Sen. Joni Ernst: ATF’s Targeting of Firearms Dealers Is Unlawful

Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican from Iowa, speaks during a news conference following the
Graeme Sloan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) is asking the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to explain the surge in revoked Federal Firearms Licenses (FFLs) and suggesting it has overstepped the boundaries of the law.

This is part of Ernst’s ongoing oversight of the ATF, and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is standing with her in this endeavor.

The two senators released a statement noting that they are “following up on their previous oversight of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and exposing its attempt to abuse the law to revoke FFLs from lawful gun sellers.” Further, they are demanding “answers on how the ATF is taking away FFLs in a way that clearly oversteps the intent of the law at the expense of the legal gun seller.”

The release contained a quote from the two senators, which said:

Our questions and concerns are particularly acute given your agency’s recent gross misinterpretation of who is required to get FFLs in order to sell guns. In no way did Congress mean to require anyone who even offers to sell a gun to need a [sic] FFL.

Ernst and Grassley added:

At a time when crime appears to be increasing, your agency’s action “risks alienating some of the government’s most valuable sources in combating gun violence.” This is a questionable decision, at best. As was the case last year, FFL holders remain a crucial partner in stopping dangerous criminals from accessing firearms, and they should be treated as such.

Breitbart News spoke with Ernst on Tuesday, and she said, “The Biden administration is twisting the law and burdening lawful gun sellers to advance their gun-grabbing agenda. Make no mistake, Biden’s ATF has had it out for gun owners since day one.”

She added, “For years, this administration has cracked down on law-abiding gun dealers, but instead of helping dealers comply with the law, Biden’s ATF has created additional hurdles to more easily revoke licenses for inconsequential, so-called ‘violations.’ This has come at the expense of many small businesses just trying to make a living. I’m working to end this abuse against FFL holders. Joe Biden’s ATF has avoided critical oversight for a year, but accountability is coming.”

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio and a Turning Point USA Ambassador. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal in 2010, a speaker at the 2023 Western Conservative Summit, and he holds a Ph.D. in Military History, with a focus on the Vietnam War (brown water navy), U.S. Navy since Inception, the Civil War, and Early Modern Europe. Follow him on Instagram: @awr_hawkins. You can sign up to get Down Range at Reach him directly at


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