Sen. Joni Ernst Introduces Bill to Protect Firearm Dealers From Biden’s Weaponized ATF

Stephanie Scarbrough/AP

Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) is introducing legislation to protect Federal Firearms License holders (FFLs) from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ weaponized “zero tolerance” policy.

The “zero tolerance” policy has been broadly applied by the ATF to close down FFLs over simple clerical errors.

On February 14, 2024, the National Shooting Sports Foundation warned that the “zero tolerance” policy has had “devastating effects on small businesses and the ability for law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights by freely approaching a firearm retailer for a purchase.”

Breitbart News reported that the Biden White House released a fact sheet shortly after Biden’s inauguration, making clear that Biden would make increased oversight of FFLs part of his response to surging crime.

But Sen. Ernst is trying to place a firewall between Biden’s ATF and FFLs, as well as between the ATF and gun owners in general.

She said:

Biden’s ATF has had it out for gun owners since day one. For years, the Biden administration has cracked down on law-abiding gun dealers to advance its gun-grabbing agenda, even preventing small businesses from making a living. Rather than helping dealers comply with the law, Biden’s ATF has created more hurdles to legally sell guns, so it can turn around and revoke licenses for inconsequential so-called ‘violations.’

Ernst’s bill, Fighting Irrational Regulatory Enforcement to Avert Retailers’ Misfortune (FIREARM) Act, is also being introduced in the House by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA).

Issa said:

From the beginning, this Administration has sought to undermine the Second Amendment and weaponize federal agencies against law-abiding citizens and family-owned small businesses targeted for being a part of the lawful firearms industry. This has delivered a transparently unfair assault on the fundamental rights of our fellow Americans, and that’s why my friend Senator Ernst and I are introducing the FIREARM Act. It’s time to stop this abuse of power and prevent it from ever happening again.

Biden’s ATF has been used to implement numerous gun controls which Congress refused to enact. One such gun control was the “partially complete pistol frames” rule in which the ATF re-classified certain gun parts, listing them as “firearms.” The new classification was meant to force Americans to undergo a background check in order to purchase gun parts kits.

The ATF made a similar move with AR-pistol stabilizer braces, declaring that a pistol with a stabilizer brace is actually a short barrel rifle.

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States is hearing a challenge to the ATF’s bump stock ban, wherein the agency re-classified bump stocks as machine guns.

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 pro-staffer for Pulsar Night Vision. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal in 2010 and 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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