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Tipsheet

Legislation Introduced to Eliminate ATF

Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner has introduced legislation to eliminate the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a federal law enforcement agency with 5000 employees. If passed, the legislation would dissolve the duties of ATF to the FBI and DEA. From the legislation:

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To abolish the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, transfer
its functions relating to the Federal firearms, explosives, and arson laws, violent crime, and domestic terrorism to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and transfer its functions relating to the Federal alcohol and tobacco smuggling laws to the Drug Enforcement Administration, and for other purposes.


“Washington should be responsible stewards of the American taxpayers’ money. While all too often that is not the case, this is a good government bill to streamline agency activity at DOJ—increasing effectiveness while decreasing cost. The ATF is a largely duplicative, scandal ridden agency that lacks a clear mission. It is plagued by backlogs, funding gaps, hiring challenges and a lack of leadership. For decades it has been branded by high profile failures. There is also significant overlap with other agencies. At a time when we are approaching $18 trillion in debt, waste and redundancy within our federal agencies must be addressed. Without a doubt, we can fulfill the role of the ATF more efficiently," Sensenbrenner said in a statement about the ATF Elimination Act. 
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According to Sensenbrenner there are two main goals for the legislation, "to eliminate and reduce duplicative functions and waste to the maximum extent possible, and to report to Congress with a detailed plan on how the transition will take place."

The legislation comes after years of corruption, Operation Fast and Furious and after a series of ATF stings in Sensenbrenner's home state of Wisconsin where agents took advantage of mentally disabled teenagers by giving them neck tattoos and teaching them how to commit crimes. ATF agents also lost track of a fully-automatic machine gun in Milwaukee after it was stolen from an unattended government vehicle. 

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