Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) today led a group of twenty Senators in a letter to the Attorney General and the Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) expressing concern over the ATF’s use of secret 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.

The letter reads in part, “We write to express our grave concern over the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives’ (ATF) continued pattern of enforcing secret guidance.  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.”

“We find the ATF’s attempt to conceal its interpretations of the law disturbing.  In a free society, ‘Every citizen is presumed to know the law.’  Thus, as the Supreme Court has said, ‘it needs no argument to show that all should have free access’ to [the law’s] contents.”

The letter continues, “With this attempted secret regulation, the ATF shows an abject disregard for the fundamental principles of due process and accountable governance. Federal agencies cannot enforce the law in this manner. 

The signatories as of this release are:

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)

Sen. James E. Risch (R-ID)

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC)

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL)

Sen. Cynthia M. Lummis (R-WY)

Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN)

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS)

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK)

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND)

Sen. John Boozman (R-AR)

Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN)

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-SC)

Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND)

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE)

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Travis R. White, President and CEO of the Firearms Regulatory Accountability Coalition said of the letter, “The Firearms Regulatory Accountability Coalition (“FRAC”) sincerely appreciates Senator Lee 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—is a gross dereliction of fundamental regulatory ethics and we are proud to stand with Senator Lee and his colleagues in the Senate in demanding answers from ATF.

Aidan Jonhnston, Director of Federal Affairs of Gun Owners of America said of the effort, “The ATF will stop at nothing to criminalize gun owners and attack the Second Amendment. This time, their scheme is to criminalize solvent traps — tools that gun owners use while cleaning their firearms. By mislabeling solvent traps as silencers, the ATF makes it clear that they not only do not understand how firearms really work, but also that they are willing to turn law-abiding Americans into criminals overnight to push their anti-gun agenda.

For full text of the letter, click HERE.

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