Hoeven Joins Introduction of ATF Accountability Act

Legislation Would Protect 2nd Amendment Against Federal Overreach, Provide Transparency on ATF Rulings

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven joined Senator Mike Braun (R-Ind.) in introducing legislation to provide transparency on rulings made by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and establish a formal appeals process. Currently:

  • The ATF engages in a secretive classification review process to determine whether a particular firearm is regulated by the National Firearms Act.
  • Justifications for decisions are often only made available to manufacturers in private correspondence, creating uncertainty for both gun-owning Americans and firearm manufacturers.
  • Contrary to regular administrative procedure, gun manufacturers have no way to appeal if they believe that a classification decision was reached in error or is not reflective of a comprehensive review.
  • Accordingly, the ATF Accountability Act:
    • Creates an appeals process for firearm classification or legal status determinations made by the ATF, with specific timeframe requirements.
    • Permits gun manufacturers to make appeals to the Director of Industry Operations with jurisdiction, after which, the appeal is directed to an administrative law judge.

“Our legislation would better protect the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans from federal overreach and provide an important check on the ATF’s classification process,” said Senator Hoeven.

“American gun owners and manufacturers have been left in the dark for far too long with closed-door rule changes by the ATF,” said Senator Braun. “Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights shouldn’t be the last to know the classification status of firearms, or what licenses or tax stamps they need to avoid running afoul of the law. The ATF needs accountability and transparency, which this bill accomplishes.”

In addition to Hoeven and Braun, the legislation is cosponsored by Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Rick Scott (R-Fla.). The full text of the legislation can be found here.