Are you ready to celebrate 50 "blissful" years of the ATF?

AP Photo/Brennan Linsley

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, more regularly identified as the ATF or AFT if you’re sleepy Joe, has started popping open bottles of vintage sparkling grape juice to celebrate 50 years of their awesomeness. This July 1st will mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the organization. It’s oh so appropriate and interesting that the date would come a few days prior to the rest of the country celebrating our independence from that which the ATF has morphed into, tyranny. Although, let’s not get overly quixotic here, the true meaning of American Independence Day, what that means, what that meant, and the motivators behind why (unlike our friends to the north or down under) we sent the British completely packing. The United States does not bend a knee to the crown like Canada and Australia.

No, we managed to somehow squander our freedoms and take liberty for granted by allowing rogue agencies to create policy and rules, acting like lawmakers. Some of our members of Congress just recently sent a letter to the ATF about their ways, and there is a reason for that. Because they are the ones that actually have the power to arm or disarm the agency that’s morphed into a nuevo Gestapo.

The other day in a tweet, they took the opportunity to pat themselves on the back, as they’ve been doing so a lot more lately on social media. I’d be remiss to no not wish the ATF a happy belated Valentine’s Day, a greeting that I’m going to predict will become as colloquially celebrated as is the idea we have to keep our dogs away from trigger happy agents. What did ATF have to say for themselves?

That’s right, the ATF has gone openly woke, stealing the rhetoric from the anti-freedom caucus, discussing the “role firearms play in violent crime”. 

I do have to throw them a giant hat tip though for pointing out that many of the issues revolve around violent offenders/career criminals, violent gangs, narcotics traffickers, and firearm traffickers. Somehow the fact that it’s the people that are the problem, not the firearms, never finds its way into the messaging of the control freak left. So Kudos! to you ATF for pointing that out, but big down votes for starting out by stigmatizing the gun.

While the ATF is clinking their glasses over their big birthday that’s coming up by chastising the ilk of wrong doers, I hope they’ll take some time to reflect as they approach their sunset years.

The greatest and most egregious act of firearm trafficking was committed by the ATF themselves through their actions through Operation Fast and Furious. So maybe talking about how good you are at keeping the country safe from traffickers is a point you should save for a few more decades? Perhaps when the full Kennedy Assassination files are declassified?

We already touched upon the ATF’s awful treatment of canine companions. Hide your kids, hide your wife, hide your dog! This is not even hyperbole, investigative journalist John Crump pointed out some interesting things he found in an ATF document he obtained this time last year.

The document comically opens with a picture of a dog. The ongoing joke in the gun community is that the ATF likes to shoot people’s dogs. It does not appear if the image of the dog is used in jest. Dogs appear throughout the document including on the last page of pictures.

Oh ATF, naughty, naughty.

Before we sign off on my inaugural celebration of the 50 years since the creation of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, I’d like to bring up an amicus brief I read from a case in Virginia; Smith v. Virgina. The brief from 2011 points out a very inconvenient thing that’s worth exploring further by all our legal eagles, especially in light of the ATF’s new alleged naughty habit of electronically scanning and storing form 4473’s.

Since the NICS system had not yet been created, § 922(s) provided that, for only five years after enactment while the NICS system was developed, all firearms dealers were required to obtain certain information — an exhaustive list provided in § 922(s)(3) — from handgun purchasers only. That information would be given to the chief law enforcement officer in the jurisdiction for verification. The Brady Act was enacted on November 30, 1993, and § 922(s) expired on November 30, 1998, the same day the FBI launched the NICS system. 

The ATF has greatly exceeded the scope of its authority by continuing to use Form 4473 after the sunset of § 922(s), which elapsed more than a decade ago. Since Congress enacted a specific sunset  provision in § 922(s), Congress clearly intended that gun buyers would not still be asked the § 922(s)(3) questions after 1998.

Rather, after § 922(s)’s expiration, § 922(t) was to take over once “the national criminal background check system is established.” Section 922(t) contains no requirement that a buyer provide the information required by § 922(s). Rather, the buyer must only prove his identity, allowing the dealer to contact the FBI to run the background check rather than seeking purchasers’ responses to the questions contained in the expired § 922(s)(3).

Additionally, the Code of Federal Regulations does not authorize ATF to mandate completion of the Form 4473. 28 C.F.R. § 25.7 provides for obtaining only a person’s name, sex, race, date of birth and state of residence, but it does not include such questions as whether one is under Indictment.

I’m thinking this is worth further exploration and since being brought to light in a legal brief in 2011, I’m baffled that this information has not been more widely spread through the community. It seems to me that the ATF has been overstepping their authority regarding the completion and storage of form 4473 for over two decades. Not only that, form 4473 seems to be a gross violation of our Fifth Amendment rights, is it not?

Yes, let’s all raise our glasses to the ATF’s 50 years of excellence, preservation of freedoms and liberty, contribution to the humane treatment of animals, and the celebration of American rugged individualism. Y’all just have a knack when it comes to the freedom of expression and keeping up with American traditions. I can’t wait to see the rest of their tweets and social media posts leading up to their big day.