By Lee Williams
SAF Investigative Journalism Project
If the Biden-Harris administration continues its unconstitutional war on gun dealers, the local gun shop will become just a memory and only big-box sporting goods stores will be able to sell firearms, says Tom Harris, who’s been selling guns from his Lewisville, Texas home for the past 30 years.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives recently targeted Harris’ Federal Firearms License for revocation.
ATF dug up procedural errors from as far back as 2007 to make their current “case,” but the ATF had already told Harris he was cleared of these 16-year-old clerical errors, as well as newer ones. He has letters attesting to this. Unfortunately, none of this mattered to the ATF inspectors who began persecuting the 61-year-old disabled father of five to satisfy their supervisors’ push for FFL revocations.
“They threw the kitchen sink at me after they cleared me because their bosses weren’t happy with it,” Harris told the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project last month. “They are trying to intimidate me into surrendering my FFL.”
A story published last month revealed that Harris was the latest homebased gun dealer to be targeted by the ATF. Harris and others say the ATF chose to harass and intimidate homebased dealers into voluntarily surrendering their FFLs because they know most lack the financial resources to mount a legal defense and fight back.
“The ATF didn’t follow their own protocols,” Harris said. “Now, they’re making up allegations.”
One of Harris’ longtime customers created a GiveSendGo account, which has raised nearly $20,000, although Harris will likely need much more.
“I’m selling everything at cost to raise funds. I’ve received a very positive reaction from my customers, but the average citizen does not understand what the ATF is doing,” Harris said. “There are thousands of FFLs who have already given up – scared to continue. There will soon be a day when the local gun shop is just a memory, and you’ll have to go to big-box stores to buy a gun – stores who donate to political campaigns, have expensive lawyers, and are owned by holding groups or hedge funds that are not even located in the United States.”
Harris will appeal his notice of revocation at an ATF hearing next month. His notice of revocation was signed by Krissy Y. Carlson, ATF’s Director of Industry Operations (DIO) for its Dallas Field Office. Carlson will also oversee Harris’ appeal hearing.
“Her name is on the revocation notice, and she gets to be the judge,” Harris said. “My FFL is up for renewal in April, so even if I win my appeal, they could still deny my application for renewal.”
Harris was told ATF is “freaking out” over the exposure his case has drawn.
“They’re used to ramrodding and rolling right over people,” he said. “ATF’s Dallas office is only 1.4 miles from my house. There are probably some decent people who work there, who have no choice but to drink the Kool-Aid or quit. They’re not quitting.”
The Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project wouldn’t be possible without you. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to support pro-gun stories like this.