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October 12, 2020

ICYMI: Biden-Harris Would Weaponize ATF Against Firearm Retailers

NEWTOWN, Conn. – NSSF®, the trade association for the firearm industry, is focusing on former Vice President Joe Biden’s radical antigun campaign promise turn the Bureau of Alcohol. Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from its’ mission as the nation’s firearms regulatory bureau into a bludgeon to wield against firearm retailers to close off the means by which law-abiding Americans obtain firearms.

“The Biden-Harris ticket will weaponize the ATF against retailers to close them down for even minor clerical errors in inspections,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “This a promise Senator Kamala Harris made from the campaign stage. She has vowed to turn the ATF from an agency which assists family-owned firearm retail businesses to stay within the overwhelming labyrinth of federal and state laws and regulations to one that carries a heavy hammer and will shutter federally licensed retailers for minor administrative errors.”

“I will require that for any gun dealer that breaks the law, the ATF take their license,” said Sen. Harris in a 2019 presidential town hall event.

Currently, ATF Industry Operations Inspectors (IOI) conduct inspections of federally licensed firearm retailers to ensure compliance and educate retailers on firearm laws and regulations. It is common for IOIs to suggest improvements for minor violations to ensure compliance. Under the Biden-Harris plan, that would change from a teachable moment to improve administrative errors to one of license revocation. A single violation can be interpreted as breaking the law and the 1934 Gun Control Act allows ATF to revoke a federal firearm license for a single violation. Former Vice President Joe Biden agrees with this plan. He outlined on his campaign website his intent to restructure the ATF to become a constrictor on the lawful commerce of firearms.

The Biden-Harris campaign promises to return the ATF to what the nation experienced during the Obama-Biden administration when the bureau was embroiled in the ill-fated “Operation Fast and Furious” scandal that cost the life of U.S. Border Patrol Brian Terry. The ATF’s involvement was revealed to be under the direction of the Obama Administration’s Department of Justice when the bureau allowed illegally purchased firearms to cross the United States-Mexico border and failed to track them. Firearms from that bungled operation were recovered at crimes scenes on both side of the border, including a .50 caliber rifle recovered during the arrest of Mexican drug lord and cartel kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Former Vice President Biden has perpetuated the false narrative that the Obama-Biden administration was scandal-free. Operation Fast and Furious is but one of many that never received a full accounting.


About NSSF
NSSF is the trade association for the firearm industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers nationwide. For more information, log on to


Media contact:
Mark Oliva
202-220-1340 ext. 204

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