BREAKING: Bill Introduced In Congress to Eliminate ATF

The ATF has been the bane of many a gun owner’s existence. The massive bureaucracy has been the most visible embodiment of the gun control agenda imposed on Americans in the last century, a huge hulking mass of inefficiency and sloth which makes arbitrary judgements and seldom gives the little guy a break. According to at least one Congressman, though, the time has come for the ATF to go and he’s introduced legislation to make that happen.

From Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner’s office:

Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner reintroduced the ATF Elimination Act, legislation that would dissolve the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and merge its exclusive duties into existing federal agencies.

Additionally, the Act calls for an immediate hiring freeze at the agency and requires the Department of Justice (DOJ) to eliminate and reduce duplicative functions and waste, as well as report to Congress with a detailed plan on how the transition will take place. Further, it would transfer enforcement of firearms, explosives and arson laws to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products would be transferred to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

Under this bill, the DEA and FBI would be required to submit to Congress a plan for winding down the affairs of the ATF after no more than 180 days, and field offices, along with other buildings and assets of the ATF, would be transferred to the FBI. It would have one year to report excess property to the General Services Administration (GSA).

Those most knowledgeable about U.S. gun laws generally agree that the functions of the ATF would be better and more efficiently run by the FBI, as it was briefly in 1933. Originally housed under the Department of the Treasury to enforce the various taxes on tobacco and alcohol (especially during prohibition), the ATF was additionally charged with enforcing taxes under the National Firearms Act in 1934 which is where their involvement with firearms began. Their role would gradually expand to include regulating the firearms industry as a whole and performing investigations, roles they are most known for today.

Does Sensenbrenner’s bill have a chance? Maybe hope and change are still on the agenda after all.


  1. avatar Geoff PR says:

    If this is a hoax, it’s a cruel one…

    1. avatar Simon says:

      I don’t know how it could be a hoax. He’s actually introducing this bill. We’ll have to see whether or not is goes forward. I’m at least hoping for the Hearing Protection Act to get passed!

      1. avatar NorincoJay says:

        The Hearing Protection Act is on the top of my wish list.

      2. avatar Rattlerjake says:

        The hearing protection act is nothing but a band-aid to make gun owners think that the government is for the second amendment. Silencers/suppressors will still be treated like the receiver of a weapon needing a background check and have to be shipped through an FFL, all it does is get rid of the tax!

    2. avatar waffensammler98 says:

      I too checked my calendar to make sure it wasn’t April Fool’s day.

    3. avatar Henry Bowman says:

      About fucking time….If that happened soon it would have saved me a lot of bullshit.

      Hog slopping gets fucking old really quick.

    4. avatar salty says:

      indeed its not, they talk about this every few years…

      lil factoid, sensenbrenner was the guy that passed the fopa 86 MG bill in the middle of the night or whatever, without a counted vote?

      ive called his office before, they are rude and obnoxious, so i dont know that this is actually “progun”

    5. avatar JEFIII says:

      Trump promised to get rid of waste in government! This bill passing would prove another of his promises!

  2. avatar anon says:

    uh huh, good luck with that.

    1. avatar TexTed says:

      Republicans have campaigned for years on promises to shutter one agency or another. Usually they’re talking about cabinet-level positions like the Department of Energy or the Department of Education. Against that backdrop, getting rid of the ATF seems like a much more approachable task. Especially because this bill wouldn’t actually result in anything getting better or easier for the public; they wouldn’t be eliminating regulation, just reassigning it to the DEA and FBI.

      So, while it’s a pipe dream (the kind of pipe you smoke, I’m sure) it seems like it’s got a lot better chance than eliminating the Dept of Education, doesn’t it?

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        Well, “the kind of pipe you smoke” in a proverbial ‘pipe dream’ is an opium pipe…

        1. avatar TexTed says:

          Yeah, that’s what I was alluding to, although could have been clearer…

      2. avatar Henry Bowman says:

        “If it saves one Mexican`s life, why not do it?”

  3. avatar Defens says:

    This is only common sense legislation. It makes sense to reasonably put the enforcement and investigations under the auspices of the FBI. However, the DEA should probably be abolished as well, and either folded back into the US Marshall’s office or also handed back to the FBI. How many separate law enforcement agencies do the Feds need, anyway?

