ATF Must Choose Whether To Cover For Biden Or Comply With Federal Law

Biden NRA-ILA black background
Not even impressionable youth are buying Biden’s bologna. NRA-ILA

Washington, DC – -( In late June of 2021, Joe Biden announced a new zero-tolerance policy for “rogue gun dealers,” who he claimed were responsible for skyrocketing violent crime rates in major cities historically controlled by Democrats.

The violence wasn’t caused by weak prosecutors who refuse to hold criminals accountable, gangs or underfunded police departments, or by any combination thereof. It was all the fault of “rogue gun dealers,” who Biden claimed willfully transfer firearms to prohibited persons, and/or refuse to cooperate with a tracing request from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

Biden’s illogical rant produced a bit of head-scratching among the gun-rights community.

After all, why target Federal Firearm Licensees, who are arguably the most heavily regulated federal license holders.

If Joe really wanted to reduce violent crime, why not go after the real criminals instead, such as the 100,000 documented gang members living in Chicago. Hit them with federal RICO statutes or fire the cowardly prosecutors who won’t send them to prison or both. It all made no sense unless of course Biden’s entire plan was nothing more than a pretext to make life even more hellish for American gun owners, which we all knew was the case. However, saying that a president is lying and proving that he’s lying are two different things.

We went for the proof.

To vet Biden’s rogue gun dealer theory, the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project immediately sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the ATF, seeking the following:

Copies of documents that show the number of Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) and their state of residence, who have been prosecuted for willfully transferring a firearm to a prohibited person over the past three years (from June 23, 2018 to June 23, 2021.)

Copies of documents that show the number of Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) and their state of residence, who have been prosecuted for ignoring and/or refusing to cooperate with a tracing request from the BATFE, over the past three years (from June 23, 2018 to June 23, 2021.)

(Note: We did not seek the names or other identifiers of any FFL.)

I wish I could take credit for the idea, but I can’t. It was Mr. Gottlieb’s, and it remains one of the cleverest strategies I’ve seen in a long time. Alan Gottlieb is the executive vice president and founder of the Second Amendment Foundation.

Our FOIA request was pretty simple, and it would definitely prove or disprove Biden’s claims, which everyone, even the ATF, likely knew were false. If the rogue dealers were responsible for the increasing violence, there should be hundreds if not thousands of prosecutions and subsequent FFL revocations. If Biden’s claims were false, there would likely be a half-dozen prosecutions in the entire country.

I need to point out this wasn’t my first FOIA. During my years as an investigative reporter and editor, I made hundreds of FOIA requests – local, state, federal, and even a few territorial. After your first 100 or so, you start to learn what is in-bounds for FOIA and what isn’t. You also get to know how long a response should take. This request was an easy one – a couple of keystrokes and it’s done. It should have taken a few hours at the most, certainly not days, or even weeks, and definitely not eight months.

Four months passed without a word from the ATF – not even an acknowledgment they had received the FOIA request. Then, in October, the ATF finally admitted it had received the request, but warned it might take even longer to process.

For your information, this office assigns incoming requests to one of three tracks: simple, complex, or expedited. Each request is then handled on a first-in, first-out basis in relation to other requests in the same track. Simple requests usually receive a response in approximately one month, whereas complex requests necessarily take longer. At this time, your request has been assigned to the complex track,” the ATF letter states.

The letter also provided the names of two FOIA liaisons, Darryl Webb and Zina Kornegay. Months of calls and messages left for these alleged liaisons were not returned.

This week, however, after another four months had passed, Kornegay finally answered her phone.

“I’m seeing a bit of back-and-forth,” she said of the request. “Let me look into this further. I will try and find out what’s going on with this.” She refused to say when the ATF would actually respond to the FOIA request. “Let me speak to my team leader,” she said. “I do see your request, but there seems to be some back-and-forth about the best way to handle it.”

Toothless Law

The Freedom of Information Act is federal law. The ATF is a federal law enforcement agency, responsible for enforcing federal law. In a perfect world, that alone should be enough reason for the ATF to quickly comply with any and all FOIA requests. Unfortunately, the ATF’s world is far from perfect.

The Biden-Harris administration has weaponized the agency and given it specific orders to infringe upon our right to keep and bear arms. That much is abundantly clear. No law – especially one as anemic as the federal FOIA statute – will stop the ATF from targeting gun owners and gun dealers.

