Conflicting ATF Letters to State FFLs Shows Continued Two-Faced Hypocrisy

ATF Confusion Chaos Misleading Road Sign iStock-BrianAJackson 649236630
Conflicting ATF Letters to State’s FFLs Shows Continued Two-Faced Hypocrisy iStock-BrianAJackson

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) is sending letters to Federal Firearms Licensees (FFL) in states that have passed bills protecting the Second Amendment demanding that the FFLs do NOT follow state laws. The ATF, at the same time, sent letters to FFLs telling them to FOLLOW state laws in states that have passed laws that have weakened the Second Amendment.

This week Texas FFLs received a letter from ATF Assistant Director of Enforcement Programs and Services Alphonso Hughes regarding House Bill 957 (HB957). The Texas legislator passed HB957 during the last session. The bill exempts suppressors manufactured in Texas and that remain in Texas from the National Firearms Act (NFA).

The ATF claims that federal law supersedes HB957 therefor, FFLs should ignore HB957!?

Texas HB 957 is similar to the Kansas Act, which also exempted suppressors made in Kansas and remained in Kansas. In 2014, Jeremy Kettler purchased a suppressor from a military surplus store. Since the manufacture made the suppressor in Kansas and Mr. Kettler didn’t leave the State, he thought he was within the law. The ATF took the opportunity to arrest and prosecute Kettler for violating the NFA.

Gun Owners of America took up the case but ultimately lost in Circuit Court. The Supreme Court turned down the opportunity to hear the appeal. Many in the gun-rights world hoped that the Supreme Court would take the case and that it would have been a death blow to the NFA. The Supreme Court doesn’t have a strong history of taking gun cases.

The ATF also sent letters to FFLs located in Missouri, ordering them not to obey House Bill Number 85. HB 85 is known as the Second Amendment Preservation Act (SAPA). The ATF seems to have a problem with certain parts of the new law.

Some of these conflicts that the ATF list that is considered infringements by Missouri are:

(1) “[a]ny tax, levy, fee, or stamps imposed on firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition not common to all other goods and services and that might reasonably be expected to create a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items by law-abiding citizens,”
(2) “[a]ny registration or tracking of firearms, firearms accessories, and ammunition,”
(3) “[a]ny registration or tracking of ownership of firearms, firearms accessories, and ammunition,”
(4) “[a]ny act forbidding the possession, ownership, use, or transfer of a firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition by law-abiding citizens” (with “law-abiding citizens” defined as those who may possess firearms under Missouri law), and
(5) “[a]ny act ordering the confiscation of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition from law-abiding citizens.”

State Rights vs Federal Overreach vs Marijuana

These letters seem to be setting up a state law vs. federal law showdown. The ATF demands that FFLs obey federal law even if it puts them in jeopardy of violating state law. This ultimatum could become a state’s rights issue if both sides refuse to back down.

The question that remains is if the DEA sent out similar letters to states that have legalized marijuana. Those states have laws that do contradict federal law dealing with drugs. Could it be the federal government just targeting guns and doesn’t care about other conflicts between state and federal law? The Biden administration is openly hostile towards guns and gun owners.

The ATF also sent a letter to FFLs in Colorado regarding HB298, Colorado’s Expand Firearm Transfer Background Check Requirements. That bill requires FFLs to wait for a “proceed” from the Colorado Bureau of Investigations (CBI) before transferring a firearm. Under federal law, a dealer may transfer a gun after three days if a person is stuck in a delayed status. Under the new Colorado law, there is no end to the time limit to hold up a transfer.

The ATF requires FFLs to comply with this state law and ignore the federal statute. This request seems to run contradictory to the other orders that the Bureau has issued. Gun rights advocates say this double standard shows the ATF’s when it comes to guns.

Whenever a law is pro-gun, the ATF tells FFLs to ignore it. When a law is anti-gun, the federal agency demands that the dealers comply.

The ATF did not return AmmoLand’s request for comment.

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

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Deplorable Bill
Deplorable Bill
1 month ago

The right of the people to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. That is a quote right out of the second amendment. Anyone who is not in jail or the loony farm has the right and the duty to keep and bear arms. Anyone saying otherwise is either lying, misinformed or evil to the point of tyranny and treason. Evil because the WORD of GOD tells us to be armed. Tyranny and treason because the right to keep and bear arms IS IN OUR CONSTITUTION, the very same constitution they swore their oath to protect from all enemies,… Read more »

Russn8r
Russn8r
1 month ago

Good. Violent ex-cons will get them anyway. Non-violent ex-cons – including political prisoners e.g. “insurrectionists” who survive prison – should retain the human right to self-defense.

Hence the stupidity of 2A groups pushing gvt-conducted “background checks” and Prohibited Person laws.