    1. avatar Justin says:

      I’m still trying to figure out why we have 17 intelligence agencies. As far as Federal law enforcement, just about every agency has a federal police force… heck even the department of education has a SWAT team apparently.

      1. avatar JasonM says:

        They need them to go after those college students who are late on their loan payments.

        Seriously, that’s what does.

      2. avatar PNG says:

        Each branch of the military (even the Coast Guard) has its own intel organization, each with its own specializations, counted as part of the 16 (17th is ODNI, which I don’t think really counts as an agency itself). Not counting the military or ODNI, there are 11 agencies, and even some of those are redundant. Don’t ask how I know ?

    2. avatar neiowa says:

      By one counting SEVENTY THREE. Do you feel safe (from the feds)?

      If the FBI was ever “better” than ATF, after 8yr of Obumer/Holder/etal they are just as big a bunch of clowns.

  4. avatar GrampsGuns says:

    Prolly just means we’ll end up sending our FFL forms to a diff address….

    1. avatar Matt(TX) says:

      I agree. The FBI is not the gun owners friend. Nothing changes, same game different name.

  5. avatar glenux says:

    Cause we are going t make American Great Again.

  6. avatar James Matthewson says:

    Does anyone know how would this affect class 3 items?

    1. avatar JasonM says:

      It would change the agency name at the top of the form you fill out.
      The same agent would take the same ten months using the same outdated equipment to perform the same pointless investigation.

  7. avatar explainist says:

    I used to do research for a government agency – don’t ask. we worked with the ATF. one time, I’m just looking at the front suspension of an ATV and an agent went all badge happy on me. apparently I was stealing photons from 12 feet away?

    a little later I told them a component from an item they blew up was 500 feet away, while they were surveying where the bits went. they told me that was impossible. last I looked, it was still there.

    if they can’t get along with people from other government agencies they work with, how well do they work with the public?

    1. avatar SouthAl says:

      I too, in previous career, used to do research for several gov agencies, but not ATF. Back in those days, all the folks I worked with in those agencies thought ATF were All The Fools. I saw the same kind of arrogance and ignorance you described.

    2. avatar justaman says:

      They don’t work with or for the public, I think they are the only federal agency specifically formed to counter a constitutional right.

    3. avatar HP says:

      This isn’t unique to the ATF, there is a complete lack of cooperation and at times outright hostility between different agencies, and sometimes components in those agencies. It’s pathetic.

      1. avatar Rincoln says:

        This is exactly why there should only be one investigative agency. It should have different departments, for sure, but just one agency. Military is a different deal. Their investigative agencies make a bit more sense to be separated, but it could still be argued that they could be combined as well.

  8. avatar No one of consequence says:

    This would merely relocate – not eliminate – and place under new management a bureaucracy.

    What we need is a removal of that bureaucracy’s foundation stones. Don’t just reorganize it, remove some of the reasons for its existence. Take silencers off the NFA (already in progress). Make it legal to once again buy new machine guns. Stop taxing and delaying short barreled rifles and shotguns. Otherwise we’ll have most of the same problems, from the same people, with a different acronym on their ballcaps.

    1. avatar Dootdootbeep says:

      Pretty much, if anything things would get worse before they get better. FBI is ill equipped to handle ATF duties and there would be serious growing pains.

      1. avatar Rusty Chains says:

        At this point, better the devil we know. Better to delete most of their function by removing silencers and short barreled stuff with stocks, after removing all their firearms functions then fold them into something else.

      2. avatar LarryinTX says:

        “Growing pains”? I was going to suggest a rider on the bill to cut the FBI budget by 50% at the same time.

  9. avatar Boba Fett says:

    As much as I would love to see the ATF completely eradicated, I don’t imagine this will get much support in Congress, and even if it does, will Trump sign it? Doesn’t seem like his style, although it would fit perfectly with his “drain the swamp” rhetoric.

  10. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    Soooo…..all the firearms freedom infringing laws remain on the books, and responsibility for their enforcement just shifts to thugs with a different acronym on their boots?

    Got it. Thanks for stopping by.

    1. avatar TexTed says:

      That’s the way I read it, yes.

      Still symbolic as all hell though, for a federal agency to be disbanded. It may not mean much, but it sends a message about the eternal growth of the federal government. It’d be a small step in the right direction.

