BATFE Re-Branding Itself the “Violent Crimes Bureau”

Imagine my surprise when I logged onto the ATF’s website last night and saw that their banner had changed. Something had been added, specifically the text “The Violent Crime Bureau” now appears below their official title. Which was slightly confusing since I’m pretty sure that’s why we have the FBI. The Wall Street Journal picks up the trail…

The new name doesn’t have any legal status yet. Asked about changing names Wednesday, ATF acting director B. Todd Jones said, “That’s a concept that we batted around.” He added that the agency was focused on returning to its fundamental mission and said, “How it’s labeled is less important than what it does.”

The Violent Crime Bureau moniker reflects the agency’s ambition to take the lead in tackling violent-crime outbreaks in big cities such as Philadelphia that have seen an increase in murders and drug-related shootings. The agency’s current name is something of an anachronism because it brings fewer than a hundred alcohol and tobacco cases a year. And its reputation as a firearms regulator took a hit because of the Fast and Furious scandal, the subject of a new report from the Justice Department’s inspector general.

Yeah, but the FBI already does that.

From the FBI’s FAQ:

The FBI focuses on threats that challenge the foundations of American society or involve dangers too large or complex for any local or state authority to handle alone. In executing the following priorities, we will produce and use intelligence to protect the nation from threats and to bring to justice those who violate the law.

1. Protect the United States from terrorist attack
2. Protect the United States against foreign intelligence operations and espionage
3. Protect the United States against cyber-based attacks and high-technology crimes
4. Combat public corruption at all levels
5. Protect civil rights
6. Combat transnational/national criminal organizations and enterprises
7. Combat major white-collar crime
8. Combat significant violent crime
9. Support federal, state, local and international partners
10. Upgrade technology to successfully perform the FBI’s mission

See number 8? Where it says the FBI handles violent crime? And has been doing it longer than the ATF? And generally without the massive screw-ups?

My last position before moving down to Texas was as a contractor for a certain government agency that also had issues with wanting to over-reach its boundaries. In an age where budgets are under threat and politicians are running the three letter agencies, mission creep is the one tried and true way to keep your budget from being slashed. Claim you’re doing more, and the government gives you more money to do it whether you’re doing it or not. Money that then goes to your extravagant meeting budget.

I’m not opposed to putting more (WELL TRAINED AND PROFESSIONAL) police officers on our streets to combat violent crime. But when you have multiple agencies with almost the exact same scope and massive budgets, you get something… well… kinda like this.

Not anymore you’re not!

Personally, I think the ATF should focus on its core competencies. No, not giving guns to criminals, I meant trying to protect the United States from illegal guns, booze and smokes. Specialization is what breeds competence, and the mission creep of trying to make the ATF into yet another crime fighting branch of the government seems like a sure way to encourage even more SNAFUs.

Hmm. If the ATF fancies itself as a super duper crime fighting organization, I wonder if that will have any negative impacts on law abiding citizens….

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About Nick Leghorn

Nick Leghorn is a gun nerd living and working in San Antonio, Texas. In his free time, he's a competition shooter (USPSA, 3-gun and NRA High Power), aspiring pilot, and enjoys mixing statistics and science with firearms. Now on sale: Getting Started with Firearms by yours truly!

33 Responses to BATFE Re-Branding Itself the “Violent Crimes Bureau”

  1. avatarMr. Lion says:

    Better idea: Disband it entirely and let the FBI handle its duties. Generally speaking the FBI run a fairly tight ship and are much less prone to political corruption these days.

  2. avatar16V says:

    Just another day in the world of internecine warfare err, inter-agency cooperation. Yeah, that’s the ticket… Here’s 40 something of the biggest intel orgs in the US…

    http://www.fas.org/irp/official.html

    There’s lots more, but those are the bigger fish. As with all organisms, government agencies are fighting to survive and thrive. Constantly battling over funding and turf, especially when there’s the appropriately fascist-dictatorship-named Homeland Security (Sieg Heil!) sucking up some of their former money and power.

    This is just a rebranding effort on the part of BATFE and RBF…

  3. avatarMD Matt says:

    When there were a relatively limited number of agencies with different missions things were manageable. Mission creep, budget bloat, and DHS in the time of the war on terror have all expanded the scope of “law enforcement” to the point where an agency’s territory is more important than its purpose.
    This is par for the course. Class II and III permits take 6-9 months to process, but BAT feels that it should expand its focus (because you know, they don’t have enough to do right now.)
    In a perfect world, combating violent “crime” would involve lessening strictures and wait times for honest armed citizens. In our imperfect world, battling violent crime seems to involve putting further strictures on the tools of violence rather than violent tools. The BATF is a self-perpetuating machine. The more it can claim to be doing, the more funds it can claim. Conceptually it is there to protect us. Practically it does so to further its own goals and solidify its influence.

  4. avatarRalph says:

    ATF is indeed the “violent crime bureau.” It commits violent crimes more frequently than any other federal agency, including the FBI. Hence, the new title.

