Griffin seeks to overturn gun show ruling

Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin announced on Wednesday that he will be appealing the dismissal of a case challenging a new gun sales rule in Arkansas. The case was transferred to a Kansas court, but Griffin intends to fight for its return to Arkansas.

Arkansas, along with 25 other states, participated in a lawsuit contesting a recent regulation that mandates individuals selling firearms to register as dealers.

Judge James Moody Jr. dismissed the case in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas Delta Division and transferred it to a federal court in Kansas. The court determined that Arkansas did not have the right to contest the rule because it would ultimately be advantageous for the state due to the higher sales tax on gun sales, compared to the 1% tax currently collected on gun show tables.

According to the attorney general’s office, the court seemed to hold the belief that unlicensed sellers at gun shows in Arkansas are not required to pay sales tax. Due to the Final Rule, it was anticipated that gun show sales would be redirected to licensed dealers who would charge sales tax. As a result, the increase in collected sales tax at a rate of 6.5% could potentially compensate for the loss of 1% table-rental tax revenue mentioned in the challenge.

According to Griffin, it turns out that’s not true.

Griffin, opposing the assumption made by the Eastern District of Arkansas, asserts that the Final Rule, which diverts firearm sales from unlicensed sellers to licensed sellers at gun shows, would not lead to an increase in sales-tax revenue. On the contrary, Arkansas would experience a decline in special-event tax revenue due to a decrease in the number of table rentals at gun shows. Moreover, if sales by unlicensed sellers at gun shows, who are obligated to collect sales tax, are redirected to different unlicensed sellers outside of gun shows, who may not have the same requirement, this would result in a further reduction in revenue.

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According to Griffin, the court did not adhere to the rule that district clerk courts must wait for a “reasonable period” before transferring a case.

In a statement, Griffin emphasized the importance of the existing precedent in the Eighth Circuit. He explained that this precedent is in place to allow for the review and correction of transfer orders that may contain errors before they take effect. However, he criticized the Little Rock order for unlawfully bypassing this process. As a result, Arkansas was deprived of the opportunity to seek a reversal of the district court’s erroneous order.

According to the attorney general, the gun sales rule is yet another instance of the Biden administration’s overreach.

Griffin expressed his concern over the negative impact of this rule on the people of Arkansas. He believed that the state’s involvement in the case should never have been doubted.

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