It just never ends; at least for the next two years, and if the first two were anything to go on, they can seem like an eternity. It is nonetheless scary to contemplate what more harm that these people can do; this time, to our very precious Second Amendment rights.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, now officially the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives but still referred to as the ATF, is a federal agency that was created in 1886, and was housed at that time within the Department of the Treasury under the jurisdiction of the Internal Revenue Service. Later transferred to the Department of Justice, the agency was bounced back and forth between the two departments until it was put under the permanent jurisdiction of the Department of Justice after the events of September, 2001. This change represented the agency’s ultimate alteration in purpose from a revenue collecting source to a terrorist activity prevention agency.
The responsibilities of the ATF now include the following: ‘investigation and prevention of federal offenses involving the unlawful use, manufacture, and possession of firearms and explosives, acts of arson and bombings, and illegal trafficking of alcohol and tobacco products.’ The ATF also regulates the ‘…licensing, sale, possession, and transportation of firearms, ammunition, and explosives in interstate commerce.’ Many of the ATF’s activities are carried out ‘in conjunction with task forces made up of state and local law enforcement officers, such as Project Safe Neighborhoods.’ The agency has nearly 5,000 employees and an annual budget [in 2010] of $1.12 billion.
It is thus the ATF that is responsible for regulating firearm commerce in the United States. The Bureau issues Federal Firearms Licenses (FFL) to sellers, and conducts firearms licensee inspections; it is also involved in ‘programs aimed at reducing gun violence in the United States, by targeting and arresting violent offenders who unlawfully possess firearms.’ ATF was also involved ‘with the Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative, which expanded tracing of firearms recovered by law enforcement, and the ongoing Comprehensive Crime Gun Tracing Initiative.’ The agency also ‘provides support to state and local investigators, through the National Integrated Ballistic Identification Network program.’
ATF is now considered to be the leading federal agency in most bombings that occur within the U.S., with exception to bombings related to international terrorism, which are investigated by the FBI. This agency is also responsible for the training of the U.S. military in evidence recovery procedures after a bombing.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is clearly is a pivotal federal agency in our national effort to protect Americans from international terrorism.
So, why then, was an individual just appointed to head this agency who has spent his entire professional life working against Americans’ Second Amendment rights?
Special Agent Andrew Traver has just been appointed by our current President, Barack Hussein
Obama, to be the new head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Formerly Director of the Chicago AFT office, Agent Traver is perhaps best known for a rather dramatic on-air television appearance in which he was working to make a point involving the highly controversial, at the time, ‘assault weapons ban.’ With the cameras rolling, Agent Traver handed the machine gun, which, of course, had nothing to do with the assault weapons in question at the time, to a female NBC reporter, and told her to fire at certain targets. The obliging reporter, knowing a great broadcast possibility when she saw it, indeed fired away, incidentally missing everything at which she fired. Sure enough, this broadcast made the national news, again, and again.
Agent Traver thus became, for the elites, the man to watch at the ATF.
President Obama’s newest appointee to the ATF has spent his long career with the agency espousing numerous and varied gun control and anti-gun activities, among them calling for the repeal of the Tiahrt Amendment, which restricts the use of the ATF’s firearms database to criminal investigations, and who has regularly conflated black market automatic weapons with legal semi-automatic “assault-style” rifles. This has occurred with such regularity that upon hearing of Travers’ appointment, Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Institute to Prevent Gun Violence, was moved to say: “This long-needed appointment is welcome news.”
On the contrary, columnist Kevin Williamson of National Review refers to Travers’ appointment
in the following terms: “Andrew Traver [is] an episodically dishonest campaigner against Americans’ right to keep and bear arms…” He goes on to say that the agency “…certainly should not be entrusted to a man with documented hostility toward Americans’ ancient constitutional rights and a remarkably backward view of the role firearms play in American criminal violence.”
This from Chris Cox of the National Rifle Association: “You might as well put an arsonist in charge of the fire department.” Yet another thought from a prominent supporter of Second Amendment rights upon hearing of Obama’s appointment of Traver: “He’s picked a strong anti-Second Amendment person for an administrative job that has far more influence over the practical exercise of Second Amendment rights than any other job in the country.”
The ATF itself still suffers from its somewhat stepchildish past, as it has stumbled rather badly in certain high profile cases, among them the confrontations at Ruby Ridge, and the Branch Davidian compound, both of which have since been referred to as ‘massacres.’ The agency’s actions, or lack thereof, regarding the flood of American-made weaponry that feeds the current and increasingly violent narco-wars in Mexico has also come under fire.
As the ATF struggles not only to satisfactorily redefine its mission, but also to restore the morale necessary to make the agency an effective force in fighting terrorism, perhaps the worst thing that could befall the agency would be to have it become the foil of a political agenda. This would be the opposite of what the agency was meant to be, and to do, and that is a federal entity that is one of the bulwarks in the international war against terrorism.
Unfortunately, in the misguided administration of Barack Hussein Obama, we know what would take precedence, as it always does, and it is certainly not the protection of the American people. The priority always was and always will be, at least for the endless next two years, the advancement of the agenda of the Obama Administration.
The appointment of Andrew Traver only accomplishes this much further, thus tragically reducing the freedoms defined in the Second Amendment to the Constitution that much more.