Amish Farmer Challenges Constitutionality of Federal Firearms License

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Federal agents removed 615 guns from the man’s barn

Amish dairy farmer Reuben King’s farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, was raided on Jan. 12, 2022, by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which charged King with dealing in firearms without a license and confiscated 615 guns.

An undercover ATF agent bought five guns from King between October 2019 and March 2020, court papers filed by the ATF say.

On June 11, 2020, the ATF served King with a cease-and-desist letter advising him to get a Federal Firearms License (FFL) before selling any more firearms. King told the ATF that he did not sell firearms as a business and only occasionally sold personal long arms for which he had no further use.

After that letter, King sold four firearms to undercover state troopers in November 2020, March 2021, and December 2021, prompting the charges.

But King doesn’t need an FFL, his attorney, Joshua Prince, told The Epoch Times. He will argue the FFL itself is unconstitutional.

Firearms sellers—those who sell occasionally from a private collection, and those who hold an FFL— have come under more scrutiny since June 2021 when President Joe Biden declared “zero tolerance for rogue gun dealers that willfully violate the law.”

As of Fiscal Year 2022, the ATF reports there are 136,563 active FFLs in the United States.

Since Biden took office, there has been an uptick in FFL revocations, Mark Oliva, spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told The Epoch Times. Anecdotally, attorneys defending clients facing FFL revocations, or warnings to get an FFL, say they have seen more cases in the last two years.

FFL Revocations

The ATF inspects FFL holders and began publishing that inspection data in Fiscal Year 2022.

In October 2021, it inspected 438 FFL holders, issued 11 warning letters, and revoked four licenses.

In February 2023, the ATF inspected 699 FFL holders, issued 10 warning letters, and revoked 19 licenses.

In total, between those two dates, the ATF inspected 9,940 FFL holders, issued 171 warning letters, and revoked 168 licenses.

By Beth Brelje

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