Last edited 1 month ago by Russn8r
JSNMGC
JSNMGC
1 month ago

I have no reason to doubt you about LEO support for the bill.

I looked at the County Sheriffs of Colorado website for an annoucment and didn’t see anything. I did see a Krispy Creme donuts fundraiser link, but you have to login to learn about it.

Xaun Loc
Xaun Loc
1 month ago

YAWN

Yes, John, it is a ‘States Rights’ issue

And, in case you hadn’t noticed, the ‘States Rights’ issue was decided in 1865.

Russn8r
Russn8r
1 month ago
Reply to  Xaun Loc

“the ‘States Rights’ issue was decided in 1865.”

Not entirely.

Larry
Larry
1 month ago
Reply to  Xaun Loc

So, what other constitutional issues do you believe were settled on a “might makes right” basis?

Ryben Flynn
Ryben Flynn
1 month ago

And don’t forget the Feds ignore States harboring illegal aliens with “Sanctuary” laws but went after Arizona when they passed a law strengthening State immigration law.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
1 month ago

Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
1 month ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

Thank you – I wasn’t sure from the first post.

Will people who violated federal firearm laws (resulting in a felony) be allowed to purchase a firearm in Colorado?

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
1 month ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

State laws disregarding felonies related to various federal firearm laws would be helpful, especially since Biden (and enforcers) have proven federal laws are not enforced against people totalitarians like (Biden’s son, for example). Wyoming has some catching up to do: Sales of firearms to non-violent felons; and In-state sales of made-in-Wyoming suppressors. Unfortunately, WY enforcers will no doubt circle the wagons and organize to defeat such bills. It’s odd they never organize to promote favorable 2nd Amendment laws. They will wonder why no one shows up to their kids’ birthday parties and why their spouses are not acknowledged at the… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by JSNMGC
JSNMGC
JSNMGC
1 month ago

I spoke with Liz Cheney’s staffer in D.C. and suggested Liz be in TX on September 1 to buy a suppressor, or if that is not possible under the law, at least show support for those Republican legislators who are able to do so.

He will pass along the idea.

Those people living in Boebert’s district may want to do the same – her website indicates she does not take comments from people outside of her district.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
1 month ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

The anti 2nd Amendment people are really trying to squash pro 2nd Amendment activism.

It’s the same people who hate free markets.

Will are you voting from both of your accounts?

Arny
Arny
1 month ago

And here lies the problem. The federal Govt thinking they have more authority than the States. The federal Govt would not exist if not for states. So States should tell the Feds to F— OFF ?

JPM
JPM
1 month ago
Reply to  Arny

Several states, including Arizona, have done just that by passing legislation which prevents state cooperation in the enforcement of ANY new Federal firearm laws. In addition, even in liberal dominated states, like New Mexico, individual counties are declaring themselves to be “2nd Amendment Sanctuaries” with their sheriffs refusing to enforce any anti-gun laws, Federal, state or local.

Last edited 1 month ago by JPM
JimmyS
JimmyS
1 month ago
Reply to  Arny

Yes, they should. But they won’t. There are plenty of politicians in the pockets of scumbags to ensure that won’t and doesn’t happen.

At its core, this isn’t a State v. Fed situation. It is an individual rights situation, with both State and Fed creating laws outside of their authority.

JH1961
JH1961
1 month ago

BATFE: as useless as Biden’s memory.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
1 month ago

Less than 5 weeks before the Texas suppressor law goes into effect. John Crump stopped short on the Kettler story – unfortunately, because it is important. Where were all the “pro 2nd Amendment” Republican politicians? They didn’t do squat. They passed a law, led people to believe everything was fine, and left Kettler to face the full brunt of the United States Government all on his own. Hopefully, there will be massive purchases of suppressors made in Texas, sold in Texas, and kept in Texas. What will happen? The BATFE can’t let this just happen or six or more other… Read more »

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
1 month ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

Wouldn’t it be refreshing if Lauren Boebert (because Cronyn certainly won’t be there) and Ted Cruz were at that live press conference during which Paxton bought the first made-in-Texas suppressor with no federal paperwork?

Afterwards, Trump could give a press confrence and say that he changed his mind and now he likes suppressors and he thinks the Texas law is “huge” and that it’s “a beautiful thing” and that if he becomes president he will pardon anyone prosecuted under the federal laws.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
1 month ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

We have such low expectations of the politicians who are “fighting for our 2nd Amendment rights.” No wonder they don’t do anything of substance.

swmft
swmft
1 month ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

few of them have ever put the ars on the line for anything

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
1 month ago
Reply to  swmft

I agree – the TX suppressor law could be a landmark law in many ways.

It would be so easy for politicians to actually do something this time and set an example.

