Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Madeleine Dean (PA-04) and Mike Quigley (IL-05)  have begun circulating a letter to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) calling for increased accountability for bad actors among gun dealers. The letter highlights the need for bold leadership by ATF while the Senate considers the nomination of Steve Dettelbach to serve as ATF Director. It also criticizes historical failures to punish gun dealers who repeatedly break the law, putting the public at serious risk.

A draft of the letter reads, in part, “While ATF is tasked with enforcing the nation’s gun laws, communities across the nation like the ones we represent continue to suffer from gun violence. This is highlighted by the lack of accountability the gun industry enjoys every day. Strong leadership from ATF is needed to prevent firearms from getting into the wrong hands and facilitating the sort of violent crime that our communities are seeing each and every day.” 

“It is clear that gun manufacturers, and some bad acting gun dealers, are not doing enough to prevent gun violence and gun crimes – instead, they are placing profits over safety, and our communities continue to suffer,” Rep. Dean said. “It is imperative that ATF uphold our federal firearm laws and hold noncompliant federal firearm licensees accountable – this is a matter of saving lives.”

“Every day I hear from people in my district who are concerned about gun violence. They are seeing it in their neighborhoods and many tragically experience it in real time. It is no secret that lax enforcement has contributed to this sense of unease. In fact, recent reporting shows that ATF has let some of Chicago’s most notorious gun sellers off the hook, turning a blind eye to business practices that contribute to flooding the streets with guns that are then used in crimes,” Rep. Quigley said. “We have had enough. We need ATF to step up, more vigorously enforce our nation’s gun laws, and prioritize holding gun sellers who do not follow the rules accountable--so that Chicagoans and Americans can feel safe.”

For a copy of the full draft letter, please contact Rep. Dean's Communications Director, Tim Mack, at Timothy.Mack@mail.house.gov. 

Rep. Madeleine Dean is a mother, grandmother, attorney, professor, former four-term member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and U.S. Representative for the Fourth District of Pennsylvania.