Rep. Matt Gaetz introduces Abolish ATF Act

Rep. Matt Gaetz introduces Abolish ATF Act
AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

When you’re stuck on the side of the road, if you’ve planned ahead, you can always call AAA. In fact, that letter three times in succession is usually the mark of something good. Sitting here writing, I can’t think of an exception, actually.

Rep. Matt Gaetz has introduced a bill that, if you abbreviate the name, gives you AAA, and it’s even better than usual.

Florida Representative Matt Gaetz introduced a bill to eliminate the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) follow a ruling on pistol stabilizing braces.

Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) has criticized the ruling and Attorney General Merrick Garland, who said that the rule enhances public safety. The Republican said that the rule unfairly punishes disabled gun owners and those who rely on stabilizing braces to be able to fire with one hand.

Gaetz said that the rule was the “final straw” and proceeded to introduce H.R.374, the “Abolish the ATF Act” on Tuesday morning.

Yes, this is beautiful.

But it’s still grandstanding. Admittedly, it’s grandstanding I like, but it’s still grandstanding.

Gaetz has to know this won’t go anywhere. While the gun rights community will absolutely love this, there aren’t enough votes to make this law.

First, it’s unlikely there are enough votes in the House to pass it. Republicans have slim control over the House in the first place, and I can imagine a number of them would vote against such a bill. Republicans in contentious districts may well feel they can’t say current gun laws should be enforced better and then vote to abolish the agency tasked with enforcing gun laws. It would be political suicide for them.

And that’s assuming Speaker Kevin McCarthy even lets it come to a vote.

Yet let’s say it does, and it manages to pass. What then?

Well, then it goes to the Senate, where Democrats have control, so it’s unlikely to get a vote there at all. Even if it did and people vote along partisan lines, guess what? That’s right, it goes down in defeat.

Which is fine because even if it got through that step, there’s no way President Joe Biden signs the bill. Not on purpose, anyway.

After that, you have to look at the number of votes it would take to override the veto, and they’re just not there.

Gaetz knows this. He introduced a bill that will get him tons of attention from the right, infuriate the left, and do little else.

Of course, I could be wrong. I desperately want to be wrong. As I said, this is beautiful, and I want to see it become a fact, especially in light of the numerous cases of abuse we’ve seen from the ATF of late. Gaetz isn’t wrong to want to see the ATF disappear.

I just can’t see it happening. Not as things currently stand.

Further, I expect to see Democrats make political hay out of this any second now, especially if people sign onto this one, which I expect they will.