  11. avatar PDW says:

    The NKVD organization went away also ( in a very convoluted way ) , it was reborn as the KGB. Nothing changed much.

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      Kinder, Gentler Bureaucracy. Too much to hope for.

  12. avatar former water walker says:

    Meh…not a chance in hell this will happen. My son works for the gubmint and told me how “safe” his job was(DoD). Pretty sure the muckety mucks at ATFE think the same thing-for good reason…

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      DOD is going to be rebuilt. Our force structure is a mess thanks to 8yr of the dimwit pseudointellectual. No other Fed agency is has any likelihood of similar.

      1. avatar former water walker says:

        Well my ex-army son speaks/writes fluent Arabic so I think he’ll still be working…

  13. Wow, let’s look at this a bit deeper and I think you’ll find why it’s bad. The ATF is a joke, we know it, the people in the agency know it, and capitol hill knows it. The FBI is respected, speaks with authority and get’s its way. We’ve never had a period where an FBI director couldn’t be confirmed. The FBI is not going to be hit with budget cuts or restrained by Congress. It’s better to have an ATF that can be restrained than an FBI that will run wild. Be very careful what you wish for, very careful. Do you really want firearms falling under an agency that’s primary focus is intel and terrorism. The FBI is one of the 17 agencies that falls under the DNI. The ATF has no where near the clout of the FBI.

    1. avatar Tom in Georgia says:

      The FBI was respected right up until its Director threw all their credibility away when he gave Hillary Clinton a free pass. And if an agent were ever to contact me for any reason whatsoever, I would have no qualms or compunction informing him or her so. While I think the ATF needs to be disestablished and its alcohol and tobacco functions divided among the several states, no federal agency at the moment has sufficient credibility to take on firearms regulation. And really the only firearms regulation we need is import by way of Customs, which was set forth in the US Constitution for tariff purposes. That’s about it. And generally a great many agencies need to be streamlined if not eliminated altogether for almost as many reasons but mainly spending entirely too much taxpayer money.


      1. avatar robby says:

        Well said!!!

    2. avatar Alan Esworthy says:


      The real goal for me (and should be for any sane person) is elimination of the unconstitutional firearms laws. Moving the gun control functions from the despised and ridiculed F Troop to any group more likely to be competent (and that is pretty much any other department) is a step in the wrong direction.

      1. avatar robby says:

        Right on!

  14. avatar T Parsons says:

    This would be GREAT!

    1. avatar Jerry says:

      Why would it be great? Nothing would change.

  15. avatar AlanInFL says:

    Nice, time to buy some beer and cigars.

  16. avatar Bud Harton says:

    When Prohibition ended, the US Department of the Treasury had (literally) thousands of suddenly available ‘revenuers’ who no longer had a mission. With alcohol then legal, the revenuers no longer had a law to enforce or taxes to collect.

    Fortunately, the leftist, progressives of the Roosevelt Administration rammed through the 1934 National Firearms Act ‘revenuers’ now had a brand new tax act to enforce, namely the taxes established on certain firearms by the 1934 NFA.

    And all the former alcohol enforcement agents became firearms enforcement agents and folly, les, deceptions and attacks on the Constitution soon resulted.

    It would be helpful if Congress also eliminated the entire 1934 NFA which would also eliminate the need for the ATF

    1. avatar Nic says:

      This also came out in 1934 – Uniform State Narcotic Drug Act. Alcohol prohibition created too many jobs.

  17. avatar Chris T from KY says:

    A billionaire construction guy has to keep his customers happy.
    An ATF government worker only cares about getting his government pay check, and can be as nasty as he or she wants to be.

  18. avatar Jackalope says:

    At the very least, we taxpayers would not be paying for ATF stationary.

  19. avatar FedUp says:

    So we take guns and explosives away from incompetent enemies of civil rights and give them over to competent enemies of civil rights, and that’s an improvement?

    Meanwhile, we take alcohol and tobacco away from one group of incompetent assholes and turn it over to a group of bigger incompetent assholes?

    Maybe we can get rid of the firearms regulation schemes, turn bombing investigations over the the Bureau of Incineration, get rid of the drug bans and the DEA, and maybe give alcohol and tobacco over to the FBI?

