WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Russ Fulcher (R-ID) was joined by Congressman August Pfluger (R-TX), Congresswoman Mary Miller (R-IL), Congressman Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Congressman Randy Weber (R-TX), and Congressman Tom Tiffany (R-WI) in introducing the ATF Transparency Act. The legislation improves the process for Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ (ATF) background checks and National Firearms Act (NFA) applications by creating an appeal process and setting deadlines for federal agencies to respond. A companion bill has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Jim Risch (R-ID).
“I am proud to introduce the ATF Transparency Act and thank my Idaho colleague Senator Risch for leading on this important bill, “ said Congressman Russ Fulcher. “The Biden Administration has created bureaucratic hurdles for law-abiding gun owners resulting in delays in the application process and no appeal process for errors as simple as clerical mistakes. Congress now has an opportunity to make the ATF application process accessible and efficient and provide recourse for law-abiding gun owners seeking to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights.”
“Perhaps if President Biden’s ATF wasn’t wasting their time targeting law-abiding gun owners, they could process applications in a timely manner,” said Congressman Tiffany. “The ATF Transparency Act will ensure that ATF bureaucrats are processing firearm applications without delay and allow American gun owners a fair appeals process when wrongfully denied.”
“Gun Owners of America is proud to endorse Sen. Risch's legislation to eliminate ATF's bureaucratic loopholes in the already unconstitutional National Firearms Act. ATF has deceived Congress and the American public with inaccurate NFA approval estimates for far too long. It shouldn't take a bureaucrat any longer than 90 days to process paperwork, and ATF certainly shouldn't be denying approval to make or transfer a firearm on day 88 just to skirt that deadline because they didn't finish a background check on time,” said Aidan Johnston, Director of Federal Affairs, Gun Owners of America.
The ATF Transparency Act:
- Speeds up the application process:
- This proposed legislation will require the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives (ATF) to process applications within 90 days. If the ATF fails to process the application after 90 days, applications will be automatically approved.
- Creates appeal process to protect law-abiding gunowners:
- The proposed legislation requires the ATF to develop an appeal process to protect law-abiding Americans background checks from being wrongfully denied.
- If enacted, the bill will require the ATF to provide National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) transaction numbers and pay attorney fees for successful appeals.
- Improves transparency and accountability in the process:
- The proposed legislation will require the Government Accountability Office and the Department of Justice Inspector General to report the number of National Firearm Act items involved in unresolved NICS background checks from 2014 to 2021 and outline recommendations to the ATF on how to minimize unresolved background checks.
- If enacted, the bill will require the Department of Justice Inspector General to report on the extent of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) involvement in NICS background checks and require the ATF and FBI to develop a joint agreement on the NICS background check process.