Exclusive: FOIA Evidence Has Brady, Everytown, & Giffords Targeting ATF’s Relationship With The Gun Industry

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SPRINGFIELD, Virginia — A new Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) response from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) supplied to AmmoLand News by Gun Owners of America (GOA) shows more evidence of anti-gun groups weaponizing the FOIA process against the firearms industry.

Pro-gun groups like GOA and pro-freedom publications like AmmoLand News have used FOIA requests to keep government organizations like the ATF and FBI in check. By exposing these organizations’ inner workings and abuses, we have affected change and helped Congress call the ATF and FBI to the carpet for their misdeeds.

In past articles, AmmoLand News has reviewed the FOIA request of anti-gun groups to determine how these groups use FOIA requests to their advantage. Studying past FOIA requests and looking into the Brady Organization’s continuing legal education (CLE) classes, I have come to the conclusion that Brady is most likely using FOIA results to try to find ways around the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).

The PLCAA protects American gun companies from frivolous lawsuits.

There are exceptions to the PLCAA for things like defective products, breach of contract, criminal misconduct, and other actions, such as selling a gun they knew would be used in a crime. Proximate cause is another way to get around the PLCAA. Proximate cause refers to a primary cause of an incident that sets everything into motion. Anti-gun groups have used FOIA results to void PCLAA protections.

Now a new FOIA request shows anti-gun groups are still weaponizing the FOIA process but are also targeting other organizations and the ATF for working with the industry.

Brady United, Everytown for Gun Safety, and Giffords filed FOIA requests. In addition to the anti-gun organizations filing FOIA requests, the anti-gun publication The Trace also requested information from the ATF through the FOIA process. Much like the last batch of FOIA requests, the groups target federal firearms licensees (FFLs) for ATF inspection violations. The groups first filed FOIA requests to determine what FFLs have been inspected by the ATF Industry Operations Inspectors (IOI) over the past three years. Then the groups requested information on inspection results, violations, and penalties. These include gun shops in multiple states and around cities like Uvalde, TX.

“Brady hereby requests the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (‘ATF’) produce the following records pursuant to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (‘FOIA’) 5 U.S.C. § 552 et seq. This request pertains to all ATF compliance inspections of federal firearms licensees (‘FFLs’) in fiscal years 2018, 2019 and 2020,” the FOIA request reads.

The groups are also asking about different firearms manufacturers.

Daniel Defense is one of the companies being looked at by anti-gun groups. After an attack on a school in Uvalde, Marty Daniel of Daniel Defense was invited and testified in front of Congress. The company has been a focus of anti-gun groups since its appearance. In addition to Daniel Defense, the anti-gun groups have also requested information on the inspections of Smith & Wesson, Beretta, MEAN, and Taurus.

During the Brady CLE classes, the anti-gun organization’s lawyer discussed exploiting the knowledge gathered from inspection reports to get around the PLCAA.

The group specifically targets Smith & Wesson’s AR-15 pattern rifle, the M&P-15. The groups have been critical of the moniker M&P since the letters stand for “military” and “police.” During Mr. Daniel’s testimony in front of Congress, he was pushed on the Smith & Wesson rifle’s name even though Daniel Defense is unrelated to the company. The anti-gun groups have been critical of companies using military and police imagery in advertising.

“Brady hereby requests the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) produce the following records pursuant to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552 et seq. This request pertains to Smith & Wesson, FFL ## 6-04-013-07-2E-14143 and 6-04-013-08-2E-14144, located at 2100 Roosevelt Ave., Springfield, MA( collectively, ‘S&W’), and their M&Pl5 AR-15 style rifles,” the FOIA request reads.

The group is also trying to determine how many mass shooters used the Smith & Wesson M&P-15. It could be that Brady is looking for data to use in its legal cases. This digging could be an example of the group trying to use the proximate cause by showing that the rifle has been used in mass shootings and showing violations by the gun manufacturer.

“Any and all non-exempt records reflecting any ATF investigations other high-profile mass shootings in which the perpetrator used an S&W M&Pl5 rifle, including, but not limited to Aurora, Parkland, Poway, and San Bernadino shootings,” the FOIA request reads.

