Let's All Lament The Woes Of The ATF

AP Photo/Morry Gash

The New York Times just put out a piece on May 2, 2021 and I really have to say they’ve outdone themselves on this one. The article entitled “How the A.T.F., Key to Biden’s Gun Plan, Became an N.R.A. ‘Whipping Boy’” is so outlandish that to not comment would be a crime. Cam gave a rundown on this progressive “woe is me” love letter, but he focused more on the Times’ fawning over Biden’s ATF nominee. I want to focus on the paper’s treatment of the agency itself.


Right from the eye catching headline, we must be hooked, and feel down right bad for the BATFE, or, as Joe Biden would call it, the AFT. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do when we hear language like “whipping boy” tossed around? Excuse me if I have to emotionally detach myself from this situation, but I can’t take what the Times is trying to communicate impartially (or seriously) with such a emotional toll being inflicted upon my frail psyche.

Getting through the article was tough. I’m not even going to comment on its entirety. To sum it up, it’s straight up political rhetoric and propaganda. The Times seems like it’s trying to paint the ATF as some sort of a injured bird that needs to be nursed back to health, while the big bad NRA just lords over its broken wings. When in reality, if the ATF did not run as a rogue agency making up the laws as they wish to, they’d probably get more support than they do. I certainly feel for the agents that are well meaning and intentioned. But, I’m not about to feel bad for an organization that has had little positive effect on society.

If you indulge me, we shall explore some of the bits and pieces of the article:

If there was one moment that summed up the current state of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, it was when the floor at the agency’s gun-tracing center caved in a couple of years ago under the weight of paper.


This event is cause for concern. Think about our governmental resources being so well-applied that there were these structural and cerebral inadequacies. Stating how the documentation was stored caused the floor to cave in should be the first flag on the play. But they need more money. Um, “no.” Is an agency that is not able to be a good and proper custodian of sensitive paperwork one that should be given as much power as they currently have? Probably not. But wait, it gets better…

“We had a lady pushing a cart, and the floor just gave way,” recalled Tyson J. Arnold, who runs the tracing center, tapping the new, steel-braced deck with his shoe.

Now the long-suffering A.T.F. (somehow the “explosives” never made it into the abbreviation) is at the center of President Biden’s plans to push back at what he has called “the international embarrassment” of gun violence in America.

This calls into question if some sort of OSHA investigation occurred after the event transpired. Excuse me while I hold no sympathy, what-so-ever for the “long-suffering A.T.F”.  The “embarrassment” is front and center with the reporting of this incident. Who do I feel bad for? Well, for starters, the lady that was pushing a cart, as well as any other collateral damage in the way of people that just work there, trying to make a living. If this event can teach us anything, it is that perhaps the ATF is not the organization that we should have in charge of such industries in America.


The article continues with more pandering to the emotionally charged reader:

But given the abiding power of the gun lobby, his immediate hopes lie in a more limited list of executive actions that will ultimately rely on the effectiveness of the A.T.F., the federal agency tasked with enforcing the country’s gun laws and executive actions.

There is a problem with pegging Biden-Harris’s inability to enact anything because of the effectiveness on the so-called “gun lobby”. These bills not only don’t enjoy the support of the NRA and other 2A organizations, they don’t have support of 50 senators at the moment, much less the 60 that would be needed to pass in the Senate.

Another issue that plagues Biden-Harris is that they have to comport to the law. Regardless what the AFT wishes to do, they cannot act outside the scope of the law. They try to. In short, this plea for how the downtrodden AFT cannot execute executive actions is really another way of saying they cannot break the law without someone stepping in to say “no.”  Then there is the inconvenient truth of We The People. Gun ownership is on the rise. Further, support of so-called gun control measures is on the decline. To me, a caving-in floor is a perfect analogy for exactly what anti-freedom civil servants and administrators deserve. This is what you get when you have a “too big to fail” mentality.

We’ll continue to look at each bit of the article in rapid fire now:


Mr. Biden has ordered a ban on the homemade-firearm kits known as “ghost guns,” a prohibition the A.T.F. will have to enforce.

The pesky thing that Biden-Harris, as well as the AFT is going to run into is the fact that so-called “ghost guns”, in the way of 80% lowers or other configuration, do not meet the statutory definition of what a firearm is. To bring this up as a talking point in this article is completely moot, as what is being proposed is technically illegal. If Biden-Harris wants the scary and mysterious poltergeist pistols and rifles to become a thing of the past, they must have the legislature make it so. Otherwise the AFT would be just conjuring up their own rules on a whim via their illegal seance.

First, though, the bureau will have to overcome its past. In the 48 years since its mission shifted primarily to firearms enforcement, it has been weakened by relentless assaults from the N.R.A. that have, in the view of many, made the A.T.F. appear to be an agency engineered to fail.

What past is the Times eluding to? It wasn’t the NRA that made the ATF slow-walk guns into the hands of the drug cartels in Mexico as part of Operation Fast and Furious. Oh no, that was the ATF and the Obama Justice Department. The “relentless assaults” from the NRA haven’t done nearly as much damage as the agency’s own ineptitude.

At the N.R.A.’s instigation, Congress has limited the bureau’s budget. It has imposed crippling restrictions on the collection and use of gun-ownership data, including a ban on requiring basic inventories of weapons from gun dealers.


There is legislation that addressed this very thing. The real reason why there are “crippling restrictions on the collection” of data on gun owners is because those restrictions are there to protect We The People. As a part of a “compromise” for enacting the NICS system, it was written into law that no federal gun registration be created. There is good reason for this, We The People don’t trust the government to have a gun registration. History has shown time and time again that after registration comes confiscation. Following confiscation usually comes pretty bad things, such as the events that unfolded during World War II in Germany, or the wonderful state of affairs that Venezuela is in today.

What we are looking at is an attempt to re-write history and hypnotize the American public with this false narrative. The article continues on, and I urge you to read it in full. But do so knowing that we’re being fed a line of bull. If the AFT wants to be taken seriously and be respected, perhaps they should approach us peasants with mutual respect.

For instance, since the ATF is the custodian and grantor of tax stamps for National Firearm Act items, maybe if they processed them in a timely manner they’d get more respect. Or if they did not ping-pong back and forth on the “arm brace” issue over the last few months.

No, they’re not doing anything to make the lives of our citizenry any safer or easier. The AFT is a rogue agency that can be discussed for volumes. A lot of good work is being done by gun owners and Second Amendment activists right now (including FOIA-acquired and leaked documents) dealing with getting to the bottom of what the AFT is and has been up to, and every indication points to a clear hostility towards legal gun owners and contempt for at least some in the firearms industry. The Times can paint whatever picture they want, but it’ll never change the facts.



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