If the ATF or any other federal agency fails to comply with a FOIA request, the requestor doesn’t have many options They can file a lawsuit, and if a federal judge determines the agency acted “arbitrarily or capriciously,” the court can assess attorney fees, which will be paid with your taxpayer dollars.

Also, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel can investigate a FOIA dispute. The OSC can determine whether discipline against the federal employee who improperly withheld the records is warranted, and the offending agency must take whatever corrective action the OSC mandates, but these actions are extremely rare. Actual federal FOIA-related criminal cases are even rarer, practically unheard of.

As a result, most federal agencies – especially one as heavily politicized as the ATF – know there is no easy or timely way that they can be forced to turn over documents they want to conceal from the public.

By comparison, many states have FOIA-type laws that have actual penalties, especially Florida. In the Gunshine State, knowingly violating public records law is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison, a $1,000 fine, or both. Why the federal government does not have a tough FOIA statute is a question for your elected officials.


The the FOIA request even though their actions violate federal law. I’m starting to wonder if there is anyone left at the ATF who even cares about such things.

This story is presented by the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project and wouldn’t be possible without you. Please click here to make a tax-deductible donation to support more pro-gun stories like this.

About Lee Williams

Lee Williams, who is also known as “The Gun Writer,” is the chief editor of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project. Until recently, he was also an editor for a daily newspaper in Florida. Before becoming an editor, Lee was an investigative reporter at newspapers in three states and a U.S. Territory. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a police officer. Before becoming a cop, Lee served in the Army. He’s earned more than a dozen national journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. Lee is an avid tactical shooter.

Lee Williams

4.4 7 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.


Elisa Delaurenti

It’s past time for us to demand the DOJ issue a statement explaining any and ALL changes in federal law related to the BATFE and the enforcement of gun laws in this country. Because clearly, CLEARLY, they have changed and we haven’t been informed. The 4473’s don’t seem to be important for some people, and making stray man purchases and trafficking “weapons of war” across out southern border, trafficking taxpayer funded guns to mexican cartels and taliban islamists in Afghanistan makes it crystal clear that our gun laws are no longer used in certain cases. We’d like that clarification ON… Read more »


By law, it isn’t up to choice. Breaking laws is illegal, but siding with Biden evidently isn’t, regardless. He and his cohorts, with his sanction, do it regularly without any repercussions outside of Republican complaints, which go nowhere. The logo ‘MAGA’ meant nothing in 2016-17 compared to what it means today. That logo must be fully revived with an addition of ‘DJTA’ meaning Donald John Trump Again!


The ATF can and will do whatever it wants. They proved that with Waco. When you murder dozens of men, women, and children with zero consequences you can pretty much do whatever you want.


I don’t get the huge anti-LEO commentary. Cops I know are the most pro-gun people you can find. They are anti-bad guy. Most are excellent citizens who do all they can to protect the rights of the people they deal with. I know that i am as pro-gun as anyone can be and I am a retired cop.


You are not as “pro-gun as anyone.” You said you would have enforced a law that required semiautomatic rifles be registered. You refused to answer whether you would have enforced a law requiring semiautomatic rifles be confiscated. You said braced pistols are clearly subject to the NFA. Sheriff Alex Villanueva ordered gun shops be closed due to the virus. Sheriff Alex Villanueva is infamous for not approving applications for conceal carry permits. Sheriff Alex Villanueva is an anti-2nd Amendment Democrat. This isn’t “huge anti-LEO commentary.” I support all good LEOs. I’m not going to thank people for their service if… Read more »


If that were true then there wouldn’t be anyone in jail for gun “crimes” and the ATF would be a very small agency. Unfortunately, the VAST majority of cops are more than happy to enforce arms laws.


In the early 1990s, fudds and statists vastly outnumbered firearm rights advocates. Both fudds and statists actually thought they were firearm rights advocates. They were proud of being “pro law enforcement” – unconditionally. Talking to them at ranges or at political meetings was excruciating: “nobody needs . . . “ The only thing that has changed since the early 1990s is the ratios – thankfully, there are many more true firearm rights advocates today. The percentages on this forum are not reflective of the real world, they are more consistent with the early 1990s. Some of the people don’t know… Read more »


We all saw lots of examples of LEA/LEO’s willing to enforce Edict’s/Decree’s/Mandates of which NONE are actual laws. That should tell you & it also proves that LEO/LEA’s are not as Constitutional BOR followers as your comment above claims. Order followers & people who are only there for a paycheck or the get along they go along & NOT smart enough to use their discernment / moral compass are people I stay away from deliberately for that very reason. I believe what I see, not what I hear. Ancient Samurai & Sun Tzu Bushi Code: When words & actions are… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Tank

Ant attempt to disarm me will be met with Lethal Force. I’m old, tired and in constant pain, so F**k them all.


