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ATF issues new license to Miss. gun dealer to replace one improperly revoked

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A Mississippi gun dealer has been issued a new Federal Firearms License by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to replace one its inspectors improperly revoked, the firearms retail industry legal compliance consultancy firm FFLGuard announced Monday.

“Guns and Ammo, a firearms retailer from Moss Point, Mississippi, was issued a new ... FFL ... from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms,” the company reported. “The issuance of this FFL follows a Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) report that investigated ATF’s previous revocation of Guns and Ammo’s original FFL. This OIG report, titled Review of ATF’s Action in Revoking the Federal Firearms License of Guns and Ammo was highly critical of ATF’s mishandling of their process and policy regarding the 2010 revocation of the Guns and Ammo FFL.”

This is the second report of ATF essentially repudiating actions of its Industry Operations management personnel in a week. This column reported last Tuesday how ATF issued four new FFLs to security firm Brink’s Incorporated after improperly revoking its FFL. That report followed a series of columns Gun Rights Examiner has been documenting since August of 2012, when it was first reported how ATF revocation actions were in defiance of policy and law. Follow-up reports detailed how ATF was creating a legal injustices for Brink’s, how the company was forced to turn to the courts to protect itself, and how “serious inconsistencies” in inspections and application of rules were exposed.

“We are happy that Guns and Ammo again has an FFL following this ordeal, during which the firearms industry experienced unprecedented growth,” Chris Chiafullo, FFLGuard’s National Coordinating Counsel proclaimed, hinting at lost revenues during what should have been boom years. Still, though this battle has been won, wider concerns have not been eliminated.

“While some of the ATF offenders cited by the OIG have since retired -- to ironically take jobs servicing the firearms industry -- others remain in positions at ATF that have day-to-day contact with FFLs … and that will be the next issue addressed in this ongoing saga,” Chiafullo promised.

Although the outcomes from these recent actions have been positive for both Guns and Ammo and Brink's, it should be noted that FFLs without such resources and access to competent representation should not assume they’re immune to similar adverse actions that could put them out of business or worse. As regulatory compliance in the firearms industry is a way of life for successful businesses instead of an afterthought following a violation, it’s prudent to have the proper internal controls in place and reliable lifelines secured before the operations auditors show up.

And even in "victory," it should not be forgotten that Guns and Ammo received its revocation notice in 2010, and ATF took its sweet time issuing a new FFL after the OIG pointed out inappropriate actions back in September. It’s fair to ask how many dealers could afford the costs associated with that, and why they should they have to be the ones to bear them.

A knowledgeable industry source advises this column that Guns and Ammo may not have to, and that damages could be sought from those acting outside the scope of their authority.

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