The ATF’S effort to fight gun crime has revoked several Federal Firearm Licenses (FFL), especially due to willful violations. The federal courts believe that a “willful violation” occurs when the licensee commits the offense intentionally by disregarding federal laws and regulations of the Gun Control Act (GCA).
Violations that can lead to a revocation include falsifying transaction records, firearms transfer to prohibited persons, and failure to carry out a background check on the buyer, among other things.
If a licensee is found guilty of a violation, the ATF issues a revocation notice, as specified in Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 478 (27 CFR 478). While they have up to 15 days to appeal, no FFL would like to find themselves in a situation where they can lose their business besides facing civil or criminal charges.
Below are the legal responsibilities and restrictions that come with revocation.
While willful violations are not intentional per se, some offenses can be argued that way. You risk getting additional fines for your license revocation if you don’t conduct a background check on the transferee, falsify records, or transfer a gun to a banned person.
Other cases with an established precedent include instances where licensees have committed firearms trafficking, ignoring NICS responses, records falsification to conceal illegal activities, and getting new FFLs to derail an investigation.
If caught committing any of the crimes mentioned above and charged, you may not be able to own a firearm or operate an FFL in the future.
Limitations of Revocation
If you get a revocation notice and don’t file a hearing request or the court upholds its revocation decision, you will face limitations as a person and as a business.
Once your revocation is justified, ATF will give you a certain amount of time in which you must transfer the remaining inventory to other licensees or regular buyers. You’re only allowed to sell and not buy or add new firearms to your inventory.
With a revoked FFL, you’re likely not to own, run or work in a firearms business again. When working on a new FFL application, Part B in the ATF Form 7 has a Responsible Person Questionnaire which asks you to submit full details of your previous license revocation. While this isn’t essentially a determining factor, ATF will restrictively consider previous actions.
According to the Bipartisan Safer Community Act, FFL will start performing NICS background checks on their workers in what is known as firearm handler checks. A revoked license will probably fail such checks.
As you operate your firearms business, it is essential to remember that you have a great responsibility to protect yourself and others. Any action you take has a consequence. Be extra careful about willful violations which expose you to potential criminal charges, civil fines, and license revocation.