A bill that would eliminate the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and fold its duties into the FBI and other agencies was introduced Wednesday in Congress.
The bill, by U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), would impose an immediate hiring freeze at the ATF and require that a plan be submitted within six months on how to move its activities to other agencies.
The bill calls for eliminating the agency a year after the bill’s final passage, moving its functions into the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and Treasury Department.
In a statement, Sensenbrenner called ATF “a duplicative, scandal-ridden agency that lacks a clear mission.”
“We can do the same job more efficiently for less,” he said. “At a time when we are approaching $18 trillion in debt, we need to demand accountability within our federal agencies and to take a closer look at cutting waste and redundancy.”
The ATF is the nation’s lead agency for enforcing gun laws, but it also has investigated cases involving drugs and violent crime, which overlap with the FBI, DEA and other agencies. The ATF also has civil enforcement functions, such as inspecting gun dealers and collecting certain taxes and fees.
The ATF has come under fire in recent years for ill-fated operations, including Operation Fast and Furious in Arizona and Operation Fearless in Milwaukee.