NRA Explore

Courts Clarify Standard for Dealer Violations

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Two federal appeals courts recently handed down important decisions that clarify the standard for revoking a dealer’s federal firearms license (FFL). While the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) can only revoke an FFL for "willful" violations of the law, the batfe has argued that repeated recordkeeping errors are all it takes to prove a "willful" violation. All too often, the courts have agreed.

In the two new cases, the courts took a harder look at BATFE’s argument--and at their own past decisions.

The first case, decided in Oct. 2008 by the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, involved ArmaLite, Inc., a well known and reputable Illinois gun manufacturer that also had a dealer’s license for a location in Ohio. batfe revoked the license for Armalite’s Ohio location due to errors in the store’s records, and ArmaLite appealed through the courts.

Eventually, the Sixth Circuit clarified its own previous decisions, saying that an ffl only commits a "willful" violation when it "intentionally, knowingly or recklessly violates known legal requirements." Unfortunately, the court also decided that one of ArmaLite’s violations met this higher standard and was enough to justify the revocation of the Ohio license. ArmaLite disagrees with that element of the decision, but had primarily fought the case to counter the administrative misuse of the term "willful."

In the second case, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals considered a similar appeal by The General Store, which the court described as "an aptly named retailer" in Spokane, Wash. As in the ArmaLite case, the appeals court agreed that a "willful" violation "did not mean a mere mistake or negligence." Unfortunately, the court agreed that two of the store’s violations were "willful" under the stronger definition--again enough to justify the revocation.

Despite their final outcomes, these decisions mean that in future cases around the country, the BATFE will have to meet a higher standard to revoke dealer’s licenses.
NRA remains committed to tightening the standard for BATFE actions by legislation in Congress, and will cover those efforts in a future report. NRA members facing similar problems with BATFE should go to or call (703) 267-1160 for more information.



Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Appropriations Act Signed Into Law With Important Pro-Second Amendment Provisions

On Wednesday, November 25, the President signed S. 1356, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 into law. Included in the bill were some very important pro-gun provisions that represent the culmination of long-term efforts by ...

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered ...


Friday, May 15, 2015

Obama Administration Opposes CMP Handgun Sales

The House of Representatives has approved Congressman Mike D. Rogers’ amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which—if accepted in ...


Friday, November 20, 2015

“F” Stands for Fail: Gun Turn-in Event Nets a Stack of Paper Pledges and Some Surplus Sporting Goods

Recently, we reported on Hillary Clinton’s praise for local firearm “buyback” events and her view that forcing Americans to participate ...


Friday, November 20, 2015

Anti-gun Politicians, Media Exploit Paris Attacks in “Terrorist Gap” Rehash

The Paris terrorist attacks were not easily pinned on America’s supposedly lax gun laws or the NRA, but ...


Friday, November 20, 2015

Brussels Pushes Gun Control in Wake of Paris Attacks

On November 18, the European Commission expedited a plan to overhaul the European Union’s already restrictive gun control laws. The ...

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Michigan: Governor Snyder Signs Firearm Inheritance Protection Act

Today, November 24, Governor Rick Snyder (R) signed Senate Bills 225 and 226.

Washington Times  

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

White House to GOP: Worry about gun control

The White House said Monday that Republicans concerned about Syrian refugees waging terrorist attacks in the U.S. should focus their energy instead on banning guns sales to people on the government’s terrorist watch list.


Friday, November 27, 2015

President Obama Signs NRA-Backed Measures into Law

President Barack Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It includes several NRA-backed provisions -- expanding gun rights on stateside military bases; prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from banning traditional ammunition; and saving taxpayer dollars ...


Friday, November 20, 2015

Overwhelming 81 Percent of Current and Former Military have Unfavorable View of Clinton

More bad news for Hillary Clinton. Coming off the heels of survey results that found the former Secretary ...


Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.