    1. avatar Demo Man says:

      If ATF is disbanded, who is going to issue (or deny) the federalized carry license that will result from the national reciprocity legislation that the gun hicks think is such a great idea? Aren’t you all looking forward to being summoned to a mandatory blood draw, drug test and psychological fitness hearing at ATF HQ in Washington, D.C., in order to be issued (or denied) your national carry license?

      Don’t worry (or think) NRA will look out for you! Maybe they will create a federal Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board to hear law enforcement objections like we have in Illinois. Go team NRA!

      1. avatar HP says:

        Where in the pending legislation on concealed carry reciprocity is anything said about a federal license? It doesn’t say that anywhere. The bill will force states to recognize permits from other states. You’ve managed to create a non-existent scenario in your head. I’m not sure what you’re grumbling about, other than using your post to piss and moan about the NRA. Gun hicks? You sound like a liberal.

        1. avatar Demo Man says:

          I’m sure that national reciprocity won’t inevitably lead to a federalized concealed carry license in the future, like the CDL driver’s license is now basically dictated by the federal government.

          NRA will look out for you, because Chris Cox & Chuck Cunningham at NRA/ ILA really care about people like you.

          That’s why they pay lobbyists like Todd Vandermyde to put Duty to Inform w/ criminal penalties in Illinois’ concealed carry bill, because they wanted to make it easier for police criminals to execute armed citizens with legal cover, like Philando Castile in Minnesota. But that will never happen to you, because you’re “one of the good guys.”

          Thanks for demonstrating the reading comprehension level of the average NRA member. You can go back to sleep now and rest easy. Thinking for yourself can be strenuous without an NRA editorial telling you how it all works.

  20. avatar Noishkel says:

    Hell, Trump much just go for it. A big part of his platform is culling unnecessary government as well being very pro law and order. If it gets spun to him right he might just make it happen.

  21. avatar Jerry says:

    So this would put the FBI in charge of collecting taxes for licensing the use and sales of alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives. I’m sure the FBI would be just damn happy about becoming a subdivision of the Internal Revenue Service.

    This isn’t going to happen.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      ATF has been removed (recently, I think) from IRS, is a division of the DOJ, as is the FBI.

      1. avatar Jerry says:

        I was speaking more metaphorically. What I mean is that the FBI sees themselves as above mere tax collectors. They would hate doing the job of the IRS in that respect.

  22. avatar IYearn4nARnCali says:

    This has me giddy like a kid the night before Christmas. I know I’m letting my hopes run wild, but what the hell. Make America great again President Trump! Screw the bozo’s and squash the ATF’s budget, flense away their duties to other agencies and cripple them by hiring freezes, removal of duplicate services and attack their foundation of the 34 and 86 gun control laws. The sky’s the limit! hehehehe

  23. avatar Ralph says:

    Government agencies never disappear. They sometimes change their names, but they go on and on like bad cases of herpes.

  24. avatar Roymond says:

    VERY bad idea. Moving the functions of one bureaucracy into an even larger an therefore less accountable bureaucracy will only make things worse.

    If his bill just took away the authority to make or change regulations, that would be an improvement. If it made a permanent hiring freeze so the agency withered away, that would be an improvement. If it called for a big bonfire on the Mall to burn all those purchase forms older than three years, that would be an improvement. If it froze salaries permanently, that would be an improvement. Heck, if it randomly transferred ten percent of the agents to the Border Patrol, that would be an improvement!

    But this just fills in a shallow spot in the swamp by digging out a deeper hole somewhere else.

  25. avatar Chris Morton says:

    That latter day Dirlewanger Brigade should have been disbanded (and many of its members prosecuted) after the “Good Old Boy’s Roundup” debacle.

    1. What was the Good Ol’ Boys Roundup about?

      1. avatar Chris Morton says:

        The “Good Old Boy’s Roundup” was a social gathering organized out of BATF offices in Oklahoma City, by a serving BATF supervisor, using government resources. Some of the more interesting aspects of the “Good Old Boy’s Roundup”:

        * It was a “Whites only” affair (put on at taxpayer expense), from which Black LEOs were explicitly excluded.
        * Klan and neo-Nazi type literature and memorabilia were trafficked in, including “n****r hunting licenses”.
        * Racist skits were a regular feature.
        * It was organized out of the Oklahoma City BATF office, which was notorious for the Klan memorabilia prominently displayed (NOT for historical purposes) in the offices, as well for a pattern and practice of harassment of minority BATF agents.

