Dems Flip-Flop on FFLs

By NRA-ILA. March 21, 2022

Recent Democratic presidential administrations have been all over the place when it comes to gun dealer licensing. In the early 1990s, President Bill Clinton went to great efforts to eliminate as many Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs or gun dealers) as he could. President Barack Obama reversed course and demanded that those marginally “engaged in the business” of gun selling acquire an FFL. Now President Joe Biden’s administration has the government running the Clinton playbook again – operating a “zero tolerance” policy that is shuttering FFLs over trivial violations. This sort of schizophrenic policy-making could give the impression that this “strategy” has been motivated by anti-gun politics rather than concerns about violent crime.

It was an article of faith among gun control organizations in the early-1990s that there were just too many gun dealers in the country. Back in the pre-District of Columbia v. Heller days, gun control supporters were more honest about their goals and anything that made guns more obtainable, like a healthy supply of gun dealers, was something they openly opposed.

Never mind the fact that FFLs were, and are, subject to significant federal regulation and help to carry out the federal firearm tracing scheme that gun control proponents contend is vital to public safety. Moreover, this campaign neglected ATF’s history of forcing low-volume “gun dealers” into the federal licensing scheme. In the 1980’s for example, there was evidence of ATF revoking the FFL of a person because he only sold three guns during the year, while simultaneously prosecuting another person for selling three guns that year without a license.

In December 1992, the handgun prohibitionists at the Violence Policy Center published a report titled “More Gun Dealers Than Gas Stations.” The authors whined that there was a “bloated, unmanageable universe of illegitimate FFL holders.” VPC took particular aim at small-scale FFLs they termed “kitchen-table” gun dealers. .....

"The new "zero tolerance" policy has a clear aim of reducing the number of federally licensed dealers, which will in turn make it more difficult for law-abiding Americans to exercise their Second Amendment rights."


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