Up in arms: Hundreds of firearm dealers lose licenses as Biden admin cracks down

President Joe Biden’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has ramped up policing gun dealers as part of an alleged policy meant to be a “backdoor violation of the Second Amendment.”

Where once there had been slaps on the wrist, the Biden administration has begun “beating an ally into submission” in an apparent effort to quell gun sales. With roughly six weeks remaining in fiscal year 2023, The Wall Street Journal reported 122 gun dealers had already had their licenses revoked.

Reaching back to Oct. 2022, that figure was not only a clear increase from the 90 revocations reported in FY22 but a staggering uptick from the 27 of FY21.

“We were making $1 million a year, now it’s less than $100,000. This policy is designed to be a backdoor violation of the Second Amendment,” Colorado dealer Anthony Navarro told the Journal. He has had to limit his sales to only firearm accessories after losing his license last year having had warnings in 2009, 2011 and 2015.

ATF Director Steve Dettelbach suggested there was nothing untoward about the crackdown and told the newspaper, “We’ve taken steps to hold accountable those few dealers who are engaging in these willful violations. They’re not going to have the privilege of being a gun dealer anymore.”

However, retired officials from the bureau seemed to agree with the dealers that the policy seemed counterintuitive toward stopping bad actors.

“The gun dealers were our first line of defense against gun trafficking. Why are we now beating an ally into submission?” wondered retired ATF deputy assistant director Peter Forcelli.

Likewise, retired ATF official Rick Vasquez expressed, “The ATF, previous to this administration, had a ‘Let’s see if we can help you’ attitude and some gun dealers took advantage of that.”

According to the Journal, looking back to 2013 when this data began to be collected, neither President Barack Obama nor President Donald Trump’s administrations revoked more than 81 licenses.

The report furthers Biden’s evident hostility toward the Second Amendment throughout his administration including his position the right to bear arms “was never absolute,” a point he has tried to cement with the claim an individual “couldn’t buy a cannon when the Second Amendment was passed.”

“Even The Washington Post admitted it’s untrue,” George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley said last year in the wake of an aggressive push to curb gun rights after the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, “and yet the president keeps on repeating that as a defense for his call for gun control. He’s undermining his own case by repeating what is, ironically, disinformation.”

Currently, the ATF utilizes roughly 800 employees to inspect the more than 50,000 licensed gun dealers throughout the United States. A statement to Fox News Digital from bureau spokesperson Kristina Mastropasqua reinforced Dettelbach’s position on the revocations being merely about accountability.

“Federal Firearms Licensees are often our first line of defense against gun crime and are often a source of critical enforcement information that helps law enforcement identify straw purchasers and disrupt firearms trafficking schemes,” she said. “FFLs that willfully violate the law, however, must be held accountable. ATF conducts inspections to ensure compliance with applicable local, state, and federal laws and regulations and to educate licensees on the specific requirements of those laws and regulations.”

Leslie Gifford, 82, of Burlington, Kansas staunchly disagreed when he explained to the Journal his legal battle with the ATF after his license was revoked. Included in his list of violations was a sale to a Nebraska man which was required to go through a dealer in that state.

ATF argued “there is no legal justification for a licensee’s claim that circumstances, such as being busy or overwhelmed, excuses the failure.”

From his perspective, Gifford contended, “Mr. Biden wants to get rid of all of us little dealers. Gets me wound up, boy. It’s a political game, sure as hell.”


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Kevin Haggerty


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