Detroit, MI –-(Ammoland.com)-Gun Owners of America (GOA) has filed a suit in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan Northern Division against the Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and ATF Acting Director Regina Lombardo.
Donald Roberts, II, and GOA are seeking a permanent injunction restraining the defendants from the mandates laid out in the ATF's Michigan Public Safety Advisory of March 3rd, 2020. (Michigan PSA). On that day, the ATF's PSA informed FFLs within Michigan that they have to run all gun buyers through the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
This ruling runs contrary to the ATF's previous position that an FFL can accept a concealed carry permit if that permit requires a NICS check to be issued. Before the March 3rd advisory, Michigan residents were exempt from the FBI background check if they held an unexpired concealed pistol license (CPL). The ATF reasons that Sheriffs might not run gun owners through NICS when issuing CPLs. Michigan law requires Sheriffs to use NICS before signing off on any CPL.
On March 7th, Roberts visited H&H Fireworks, Guns, and Sporting Goods in Houghton Lake to purchase a shotgun. Upon presenting his unexpired CPL, the store informed him because of the new PSA; they would have to run his information through NICS. He refused to submit to the background check and left without the shotgun.
Michigan has run all CPL holders through NICS since 2005. In 2006 Former Attorney General of Michigan, Mike Cox, contacted the ATF to verify that the Michigan CPL was in line with ATF regulations. The ATF confirmed that Michigan FFLs could use the CPL as a substitute for running their customers through NICS.
The ATF's open letter from 2006 reads: “Michigan's Concealed Pistol Licenses (CPLs) issued on or after November 22, 2005 will qualify as an alternative to a [NICS] check.”
The new PSA acknowledges that Michigan's CPL still meets the requirements for an exemption to NICS but still insist that FFLs run background checks on every customer regardless if they have a CPL or not.
The new PSA reads: “in spite of this specific statutory requirement, ATF recently received information … that Michigan CPLs have been, and continue to be issued to certain applicants without a determination by Michigan officials as to whether the applicant is prohibited under federal law from possessing or transporting firearms.”
Gun Owners of America states that the ATF's PSA would irreparably harm its members if the court does not grant the injunction. GOA further argues that the ATF doesn't have the legal authority to disqualify Michigan's CPL from being used in place of a federal background check.
“This is another unnecessary move by the ATF. Forcing background checks on individuals who have already been screened by the government is a poor use of time and resources, and always presents the danger of registering gun owners' firearms purchases,” said Erich Pratt Senior Vice President of GOA. “Gun Owners of America believes the Second Amendment prevents Federal and state governments from implementing prior restraints upon the right to keep and bear arms. The ATF's recent policy reversal in Michigan is clearly a step in the wrong direction.”
Michigan isn't the only state facing new ATF PSAs that requires the use of the FBI's background check even when the states conceal permits meets the requirements for an exemption. The ATF has also sent out similar PSAs to Alabama and Minnesota.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%'ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on leftist deplatforming methods and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, on Facebook at realjohncrump, or at www.crumpy.com.