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About disbanding ATF

While I like the idea for symbolic and other self-satisfying reasons, others are telling me to be careful what I wish for. Enforcing gun laws is a job and someone has to do it. The laws won’t be going away. So, roll them back into Treasury?

Joe has a lot more, notably: Because they are so weak this might be the time to get rid of them simply because it is politically possible.

9 Responses to “About disbanding ATF”

  1. John Smith. Says:

    Why? Why do we need a dedicated federal group enforcing gun laws???

  2. Bubblehead Les Says:

    If the ATF is disbanded, and rolled into the FBI, this can set a Precedent where other Federal LEOS can be merged into one “National Police Force,” with Specialty Divisions to handle various categories such as Food Safety, Border Security, Illegal Stock Manipulation, Airport Security, etc. Throw in the Patriot Act and the cover of “National Security,” and have it ALL in one Director’s Hands (like J.Edgar Hoover), and that would be a very Dangerous Situation for the Republic.

    Gestapo, SS, NKVD, KGB…..FBI? Not good.

  3. John Smith. Says:

    They were all rolled in under the homeland security title so the thing you fear has come to past already…

  4. Stranger Says:

    The FBI, like the DEA, Homeland Insecurity, et al, et ux, has been as badly tainted as ATF by GunWalker. As Les says, making the BATmen FEEBs would set a dangerous precedent.

    ATF needs what it has needed since December 12, 1968. First, independence, and the ability to say no to the pols. Second, a hard handed professional law enforcement officer with hiring and firing powers as director.

    ATF has one sorta-kinda professional with no real power to change anything in John Magaw. The rest have been political appointees chosen for their ability to snap to attention and say “Yes SIR” when spoken to.

    There will be time enough to dispose of ATF one way or another after we get a responsible President, and a pro-gun majority in the Senate. And the best way to start would be to start reviewing gun laws with an eye on their results. An agency with nothing to enforce cannot justify its existence.


  5. Gunstar1 Says:

    The first thing I thought when I saw the talk about disbanding the ATF was great… then I realized that the laws are still there, so someone will have to enforce them.

    People keep saying the FBI, but frankly that is just a name. The FBI has people trained in doing other tasks and not gun laws (like inspecting FFLs). So do you fire all the ATF agents and then retrain current FBI agents or do you just hire the agents that were previously doing the job at the ATF (minus those pesky whistle-blowers)?

    Simple answer, you just simply move the ATF agents over to the FBI. It would be the same people with a different name.

    Remember, the beginning of the ATF was as the Bureau of Prohibition. Once prohibition ended, the agency did not die, it was simply moved and renamed the Alcohol Tax Unit. Same people, different name.

  6. Joe Huffman Says:

    The ATF has, among other things, agents, firearms examiners, arson investigators, and inspectors.

    The inspectors deal with things like FFL, alcohol, and explosives inspections. My experience with them, for the most part, has been quite good.

    The agents are the law enforcement people who chase after bad guys, sell guns to drug lords, and stomp kittens to death.

    The examiners, inspectors, and investigators could probably fit in at the FBI and add to the FBI skill sets without too much overlap with existing FBI areas of responsibility. The agents are less likely to be a good fit with the FBI agents and, as a group, are the guys we most want to get rid of.

  7. Dean Kennedy Says:

    Being a general tyro, I would think what would make the most sense would be to put the FFL, alcohol and explosives inspectors back under Treasury and the ‘law enforcement people who chase after bad guys …’ under the FBI, who might add some needed discipline and weed out the bad ones.

  8. Tommy Says:

    No, I’d bet money it gets rolled to Homeland Security. Y’know, for the security!

  9. justin thyme Says:

    One positive impact of eliminating the BATF: we would remove one constituency for keeping and promoting more gun laws – the agents that enforce gun laws would not be thrown out on the street – they would just be reassigned.

    Without that group of self-interested agents pimping for maintaining and increasing the number of gun-laws on the books, the existing laws could be looked at without as much hysteria, and possibly eliminated one at a time. As the amount of manpower needed to enforce the laws diminishes, so does the number of bureaucrats arguing for more laws.

    Think of it – by the time the youngest current BATF agent retires (from whatever agency he gets transferred to – Dept of Agriculture, perhaps?), there may be no gun laws on the books to enforce.

    I recommend putting them in some backwater department, without national importance, so that the next time there are budget cuts, the Assistant Junior Vice-Undersecretary of Cats and Dogs will look at them as an albatross around his neck, and not a meal ticket.