New York, NY – -(Ammoland.com)- FFLGuard, the firearms industry’s premier legal compliance services program (“the Program”), has been educating and protecting federal firearms licensees since 2008.
FFLGuard delivers its clients access to firearms-specific professionals, subject matter experts, and counsel, and conveys cost-effective legal compliance solutions to over 300 Federal Firearms Licensees (“FFLs”) in 36 states. By paying a yearly fee, and cooperatively heeding FFLGuard’s “Law Plus Guidelines” – helpful, apolitical legal advice in the form of tips and hints that serve as the cornerstone of the FFLGuard program – each client is guaranteed legal representation with no additional legal costs in the event of a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms (“ATF”) compliance inspection, or in defense of civil litigation by anti-gun activists that call the client’s business practices into question. FFLGuard has established itself as the gold standard in firearms compliance, legal training, and defense.
FFLGuard is headed by attorney Christopher Chiafullo, who serves as FFLGuard’s National Coordinating Counsel. Chiafullo identified long ago that only proactivity in addressing firearms compliance laws and regulations would keep an FFL from losing its license once they are “hot,” which is FFLGuard slang for a client being targeted for revocation by ATF.
“It’s a no-win scenario for the licensee,” states Chiafullo, “because once an FFL is slated for a revocation hearing with ATF, then they get ATF lawyers as both prosecuting counsel and the hearing officer; the FFL has no right to call witnesses or obtain documents in their defense at the hearing; and the FFL is told by ATF counsel that any formality at the hearing is ‘unnecessary’ because they [the FFL] will be entitled to a judicial review in Federal Court.”
FFLGuard’s Director of Field Operations, attorney Scott Braum, further observes that “[w]hat a hot FFL doesn’t realize is that the ‘judicial review’ process can effectively bankrupt them with legal fees, and that the current interpretation of the Gun Control Act appears to limit the Court’s ‘judicial review’ of the ATF revocation to simply whether or not the ATF was authorized by law to revoke the license in the first place. The merits of the revocation aren’t usually on the table at that point, and it’s an easy way out for the Court… resulting in little justice for an FFL.” Braum continues by observing that “[i]t’s a vicious cycle with suspect due process and an extremely limited chance for success… but it is what it is.”
With the key to avoiding the “no-win scenario” of ATF revocation is proactivity (“It’s preventative medicine… taking cholesterol medication now to avoid open-heart surgery later,” states Chiafullo), FFLGuard has established itself as peerless in the area of keeping FFL’s out of trouble before trouble is even an issue. FFLGuard does so by affording each client “points” to tally for compliance with the Program’s preemptive Law Plus Guidelines, and “bonus points” for engaging the Program for additional legal compliance audits and services. Keeping a 90% point threshold assures the FFLGuard client that it will never pay additional legal fees in the case of an ATF administrative action. To this end, FFLGuard “… only guarantees the bed we make for you, not the bed you bring us to after you’ve gotten yourself into hot water,” notes Chiafullo. With all this as a backdrop, FFLGuard applauds and encourages FFLs to take advantage of every single compliance-related seminar or offer available, whether industry or government commercially sponsored.
“When I see firearms spokespeople advising FFLs to rely on legal specialists and not their local lawyers — who may not have expertise in the field — or finally offering their own entry-level compliance training, it simply validates everything we’ve done and perfected at FFLGuard for the last 5 years.”
Encouraged by a recent industry-wide emphasis on compliance, FFLGuard offers its ‘gold- standard’ continuous legal education, support, and guaranteed defense program with a $500 credit for any new client showing proof of attending industry or government-sponsored compliance seminar. FFLGuard further issues “bonus points” to its continuing clients who attend such industry and governmental seminars as a matter of course, for use with the points assessed as part of the Program’s Law Plus Guidelines.
“In this industry, if you aren’t going to seize the opportunities given to you to be proactive, you are doing yourself a disservice,” states Chiafullo. “Once FFLs give the freebies and low-cost offerings a spin, they invariably understand why they absolutely need to have the ‘best in class’ services provided by FFLGuard. It’s a professional relationship, being in the FFLGuard program, not a one-off event. And our record of successful relationships speaks for itself.”
Chiafullo, in closing, adds: “While we approve of anyone’s efforts to educate and preserve our firearms heritage, FFLs shouldn’t be afraid to press industry representatives to do what they do best, which is to lobby for legislative and regulatory change to the ‘no-win scenario’ that currently exists… and in the interim, we’ll do what we do best: keep FFLs compliant and in business.”
For more information on the FFLGuard program, visit www.fflguard.com.