A good first step

In Bloomberg’s Business Week, of all places, Paul Barrett suggests:

As for the BATFE, drastic reform seems warranted. Why not take the agency’s better agents and fold them into the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under new leadership, and then just get rid of the bumblers who continue to make a mockery of federal law enforcement?

From a purest standpoint I would prefer that all the functions currently “performed” by the ATF be handled at the state level, if at all, and the ATF (pseudo) functionality be completely eliminated at the national level but I understand the political reality of smaller steps.

Politically the situation may be even more nuanced. At one point, many years ago, certain Second Amendment lobbyists actively worked to save the ATF because they could be more easily controlled because of their “F-Troop” reputation. As repulsive as it may be that may still be the case.

That a mainstream media outlet is advocating for the elimination of the ATF is significant. That alone is a good first step.

11 thoughts on “A good first step

  1. I am uncertain about letting the BATFE under the coattails of the FBI. The FBI enjoys the public’s good graces. While the ATF is the laughing stock of law enforcement. Like cockroaches, letting them hide would only empower them. Hamstringing an independent ATF would be childs play, compared to hamstringing the FBI.

  2. Can anyone find, in the name of this agency, any Constitutional authorization for its existence?

    Alcohol: Allowed for a brief time by the 18th Amendment, repealed by the 21st.
    Tobacco: Never mentioned.
    Firearms: Explicitly prohibited by the 2nd Amendment.
    Explosives: Never mentioned.

    So–just like the DEA–they are completely and utterly without any legitimacy, and citizens are fully justified in treating their edicts and aggression exactly as they would treat those of the Mafia.

    • Their formal function is a tax agency, and the FedGov does have the power to tax. Alcohol taxes, gun and ammo and suppressor excise taxes, tobacco taxes… Are there explosives taxes, too?

        • Agreed. The TAXING function of ATFE is unobjectionable (even if I believe that most of the taxes are unconstitutioonally high as they WERE INTENDED to create a “chilling effect” on practice of an ennumerated right).

          And the Infernal Revenue Service can handle tax collection without even needing more employees.

          • I think the correct term is “enabling legislation”.
            Ask for the enabling legislation for the income tax. I’ve never seen it. We start with the Sixteenth Amendment, and then go to the enabling legislation, but that is incomplete.
            That being said, I pay my income taxes every year. Most effective voluntary mail-order business* in the history of the postal service.

            *Harry Reid, Democrat Idiot from Nevada, said so.

  3. Wraith — Congress has taxing authority. While ATF was part of teh Treasury Department, all good (in terms of constitutional authority for the agency to exist). They were technically tax collectors. I agree that I cannot fathom the constitutional authority that justifies their existance as a primarily law enforcement agency within Justice.

    I would support this plan, ONLY if they simultaneously prohibited all former ATFE agents from working in any way with firearms regulations or enforcement for ten years.

    I’m sure some of them are actually good cops, and can prove it working for a different agency in non-firearms related enforcement. The bad cops will show up as what they are in short order when they are working for, say, the US Marshall’s service or Border Patrol.

    Moving the bad apples into another agency en masse and having the very same people doing the very same job, only with a different name and logo on their badge, will only ruin the receiving agency. Dispersed around federal LE agencies and prohibited from working “gun stuff” will dilute their negative influence, highlight their incompetance and lawlessness, and enable the bad ones to be identified, targeted, and eliminated by the receiving agencies (because then they’d be the crooked nail that sticks up and makes life difficult for their new coworkers and supervisors, NOT “one of the guys, doing it the way we’ve always done it.”

    As far as the purely TAX COLLECTION side of ATFE, that should be moved back to Treasury, and probably be folded back into the IRS. No need to transfer the personnel to IRS — IRS has plenty of tax collectors already, and the taxes ATFE collects are pretty straight forward. However, there MUST be a firewall between the REGULATORY and ENFORCEMENT branches of ATFE and the REVENUE side. Having teh same agency responsible for writing teh rules, overseeing the industry, actively investigating and enforcing criminal violations of the laws and regs, AND be in charge of collecting the taxes on those laws and regs is INSANE from a conflict of interest POV.

    By the way, this idea would be good for the non-protective branch parts of the Secret Service, too. Pretty much ALL enforcement agencies that come from (or are within) the Treasury Department are rotten to the core, and it is a systemic, institutional, historical, corruption. Secret Service protective services (despite the recent scandals) actually does a fairly good job at THAT function. . .

  4. Also keep this in mind. If they put the BATFE into the FBI, then a LOT of them would be put in Charge because of Government Seniority Rules. So Bubba Anti-Gunner could be the Seattle Special Agent-in-Charge of the FBI office there.

    I recommend forcing all of the BATFE who are eligible for Retirement into Retirement, disperse the Explosives Guys to all the LEGITIMATE Federal EOD Squads, disarm the rest and give them to the TSA.

    Unarmed, of course.

    Then after they screw that Agency up, we can get rid of the TSA.

  5. Mixing the two is a terrible idea. The FBI is evil and marginally competent, especially when it comes to murdering children, unarmed “terrorist suspects”, and unarmed females and then covering up their evildoing. They also do a good job of “pin the crime on the dead guy” when they run out of ideas on high-profile crimes. BATFE, on the other hand, is equally evil, but incompetent. Letting the FBI take the BATFE role is like having the Afrika-Korps show up just as you’ve defeated the Italians.

  6. First saying better agents at BATFE is like saying less dead, no such thing and then inferring that the Bureau is less corrupt and incompetent is beyond the pale

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