News from Reeves & Dola, LLP 
*** R|D ALERT ***

In November, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a  memo prohibiting the Department of Justice from issuing "guidance documents" that have the effect of adopting new regulatory requirements or amending the law. The intent behind the memo is to prevent DOJ agencies from " evading required rulemaking process by using guidance memos to create de facto regulations ."  DOJ's public announcement  further explains, " [i]n the past, the Department of Justice and other agencies have blurred the distinction between regulations and guidance documents. Under the Attorney General's memo, the Department may no longer issue guidance documents that purport to create rights or obligations binding on persons or entities outside the Executive Branch. " In addition, the DOJ Regulatory Reform Task Force will review existing guidance documents to determine whether any of these should be repealed, replaced, or modified in light of the principles presented in the memo.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is a law enforcement agency within the DOJ. As such, ATF must abide by the Attorney General's directive. However, it is unclear how the memo will impact ATF's ability to approve variance requests, respond to inquiries, and issue other similar written guidance to industry members. ATF is currently working with DOJ to determine what written guidance is subject to the memo. In the meantime, open inquiries for written guidance from ATF, including variances, may be on hold. 

The full announcement, as well as a link to the Attorney General's memo, is available on  DOJ's website .

The above alert is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed or used as legal advice. Receipt of this alert does not establish an attorney-client relationship.     

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About Reeves & Dola

Reeves & Dola is a Washington, DC law firm that specializes in helping clients navigate the highly regulated and complex world of manufacturing, sales and international trade of defense and commercial products. We have a deep understanding of the Federal regulatory process, and use our expertise in working with a variety of Federal agencies to assist our clients with their transactional and regulatory needs.

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