In a move that sparked widespread outrage among gun dealers across the nation, the Biden administration reportedly initiated a crackdown resulting in hundreds of these dealers losing their licenses.
This action fueled a growing belief among the affected parties that they are being unfairly targeted.
The last fiscal year, which commenced in October, saw 122 gun dealers stripped of their licenses by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
This figure represents a significant increase from the previous year’s total of 90, and a staggering rise from the mere 27 revocations in 2021, as reported by Wall Street Journal.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, under President Biden, revoked more than 100 firearms dealers' licenses this year while enforcing federal laws, and angering many in the gun industry. https://t.co/aTd588vYSh
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) August 18, 2023
To put this into perspective, during the presidencies of Trump and Obama, the number of licenses revoked never surpassed 81. This stark contrast led to accusations of political bias, with some industry insiders suggesting that minor paperwork errors are being exploited for political gain.
President Biden has been vocal about his commitment to combating gun violence, but many within the gun industry believe this agenda is being pursued at their expense.
Anthony Navarro, a gun dealer who lost his license last year after receiving three warnings for legal violations since 2009, told the Wall Street Journal, “We were making $1 million a year, now it’s less than $100,000.”
Navarro believes this policy is a covert violation of the Second Amendment, claiming the warnings he received were due to mistakes made by gun purchasers on paperwork, not because they were prohibited from buying guns.
The Biden administration is revoking licenses from hundreds of firearms dealers in a significant escalation of federal enforcement actions that has angered many in the gun industry and provoked disagreement among law-enforcement veterans https://t.co/SeaLuBubEi
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) August 18, 2023
However, the implications of this crackdown extend beyond the financial.
Some argue the relationship between gun dealers and the federal government, which has traditionally been cooperative, could be jeopardized. Gun dealers have often acted as allies to the government, providing valuable tips on suspicious gun buyers.
Peter Forcelli, a retired deputy assistant director, expressed his concern to Wall Street Journal, stating, “The gun dealers were our first line of defense against gun trafficking. Why are we now beating an ally into submission?”
In response to the outcry, the ATF defended its actions, stating it is merely following the law.
ATF spokesperson Kristina Mastropasqua the following: “Federal Firearms Licensees are often our first line of defense against gun crime and are often a source of critical enforcement information that helps law enforcement identify straw purchasers and disrupt firearms trafficking schemes.”
Despite the ATF’s insistence on accountability for those who willfully violate the law, the question remains: Is this crackdown a necessary measure to combat gun violence, or is it an overreach that threatens the livelihoods of law-abiding gun dealers and undermines the Second Amendment?
As of now, the White House has yet to respond to requests for comment on this contentious issue.