Please read. So many comments on the board are in response to law enforcement enforcing or not enforcing new gun laws that Obiden wants to force upon us. Many are in argument that law enforcement will not comply and say no to unconstitutional laws. Others claim the will obey because they don’t want to lose their job. The link provided shows what happens to law enforcement that does not comply, but it is regarding covid mandates. I am sure gun laws will be handled the same way if it is not obidens new law enforcement agency that is being installed… Read more »


I read the article.

“Sheriff Alex Villanueva was stripped of the responsibility to enforce COVID-19 vaccine mandates.”

He should be happy about being relieved of those responsibilities.

Villanueva was the guy who closed gun shops due to the virus. He is also notorious for not approving concealed carry license applications. He is no friend of freedom.

To your main point though, what laws (current or future) do you think enforcers should refuse to enforce (even if it results in their termination)?

This is the question many of the downvoters do not want discussed. Please provide your view.


We have been on this merry-go-round before. I think I have made it clear that any law that is unconstitutional should not be enforced but this time I will extend it to any politician that submits bills that are unconstitutional should be dismissed as well as any president that uses his magic pen to override the constitution or makes threats to American citizens to use machines of war against its citizens should be impeached and terminated without hesitation.

How did I do?


I agree with you.

There are some who believe “just following orders” is a valid excuse.

I don’t.


I agree and the reason why is because the left is doing everything it can to paint patriots as an evil people and doing all they can to justify any person that supports owning a firearm as a psycho as well as any Trump supporter or people that support the nonviolent part of the Jan 6th peaceful protest actions as an insurrectional terrorist in proclaiming that the action was as bad as 911 to further the terrorist moniker. If they can convince the majority of people, with the aid of the fake news, that what they are saying is true,… Read more »


these are the brown shirts with jack boots . just as criminal as when they were called Nazis

Wild Bill

Politicians like it when we are splintered.


With what I am observing the whole world is splintered right now especially with covid mandates. We are still in lock down until March 31 here in OreGONE.

It gets me how the news is talking about other states ending the lock downs on the 4th or 8th of March and acting like it is a big deal while the worst violater, Heil Kate shit stain Brown is the one with the longest lock down.

Have a great day WB.

Wild Bill

I concur, and thank you!


no socialists like it , they drive the wedge harder; and so many leos listen to their boss and not the people. they forget their oath and yes the oath keepers includes GOOD leos that is why they are painted as bad the allegiance is to the republic not the government


If the ATF seriously and studiously enforced the Supreme law of the land, as their oath requires of them, they would disband themselves and issue a press release remorsefully denouncing their null and void criminal activity and their null and void regulations and null and void laws passed in violation of the Constitution, and their null and void existence. And then they would release the paper trail that would allow a multitude of prosecutions to proceed for despotic activity by the federal government. But evil peoole like having control over others. Being a bully gives them meaning and purpose in… Read more »


Using current optics & disregarding the lockstep of polemic political theatre smokescreen & system used. Oder Followers – Superior Orders is clearly the repeating gestalt method used throughout twistory. Ruling hierarchy from behind the veil of media control are the force behind psychopathic ponerology of despots, tyrants, Zionist’s. Usual suspects Rothschild, Rockefeller, Gates, Soros, DuPont, Vanderbilt, Bildeberger clans etc. using Supra National NGO’s, corporations (e.g. Big HARMa liability free) to drive the ponerological train of medical tyranny & doom. The superior orders plea is often regarded as the complement to command responsibility. As we can all clearly see no one… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Tank

“If the ATF or any other federal agency fails to comply with a FOIA request, the requestor doesn’t have many options..” Maybe you can reword that line to say If the ATF or any other federal agency fails to comply with any of the UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION, the requestor doesn’t have many options for you see…since the word NECESSARY is being ignored by those in “power” we are at a major disadvantage. One person eligible to be IN the Constitutional militas is no match for the firepower that can be mustered against him for some onerous violation of an arbitrary… Read more »


BATF will always follow orders regardless of the legality of those orders. Waco is a prime example. Fast and Furious is another example. And in the end, as has been the case with both Waco and Fast and Furious, no agent or supervisor or director will be fired or fined or imprisoned for their part in violating the law as they are members of a FEDERAL agency and the FEDERAL so-called Justice Department decides who they will and won’t prosecute and hold accountable. Not unlike a fox being tried for robbing a hen house with a fox as judge and… Read more »


For more proof of that, do what I did. I asked Randy Weaver!

