Texas Gun Store Owner Sues Biden’s ATF for Cracking Down on Legal Gun Ownership


    (The opinions expressed by contributors are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of RedState.com.)

    As President Joe Biden pushes his public agenda to curtail legal gun ownership, his administration has been taking steps behind the scenes to threaten the Second Amendment by targeting gun stores. This has been an issue that has not received much attention since the White House began trying to make life harder for owners of establishments that sell firearms.

    But now, at least one business is fighting back.

    Michael Cargill, a gun dealer who owns Central Texas Gun Works in Austin, TX, and the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), is suing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) for allegedly “misusing the 1968 Gun Control Act, which regulates gun sales by focusing on inadvertent errors – such as mistaking ‘county’ for ‘country'” on paperwork,” according to the Washington Times. The suit accuses the ATF of using these clerical errors as an excuse to shut down gun stores.

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    Nate Curtisi, an attorney with the TPPF said:

    The administration has begun revoking licenses based on a handful of these inadvertent mistakes among thousands of Form 4473s that do not result in criminals or prohibited possessors obtaining guns. There’s just one problem: The administration’s enforcement policy ignores the text of the Gun Control Act.

    The plaintiffs allege that the ATF under President Biden is unfairly targeting gun dealers by leveraging record-keeping measures intended to prevent criminals from purchasing firearms.

    The Trace reported in October that the ATF revoked three times as many gun dealer licenses in 2022 as they did the previous year. This is the result of the Biden administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on establishments that sell firearms.

    From the report:

    Altogether, the agency revoked 92 licenses in 2022 — roughly 1.3 percent of all the dealers inspected. The total more than triples the number of licenses revoked in 2021, when a similar number of dealers were inspected. Another 136 dealers received warning conferences, the steepest penalty inspectors can recommend without revocation.

    David Chipman, a former ATF agent and an advisory board member for the Center for Gun Violence Solutions at Johns Hopkins University, celebrated the data. “The trendline is good,” he said. “I think we have to applaud the agency for holding the industry accountable — for doing its job.”

    Anyone with an IQ higher than room temperature knows that despite Chipman’s bloviating, this has nothing to do with holding anyone accountable. Shutting down gun dealers over silly clerical errors won’t make anyone safer. It will only make it more difficult for responsible citizens to exercise their right to bear arms. The ATF’s ostensible role is to stop illegal gun trafficking. This “zero tolerance” policy is not geared toward that purpose. Instead, it is a naked attempt to infringe on the Second Amendment by trying to eliminate entities that sell firearms.

    The Biden administration is currently urging Congress to pass anti-gun legislation during its lame-duck period before Republicans take control of the House next year. It is not likely that this effort will bear fruit. But this does not mean the White House isn’t set on using executive power to hamper gun ownership in any way possible. Hopefully, Cargill and the TPPF will be successful in using the legal system to hold the administration accountable.

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