  5. avatarThomasR says:

    I think they are starting to realize every time they attempt to stop illegal guns they either end up selling illegal guns to homicidal criminals that get innocent people killed or they end up killing innocent men, women, children, dogs and stomping kittens to death.
    They’re figuring that it’s time to focus on real criminals instead of killing law abiding citizens and their pets for practicing a civil right.
    Sorry, I had a momentary flight of fancy.
    Yeah, I agree, It’s just an attempt to repackage the image problem they’ve created for themselves, AGAIN.

  6. avatarGreg Camp says:

    This is what happens when we have a War on Drugs since the Nixon days and a War on Terror that has gone on for more than a decade. It’s a war for turf, a war against fiscal restraint, and a war against the rights of citizens.

  7. avatarMercutio says:

    yas…. because beer and tobacco are violent crimes…. DHS will soon be the Dept of Motherhood and Bovine Effluents.

  8. avatarAharon says:

    The new ATF tag line reads like they are now a spin-off television series.

  9. avatarSome Civilian says:

    > He added that the agency was focused
    > on returning to its fundamental mission

    Collecting taxes?

  10. avatarAvid Reader says:

    “. . .a certain government agency that also had issues with wanting to over-reach its boundaries.”

    Gee, Nick, doesn’t that pretty much describe all of them?

  11. avatarFyrewerx says:

    The FBI isn’t doing too well on mission item #9 in the situation in Chicago. Maybe its time to call out the National Guard, too.

  12. avatarWalter says:

    While I do agree that everything you say makes sense perhaps there is a better solution: ENCOURAGE the ATF to overstep into FBI territory! This means that they will be too busy encroaching the FBI to bother us.

    Also think if it this way: When the FBI gets tired of them screwing around in their backyard one of two things may happen: a.) someone will shut the ATF down since it really is redundant or b.) they will go all Bonnie and Clyde on them!

    Just remember we would win no matter what happens since they will be too busy to mess with us in their new role

  13. avatarspeedracer5050 says:

    The really scary thing is where the FBI says in their statement:” we will produce and use intelligence”!!!
    Now how the hell are they going to do that? Talk about your oxymorons!!!

    • avatarPANTERA VAZQUEZ says:

      5050 my man,-”The really scary thing is where the FBI says in their statement:” we will produce and use intelligence”!!!
      Now how the hell are they going to do that? Talk about your oxymorons!!!”

      No oxymoron here, creating information to bring against individuals is an art form perfected by the Feds. Look at our wonderful National History, where we have been using innuendoes and lies to start wars, (WMD anyone?) among other objectives. The fact is-our government can, does and will create realities as a means to an end.

  14. avatarTommy says:

    What every one here has failed to mention is ATF is an executive branch law enforcement organization where all other Federal Agencies are run independently from direct control of Congress or POTUS. Food for thought.

  15. avatarjwm says:

    You can’t polish a turd. That’s what “rebranding” is. All the pine fresh in the world won’t drown out the smell of shit.

  16. avatarwolfpack 46 says:

    hmmmmmmmm/
    if we translate batfeces to german do we get stasi?????????\
    or to ruski and get kgb or gru/ hmmmmmm

    you know the civilian force with same resources as the military but civilian, that I am sure pays tribute to the one/

    do anyone figures that their oath of office will mention the constitution anywhere/

    just the thoughts of an old dogface. :)))))

  17. avatarJoshinGA says:

    Seconding what others have said, the redundancy of the alphabet organizations is ridiculous. We were fine with the CIA running things abroad and the FBI taking care of things at home. They were also efficient at getting their jobs done; well, as efficient as government can be. Now there is a gigantic waste of taxpayer money funding these groups that tend to do more harm than good.

  18. avatarRIGHT! says:

    IF I recall correctly Waco was an ATF attempt to get more funding and assume more “missions” as well

  19. avatarBilly Wardlaw says:

    If in fact the “The agency’s current name is something of an anachronism because it brings fewer than a hundred alcohol and tobacco cases a year.”
    And your stated desire/goal is “that the agency was focused on returning to its fundamental mission.”
    The logical conclusion is that you cease to exist.

  20. avatarBilly Wardlaw says:

    What they want is access to all the Extra-Legal investigative tools that the FBI, NSA, and CIA seem to be enjoying.

    And they hope fighting violent crime, or at least seeming to do so, while buy them that access.

    Just a thought.

  21. avatarAPBTFan says:

    Seems to me with the addition to the title they’re openly admitting they’re trying to justify their existence.

  22. Maybe “The Violent Crime Bureau” is a reference to what they plan to do. You know, commit violent crimes. Sort of like they do now, but it will become official.

  23. avatarChris says:

    “The FBI focuses on threats that challenge the foundations of American society or involve dangers too large or complex for any local or state authority to handle alone.”

    If thats their mission then they need to investigate and shut down anti-gun movements and poloticians. Last I checked the Second Amendment is a part of this countrys foundation. Oh wait…

    ” 9. Support federal, state, local and international partners”

    Of course there was a loophole. They are supposed to protect our foundation but support thoes who are a threat to it.

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