Dismantle The ATF

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) has reintroduced legislation to do away with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Sensenbrenner, a senior Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said the policies under ATF’s jurisdiction could be easily incorporated into other agencies. Moreover, he argued, the ATF has become embroiled in too many controversies in recent years, like the botched “Fast and Furious” gun-tracking operation.

“The ATF is a scandal-ridden, largely duplicative agency that lacks a clear mission. Its ‘Framework’ is an affront to the Second Amendment and yet another reason why Congress should pass the ATF Elimination Act,” Sensenbrenner said in a statement.
The ATF has drawn the ire of Republican lawmakers for its proposed ban on an armor-piercing bullet used in AR-15 rifles. Republicans say that hunters frequently use the bullets. The bureau says it initiated the regulation to help protect law enforcement officers from bullets that can pierce armored vests.

Sensenbrenner’s bill would transfer the ATF’s functions related to guns, explosives and violent crime to the FBI. Meanwhile, responsibilities regarding alcohol and tobacco laws would fall under the Drug Enforcement Administration’s jurisdiction.

The ATF director would have 180 days, or about six months, to submit a plan to Congress on how to wind down the agency.

Dissolving the ATF hasn’t always been a priority for just Republicans, who generally oppose gun restrictions. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, previously introduced a bill in 1993 to turn over the ATF’s duties to other parts of the Justice Department.

Source: http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/234811-republican-bill-would-abolish-atf

One thought on “Dismantle The ATF

  1. This is an extremely bad idea; While the BATFE is undeniably corrupt, transferring their congressional delegated authority to another agency will not help us. Instead, transferring regulatory powers, we need to the statutes that infringe on the RKBA.

    A significant portion of the BATFE’s power as an agency is due to their regulation of firearms; As such, efforts to curtail the manufacture, sale, and/or transfer of firearms in turn tend to reduce the BATFE’s power. Thus, the BATFE has a vested interest in fostering a thriving firearm industry.

    The FBI, on the other hand, is an independently powerful agency, and any transfer of power from the BATFE would translate to a huge increase in work without a significant increase in power. As such, while the FBI would likely be somewhat more objective and consistent in their determinations/regulations/etc., they also would be more likely to act to greatly stifle the industry.

    At this point, it’s important to remember that the whole FFL system is fundamentally designed to make it impossible for a licensee to be in 100% compliance at all times. Every single 4473 presents the licensee with dozens of potential “violations” any one of which could be used as the basis for the BATFE to initiate the revocation of the FFL.

    In other words, the only reason why any FFL is still in business is because closing them down would diminish the BATFE’s power as an agency. My concern is that an already powerful agency such as the FBI would not share this motivation.

    As such, the answer is not to just abolish the BATFE, but the very laws that they exist to enforce.

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