SW Legal studies in Business

Repeated Violation of Regulation Becomes Willful

Appeals court upheld the loss of a federal license needed by a dealer to sell firearms. The dealer was found on more than one occasion to fail to comply with record-keeping requirements. Multiple mistakes meant willful violation and loss of license.

Topic Administrative Law
Key Words

Record Keeping; License; Willful Violation; Firearms

C A S E   S U M M A R Y

Armalite has a federal license to sell guns in Ohio. As such, it was required to comply with record-keeping requirements of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). During an inspection of Armalite’s records, which includes evidence that only qualified purchasers were sold guns, several problems were found. Armalite was put on notice that further such problems with records would be considered willful and could result of loss of license. The next year, an inspection showed more record keeping violations. The ATF recommended loss of license and the ATF hearing officer agreed, finding willful violations of records requirements. Armalite’s license to sell guns was revoked. It appealed.


Affirmed. Failure to provide information required by regulation on the sale of firearms on six occasions was willful and warrants the loss of license. Armalite had been notified of problems but failed to take steps to prevent mistakes from happening. What may have been negligent initially became willful after specifically pointed out during an inspection. The ATF has authority from Congress to revoke licenses for “any” willful violation of gun control regulations; the ATF met that standard.


Armalite v. Lambert, ---F.3d--- (2008 WL 4552971, 6th Cir., 2008)

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