H. R. 508
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
January 25, 2023
Mr. Crenshaw (for himself, Mr. Cuellar, and Mr. Duncan) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
To provide procedures for appealing certain Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives rulings or determinations, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
ATF Accountability Act of 2023.
Procedures for appealing certain Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives rulings or determinations
Section 923 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
If a licensed manufacturer, licensed importer, or licensed dealer transmits to the Attorney General a product classification request or a written question regarding any regulatory matter, including but not limited to the legal status or classification of a product, regulated business practice, or a recordkeeping practice, under any law administered, in whole or in part, by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Attorney General shall, not later than 90 days after receipt of the request or question, make a ruling or determination in writing on the question, and transmit the ruling or determination to the licensee.
Within 30 calendar days after receipt of a copy of the ruling or determination, the licensee may appeal the ruling or determination (or a cease and desist letter) by filing with any Director of Industry Operations having jurisdiction over a premises of the licensee subject to a license issued to the licensee under this chapter a request for review of the ruling or determination, which shall include a statement of the reasons for the appeal, and the relief requested.
Within 30 calendar days after receipt of the request for the appeal, the Director of Industry Operations shall render a decision on the appeal in writing and transmit a copy of the decision to the licensee.
Notwithstanding whether the licensee appeals the ruling or determination to the Director of Industry Operations, the licensee may, within 75 calendar days after receipt of a copy of the initial ruling or determination or, within 14 days after receipt of the determination by the Director of Industry Operations, which ever is later, request for the appeal to be determined on the record after opportunity for a hearing before an administrative law judge. Upon such request the administrative law judge shall—
set a time and place for a hearing on the appeal at a location convenient to the licensee within 90 days from the date of the request; and
at least 10 days before the date set for the hearing, serve on the licensee and the Director of Industry Operations a notice of the hearing.
The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the hearing procedures prescribed in subsections (b) through (e) of section 556 and section 557(d) of title 5.
Within 90 days after the conclusion of the hearing, the administrative law judge shall—
render a decision on the appeal, which shall consist of—
a brief statement of the issues of fact involved in the proceeding;
the findings and conclusions of the administrative law judge, and the reasons or basis therefor with record references, on all material issues of fact, law, or discretion presented on the record; and
the decision of the administrative law judge to reverse or affirm the ruling or determination involved;
certify to the complete record of the proceeding;
forward the complete certified record and a copy of the decision to the Director of Industry Operations;
serve a copy of the decision on the licensee or counsel for the licensee; and
transmit a copy of the decision to the attorney representing the United States in the proceeding.
The decision of the administrative law judge or the Director of Industry Operations, or the ruling of another officer or employee of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, as the case may be, pursuant to this subsection shall—
constitute final agency action;
be subject to judicial review under chapter 7 of title 5; and
be binding on the United States and the licensee.
The submission of an administrative appeal pursuant to paragraph (2) or (3) shall postpone the effective date of the ruling or determination until the administrative appeal and any subsequent judicial process is complete. The effect shall be as if the ruling or determination had not issued until such process is complete.
The amendment made by subsection (a) shall apply with respect to determinations made before, on, or after the date of enactment of this Act.