This is according to a lawsuit filed against the ATF and its "zero tolerance" policy by the pro-Second Amendment organization Gun Owners of America (GOA), which found through combing ATF data that the bureau has put nearly 2,000 gun sellers out of business in the past two years alone. (Related: GOA files lawsuit against ATF's "zero tolerance" policy which has forced over 1,000 gun dealers to shut down.)
The ordeal gun sellers in the United States are going through began in 2021 when the ATF implemented an aggressive method of inspections for Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs). Many gun sellers were forced to shut down after their licenses were permanently revoked over what defendants claim are simple clerical errors.
"This is an end-around gun ban, because you start putting gun dealers out of business and now all of a sudden it's very difficult for people to purchase firearms," warned GOA Senior Vice President Erich Pratt.
The Gun Control Act of 1968 provides the basis for certain federal gun control measures, including regulations on interstate trade, requirements for firearm serial number marking and establishing a list of "prohibited persons" who are not allowed to purchase or own firearms.
The Gun Control Act also provides the federal government with the authority over licensing and recordkeeping requirements for maintaining FFLs, and the ATF is charged with enforcing this law.
"Good-faith, clerical and ultimately harmless errors in FFL recordkeeping are a statistical inevitability," charged the GOA in its lawsuit against the ATF. "For example, ATF's published data concerning its compliance inspections in 2020 reflects that it conducted 5,823 and found and reported errors in 43.7 percent of those inspections."
Since the beginning of the fiscal year on Oct. 1, 2022, the ATF has conducted 6,609 inspections of compliance with FFLs. With a little over two months left in the current fiscal year, this massive number of inspections are closing in on the 7,502 FFL inspections recorded during the previous fiscal year.
At its current pace, ATF inspectors are conducting an average of 647.33 FFL inspections per month, topping 2022's monthly average of 587.66. This suggests that the ATF will likely complete nearly 9,000 inspections before Oct. 1 and could lead to dozens more gun stores being forced to shut down.
"The Biden administration's zealous targeting of the firearm industry contrasted with its unwillingness to actually enforce criminal laws. The Biden administration is using the law to revoke licenses of firearms retailers for minor clerical errors yet ignores actual crimes," wrote Larry Keane, senior vice president for government and public affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
"Licensed firearm retailers have had their lives destroyed for paperwork mistakes … They are not serious about reducing gun violence, only scoring cheap political points," he continued. "President Biden doesn't intend to stop washing over his administration's unwillingness to confront crime and instead continue targeting the firearm industry."
"Zero tolerance doesn't apply to stopping criminals. The Biden administration reserves that focus for the firearm industry," he concluded.
Learn more about infringements upon the right to own firearms in the United States at SecondAmendment.news.
Watch this episode of the "Health Ranger Report" as Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, interviews GOA Federal Affairs Liaison Ben Sanderson about the ATF's overreach on FFL inspections.