Our Chair, John McLaughlin sent our board and the executive committee over a letter from Congress I’d somehow missed. It really cut to the heart of the matter. It also contained items I’ve had whistleblowers and folks within DOJ and ATF express to me, personally. Too few are willing to share their concerns openly for the genuine fear of retribution. In a letter dated June 29th, 2022, several members of Congress signed a letter echoing the same questions IFC has been asking of our elected officials, only this letter was sent directly to the acting (then) director of ATF. (Here is a download of the letter in pdf if you want it. Those links have an odd way of disappearing from time to time.)
Below are excerpts from the letter, explained…
ATF is hammering dealers on things as small as a typo. This is happening all over the country, and Iowans aren’t immune. The Stanley Hunting Center was just one of the Iowa FFls shut down for the same kinds of errors. We interviewed Scott Stanley in IFC’s Warrior Wednesday, Episode 33.
Yes, just as you guessed it, this is coming directly from the White House. How do I know that? The Department of Justice is headed by Attorney General, Merrick Garland, who gets his marching orders from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave (The White House).
While I hadn’t heard there were races and competitions to run red blooded law-abiding Americans out of business, this comes as no shock to anyone. When you hand tremendous power to the unethical, they’ll do some really lousy things to their fellow man. There are immoral practices coming from leadership within DOJ and ATF that are the catalyst towards horrible policy, and rogue elements within rank and file ATF personnel, all of which disparage American citizens. Does anyone really believe an ATF IOI (Industry Operations Inspector) will buck the White House to spare a Mom & Pop gunshop from gross injustice? There may be a few, but those IOIs are being placed in a tough spot. They’ll either quit to avoid the moral problem or go along with it because they have families and need to pay bills too. Neither are good scenarios. I know good folks who literally have quit ATF because they can’t be a part of a predatory agency any longer. The bad element is running out the good within their own organization.
People aren’t just losing their livelihoods. They’re losing their lives. The pressure to run your own business in an age of overwhelming government intrusion and taxation combined with cancel culture and lingering COVID supply complications through a garbage economy is no small burden to bear. Add a true bureaucracy like the ATF with monster power designating you for extinction, and sleepless nights are the least of your worries. I can attest to the crushing pressure of such things. I live it. Daily.
Yup, you read the above correctly. A software glitch or things like a typo are now considered “WILLFUL NONCOMPLIANCE” and the basis for revocation. Tell me where any court would come to the same conclusion. I dare you. No judge would ignore the routine best attempts of a dealer and focus on a single inconsequential clerical error as a valid reason to revoke a license.
Does ATF truly believe a human being with this many transactions, none of which strayed from the goal of the forms themselves, can achieve a statistical 100%? They’re asking for perfection. Who can do that? The 4473 form, which we discussed in detail in this blog/video, contains anywhere from 34 to 50 fields of information you may need to fill in order to complete a transaction. Let’s take an average of 40 fields of hand input data over as few as 1000 transactions. 40,000 fields of information… Is anyone you know capable of entering 40,000 fields of information without a single clerical error??? Nope… And some FFLs are generating a heck of a lot more than 1000 transactions in a given period of time.
Should we be expecting ATF to perform to perfection in reciprocity? Not even ATF would be so bold to make the claim they could do that.
In true ATF style, they’re going to change their minds. Yes, pistol braces are fine. Oh, wait a minute. Yes, 80% items are fine. Oh, wait a minute. Yes, your inspection yielded a few errors you need to resolve, but keep up the good work and continue business. Oh, wait a minute.
Now they’re going back to shut people down they already cleared. When are we going to see some relief?
The questions above summarized the letter and I’m not aware of any response by ATF. All those questions are vital and relevant. The good folks below all signed this letter to atf.
It should be noted, for those of you paying close attention, WE COULD NOT VERIFY ANY IOWA SENATORS OR HOUSE REPRESENTATIVES SIGNED THE LETTER. If they have, we’d be eager to learn of it.
Michael Ware – IFC