Relax: Senate Gun Hearing Isn't What You Think
The NSSF is equally supportive of the bill.
The bi-partisan bill was introduced by Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT). It would allow ATF new powers to issue fines and suspend licenses of federal firearms licensees (as opposed to current regulations which only allow for license revocation).
The legislation would also allow ATF to distinguish between more serious violations and “benign/administrative” violations. Furthermore, the legislation would create an appeals process, whereby FFLs would have cases heard before a neutral administrative law judge, rather than an ATF official.
NSSF is supportive of this bill as it will help protect the rights of FFLs while giving ATF more flexibility in how they exercise their regulatory authority to encourage enhanced compliance.
The ATF has long been among the most reviled of federal law enforcement agencies, due in no small part to past actions at Waco and Ruby Ridge in the 1990s and laughably absurd rulings on weapons violations that continue to this day. A rumored culture of corruption, incompetence, and lack of leadership -- the agency has been without a director since Obama took office -- are just some of the problems plaguing the agency.
If the Modernization Act can be passed by Congress and signed into law, it will provide the agency more flexibility and better protect the rights of gun dealers as well.
It is perfectly natural to be skeptical of the motives of Congress. That said, this legislation is evidence that every once in a great while, they actually do something right.