Biden Sounds Off On “Zero Tolerance” Policy For Dealers


Coinciding with rising temperatures, crime rates have also been on the upswing in recent weeks. This was used as the impetus behind President Joe Biden’s “Gun Crime Prevention Strategy” presentation with U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland June 23 at the White House.

During the discussion, Biden didn’t miss the opportunity to link storefront dealers and the firearms industry to increased crime figures. In a grandstanding moment, Biden announced a “zero tolerance” policy for dealers who knowingly violate laws by selling firearms to criminals.

“These merchants of death are breaking the law for profit. They’re selling guns that are killing innocent people. It’s wrong. It’s unacceptable,” he said. “We’re going to crack down on those gun dealers and the violent criminals they knowingly arm.”

In truth, this shouldn’t be newsworthy, as storefront dealers are on the front lines of a highly regulated industry — and therefore need to invest significantly in compliance efforts. What’s troubling is Biden’s mischaracterization of dealers selling firearms to criminals as a widespread practice.

Jacquelyn Clark, owner of Bristlecone Shooting, Training & Retail Center in Lakewood, Colo., offered her take on the president’s assessment.

“To me, his comments make it seem like it’s commonplace for dealers everywhere to skirt the rules and look for ways to not comply — all in the name of profit. It sounds like the sentiment is these ‘bad’ dealers are everywhere and the government will conduct a witch hunt to find them, in volume enough to reduce crime in a visible way on the streets.”
Clark shared Bristlecone devotes a significant amount of resources to maintain compliance.

“I’ve never run across a dealer who doesn’t take compliance seriously,” she added. “The amount of resources we allocate each year to ensuring we’re compliant with all ATF regulations, checking our staff’s work, filing, etc., compared to the amount of money we make on the guns we sell makes it (firearm sales) almost not worth it.”

The president also repeated previous calls for a ban on ARs and high-capacity magazines, expanded background checks, the repeal of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) and confirmation of his “outstanding” nominee to lead the ATF, Giffords Senior Policy Advisor David Chipman.

Through the first half of 2021, Biden has made his anti-gun/anti-industry intentions clear and continues to demonize firearms owners, dealers and manufacturers.

Dealers, we want to hear from you: how has Biden’s rhetoric during the opening months of his presidency impacted sales at your business? Send feedback to