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Why the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) can't Enforce Gun Laws
After doing research, I found that there has not been a Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tabacoo, and Firearms (ATF) in six years. So why has there been no ATF Director in six years? Because one Senator James Sensenbrenner Republican, Wisconsin, in 2006 introduce a provision in the Patriot Act that makes the ATF director subject to senate confirmation. We all know how senate confirmations work and how they can be blocked! In that same year Congressman Sensenbrenner received the coveted Defender of Freedom Award from the NRA.
The Acting Director of the ATF
The truth is there is a current acting director. He is a U.S. Attorney from Minnesota. His name is B. Todd Jones and he splits his time between his job in Minnesota and his ATF job.
Same Amount of Agents today as in 1972
James Cavanaugh, a former ATF agent, said that in 1972 there were 2,500 ATF agents and today there are still 2,500 ATF agents. Former records indicate that 57% of illegal gun sales can be traced back to 1% of bad dealers. However, the ATF is prohibited from creating any registering of gun transactions.
The NRA says it wants existing gun laws enforced. There are something like 20,000 gun laws on the books that are not enforced according to Jerry Henry, Director of Georgia Carry.org. a spokesman for the NRA. Why don't we enforce those he said. He also said that Obama's Executive Orders are only going to affect legal gun owners.
The Tiahart Amendments
Former Republican Representative Tom Tiahart of Kansas said on Fox News 7/11/2007: "We have an organization that goes after the bad guys 24/7, it's called the ATF." The irony of this is that same senator passed a law called the Tiahart Amendments that was attached to a federal spending bill. Here is a list of what the amendments do:
- Restrict cities, states and even the police from fully accessing and using ATF gun trace data, which can show where illegal guns are coming from, who buys them and how they get trafficked across state lines and into our communities
- Requires the FBI to destroy certain background check records within 24 hours, making it nearly impossible to use those records to help solve crimes or to identify gun buyers with criminal histories who were mistakenly approved
- Blocks ATF from requiring gun dealers to conduct inventory checks to detect loss and theft, which law enforcement says is a dangerous back channel source for criminals who are in the market for illegal guns.
- The ATF is allowed to inspect dealers licenses once every 12 months. They actually have inspected only once in 17 years, according to a Washington Post article,
Tiahart and the NRA
For years, the Tiahrt Amendments have been standing in the way of law enforcement efforts to stop the flow of illegal guns to criminals. But now, a coalition of 350 mayors and 200 police chiefs have called for repealing these damaging restrictions.
In the final analysis, the ATF has been restricted from doing what the NRA wanted them to do in the first place, which is enforce existing gun laws. Here is a result of the Tiahart Amemdment:
- It allowed dealers to ignore police request for assistance
- It denied congress access to formerly access public prime gun data
- It ended the oversight of used firearms sales
- It required the destruction of background check records within 24 hours of sale
Fast and Furious and the Tiahart Amendments
The Tiahrt restrictions are blocking Congressional oversight of the ATF and its controversial “Operation Fast & Furious.” According to allegations, ATF allowed guns to be illegally trafficked to Mexico, possibly putting law enforcement officers in danger.The truth is the ATF is prevented by Tiahrt from releasing trace data connected to Fast & Furious, and forcing Congress to request the data from the Mexican Government.
Meet the Lawmakers
The NRA says it wants gun laws enforced. But the same people who say the ATF and law enforcement agencies are working 24/7 to enforce gun laws are the same people who have hobbled the ATF and the law enforcement agencies from enforcing those laws!
Senator Tiahart says his law protects those who protect us and the language in his law was approved by the NRA.
As Pogo said: "We have met the enemy and he is us!"