ATF Deputy Director Supports Notifying ICE When Illegals Try to Buy a Gun

By Melanie Arter | March 13, 2019 | 7:30pm EDT
Thomas Brandon, deputy director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (Screenshot)

( – A top ATF official told a House Appropriations subcommittee on Wednesday that no matter what the “political stripe,” he didn’t see how anyone could argue against having illegal aliens prosecuted for trying to buy a gun and have ICE notified.

Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), ranking member on the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, asked Thomas Brandon, deputy director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, about his thoughts on the issue during a hearing on gun violence prevention and enforcement.


“Director Brandon, you mentioned that it’s important to prosecute individuals who lie on their 4473 forms, and if a person is denied the ability to purchase a gun because the NICS indicates that they’re an illegal alien, do you think that the individual should be prosecuted and this information be transferred to the law enforcement partners at ICE due to the danger of a criminal alien group like we’ve seen with MS-13?” Aderholt asked.

“It’s a great question, and if it doesn’t get prosecuted at the district level by the U.S. attorney based on their parameters, I’ll give you an example. Southwest border, our folks in Phoenix, Arizona, have taken that information, they share it with ICE and then as far as saying, hey, even if they’re going for an immigration hearing, is that, hey, we want you to know that this person tried to buy a firearm in this state,” Brandon said.



“So that’s where, hopefully, I’m answering your question is that the—we’re trying to maximize that standard denial intelligence that we get and knowing to say, okay, we’re not going to get prosecuted, but what can we do. And we’re putting it through the state fusion centers and at local levels where again where you have immigration, we’ll share that, and they can use it as they see fit,” the deputy director added.

“So bottom line is they should be prosecuted, so absolutely,” Aderholt said.

“So MS-13, I mean I think it’s like—you know so it’s going after MS-13 we do that. The FBI does that. We’re working hand in glove locking up MS-13 gang members that are shooting and chopping people and everything like that. I don’t know what your political stripe is or whatever, how could anybody argue against that?” Brandon said.

As previously reported, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee blocked efforts to include an amendment in the gun control bill Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 (H.R. 8) requiring that ICE be notified when an illegal immigrant tries to buy a gun but fails the background check.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said at the time, “It is not common sense to say that if an illegal alien fails a background check that we wouldn’t notify ICE, but when Republicans offered these common sense changes to the Democrats’ legislation, they rejected them, because they hate ICE so much that they wouldn’t even want ICE to know to remove someone from the country who is trying to buy a gun illegally.”



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