May 5th, 2009

ATF Reform Bill Introduced

A new bill, S. 941, has been introduced in Congress, reflecting a bipartisan effort to reform the ATF’s regulatory activities. While the bill gives the ATF new enforcement powers (other than license revocation), it also creates new protections for FFL holders. “The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Reform and Firearms Modernization Act of 2009″ (S. 941), strikes a balance between providing ATF with additional regulatory options to encourage even greater compliance short of revocation while at the same time affording licensees more rights and due process in the regulatory scheme. The bi-partisan bill was introduced by Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). It would allow ATF new powers to issue fines and suspend licenses of Federal Firearms Licensees (as opposed to current regulations which only allow for license revocation). The legislation would also allow ATF to distinguish between violations and “benign/administrative” violations and create an appeal process whereby FFLs would have cases heard before a neutral administrative law judge, rather than an ATF official. NSSF is supportive of this bill as it will help protect the rights of FFLs while giving ATF more flexibility in how they exercise their regulatory authority to encourage enhanced compliance.

This report provided by National Shooting Sports Foundation.