Saturday, March 7, 2015
GOP lawmaker reissues legislation to dissolve the ATF
Posted by Charleston Voice
Many will emit loud guffaws and snicker at this congressman for his stepping up to return a stolen liberty to Americans. Laugh if you must, but know that it is congressmen such as Rep. Sensenbrenner that are needed to restore our Constitutional liberties in a lawful and peaceful non-violent manner. Just know what a fool you are as you continue to saunter ignorantly, defeatedly, and uncaringly your stroll on the road to serfdom.
In apparent response to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive (ATF) attempt to regulate popular types of rifle ammunition off the civilian market, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) has reintroduced legislation to disband the agency.
Sensenbrenner, a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, contends that the ATF’s functions could easily be handled by the nation’s other law enforcement agencies.
“[The ATF’s] ‘Framework’ is an affront to the Second Amendment and yet another reason why Congress should pass the ATF Elimination Act,” the lawmaker said in a statement.
Republican lawmakers and 2nd Amendment supporters throughout the nation have most recently criticized the agency for its proposal to reclassify certain types of 5.56mm/.223 caliber ammunition as armor-piercing. The ban would specifically ban the manufacture and sale of M855/SS109 “green tip” ammunition.
But Sensenbrenner has long called for the ATF’s abolition, citing a series of well-publicized ATF scandals in recent years as proof that the agency does more harm to the nation than good.
In 2010, the ATF’s notorious Fast and Furious program shot to the center of public debate after news broke that Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed with a firearm the agency had allowed to “walk” into the hands of Mexican cartel members.
Then, in December 2013, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel issued a report detailing how ATF agents operating stings in six different cities “took advantage of the mentally ill, set up stings near churches and schools and made decisions which some claim actually increased crime in their neighborhoods” in a bid to trump up firearms charges against individuals.
A Government Accountability Office report out last summer noted the scandals and criticized ATF policy changes that caused the agency to overlap the duties of other U.S. law enforcement agencies while decreasing its original mission.
“Beginning in 2010, ATF made criminal organization investigations one of its highest priorities, similar to firearms investigations, and deemphasized alcohol and tobacco investigations that do not involve violent crime,” the GAO report noted. “ATF data show that alcohol and tobacco investigations decreased by 85 percent (from 168 to 25 investigations opened) from fiscal years 2003 through 2013. In 2012, to more effectively identify and address the most violent criminal threats.”
That report led to Sensenbrenner’s original call to dissolve the agency.
“The ATF is a largely duplicative, scandal ridden agency that lacks a clear mission. It is plagued by backlogs, funding gaps, hiring challenges and a lack of leadership. For decades it has been branded by high profile failures,” he said in September. “There is also significant overlap with other agencies. At a time when we are approaching $18 trillion in debt, waste and redundancy within our federal agencies must be addressed. Without a doubt, we can fulfill the role of the ATF more efficiently.”
Sensenbrenner’s ATF Elimination Act would place the ATF’s firearms, explosives and arson responsibilities to the FBI and alcohol and tobacco law enforcement to the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Though the most recent proposal to eliminate the ATF comes from a Republican, the agency has also come under fire from Democrats in the past.
In 1993, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) introduced legislation to “transfer all functions of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms relating to the regulation of firearms from the Department of the Treasury to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”