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Lankford, Daines & Colleagues Press ATF for Answers on Infringement of 2nd Amendment Rights

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Steve Daines (R-MT) led 24 of their colleagues in demanding the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) provide answers on recent actions that infringe on Americans’ Second Amendment rights by preventing law-abiding citizens from creating and owning suppressors.

In a letter to the ATF, the senators wrote, “These continued assaults of the Second Amendment threaten law-abiding Americans’ rights as they try to follow ATF guidance on making these parts. We request that the ATF provide us answers on why they are rejecting legal applications and denying law abiding citizens access to their Second Amendment right. The ATF was not established to interfere with a basic right afforded to every American.”

“The mass denial of ATF Form 1 applications is a direct infringement against the Second Amendment rights of hundreds – maybe thousands – of law-abiding Americans seeking to work within ATF’s own longstanding rules regarding the home manufacture of suppressors. We appreciate Senator Daines’ effort to make sure the government isn’t changing the rulebook to subvert the rights of applicants who are seeking approval in good faith.” – Jason Ouimet, Executive Director of NRA-ILA

“As if the National Firearms Act wasn’t enough of an infringement, ATF’s denial of American’s right to manufacture NFA firearms—which is explicitly provided for under federal law—reveals the agency’s true intent is to restrict the Second Amendment rights of the People. GOA is thankful for the Senators demanding accountability from ATF for the illegal denial of gun owners’ Form 1 applications.” – Aidan Johnston, Director of Federal Affairs for Gun Owners of America

“The American Suppressor Association is extremely grateful to Senator Daines for his leadership in taking a stand against ATF’s secret rulemaking. Rather than punish those who are following the law, ATF should focus on the criminals who aren’t. Simply put, it’s time to insist that ATF stop treating the upstanding citizens it regulates like criminals. It’s time for ATF rulemaking to occur in the open. And it’s time to remove suppressors from the NFA so that law-abiding Americans can protect their hearing while exercising their Second Amendment rights without tax or fear of government retribution.” – Knox Williams, President and Executive Director of the American Suppressor Association

“The Firearms Regulatory Accountability Coalition (FRAC) sincerely appreciates Senator Daines for his initiative and steadfast leadership in this matter, and his unwavering resolve to stand with industry and the American People in demanding accountability, transparency, and fairness (A-T-F) from the ATF. The ATF’s recent abuses—to include the use of secretive rules and documents as a basis to arbitrarily deny NFA tax filings on a large scale—is a gross dereliction of fundamental regulatory ethics. FRAC is proud to stand with Senator Daines and his colleagues in demanding answers from ATF.” – Travis White, President and CEO of the Firearms Regulatory Accountability Coalition.

Joining Lankford and Daines are Senators Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Jim Risch (R-ID), Mike Lee (R-UT), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), John Boozman (R-AR), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), John Hoeven (R-ND), Mike Braun (R-IN), Todd Young (R-IN), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), John Barrasso (R-WY), Richard Burr (R-NC), John Cornyn (R-TX), Rand Paul (R-KY), Ben Sasse (R-NE), John Thune (R-SD), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Tim Scott (R-SC), Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Bill Hagerty (R-TN).

The full text of the letter is HERE and below:

Dear Mr. Richardson:

We write regarding the recent actions taken by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to limit Americans’ Second Amendment rights. The ATF is overstepping their authority by rejecting law-abiding Americans’ attempts to create and own a silencer.

It has come to our attention that the ATF has rejected hundreds of the “Application to Make and Register a Firearm” form, better known as “Form 1.” According to the ATF website, the National Firearms Act (NFA) and the Gun Control Act (GCA) do not prohibit the creation of a silencer, or suppressor. Historically, the ATF has required Americans to file a Form 1, pay the $200 fee, and they would be permitted to make the suppressor for their own personal use.

These continued assaults of the Second Amendment threaten law-abiding Americans’ rights as they try to follow ATF guidance on making these parts. We request that the ATF provide us answers on why they are rejecting legal applications and denying law abiding citizens access to their Second Amendment right. The ATF was not established to interfere with a basic right afforded to every American. We request answers to the following questions:

  1. Please explain why the ATF is denying Form 1 applications for silencers.
  2. Please explain whether these denials reflect a change in policy in how the ATF regulates self-made silencers.
  3. Please explain what the ATF has done to inform the American people of its position regarding a Form 1 application and devices it believes are silencer “kits,” so that law abiding Americans can attempt to comply with the law.
  4. Please explain how the ATF evaluates whether a Form 1 application for a silencer is going to be used for a kit that, in ATF’s view, is already legally a silencer.
  5. Please explain why the ATF has repeatedly approved Form 1 applications for silencers made from “kits” if the agency’s policy is that one or more items in the “kits” are considered silencers.
  6. Please explain how the ATF intends to handle approved Form 1 applications that occurred before February 28, 2022 for silencers made from “kits.”
  7. Please explain how the ATF plans to make tax-free registration available for applicants who in good faith attempted to comply with federal law. If ATF does not plan to make tax-free registration available for applicants who in good faith attempted to comply with the federal law, please explain why.
  8. Please produce all documents and communications, including but not limited to ATF legal opinions, referring or relating to the ATF’s definition of a silencer, or what constitutes a silencer “kit.”

We request answers to these questions no later than March 31, 2022.

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