Few prosecuted for lying on ATF paperwork

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

The ATF has come down on various companies for various things, things that are only illegal because the bureau says they are. JSD Supply comes to mind, among others.


Yet there are things that are explicitly illegal and it’s not really a regulatory matter. Things like lying on Form 4473s while trying to buy guns.

Doing so is a crime.

And yet, it seems it’s rarely prosecuted.

“Lying on an ATF form 4473 is a federal violation and can lead to severe penalties and jail time. Don’t lie and buy.”
— Tweet from the Houston office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), Sept. 8, 2021
Form 4473 — the Firearm Transaction Record — is a six-page document that must be filled out whenever someone buys a firearm from a licensed firearm dealer.
The form asks questions including whether the person buying the gun is a felon, whether the person is a fugitive from justice or convicted of domestic abuse, whether the person is addicted to drugs and whether the person is the actual buyer of the firearm.
This tweet by ATF’s Houston office led a swarm of Twitter users to ask why the bureau didn’t charge Hunter Biden, the president’s son, for allegedly lying on Form 4473 when he purchased a handgun in October 2018. The controversy led us to request statistics from the Justice Department to determine whether someone falsely filling out the form faced much of a risk of prosecution.
It took months to obtain the data. The answer, it turns out, is no.
The statistics are newly relevant as Congress discusses how to strengthen gun laws in the wake of high-profile mass shootings. This is a prime illustration of how, for a variety of reasons including prosecutorial choices, existing laws are not always rigorously or consistently enforced.

Shocking, right?

So, it appears that at least Hunter Biden is being treated like everyone else in this matter.

That’s not necessarily a good thing.

Understand, I think this is all BS. Having to fill out a Form 4473 prior to purchasing a firearm is nothing more than theater, a gimmick to make it look like the ATF is trying to do something.

Then, when someone is caught lying, the ATF does absolutely nothing in most cases.

And to think that as I write this, a debate is raging about more gun control laws being needed, all while such a basic one is rarely enforced.

Why are anti-gun activists wanting to curtail my ability to buy firearms instead of, I don’t know, pushing the ATF to actually prosecute these dirtbags?

The only reason I can fathom at this point is that they simply don’t care. It’s possible they do and are unaware of that fact, but this is the Washington Post. I’m quite sure many of them read it, so you’d think they’d be aware.

If they are and are being silent, then it’s very difficult for me to take any demand they make seriously. I cannot accept that they care about lives being lost when they’re willfully looking the other way on a problem that is clearly allowing prohibited people to get guns.


So I’m not really interested in hearing their solutions to anything else.

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