The head honcho of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) joined Richard Schlesinger to discuss the state of the agency and made it clear he’s gunning for more resources.
“Public safety is the reason we exist; it’s not to take people’s guns,” the deputy director said. “It’s to regulate firearms that can be misused. You know, we’re a small agency with a big job.”
In his first television interview, which aired this weekend on the CBS program Sunday Morning, Deputy Director Thomas Brandon made a pitch for the need to provide the agency with a searchable database of gun manufacturing and gun sales.
Brandon claimed the agency is hampered by ‘not having the necessary technology’, saying the constraints on ATF, such as congress prohibiting the agency from creating a computerized database of gun purchases, doesn’t make sense.
“But there’s a lot of things that don’t make sense in this town, you know?” Brandon chuckled. “And so yeah, would it be efficient and effective [with new technology]? Absolutely. Would the taxpayers benefit with public safety? Absolutely. Are we allowed to do it? No.”
“We ought to get rid of the ATF,” said Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), who introduced a bill to abolish the ATF – the latest version of an idea that goes back to the Reagan years.
“I think they fail time and time and time again,” Sensenbrenner said, adding that having a searchable database of gun sales amounts to “de facto gun registration.”
Brandon took over the deputy director position in April 2015 following his predecessor Todd Jones’ swift exit after his attempt to ban AR-15 ammunition failed.