A Texas gun dealer is pushing back against Biden’s ATF

I went with a friend to a gun store today and came out irritated by the online form he was required to fill out for the federal government as a predicate to purchasing a gun. It turns out I’m not the only one troubled by the federal government’s approach to gun stores and purchases. A Texas gun dealer has just sued the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”) for using small, non-substantive clerical errors as an excuse to revoke gun dealers’ licenses.

According to the Washington Times,

The lawsuit accuses the ATF of misusing the 1968 Gun Control Act, which regulates gun sales by focusing on inadvertent errors — such as mistaking “county” for “country” on the firearm transaction Form 4473, which has 100 data points — as a pretext to close down gun shops.

“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,” said Nate Curtisi, an attorney for the Texas Public Policy Foundation, which is backing the litigation.

Michael Cargill, a firearms dealer who owns Central Texas Gun Works in Austin, and the Texas Public Policy Foundation brought the lawsuit in federal court in Texas.

The lawsuit specifically focuses on Biden’s administration, which it said has instituted a new, heavy-handed enforcement policy that sees it seizing on any excuse to pull a dealer’s license:

According to the lawsuit, the new policy under President Biden’s team at ATF has turned longtime record-keeping requirements that are supposed to prevent criminals and other dangerous people from buying guns into a weapon against the industry.

“The act allows the federal government to revoke gun dealers’ license to sell firearms — commonly called federal firearms licenses or FFLs — when dealers willfully violate federal or state gun laws,” Mr. Curtisi said.

The same Washington Times article details the picayune infractions the ATF has allegedly seized upon to justify pulling a dealer’s license. The apparent goal isn’t gun safety; it’s making guns less available.

 Image: “‘Gun counter’ was the busiest place in Sears Roebuck Store in Syracuse, New York,” by John Collier, Jr., October 1941. Library of Congress.

Learning about this lawsuit explains the extraordinary care with which the gun store reviewed the information my friend entered on his federal form. That store, to its credit, was not taking any chances about mistakes.

I had my own beef with the form, though, because I stood looking over my friend’s shoulder as he filled it out. Keeping in mind that one of the main points of the form is to ensure that the purchaser really is who he says he is, I was irked that, for “sex,” the federal government’s choices are “male,” “female,” and “non-binary.”

Even the crazy wokesters concede that “sex” and “gender” are different, with “sex” being a biological reality and “gender” being an identity. In other words, even those in the thrall of gender madness would concede that the feds are in la-la land to claim that non-binary is a sex. (I, of course, disbelieve the whole panoply of imaginary identities.)

The form also had one question requiring purchasers to confirm whether they are Hispanic and a separate question forcing them to identify by race. I have no idea why there were two separate questions, but I was offended by both. I’m an American. End of story. I deeply resent that my government can’t shake the Jim Crow habit of demanding that we divide ourselves by race. Thankfully, I wasn’t the one filling out the form. And the thing is the government knows that people who are buying a weapon will fill out the form even if it offends them.

Lastly, I was irked that my friend had to answer all those questions assuring the government that he is not now, nor has he ever been, a criminal who cannot buy a gun. I assume that the reason for the questions is so that, if caught, the criminal will have even more charges against him. However, in what world do criminals answer honestly?

As just one example, consider Hunter Biden. Everyone knows that Hunter lied on his form when he purchased a gun, yet he gets a pass. That fact alone makes the entire “criminal history” section of the form seem shady. The law-abiding, like my friend, answer honestly; the criminals don’t; and the connected criminals get a pass.

My friend bought a lovely weapon, and the dealer was so careful I cannot imagine the ATF touching that store, so all’s well that ends well as to that transaction. Regarding the Texas lawsuit, I hope Michael Cargill wins. The Constitution’s boundaries on the government and rights for citizens are prerequisites for the liberty that has made America a special nation for more than 200 years.

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