Leaked Documents Show Change How ATF Handles Delayed/Denied Cases

New York Signs 30-Waiting Period and Bans Bump Stocks Into Law
GOA Obtained Documents Show Change How ATF Handles Delayed/Denied Cases

WASHINGTON, D.C.-(Ammoland.com)- Leaked documents supplied to AmmoLand News from Gun Owners of America (GOA) show that discretion that Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) agents have in recovering firearms from buyers that the FBI initially delayed in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) then denied after the seller transfers the gun to the buyer has been curtailed.

If NICS doesn’t return a result (approve/deny) after three days, the federal firearms licensed dealer (FFL) can legally transfer the gun to the buyer. If, after the three-day period, the FBI determines the buyer that has taken possession of the firearm is a prohibited person, the agency notifies the ATF. The ATF agent reviews the results and determines if it is worth the time and effort to recover the transferred gun.

One example given to AmmoLand was a case of a 70-year-old man who had a non-violent felony conviction at 18. The agents determined that the man did not pose a threat and had a very low chance of committing a crime with the firearm. Since taking the gun would do nothing except strip the man of his right to bear arms, they decided not to take any further action.

Although ATF agents still technically have discretion, ATF Assistant Director of Field Operations, Thomas L. Chittum, III, sent a one-page memorandum to all Special Agents in Charge (SAIC) changing the process. According to the notice, the new regulations now require agents to update the case every 30 days within the month’s first ten days. Even if the ATF agents determine confiscating the firearm would not affect public safety, the agent still has to explain their reasoning every month, even if their reason never changes.

This change means the ATF agent that received the case of the 70-year-old man mentioned earlier in the article will have to update the case every month, explaining over and over why he decided not to confiscate the rifle. The only way the agent can stop updating the case is to recover the gun. The updating of the case is mandatory, and there is no way to close it out without taking the firearm.

Not only is updating the case mandatory, but the computer system requires it to be updated for the agent to do real work that does affect public safety. The system showed to AmmoLand News by the source doesn’t seem to have a way to bypass the updating of the case in the Case Management System. The agent must select the “NICS Delayed Denial Monthly Update.” From the drop-down management log tab.

The more delayed denial enforcement cases that the ATF gets, the more backed up the Case Management System and the agents get. The amount of work will increase over time, and the amount of busywork will be ever-expanding. The only way for the agents can stay on top of the requirement is to reclaim every gun from every delayed denial. The process removes the agent’s discretion without officially removing it.

Chittum does indicate why he thinks the old system was inadequate. Gun rights advocates see this move as an attempt to force ATF agents to confiscate firearms from people who made a single mistake decades ago. They worry this is a backdoor control method.

The ATF did not respond to our request for comment at the time of publication.


About John Crump

John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. 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 can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.

John Crump

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musicman44mag
musicman44mag
1 month ago

Again, unprotected link, your spelling, sentence structure and grammar is worse than the last time I commented. In addition, which you are not able to do, 70×4= 280 dollars not 400 Dailly. Now why don’t you go happy yourself??

Last edited 1 month ago by musicman44mag
musicman44mag
musicman44mag
1 month ago

I believe I read on Ammoland, not to long ago, that they were having problems with gun stores not giving the guns to people who had not been approved after the wait period because later if they found out the person was not allowed to have the weapon, the store was required to get it back from the person they sold it to.

SGT_Wombat
SGT_Wombat
1 month ago

Sorry, NO! If you’re in the NICS DB and not supposed to have a gun, then you don’t get a gun. Is the ATF agent psychic? Does he know for CERTAIN the 70-year-old guy didn’t buy the rifle to go shoot up a Republican baseball game or a concert in Las Vegas?

Stag
Stag
1 month ago
Reply to  SGT_Wombat

NICS is infringement.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
1 month ago
Reply to  SGT_Wombat

What?

Stag
Stag
1 month ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

The Butters and Fudds are still at it.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
1 month ago
Reply to  Stag

He’s the guy who wanted to deputize 22 million veterans to become Special Deputy United States Marshals so they can be first responders.

An armed government employee could be at every gun store to enforce never-ending gun control. The very definition of a statist.

musicman44mag
musicman44mag
1 month ago
Reply to  SGT_Wombat

Gee, for a non violent felony, isn’t that a little harsh and it was probably around 52 years ago? So long as it wasn’t non felony drug sales I am ok with it.

musicman44mag
musicman44mag
1 month ago
Reply to  musicman44mag

Why the down vote? Because you think any felon shouldn’t be allowed to have a gun or because I am down on the pusher man.

