Will David Chipman, if confirmed, help shut down hundreds of gun stores and turn millions of Americans into felons?
At the moment there is no regulation of private firearm sales in Kentucky as long as the guns are not “regulated items” such as silencers, short-barreled rifles & fully automatic firearms. That means you can privately sell firearms to whomever you want, without paperwork as long as you aren’t knowingly selling to a prohibited person (felons, underage, known mentally compromised for example). Note: I encourage you to use a gun dealer to help with those transactions to limit your liability in the event you unknowingly sold to a prohibited person.
Note: These rules can and will change I suspect. The Biden Administration has many plans to hamper private sales the way they are currently in Kentucky. In California and other states you don't have the same rights for private sales, they all have to be done at gun dealers.
Federal Firearms Licensees (FFL’s or licensed gun dealers) are held to a higher standard for selling firearms, and their licenses are controlled by the ATF. We must verify the purchasers ID, provide a legal form and check the buyers answers (4473 form), then we must run a National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS Check) and get a proceed, delay or deny from the Database (Note: if you have a Kentucky Conceal Carry Deadly Weapons License (CCDW) we don’t need to run the Check as the State Police already have). If you get a proceed (or have a CCDW), you leave with the firearm. If you get a delay, Openrange waits until you receive a proceed before transferring the gun to you. If you get a deny there is something amiss in your background and you cannot buy a gun.
The ATF audits our books approximately 1x per year to make sure all our forms and documents are in order. If you have many egregious mistakes your license can be suspended. For common overlooked items the ATF can cite you and require retraining or, if more serious can move towards suspension. In any event, short of illegal activity they help you get your paperwork in order.
The ATF has done a great job with outreach to gun dealers. They understand gun dealers are paramount to stopping customers who are prohibited people from owning firearms. Dealers are also trained to identify “Straw Purchases” where a person with a clean record is used by a felon to purchase guns for them. Straw Purchases are illegal and can bring felony charges if not jail time depending on the severity. The ATF has built a relationship of “partnership” with gun dealers over the years. Kudo’s to the ATF for their efforts to stop criminal purchases.
My concern with the current confirmation hearings for David Chipman as new ATF director is the thought that this “partnership” will devolve into a punishing ATF, looking to shut down legal sales of firearms. When the nominated director, who has been working (and still is from my knowledge) with one of the most prominent and powerful gun control groups, we could end up with an ‘activist’ director. He has vocalized that no one should be able to own an AR15 (which is the most popular rifle in America), this sets a dangerous precedent for confiscation schemes and causing the criminalization of vast swaths of the American population. Combined with the Biden administrations strong anti-gun stance could lead to many changes in what consumers can own and purchase.
I look to an ATF director to enforce the laws on the books, not create an adversarial relationship with the gun dealers who help enforce congress’ laws or worse lead the charge to confiscate firearms from the public. The ATF doesn't make the laws, congress does. Yet the ATF can create an adversarial relationship with dealers and essentially shut down a vast majority for minor infractions. This will limit your access to firearms, training, parts and accessories.
This is not a Democrat vs Republican issue although Democrats will be expected to heed the party’s platform on gun control. I encourage my friends to write or call your congresspeople and let your voice be heard that we don’t want an anti-gun activist as the Director of the ATF.
This is truly a Second Amendment issue and I want all of my great passionate firearm owners to be aware and alert to the potential change in the ATF.