DOJ and ATF to Make it Easier for Legal ‘Aliens’ To Obtain Firearms

The Department of Justice, in conjunction with the ATF, has decided to make it easier for legal immigrants to purchase weapons from licensed firearms dealers. 

Under the Gun Control Act (GCA) individuals are generally prohibited from transferring firearms “to any unlicensed person who they know or have reasonable cause to believe does not reside in the State in which the transferor resides.”

Therefore, in order to satisfy federal firearms regulations and complete the sale, the purchaser of the firearm must provide proof of his/her “state of residence.”

But the documentation (or proof) required to establish “state of residence” for a U.S. citizen differs from that of a legal alien or immigrant. 

In an open letter to Federal firearms licensees (FFLs) the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) explained the difference, “A U.S. citizen’s State of residence is the State in which he or she is present with the intention of making a home; while an alien is considered a resident of a State if he or she has resided in that State for a period of at least 90 days prior to the date of transfer with the intention of making a home.”

Upon review of this statute, the Department of Justice “has recently concluded that, as a matter of law, applying a more stringent State residency requirement for aliens legally present in the U.S. than for U.S. citizens is incompatible with the language of the GCA.”

Therefore, the ATF will be revising its regulations to remove the 90-day requirement for legal non-residents.

“Once the regulations have been revised, both U.S. citizens and aliens legally present in the U.S. will be subject to the same requirements for State residency and proof of residency,” the ATF’s letter stated.

Removing this 90-day requirement for legal aliens has some individuals scratching their heads — at least in terms of the timing of the decision to make such a policy revision. 

The DOJ is under extreme pressure from GOP lawmakers for the severely flawed gunwalking program known as Operation Fast and Furious.  Moreover, there has been evidence to substantiate that Fast and Furious was used to forward a gun control initiative (a long arm multiple purchases tracking measure). 

So, the question remains, why this and why now? 

Is it an attempt to curry favor with gun owners or is there something nefarious in the works?