Anti-Gun Publication Pushes ATF "Reform" And Chipman Nomination

AP Photo/Morry Gash

The proverb “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” almost comes to mind whenever reading about someone scrutinizing the ATF. That’s not to say the ATF is the enemy, however, let’s be perfectly honest, the ATF has not been wooing the freedom loving populous with the way they conduct themselves. Dog lovers beware! The other day an article popped up that is pretty interesting, “The ATF’s Failure to Produce Public Records Keeps the Gun Industry in the Shadows“. This well written account is brought to you by none other than The Trace, a “publication” that serves as nothing more than a booster club for nanny Bloomberg’s misguided commie mommies and the ilk.


The article lays out the failures of the ATF to acquiesce expeditiously and accurately to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Excuse me while I shed a tear for the applicants in this case, as Brady (AKA Handgun Control Inc) is forced to sue the government over the data. It’s notable that USA Today was listed as a coconspirator of The Traces in their quest to sift through all these FOIAs. You are what you read, remember that. As reported, the authors do point out some very true information.

The slow and inconsistent production of documents is consistent with what activists, lawyers, and former employees say are widespread problems with the ATF’s FOIA program. A law enforcement and regulatory agency, the ATF frequently breaks or ignores public information law, making it harder for citizens, journalists, and researchers to monitor its effectiveness.

What they’re saying and claiming is correct. I know first hand of people that are still waiting for the ATF to finish taking their sweet time to provide requested documentation.

Not very relevant, but worthy of repeating here because the source is brining these inconveniences up, another set of facts to share:

In 1993, the ATF came under fire for its assault on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, setting off a firefight and a weeks-long siege that resulted in the deaths of dozens of people. More recently, the agency faced scrutiny for a botched effort — known as Operation Fast and Furious — to track guns flowing from the United States to Mexican drug cartels.


That’s about where their truth ends and so begin the half-truths. The authors go on to blame the ATF’s woes on their record keeping capabilities.

The ATF has also become an easy target for pro-gun lobbyists, whose Republican allies have effectively stopped the agency from updating its record keeping systems and left it with consistent staffing shortfalls. Since 2003, a budget provision known as the Tiahrt Amendment has blocked the ATF from using federal funding to release information about traces of crime guns, a restriction that Scharff says the agency has embraced.

“The ATF absolutely does take an unnecessarily expansive view of Tiarht’s restrictions on releasing data that it collects and maintains,” he said. “And as a result of that, the ATF fails to release data and information on firearms trafficking and gun industry behavior that the public has a right to know.”

An article from the anti civil rights caucus would not be complete without blaming something on the Republicans. The Tiahrt Amendment and other provisions in our federal law are there to protect gun buyers. Congress at one point appreciated the fact that a nationwide gun registration scheme is unconstitutional, so they had laws written to keep that from happening. These laws have been the bane of gun grabbing politicians and groups because it keeps their hands tied on knowing who has what firearm. Why would the government want to know who has the guns? Simple, so they can confiscate them and control the population. Period.


I suspect, as do many others, the reason the ATF slow walks everything, and in many cases refuses to address FOIAs, is not because of their record keeping situation. Rather, the ATF just does not want their dirty secrets to get out. If they were okay with their dirt being aired in public, they would not have so many whistle blowers that feed journalists with damning documentation. Massive hat tip to the courageous souls that share what they share for the good of we the people (not the government Joe, the people).

We should not be using The Trace’s argumentation as rally point for ATF reform. They are making some compelling arguments. Those arguments however make for a much bolder case to completely abolish the ATF entirely. We can lean on many of the “facts” they put out there now when we want to argue such a case. Otherwise the rhetoric can be compared to a hand painted program in a Kabuki theater production.

This suit against the government is only serving as a sacrificial pawn. Bravo to Brady (Handgun Control Inc) for being this creative. It’s humorous that they’re suing and attacking the very same agency that they’re going to lean on to execute the stripping of freedoms from American citizens. I do salute their ruse to exploit the FOIA system in order to force the government to “act” on the modernization of ATF’s records. Don’t buy into the lies though, this is not an altruistic move.


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