The same goes for GOA – great opportunity for them to put pressure on politicians.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
1 month ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

Activism is not whining. This is the second time you have spoken out against people who are involved in firearm rights efforts. Whining is walking the earth for a half a century and complaining about your military experience because you wouldn’t join the military and you got drafted. Instead of being angry at the government employees who drafted you, you rage against people who also didn’t join the military (just like you). You won’t shut up about your experience. It’s pathetic and it’s very unusual for a veteran. You constantly argue to replace a damaged consitutiional republic with a simple… Read more »

Russn8r
Russn8r
1 month ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

True, but I’ll take Paxton over Abbot any day.

Will/TEX/APG whipped through, so I reversed one of the downvotes.

Last edited 1 month ago by Russn8r
JSNMGC
JSNMGC
1 month ago
Reply to  Russn8r

I think you are barking up the wrong tree on APG, but I’m staying out of it.

Paxton can prove me wrong by announcing he is buying the first such suppressor. I will race to the keyboard to give him accolades.

Russn8r
Russn8r
1 month ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

APG is in love with Cuck Abbot, just like Will & Grace, I mean TEX & Will, not to be confused with Will Rogers.

Paxton doesn’t need to do exactly what you tell him to in order to prove you wrong.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
1 month ago
Reply to  Russn8r

If Paxton bought a suppressor on live TV without going through the federal paperwork, it would head-off a lot of problems. He won’t because expectations are so low. Maybe John Crump can confirm, but the TX law may allow non-Texan residents to buy the suppressors as long as they keep them in Texas. Wouldn’t it be great if the Republican legislators who ran largely on being “Pro 2nd Amendment” and who claim they are “fighting for our rights” were right there with Paxton on live TV and also bought suppressors on day 1? Too bad voters have such low expectations… Read more »

Russn8r
Russn8r
1 month ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

It would head off problems, and it’s a lovely idea. But Paxton doing exactly what you say is not the only way to head problems off. And not doing exactly what you say is not proof that he’s a squish or whatever.

I just balanced one of the Will/TEX suck-puppet downvotes for you (not to be confused with Will Rogers).

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
1 month ago
Reply to  Russn8r

It would be a great opportunity for him and so many legislators (and other government employees) who say they are pro 2nd amendment to get involved.

Is there a better way for Paxton, Abbott, Boebert, Cheney, Trump, and all the others to make a statement and defy the BATFE?

I’m not aware of a better opportunity for people to lead by example and to support the TX law.

Last edited 1 month ago by JSNMGC
Russn8r
Russn8r
1 month ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

If Ken Paxton had an ounce of leadership, he would [do do exactly what I say and follow my genius plan].”

Now you’re changing your tune a bit there. Now it’s an opportunity. The idea that Ken Paxton has no leadership unless he does what you say is unwarranted given his bold leadership and actions on many issues.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
1 month ago
Reply to  Russn8r

Keep it up.

GOA will see no reason to use this opportunity to be true activists – they will get donations anyhow.

Government employees will see no reason to set an example due to lack of expectations and pressure from GOA.

Russn8r
Russn8r
1 month ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

I will. Thanks.

No reason you & GOA can’t write and urge the idea, I think it’s a great one, but I recommend against implying “do it or you’re a squish”.

P.S. I just counteracted several of the downvotes on you & Finnky by suck-puppets Will/F-U-TEX(!!!) — not to be confused with Will Rogers.

Last edited 1 month ago by Russn8r
Finnky
Finnky
1 month ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

Wouldn’t Paxton be perfectly safe doing so? Manufacturer and sellers would be at risk, but as Paxton would be acting in his official capacity as AG – he would be covered by qualified immunity. Fun part of the Texas suppressor law is that they will pick up case of someone who notifies them of intent to build a suppressor. Thus the sympathetic plaintiff would not be at as much risk in the law suit. They have not yet built their suppressor, so cannot be punished for possession even if they lose the case. Hard to imagine any true-liberal opposing freedom… Read more »

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
1 month ago
Reply to  Finnky

I don’t believe Paxton has qualified immunity from criminal charges. Have you found something that indicates his qualified immunity extends beyond limited protection from civil actions? Not sure I follow your example – what will the person be charged with if they have not built a suppressor? Intent? I’d rather see dozens of high profile politicians and other government employees on live TV buying complete suppressors built by Texan suppressor companies. Once the government decided to prosecute Kettler, there wasn’t much he could do to defend himself (GOA tried). If dozens of high profile government employees have followed Texas law… Read more »

Arizona
Arizona
1 month ago

The f squad want to have their cake and eat it, too. It isn’t a question of supremacy, though, but Constitutionality. Any law repugnant to the Constitution is without merit, null, void, and to be disregarded, as it has no authority whatsoever. So says the Supreme Court, and so say I.

Last edited 1 month ago by Arizona