ATF documents show "zero tolerance" policy for gun stores

AP Photo/Morry Gash

The ATF was never particularly popular with the gun-owning public, but recent history has made that relationship even more precarious. After all, how many different ways can you act shady and still expect people to trust you?


At least some of those actions took place with regard to gun stores.

Fox News has apparently gotten hold of some internal documents regarding the ATF’s “zero tolerance” policy with regard to gun stores, and there are some items worthy of concern.

Internal documents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) show the “zero tolerance” guidelines the agency is using to shut down gun stores.

Fox News Digital exclusively obtained the ATF’s federal firearms licensee (FFL) inspection guidance from January 2022 that makes it easier to revoke gun stores’ federal licenses.

The guidance says the agency “has zero tolerance for willful violations that greatly affect public safety and ATF’s ability to trace firearms recovered in violent crimes” and that “revocation” of the FFL’s license “is the assumed action” with violations.

“Therefore, revocation is the assumed action, unless extraordinary circumstances exist, when violations are cited that include” transferring a firearm “to a prohibited person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe the transferee is a prohibited person,” failing to perform a background check, and “making a false or fictitious written statement in the FFL’s required records or in applying for a firearms license,” the guidance reads.


Now, in theory, that looks like no big deal. However, that also means that a single mistake might be enough for an FFL holder to have their license revoked permanently. While these sound like the kind of things there shouldn’t be any tolerance of, the truth is that it’s far easier to determine someone should know something after the fact.

Then there’s this tidbit that some of you may have already considered.

Additionally, when an FFL loses its license, it will likely close shop and be required to send its gun purchase records — which are now required to be kept indefinitely — straight to the ATF.

Now, let’s remember that the ATF has been trying to digitize all gun records sent to them over the years. This
“zero tolerance” effort would likely lead to more records being sent their way. If those records are also digitized, what we have is a de facto gun registry.

Then there’s the overall climate this has created, which the GOA notes in their response to this information.

Aiden Johnston, GOA’s director of federal affairs, told Fox News Digital that “Joe Biden has weaponized the ATF against gun owners and the firearms industry in an attempt to violate the Second Amendment and expand his illegal gun registry.”

“Rather than targeting those who display clear negligence and disregard for the law, ATF now revokes licenses without warning at the discovery of a first mistake by honest gun dealers,” Johnston said.



Look, at every level, there are problems with this. Yet it’s structured in such a way that the uninitiated might not see a problem. The issue is that literally anyone can make a mistake. It’s then easy to claim that the mistake was made on purpose and that a license should be revoked.

At the end of the day, this isn’t likely to foster any degree of trust between the ATF and gun owners.

Then again, it’s not like the Biden administration actually cares about that.

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