the ATF stick to a strict timeline for reviewing applications and create an appeals process for rejected applicants. With the ATF Transparency Act, the ATF would be held to a higher standard that would require a faster, fairer process for firearm applications.”

The bill, named the ATF Transparency Act, has a number and preliminary name of; S.632 – A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to require the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to establish an administrative relief process for individuals whose applications for transfer and registration of a firearm were denied, and for other purposes.


According to Senator Risch’s release, the bill, if it were to become law would do the following:

  • Require the ATF to develop an appeals process to protect law-abiding Americans’ background checks from being wrongfully denied;
  • Require the ATF to process applications within 90 days. If the ATF fails to process the applications after 90 days, applications will be automatically approved; and
  • Require reports by the GAO and DOJ on 1) the number of NFA items involved in unresolved background checks from 2014 to 2021 and outline recommendations to minimize unresolved background checks and 2) the extent of FBI involvement in background checks and require the ATF and FBI develop a joint agreement on the background check process.

This bill is a good first step of the many reforms that need to be done to the ATF. While most of what’s regulated by the agency probably shouldn’t be under the control of the ATF in the first place, they do wield far too much power over the law-abiding in the country. In a perfect world, they’d be more focused on busting the chops of the alcohol, tobacco, and explosive industries, rather than those exercising their Second Amendment right. Better yet? Not exist at all.

While this bill does not have large prospects of being enacted into law, it’s important none-the-less. We’ll be watching the progress of this legislation, other bills, and keep a watchful eye on what kind of nastiness the ATF is up to as time goes on.


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