Henry Bowman

Biden the sockpuppet-in-chief isn’t giving the orders, he merely repeats what he’s told to say (that’s why he has an earpiece)…


Henry, can you imagine what would happen if the ideas contained within the book you are using your name from where to come to pass??? The War of the Flea…

Henry Bowman

I think that novel is rapidly approaching our reality and that’s evident in the French yellow vest movement, the Canadian freedom convoy, and our own trucker convoy to DC.

Hell, even the New Zealand people are protesting!! You know you done screwed up with your ‘Great Reset’ plot when even the Kiwis protest!

Wild Bill

Yeah, who is on the other end of that ear piece, anyway?


Xi, Obama and the Clintons?

Big George

My guess?…Ron Klain or Valerie Jarret.

Deplorable Bill

Since when does the atfe submit to or enforce constitutional, federal Law? If they did they would have to arrest themselves. The atfe is a illegal, unconstitutional, treasonous, tyrannical, murderous government entity That should be disbanded and it’s employees arrested and brought to trial for the evils they have done to individuals and to this country. That’s as nice as I am ever going to say it. When they come, and they are coming, be ready to enforce any laws they break like treason, tyranny, assault with a deadly weapon, trespassing, breaking and entering, illegal search and seizure and attempted… Read more »

Henry Bowman

Dont forget 18 USC 241 – Conspiracy to Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law, and 18 USC 242 – Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law. These felonies can result in the death penalty for violators if their commission of these crimes with lethal force results in homicide.
…Nuremberg Rules apply.

Henry Bowman

Some tard got triggered. YUM YUM!!


There are 5 commie trolls down voting you on this site . I fixed a couple with up votes for you . Just to trigger a few down votes from the trolls for me also .


ex leos that dont like the truth


Commie trolls that work in the capacity of caging people for non crimes. They are the real criminals. And should be treated as such.


I say…” If you Back the Blue” they’ll still come for your guns, and kill you too!”


Yes indeed the trolls are here to derail truth, cause dissent, doubt, derision create an atmosphere of group think vs. freedom expression or independent thought & dis/mis information.

They are a constant riptide undercurrent force here in the Sea.

Like a Moth circling a flame.

Last edited 3 months ago by Tank
Henry Bowman



Probably the ATF agents or “law” enforcement slime that lurk on this site.


No, not ATF. There are five accounts (not sure how many people) that are used by non-federal LEOs, Ex-LEOs, and unconditional LEO supporters. Another 5 accounts will join in the voting when needed. They were triggered by Henry’s “just following orders” meme because that is the problem and it has been pointed out to them many times. They don’t think it’s wrong for state/county/city/town LEOs to just follow orders and abuse “civilians.” Look at the comments to this article: They unconditionally support even the LEOs who enforce some of the worst gun laws in the entire country. “Thank you… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by JSNMGC

Fortunately the nature of the comment, relative to the downvotes, makes it easy to spot that these come from spineless trolls.


When they do comment (rather than just downvoting), they avoid discussing the issue and just fabricate a bunch of nonsense to deflect from the issue they were sensitive about.

Henry’s posting about “following orders” is spot on – totalitarian’s laws are just bad ideas unless someone will enforce them.


Yeah more toothless “laws” that are supposed to protect us. I say take as many with you as you can. If it starts getting really nasty go hunting.


but require a prosecutor to bring charges,i think when the law was made they did that so it was never applied to government even though that was its intent


If the law was fairly enforced, Vickie Weaver’s Assassin one Lon Horiuchi would have been hung along time ago! Instead, they gave the no good, murderous, Son of a female dog a medal!

Happy Everafter

He may be hung, but you would like him hanged… 😉


all we need is one good federal prosecutor, and we can cook them all