Last edited 1 month ago by musicman44mag
Bill
Bill
1 month ago

Copy and paste works for me! It’ll abide by the memo and not waste an agent’s time!

SweetOlBob
SweetOlBob
1 month ago

The BATFE is a self policing organization. Which means a NO POLICING organization.
Their history of false convictions, changing rules, and lying to convict and imprison innocent individuals is unparalleled !
They should be completely disbanded !

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
1 month ago

Thanks John.

The BATFE will use any possible technique available to persecute firearm owners.

Presidents have varying degrees of not caring what the BATFE does and actively ordering them to mess with people.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
1 month ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

“You can’t make up such a thing as that. I dare you to even try.”

https://www.getyarn.io/yarn-clip/270ce8fb-1b16-4a0e-b74e-3f444d579422

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
1 month ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

Real life is more bizarre than anything a screen writer can create. Study the violence on the South Side of Chicago. It’s insane. To really understand it, you have to do the math yourself. Have you ever heard anyone in the media indicate that the murder and non-negligent homicide rate in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago is 15,000% higher than in many areas of the United States?

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
30 days ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

Englewood Population: 28,000 2020 Homicides 71 2019 Homicides 40 2018 Homicides 54 2017 Homicides 49 Four year total 214 Four year average 53.5 53.5/(28,000/100,000) = Homicides per 100,000 = 191 Area I live in: 1.26 homicides per 100,000 (191-1.26) = 189.74 189.74/1.26 = 150.587 150.587 = 15,058.7% higher rate in Englewood than in my area The area I live in is not unusual – there are many areas like it all over the US. There is poverty and there are drugs. However, the culture does not result in rampant poor decision-making and low impulse control. Any LEO who has worked in a… Read more »

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
30 days ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

Wouldn’t it be refreshing if “Pro 2nd Amendment” politicians who are “fighting for our rights” used data and math to counter the lies told by politicians who want more gun control laws? Obama told outrageous lies and misrepresentations and Republican politicians never countered with facts and logic in a convincing manner. A large percentage of the people on both sides of the argument, as well as those in the middle, tend to form their opinion based on feelings (we see it on this site all the time – some people know things that are simply not true). Some of those… Read more »

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
30 days ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

That statement may be correct, unfortunately. It’s worth a try though.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
30 days ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

Posted a reply, but it is on hold. Odd.

Bill
Bill
1 month ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

I vaguely remember Ronald Reagan saying something about doing away with the BATF and assigning its duties to another organization. Sure wish he had done so! 🙁

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
1 month ago
Reply to  Bill

It’s an abomination. “Pro 2nd Amendment” politicians and organizations have done very little to: Shine light on their lies and crimes; Demand prosecution for their crimes; and Diminish their size and authority. Thanks to GOA and John Crump for raising the issue described in the article. It is almost a certainty the BATFE and FBI will orchestrate another high profile action against a firearm owner soon. The victim of their actions will, without a doubt, be described as a “white supremacist, racist, far-right, anti-government extremist with an arsenal of weapons, blah, blah, blah.” They will ruin someone’s life over a… Read more »

Stag
Stag
1 month ago
Reply to  Bill

Reagan loved gun laws. Why else would he sign the Mulford Act and Hughes Amendment. There’s no way he was gonna do away with the ATF.

musicman44mag
musicman44mag
1 month ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

I wouldn’t doubt that to be true. I know two police that were victims of someone that tried to kill and killed them. One officer turned in fellow cops for taking the drugs they were confiscating and re selling them. He managed to drive his car off the road, through a three foot deep by two foot wide ditch and landed 15 feet from the roadside and died of multiple contusions to his head from hitting the steering wheel. The sheriff report said that they believed he was ran off the road by an unknown car. He was my cousins… Read more »

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
1 month ago
Reply to  musicman44mag

It has to be hell to be a good LEO.

musicman44mag
musicman44mag
1 month ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

I bet you are right and what concerns me with they way they are being treated and how they are required to handle peaceful protests I wouldn’t be supprised if we don’t loose a lot more of them.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
1 month ago
Reply to  musicman44mag

The ones who stood by and did nothing at mostly violent riots are the same kind that arrested people for singing in parking lots. They are the same kind who will handcuff the local dentist, shoot his golden retriever, scream obscenities at his wife and children and tear his house apart looking for firearms he purchased legally and with which he did nothing wrong. Those are not the good LEOs of whom I think highly.