Merge ATF with FBI? Not So Fast

Merge ATF with FBI? Not So Fast

Just about all sides in Washington agree that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is a mess. Its record of management failures is dismal even by bureaucratic standards, and fiascoes like the raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas and the "Fast & Furious" gunrunning scheme would be humorous in the Keystone Kops fashion had they not resulted in so many deaths.

Now the Center For American Progress, a left-wing think tank, has issued a 182-page report detailing the agency's foibles and suggesting it be merged into the FBI.

The fact that the CAP is practically an arm of the Obama administration and hardly a friend of the gun owner should immediately induce caution. The gun community has a justified disdain for the BATF, which repeatedly has persecuted law-abiding citizens and gun dealers on trumped-up charges. But we shouldn't be in a great hurry to see it subsumed onto the FBI. Let's let the CAP explain its reasoning:

"The FBI is a politically strong and well-respected agency and is therefore able to operate above the fray of politics with adequate funding and resources. The FBI director typically serves a 10-year term across presidencies and through numerous election cycles, which serves to shield the agency's work from the vicissitudes of elections, partisan politics, and interest group lobbying. And, as is relevant here, the FBI is already deeply involved in federal efforts to combat and prevent gun violence."


So, in other words, let's take the gun controlling out from under a universally disdained and distrusted agency with a long track record of failure and put it under a well-respected agency that Republican politicians will hesitate to criticize. Um, that's not progress to me.


The Reagan administration suggested abolishing the BATF and moving its functions under the Secret Service. NRA scotched that idea on grounds that the last agency you want enforcing firearms law is one with "secret" in its name. In the last few years of course, the once-respected Secret Service has gotten a BATF-level reputation, between cavorting with Colombian prostitutes, drunk-driving arrests and allowing intruders in the White House.


So what would be an improvement over the current BATF? Jeff Cooper suggested moving it under the Civilian Marksmanship Program, but he may have been kidding about that. Many experts have suggested splitting its functions, with the regulatory side under the Treasury Department and the crime-busting troops under the FBI.

Leaving it as is probably remains the best option for our side. It's the devil we know, and that usually beats the devil you don't. It was interesting that B. Todd Jones, who recently left the agency for a cushy job with the National Football League, actually gave the most succinct summary of why a merger would be a bad idea.

"As much as the ATF gets beat up, merging the agency with the primary responsibility of enforcing the Gun Control Act while respecting the Second Amendment with the agency that has the primary responsibility for national security would be a very dangerous thing."


Maybe Jones wasn't so bad after all.

Recommended for You

No one can restore receptivity to another Trump term with these disaffected gun owners but the president himself. 2nd Amendment

2020 is Trump's to Blow with Gun Owners

David Codrea - July 09, 2019

No one can restore receptivity to another Trump term with these disaffected gun owners but the...

Ontario Chief Firearms Officer, Dwight Peer, spoke with TheGunBlog.ca about the Canada-wide surge in buying AR-15 target rifles. 2nd Amendment

Ontario, Canada Chief Firearms Officer Comments on AR-15 Buying Surge and Gun Licensing

TheGunBlog.ca - July 16, 2019

Ontario Chief Firearms Officer, Dwight Peer, spoke with TheGunBlog.ca about the Canada-wide...

It's a matter of not wanting “What do you need a magazine with that many rounds for?” to become more than a rhetorical internet question. 2nd Amendment

Trump Administration Export Ban on Over 32 Round Magazines Raises Question of 'Why?'

David Codrea - June 14, 2019

It's a matter of not wanting “What do you need a magazine with that many rounds for?” to...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Shooting the 20mm Lahti

Shooting the 20mm Lahti

David Fortier had the chance to fire the Lahti L-39 while filming the 2018 season of Guns&AmmoTV while on location at DriveTanks.com.

Ruger introduces Rifles Chambered in the All-New .350 Legend

Ruger introduces Rifles Chambered in the All-New .350 Legend

Two Ruger American Ranch rifles and the AR-556 MPR are now chambered for Winchester's .350 Legend cartridge.

The GPO Rangeguide 10x50

The GPO Rangeguide 10x50

If you need to see your game, and know the distance in all hunting environments, the GPO RANGEGUIDE 10×50 is your winning ticket.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

No one can restore receptivity to another Trump term with these disaffected gun owners but the president himself. 2nd Amendment

2020 is Trump's to Blow with Gun Owners

David Codrea - July 09, 2019

No one can restore receptivity to another Trump term with these disaffected gun owners but the...

This will be the first of many investigative reports about the NRA by Firearms News. 2nd Amendment

Firearms News Investigates the NRA: Part 1

Nedd Scott - July 18, 2019

This will be the first of many investigative reports about the NRA by Firearms News.

The last of Germany's infamous Elefant tank destroyers. Historical

World War II German Elefant Tank Destroyers

Neal S Shera - July 12, 2019

The last of Germany's infamous Elefant tank destroyers.

See More Stories

More Industry

True Velocity composite‐case ammunition has been selected for the U.S. Army's Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) modernization program. Industry

True Velocity 6.8mm Composite-Case Ammo Selected by Army

Firearms News Digital Staff - September 06, 2019

True Velocity composite‐case ammunition has been selected for the U.S. Army's Next...

Berger Bullets is now shipping the new 6.5mm 156gr EOL Elite Hunter projectiles to exclusive retailers. Ammo

Berger 6.5mm 156gr EOL Elite Hunter Bullets Available Now

Berger Bullets - July 10, 2019

Berger Bullets is now shipping the new 6.5mm 156gr EOL Elite Hunter projectiles to exclusive...

Here's the scoop on all the great new shotguns and rifles appearing at SHOT Show 2019. Industry

Exciting Semi-Autos from SHOT Show 2019

Jim Grant - February 07, 2019

Here's the scoop on all the great new shotguns and rifles appearing at SHOT Show 2019.

See More Industry

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW OUR CURRENT ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×