Matt Gaetz urges Congress to abolish ATF

Matt Gaetz urges Congress to abolish ATF
AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz has one position I agree with completely and totally. He wants to abolish the ATF. This is an agency that exists primarily to infringe on our Second Amendment rights. That’s more than enough reason to want to see the bureau abolished.


Now, he’s urging his colleagues in Congress to act.

Rep. Matt Gaetz is calling on his colleagues to support a bill that would abolish the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), a law enforcement agency that operates under the Department of Justice, after its latest guidance that restricts the ownership of gun components.

During a speech on the floor of the House chamber Wednesday, Gaetz, a Republican from Florida, said the bureau “cannot be trusted” and that it was ultimately seeking to strip Americans of their Second Amendment right to privately own firearms.

“The ATF cannot be trusted to protect our right to keep and bear arms,” Gaetz said. “There is no timeline where the ATF, under any administration, would become an ally [to gun owners]. It needs to go, we need to abolish the ATF before they abolish our Second Amendment rights.”

The comments came after the ATF announced it would treat pistols with stabilizing accessories like short-barreled rifles, which require a federal license to own under the National Firearms Act.

“Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms should be the name of a chain of convenience stores in Florida, not a federal agency,” added Gaetz, who represents the Pensacola, Crestview, and Fort Walton Beach areas.


Now, as I said, I’m in complete agreement with Gaetz here. Not only should the ATF be abolished as a federal agency, it should be a chain of convenience stores.

Let’s be honest, alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives just sound like a hell of a party, not something that the government should be regulating like they do.

Further, Gaetz is also right that the bureau cannot be trusted. Over the last several months, we’ve covered numerous problems with the ATF, including them overstepping their authority.

Where I think Gaetz and I find disagreement is in believing there’s a shot in hell of his bill actually passing. Then again, I don’t think he really believes it will pass.

This is grandstanding. This is Gaetz scoring points with his base without any real risk of causing problems by actually passing the bill. Anyone with two brain cells to rub against one another knows that there’s zero chance of this bill making it to President Joe Biden’s desk. Hell, I’m skeptical it’ll even make it to the floor of the GOP-controlled House for a vote.


Now, don’t get me wrong, this is the kind of grandstanding that resonates with me, but it’s grandstanding nonetheless. I’d be intellectually dishonest to say it’s anything else, even if I do approve of it.

If Gaetz is serious, let’s see this be reintroduced when the GOP has full control of the legislative and executive branches of government. If he does it and then the Republicans in Congress back it, then I’ll believe that the party really is interested in being pro-gun.

Until then, it’s just a nice virtue signal that just happens to echo my own values and little else.

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