Of all of the bastions of overreach and waste in the federal government, few are quite as loathsome and redundant as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (usually known as the ATF, from its former life as an explosives-free entity). Now, they could be finished, thanks to a new bill from one of the House of Representatives’ foremost conservatives.
In a statement released on his website Thursday, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wisc., announced that he was introducing legislation that would eliminate the ATF and fold its mandate and resources into larger agencies.
“Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner reintroduced the ATF Elimination Act, legislation that would dissolve the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and merge its exclusive duties into existing federal agencies,” the statement read.
“Additionally, the Act calls for an immediate hiring freeze at the agency and requires the Department of Justice to eliminate and reduce duplicative functions and waste, as well as report to Congress with a detailed plan on how the transition will take place,” it continued. “Further, it would transfer enforcement of firearms, explosives and arson laws to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products would be transferred to the Drug Enforcement Agency.”
Why would one want to disband the people behind the Fast and Furious gun-walking operation as well as the infamous Branch Davidian siege? Aside from the obvious, cost.
“Despite our country being trillions of dollars in debt, government spending continues to rise. Common sense budgeting solutions are necessary, and the ATF Elimination Act is one measure we can take to reduce spending, redundancy, and practice responsible governance,” Sensenbrenner said.
“The ATF is a scandal-ridden, largely duplicative agency that has been branded by failure and lacks a clear mission. It is plagued by backlogs, funding gaps, hiring challenges, and a lack of leadership. These facts make it a logical place to begin draining the swamp and acting in the best interest of the American taxpayer.”
The bill to do away with the ATF and its scandal-ridden legacy had originally been introduced by Rep. Sensenbrenner back in 2015, according to the bill’s history on Congress.gov. However, it’s been languishing in the purgatory of the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations.
Given a new president and a new emphasis on tightening our budget largesse, however, it looks like it might have a better chance this time around. We’ll keep you posted.
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H/T Bearing Arms