It also appears that the anti-gun groups are about to ramp up attacks on online retailers.

The groups launched FOIA requests on multiple online websites, including Bud’s Gun Shop. Like the brick and motar stores, the anti-gun groups want all inspection records plus evidence of any violations of ATF rules for FFLs. Anti-gun groups have been unsuccessfully lobbying for the banning of online sales of firearms and ammunition.

Everytown for Gun Safety seems particularly concerned about the ATF’s relationship with the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). Everytown has been critical of the perceived closeness of the industry and the Bureau. However, most in the firearms industry would disagree with Everytown’s assumptions that the ATF is “friendly” with the gun world. The anti-gun group wants the ATF to take an even more adversarial role against the firearms industry.

The group wanted to know how many ATF employees attended the NSSF’s trade show, known as SHOT Show, in Las Vegas, NV. The group also asked for any communications about the justification for the ATF attending SHOT Show. Also, the group wanted to know what ethics reviews were done on the trip. The group also wanted to know the total cost of the ATF’s participation in the event. Everytown also wanted a copy of materials distributed by the ATF and all copies of presentation media from the trade show.

Everytown also wanted to know the names of the members of ATF’s leadership that attended the gun industry yearly gathering. Specifically, the group wanted information about the then-acting ATF head Marvin Richardson’s taped appearance at SHOT Show. That appearance ruffled the feathers of anti-gun groups. The group also wants to know about any private parties attended by ATF employees while in Las Vegas, NV, for SHOT Show. The group is looking for documents and communications showing friendly connections between the ATF and the gun industry.

“Documents that show any privately funded events, put on by companies, organizations, or individuals connected to the firearms industry, attended by ATF employees during the 2019, 2020, and 2022 SHOT Show. This includes, but is not limited to, meals, afterparties, receptions, and trips to gun ranges,” the FOIA request reads.

Everytown isn’t alone in looking at the connection between the NSSF and the ATF. Giffords also uses the FOIA process to examine the NSSF connection to the ATF; both groups are not limiting their snooping to SHOT Show. The groups also seek communications about ATF and NSSF joint projects such as “Don’t Lie for The Other Guy” and “Operation Safe Store.” The group also wants to know how much money has been paid out by a joint program between the NSSF and the ATF that offer rewards for information leading to the arrest of people who steal guns from gun stores. Most interesting, Giffords wants all communications between the ATF and anyone with an email address from the NSSF.org domain.

“Any email communication – sent to, received from or forwarded – containing an employee from the NSSF from January 1, 2020 to the present. In the interest of efficiency, we would accept an email search for the term “@nssf.org,” the FOIA request reads.

NSSF’s connection with the ATF isn’t the only industry member investigated by the anti-gun groups. The anti-gun publication “The Trace” is also digging into the ATF’s communications with the gun industry. The publication asks for all communications between the ATF and Mark Barnes & Associates. Mark Barnes & Associates is a powerhouse law firm for the firearms industry. The firm represents the most prominent names and the gun world. By looking at the communications between the ATF and the law firm, the anti-gun groups can use the information gathered to further their mission and push the ATF to stop working with the industry.

Everytown also wants all FOIA request topics, numbers, and names of the people and groups requesting the FOIAs. The group is probably doing the same digging as GOA and AmmoLand News. This data can give anti-gun groups ideas about where to look for and what information they should request. It also lets them deduce the strategy of the pro-gun side of the debate.

One last thing that Brady requested is the race and ethnicity of the responsible people listed on FFLs. We haven’t determined how this information could be used, but the anti-gun groups seem to think there is value in the data. Could it be in a losing fight leftists always play the race-card as a last resort?

FOIA Evidence Brady, Everytown, and Giffords Targeting The ATF’s Relationship With The Gun Industry

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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F Riehl, Editor in Chief

Hello Smart Readers, please help us out & read through the embedded FOIA document and let us know in the comments what we may have missed that is worth pursuing a further investigation. We don’t always catch everything in these long document dumps and can always use a 2nd, 3rd & 4th set of smart eyes on them

Protect defend serve

I don’t know if you all already do it but request all the FOIA requests the anti gun groups asks of federal agencies like CDC, ATF, FBI, TREASURY Dept, DOJ, etc. I’m curious as to what their relationship is to these folks.

