ATF Targeting FFLs for License Revocation

(Photo: ATF/Facebook)


At the direction of the Biden administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) appears to be revoking the licenses of firearm dealers for even minor paperwork violations.

On June 23, 2021, the “Biden-Harris Administration” announced a new policy of “zero tolerance for rogue gun dealers that willfully violate the law.” The policy further specified that “[a]bsent extraordinary circumstances that would need to be justified to the Director, ATF will seek to revoke the licenses of dealers the first time that they violate federal law . . .” for certain specified violations.

Despite changing decades of agency practice regarding when license revocation is appropriate, this policy was never made available to the public for comment or published in the federal register. It simply appeared on the White House’s website.

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Then, last December, ATF updated its Federal Firearms Licensee Quick Reference and Best Practices Guide. The updated guide makes clear that “ATF will, absent extraordinary circumstances, initiate proceedings to revoke the license of any dealer that has committed a willful regulatory violation of the Gun Control Act (GCA) for specified violations.”

The Quick Reference Guide goes on to outline circumstances for revocation.

Absent extraordinary circumstances, ATF will issue a notice of revocation whenever it determines an FFL has willfully committed a single act of one of the following violations:

  1. Transferring a firearm to a prohibited person
  2. Failing to conduct a required background check
  3. Falsifying records, such as a firearms transaction form
  4. Failing to respond to a trace request
  5. Refusing to permit ATF to conduct an inspection

Other willful violations that may result in the issuance of a notice of revocation include but are not limited to failure to:

  1. Account for firearms
  2. Verify and document buyer eligibility
  3. Maintain records needed for successful firearms tracing
  4. Report multiple sales of handguns

While some of these may be serious violations that warrant revocation, many will be simple paperwork errors. Notably, “falsifying records” is a very broad category that can include making simple errors on the Form 4473, and “failing to respond to a trace request” could result from simply missing an attempted contact by ATF.

The new “zero tolerance” policy has a clear aim of reducing the number of federally licensed dealers, which will in turn make it more difficult for law-abiding Americans to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

If you are a licensed dealer, and you believe that you have been targeted under the Biden Administration’s new policy, please contact NRA at

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{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Brandon FJB March 21, 2022, 5:42 pm

    Rinse, lather, repeat.
    This is just more of the same from the America hating Devilcrats. Recall that comrade Clinton committed similar atrocities during his administration, shutting down most mom & pop kitchen table FFLs.
    And again, one must wonder at the revolting politicization of law enforcement and ‘justice’. Obama & Holder with F&F, the Clintons’ criminal enterprises poorly disguised as a fake charity, Hunter Biden and his innumerable unprosecuted felonies, and the whole weed industry deliberately flaunting Federal law and getting away with it. We have fallen far, and I expect that there is further to fall.
    God, help us, please. Nobody else will.

  • Kenneth Jamin March 21, 2022, 9:55 am

    The key word here is “willfully,” and it’s an important one because it differentiates willful conduct from an honest human error. I enforced federal regs for another agency for 17 years and we always took “willful” violations more seriously because it showed that the offender didn’t give a damn about complying. With all the illegal gun trafficking going on (which reflects on all law-abiding gun owners) I say good for the ATF for thinning the herd of FFL’s that “willfully” fail to comply.

  • Ratskull March 19, 2022, 7:18 pm

    Is the ATF going to charge Hunter Biden? What about the Fast And Furious scandals by Obama and Eric Holder. Where is equal justice in the United States of America? FJB

  • Wayne March 19, 2022, 3:50 pm

    Atf forced Arizona gun store to break laws, during obamas fast and furious fiasco.
    Why aren they going after Hunter Biden for intentional lieing on firearm purchase document?

  • Chuck Roth March 19, 2022, 7:21 am

    Criminals do not buy from FFL’s based on what I see in my state. There is an obvious lack of enforcement here for individuals who openly violate our “private seller” laws at gun shows. Some unlicensed individuals routinely display a dozen or more firearms for sale at every gun show in the area – operating as gun dealers year-after-year without any of the legal requirements. Not only are a few of them (not most) willfully selling guns to people who shouldn’t have them – they are jeopardizing every private seller’s rights to make occasional sales or gifts. Making our laws more stringent won’t solve anything when there is an obvious lack of enforcement for the laws we already have.

  • David A Welsh March 18, 2022, 11:01 pm

    You can be a REPEAT offender of serious harmful acts and still walk freely about, but make a little error in paperwork and all hell breaks loose. Screw the government. The Founding Fathers never imagined this regulatory/bureaucracy crap. Ignore them. Obey unconstitutional laws and you’re a fool; ignore unconstitutional laws and you’re a model citizen of the republic.

    • Ger March 21, 2022, 12:31 pm

      >Ignore them. Obey unconstitutional laws and you’re a fool; ignore unconstitutional laws and you’re a model citizen of the republic.<
      You first, David. You first. Be sure to let us know how that works for ya.

  • Dustin Eward March 18, 2022, 9:09 pm

    Flagrant disobedience of illegal laws and the traitors who enforce them.

  • jerry March 18, 2022, 11:17 am

    It’s obvious that the ATF, FBI and big city police are not cracking down on illegal, unlicensed gun runners like they should. Everyone knows that this is how the gang-bangers are getting their guns (besides stealing them, of course). I suspect that those undocumented salespersons are doubling as police informants and that’s why they are left alone. This has to stop. They know who they are. Their names and addresses are right there in the dealers’ registries. A simple trace of seized firearms will bust ’em.

    • Ger March 21, 2022, 12:40 pm

      Enforcement is spotty because a “real” crackdown on illegal guns would quickly turn into a racial issue – the vast majority of illegal gun use is among criminal gangs, which are overwhelmingly black. Hell, you can’t get some of them. notably Chicago’s mayor, to even acknowledge the estimated 150,000 gang members in her city as a problem. Until they get brave enough to take on the race hustlers, any “enhanced” enforcement regarding illegal firearms is nothing but a BS, PR stunt.

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