WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) recently joined Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) in pressing the U.S. Attorney General and the Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) for answers on the ATF’s use of internal guidance to enforce regulations that are not openly published. This secret guidance has been used to justify the seizure of property and could troublingly be used to prosecute Americans and businesses.
“This secret guidance was brought to our attention by those who have received recent threatening letters where the ATF makes blanket threats based on the recipient allegedly purchasing and possessing various firearms accessories, none of which are illegal based on any statute or regulation,” wrote the senators. “With this attempted secret regulation, the ATF shows an abject disregard for the fundamental principles of due process and accountable governance.
“The ATF is charged by law with enforcing the nation’s federal firearms laws and providing regulatory oversight of the firearms industry. ATF simply has no authority to conceal public guidance and then enforce it on unsuspecting Americans.”
In addition to Hoeven, Cramer, and Lee, the letter was signed by Senators James Risch (R-Idaho), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas). The full text of the letter can be read here.