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Biden's ATF revokes licenses of 122 gun dealers — critics call policy a 'backdoor violation of the Second Amendment'

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Biden administration's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has ramped up efforts to crack down on gun dealers this fiscal year.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the ATF had revoked licenses for 122 gun dealers across the nation since October — an unprecedented number. Last year, the bureau revoked 90 licenses. Under the two previous presidential administrations, the number of revoked licenses never exceeded 81.

In 2021, the Biden administration rolled out a new "zero tolerance" policy for firearms dealers. The guidance stated that the agency "has zero tolerance for willful violations that greatly affect public safety and ATF's ability to trace firearms recovered in violent crimes," according to documents obtained by Fox News Digital. The guidance also notes that when violations are found, "revocation" of licenses "is the assumed action."

Gun Owners of America filed a lawsuit against the ATF last month. GOA accused the administration of attempting to "weaponize ATF's bureaucracy against the entire Second Amendment industry."

Anthony Navarro, a firearms dealer impacted by the revocation policy, told the WSJ, "We were making $1 million a year, now it's less than $100,000."

"This policy is designed to be a backdoor violation of the Second Amendment," Navarro added.

Navarro's license was revoked last year after receiving three warnings for legal violations since 2009. He said the notices were over errors customers made on background check forms that did not prohibit them from purchasing firearms.

Inspectors found additional violations in 2020, including failing to report multiple sales and failing to keep records of some transactions. According to Navarro, he was the one to discover and report those issues to the ATF after he realized an employee was hiding forms.

Peter Forcelli, a retired deputy assistant director, told the WSJ that firearms dealers are the ATF's "first line of defense against gun trafficking."

"Why are we now beating an ally into submission?" Forcelli questioned.

ATF spokesperson Kristina Mastropasqua said, "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."

"FFLs that willfully violate the law, however, must be held accountable. ATF conducts inspections to ensure compliance with applicable local, state, and federal laws and regulations and to educate licensees on the specific requirements of those laws and regulations," Mastropasqua added.

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