New data shows ATF gun store revocations at highest rate in 16 years

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The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives revoked gun store licenses at a higher rate in 2022 than in any year since 2006, according to data published by the agency on October 4.

This story was produced in partnership with The Trace.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives revoked gun store licenses at a higher rate in 2022 than in any year since 2006, according to data published by the agency Tuesday. 

The numbers provide the first indication that federal investigators have cracked down on lawbreaking gun dealers following guidance from the Biden administration ordering the agency to take a harsher tack during inspections. 

Altogether, the agency revoked 92 licenses in 2022 – roughly 1.3 percent of all the dealers inspected. The total more than triples the number of licenses revoked in 2021, when a similar number of dealers were inspected. Another 136 dealers received warning conferences, the steepest penalty inspectors can recommend without revocation.

The pandemic hobbled the ATF’s ability to conduct compliance inspections at gun stores, and the total number of inspections has yet to rebound to pre-pandemic levels, the data shows. Investigators conducted just over 7,000 inspections in 2022, compared with more than 13,000 in 2019. Still, they revoked more licenses in the past fiscal year than in any year since 2008.

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