Springfield, VA – Gun Owners of America (GOA) and Gun Owners Foundation (GOF) are suing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for its reversal of a letter which had previously recognized that holders of Alabama concealed carry permits (CCP) are exempt from a National Instant Check System (NICS) background check when purchasing a firearm.
While Federal law allows Alabama CCP holders to avoid the NICS check, the ATF released a “Public Safety Advisory” which instructs Alabama federal firearm license (FFLs) holders to “no longer accept CCP permits as an alternative to a NICS check.” ATF claims that, because certain ATF sheriffs have allowed a few ineligible people to obtain CCPs, the exemption for the entire state is now revoked.
The GOA/GOF suit explains the legal problems with the ATF’s position: “Federal law – not ATF — explicitly exempts those with Alabama concealed carry permits from the NICS requirement. Alabama law clearly qualifies for the federal exemption, and the existence of one or two bad apples does not give ATF a blank check to start revoking states’ CCP exemptions.”
Erich Pratt, Senior Vice President of GOA and GOF, stated, “This is an example of the dangers of requiring government preclearance to exercise God-given rights. When the ability to purchase a firearm is left up to the whims of unelected bureaucrats, our rights are no longer rights — but mere privileges.”