By: José Niño
Tom Harris, a veteran gun dealer who has lawfully sold firearms from his home for three decades, is currently facing a concerted harassment campaign from the ATF.
Since Joe Biden assumed the presidency, the ATF has been on a mission to badger Harris and other home-based firearms dealers with the aim of stripping them of their Federal Firearms License. Should Harris not comply with the ATF’s demands, the gun dealer will have to deal with “adverse actions.”
ATF is using procedural errors that date back to 2007 to build its current case against Harris. Though here’s the rub, as Lee Williams of the Second Amendment Foundation noted, Harris was exonerated of the 16-year-old technical errors he made, on top of the newer errors. Harris claims to have letters allegedly demonstrating this.
However, it appears that ATF agents are still harassing Harris as part of the ATF’s zealous effort to shut down FFLs.
“They threw the kitchen sink at me after they cleared me because their bosses weren’t happy with it,” Harris recently said to the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project. “They are trying to intimidate me into surrendering my FFL.”
Harris began selling firearms during the Clinton administration. He is currently one of the largest home-based firearm dealers in the North Texas region. He enjoys the patronage of over 10,000 customers nationwide and has solder over 184,000 firearms.
Prior to this recent audit, Harris never had any serious clerical errors. However, that changed after an audit in 2022, when two ATF special agents asked him some blunt questions about several firearms Harris sold to an individual.
“They put the squeeze on me, but I answered all their questions and gave them whatever they wanted,” he noted.
One of the ATF officials involved, Special Agent Aaron Loving, informed Harris’s attorney that he was in the clear. Harris’s attorney has documentation of this conversation in a letter.
“Agent Loving has informed me that you are no longer the target of any criminal investigation, and there will not be any criminal prosecutions forthcoming,” the letter stated.
However, the ATF subsequently changed its tune. Several months afterward, Special Agent Loving contacted Harris’s attorney again. “We need Tom to give up his license voluntarily. The bosses up the chain want him to turn in his license or face adverse actions,” Harris recounted his attorney telling him.
“We thought this was all over,” Harris added.
In June, Special Agent Loving and his colleague personally served a Notice of Revocation to Harris.
Harris’s Notice of Revocation listed the following two violations:
- “On 10 occasions, Licensee willfully aided and abetted a non-licensee in dealing firearms without a license as required by the GCA…”
- “On 46 occasions, Licensee willfully made a false statement or representation with respect to information required by the GCA …”
On top of that, Harris caught wind of the fact that the individual who bought the firearms from him is currently being subjected to an ATF investigation.
“This individual was a customer of several FFLs,” Harris highlighted. “The ATF had cleared me of any wrongdoing. They alleged I aided and abetted on ten forms, but at the time, the individual was actively being approved for his FFL. All of this was originally approved by the ATF, who said on multiple occasions I followed all the regs.”
In response to the ATF’s persecution, one of Harris’s most dedicated customers set up a GiveSendGo account to help fundraise for his legal defense, which will likely be a costly endeavor. So far, nearly $19,000 has been raised for Harris.
The regulatory ordeal Harris is currently facing is to be expected from such a nefarious institution in the ATF. The ATF’s goal is not about upholding public safety. It’s designed to infringe on the Second Amendment.
One way it does that is by harassing everyday gun vendors. These humble gun vendors form the backbone of the gun owner community. They allow for everyday, law-abiding people to have access to firearms for the purpose of self-defense. However, when these vendors are shut down by the likes of the ATF, people are ultimately deprived of viable venues to acquire firearms.
This is part of a broader campaign by the anti-gunners to destroy the right to bear arms. Once nearly all firearm vendors are shut down, only the government and criminals will be able to reliably acquire firearms. As a result, countless lawful individuals will be subjected to the whims of criminals and/or despotic governments — a nightmare scenario for anyone who believes in human freedom.