F Riehl, Editor in Chief

Us too,…


All gun laws (23,000+) and the F of BATFE are unconstitutional infringements that We the People must abolish to bring the USgov into compliance. The founders ordered the government not to conduct any action infringing on citizens’ gun ownership and use/transport. Having just broken from and defeated the biggest and baddest military power in the world, the founding fathers were creating a government that would forever be outgunned by the citizens it was instituted to serve.


Harebare want to know when are we doing away with the BATFE and let these snotty nose liberal brats shrivel away with nothing to do????


I am just a guy that wants to legally collect my firearms and ammunition. I like to compete and target shoot when I can afford the ammo. How can all this crap trying to make my life increasingly difficult, with all these politicians, millionaires and celebrities working to disarm me, effect crime in any way. It’s an infringement machine that never stops trying to roll up my rights and dispose of them. The Corporations, politicians and their useful idiots want us at their mercy. If we allow it, we deserve whatever they do to us and our descendants. Thank you… Read more »


Mr. Crump, I have absolutely no idea the value you are to WE, The People, but I do know that between you and the vast majority of writers on Ammoland.com all deserve at the very least an annual appreciation and awards dinner. Perhaps we could also invite all the anti-gun groups so as to save them the anguish, time and money of snooping in the crevices of life they are not accustomed to that will set them straight once and for all?

Last edited 18 days ago by USMC0351Grunt

I would say “they” being the anti-gun groups would crap their pants if they were invited. You have an excellent idea. “They would probably have to be escorted out of the dinner due to rude behavior by interrupting the speakers.




Maybe if Biden, Hillary, Schumer and others would stop telling the nitjibs the need an AR there’d be fewer killings . But isn’t what they really want.


“Everytown also wants all FOIA request topics, numbers, and names of the people and groups requesting the FOIAs.”

And what is Brady going to do with my name? Will ATF provide anything more than a name which might identify me specifically? Good grief. At least ATF did answer my FOIA request even though it took several months.


I wish them Much Luck.


It would be really cool if 50 milliion+ gun owners, I mean; Americans —started bombarding these Pro-nutjob organizations with “FOIA Requests” of our own…

(Yes I know that it only covers public institutions, that’s part of the joke.)


The abuse of the “Freedom of Information Act” appears to be wildly out of control in this country. The sheer volume of requests presented in Mr. Crump’s article, coupled with the absurdly draconian level of detail required in each request, can only be attributed to crazed organizations desperate to wreak havoc on anyone and anything in the way of their holy crusade. As much as the ATF is maligned in this forum, I actually feel sorry for the poor bastards at the clerical level who must research and compile this mountainous pile of garbage. The cherry on top is that… Read more »


The ATF has created this “mountainous pile of garbage” by elevating and establishing themselves as “duly elected representatives”.


totbs — ZAP!! You got him on that one


Sorry I didn’t vote for any of these fools. Elections are rigged. If you haven’t figured that out by now I feel sorry for you.


Rigged for over 20 years.


over 5 trillion dollars invested. How much did you invest ?

$5 Trillion info sharing.PNG

DHS the same people importing illegals at night. Guess who they gonna vote for ?


Look at Benn Carr who does he have ties to ?


Ben Carr worked for Gates Foundation. lol


And if you believe these companies are owned independently. I got a bridge t sell. How Canada-Based Dominion Voting Systems and U.S.-Based ES&S Cornered the U.S. Voting Machine Market As the visibility of the “glitches” found in Dominion Voting Systems continues to spread across multiple states, and the longstanding issues surrounding Election Systems & Software start to re-surface, one critical question has yet to be asked, “How did they manage to corner the U.S. election voter market in the first place?” On September 14, 2009, Hart Interactive, Inc. filed a lawsuit against Diebold Incorporated and Election Systems & Software, Inc.… Read more »