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Zero Tolerance Protection: What Happens During Revocation Hearings?

Written by Orchid


October 05, 2022


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Within 15 days of receiving a revocation notice, you have the right to request a hearing with ATF Director of Industry (DIO) and present the case for your FFL. Once your request is made, it’s important you start preparing.

While you can represent yourself at your hearing, it’s recommended you seek professional counsel, whether a knowledgeable firearms attorney, certified public accountant, or other person recognized to practice before ATF. However, before your hearing even takes place, you may submit an offer to settle or other proposed resolution. 

Because the DIO will not entertain settlement offers at your hearing, proposed offers and resolutions should be requested and submitted within the same 15-day period as allotted for a hearing. ATF is not obligated to grant in-person meetings or proposals for resolution, but such requests may be made.

Upon receipt of a timely request, and after consultation with you, ATF will set a date, time, and place for your hearing – usually set at a local or field division ATF office. Following the pandemic, many hearings now also take place virtually using video meeting technology. Once details have been set, you will receive formal notification in the mail and await your upcoming hearing.

Revocation Hearing Procedures

The purpose of revocation hearings is to allow both parties – the licensee and ATF industry operations investigators (IOI) who conducted the inspection – to present all relevant evidence and arguments regarding the proposed licensing action to the DIO. Though hearings carry great significance for FFLs, they are relatively informal in nature compared to normal trials, with no formal courtroom procedures or sworn testimonies.

During the hearing, you and the ATF attorney will present relevant facts, arguments, and evidence for review and consideration. In addition, witnesses, including FFL employees, IOIs, and other ATF personnel, may testify and speak to the violation(s) cited in the revocation notice. Licensees and ATF have the right to question all witnesses. An ATF-hired court reporter will transcribe the hearing, whose transcript will constitute the official record of the hearing.

At the conclusion of the ATF presentation, you will have an opportunity to respond. You should state your case as clearly and factually as possible, focusing on the violations cited as grounds for the licensing action. The court reporter will then prepare the final transcript for review and the DIO will make a final licensing decision.

Should the DIO determine that allegation(s) contained in the revocation notice are substantiated, a final revocation may be issued. All final decisions, including reversals, will be sent to FFLs by mail.

Orchid Zero Tolerance Protection

At Orchid, our team of operations, technology and legal professionals understand the risks of today’s firearm businesses. For over a decade, we’ve worked with FFLs big and small to implement leading compliance best practices and software solutions to eliminate violations and protect licenses from revocation.

Continuing our Zero Tolerance Protection series, we’ll share our expertise and experience in proactive compliance as we look closer at Biden’s policy and its impact on the firearms industry, review how to avoid and correct violations, and suggest ways to protect your FFL from the risk of revocation. Next, we’ll dive deeper into revocation hearings and your options should you lose at the ATF level.

In the meantime, learn more about a Zero Tolerance Rapid Assessment of prior ATF Reports of Violations, your A&D Bound Book, and recent ATF Forms 4473. We also encourage you to watch our webinar on ATF zero tolerance enforcement, schedule an in-person or remote mock ATF inspection, and implement leading compliance software in your retail FFL. Contact Orchid today to protect your FFL from a zero tolerance revocation.

Biden Zero Tolerance Webinar