Schmidt Kramer partner Scott Cooper was recently asked to comment on a local firearms case involving the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). A Lancaster County man has been charged with selling thousands of firearms without first obtaining a federal license.
Reuben King of Leacock Township in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania was being investigated by the ATF since 2019. In 2020, he was given a cease-and-desist letter by the ATF. The letter ordered King to stop selling firearms until after getting a federal license. However, King ignored the letter and continued to sell firearms.
The ATF raided King’s property in January 2022, discovering 625 rifles and shotguns, as well as over 10,500 rounds of ammunition.
King’s attorney questioned the charges, arguing they are unconstitutional, based on the fact the ATF currently has no “bright line rule” on whether a federal firearm license is required. King’s attorney also argued that getting a photo ID, which is required when obtaining a Federal license, would violate King’s First Amendment rights. King practices the Amish religion, which discourages posing for photographs.
When asked to comment on this case, attorney Scott Cooper said, “The problem that the judge seemed to indicate in denying the motion to dismiss is, you (King) never even tried or applied for an exemption, so it’s almost not in good faith the defense that you’re making.
Additional requirements for obtaining a federal license include being at least 21 years old, having no criminal convictions for specific crimes and having a physical location to operate from. If King is convicted, he could face up to five years in jail and $10,000 in fines.