        There are more than enough [dying] private sector White supremacist organizations. There’s no need to maintain one on the backs of taxpayers.

        1. avatar borg says:

          What would happen if hundreds of minority cops were to crash their party? Would the ATF supervisor along with his guests and fellow employees decide to kill the black cops and risk becoming known as cop killers?

        2. I guess i did not read about it in history class because this must have went on before I went to high school.

          I think the Oklahoma City office closed in 1995.

  26. avatar HP says:

    Yeah, and if memory serves me correctly, Ted Cruz once introduced a bill to eliminate the IRS. This is a nice thought, though.

  27. avatar DaveR says:

    Nothing new here folks. This legislation has been around since at least 2013 and dies every year.

  28. avatar David says:

    Its not a terrible idea. But moving the Alcohol and tobacco portions to the DEA sounds like a very bad idea. I’d prefer to put the health aspects in FDA and the revenue aspects in the IRS. The DEA would be even higher on my list to disband and redistribute its functions elsewhere. See here:

    1. avatar David says:

      Just realized that its the BATFE behind that fiasco. But my point stands, both need to be reorganized into other agencies.

  29. avatar LongPurple says:

    It would be far better to repeal the NFA of 1934. Just promise all those BAFTE agents jobs with the FBI. The FBI bunch will let them sweep and clean until they get another job, or their pension.

  30. avatar Dave says:

    Well I’ve been saying this for the last twenty five freaking years. Get rid of the criminal Enterprise known as the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. These clowns have broken more laws in the last 25 years than any other law enforcement agency in the country. Their job is already covered by other federal agencies alcohol is covered by the ABC tobacco and Firearms local law enforcement and federal law enforcement. This organization has done some of the crookedest stuff any federal agency has done. Fast and Furious and the opening of pawn shops in the southern states and picking people to run these pawn shops for the ATF that were mentally retarded. Very low IQs and they purposely picked these people these disabled people to run their illegal Enterprise supposedly to catch gun thieves and some other crap supposedly. Not to mention that they let these people use drugs on the premises in front of these ATF agents and they let them go about their business because they were Undercover. When the truth finally came out about this they found out that the ATF actually cause crime rates to grow in these areas where they put the shops because they were paying such high ridiculous prices for stolen guns that it created a market for stolen guns and actually more break-ins occurred more vehicle thefts occurred it was like putting a criminal Enterprise in your town to catch criminals. Yeah that sounds as ridiculous as I just put it. The ATF has got to go bye bye the sooner the better exclamation point.

  31. avatar gemalo says:

    You can buy a jar of ‘moonshine’ at the local liquor store, the price of cigarettes is prohibitive and the anti-smoking campaign is still strong. The number of new firearm owners has exploded over the past 8 yrs. and previous owners have expanded thier arsenals and collections. What do we need this agency for again ?????

  32. avatar borg says:

    The ATF will no longer be able to reclassify ammo as armor piercing if the ATF were to no longer exist.

  33. avatar borg says:

    THe change over might have an impact on the cost of FFL fees. With any luck the fees will get cheaper.

  34. avatar R U Fuluvit says:

    Obviously the ATF needs another ‘Waco or Ruby Ridge’ to enhance their standing with the American public, to show how they are really needed. Then they can all pat themselves on the back and ask for more money.
    (I now end the sarcasm)

  35. avatar Chris Morton says:

    I can’t believe that this slipped my mind:
    The BATF once created an OFFICIAL training video… on HOW TO LIE UNDER OATH about the accuracy of the NFA record keeping system.
    It’s hard to believe that Nicodemo “Little Nicky” Scarfo was never director of the BATF…

  36. avatar Jim Bullock says:

    They can’t do this. If they shut down the ATF, where will the Mexican drug cartels get their guns?

  37. avatar Mikial says:

    An idea whose time is way overdue. Hope it’s for real.

  38. avatar Threeper says:

    Kurt Hofmann makes a solid argument why trading the devil you know for another agency enforcing the same unconstitutional laws, but with more power, resources and authority may not be in our best interest.

  39. avatar Capn Stefano says:

    ATF is utterly unconstitutional. Merging tyranny into a more effecient agency is just increasing the tyranny

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