Trump Admin Seeks To Strip BATF of Alcohol & Tobacco Enforcement

AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ days look numbered.  Once more, under its 2020 budget proposal, the Trump administration seeks to transfer the ‘alcohol’ and ‘tobacco’ duties from the BATF.  The U.S. Treasury Department would take those duties if the administration gets its way. Today’s BATF would also get a new name: Bureau of Arson, Explosives and Firearms.

This move makes sense. After all, according to BATF’s own Fact Sheet, alcohol- and tobacco-related cases, combined, only totaled .24% of the cases where the agency sought charges. The overwhelming majority, 92% of the time, the agency initiated charges in firearm-related cases.

The Trump administration sought to transfer out the booze and smokes enforcement in 2018 too, but Congress seemed disinterested in the change.  This despite claims that cracking down on cigarette smuggling would bring in a windfall to federal and state governments in lost tax revenue.

The Washington Post had this latest proposal.

The Trump administration proposed a 2.3 percent reduction in the Justice Department’s budget, much of that money coming from grant programs like COPS, which pays for local police agencies to hire new officers. The White House budget plan for the Justice Department in 2020 prioritizes spending for national security, cyber security, immigration enforcement, combating violent crime and addressing the opioid epidemic.

Like last year, the Trump administration proposes shifting part of the work of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives away. Under the proposal, alcohol and tobacco enforcement would move to the Treasury Department so that ATF could focus more on guns, explosives and arson.​ The same proposal was made last year and went nowhere in Congress.

Given the persistent moves by the Trump administration, it seems likely that eventually the BATF will face a realignment of its mission.


  1. avatar Marcus says:

    Funny thing about Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, they’re all like legal in the nation.

    1. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

      Good point.

    2. avatar WhiteDevil says:

      Yet, the agents are not. They are nothing more than criminals with governmental support. Each one should be arrested at gunpoint and tried for conspiracy to violate civil rights.

      1. avatar John says:

        AMEN They started the killing by selling a sawed off shotgun to a guy in Idaho undercover. Killing his family, wife and children.. Should have been dissolved years ago.

    3. avatar Whoopie says:

      They’re all highly desired products and thus ripe for taxation. Which is why ATF is under the administration of the Treasury and why moonshiners referred to them as “revenuers.”

      1. avatar Diksum says:

        BATFE has not been under Treasury for a long time. They are under the Justice Department.

    4. avatar frank speak says:

      less function…reduced budget [and funding]…an ominous turn for a govt. agency…could they be on the way out entirely?

  2. avatar frank says:

    Soooo they would just be “F” enforcement…?

    1. avatar Kenneth says:

      Yeah, probably shortened to F.U.
      Their new symbol: A giant middle finger pointing up at the Citizens. (extra credit to anybody out there who might know the difference between a Citizen and a citizen.)

      1. avatar Mad Max says:

        Citizens are armed, citizens are not?

      2. avatar Michael says:

        The right to own weapons is the right to be free. -30-

      3. avatar Kevin says:

        A Citizen is a watch.

      4. avatar Kenneth says:

        All good guesses. The capitol “C” denotes either proper names or titles; like Premier, Senator, Prince, etc. Citizen is a title, a citizen is a person.

    2. avatar Andrew says:

      The Fun Police

    3. avatar John J says:

      NO, read it again!!!

  3. avatar Kenneth says:

    And their new name? They should be called: “The Bureau to Eradicate Firearm Owners”, but since that’s their real mission, it will be way too close to the truth for Washington, DC to tolerate.

  4. avatar Tom T says:

    Alcohol, tobacco, and firearms are what I spend my tax refund on.

    1. avatar Roman of Texas says:

      I wish i still got tax refunds. 🙁

    2. avatar RMS1911 says:

      If you get a tax refund the government was holding too much of your money and they don’t pay interest.

      1. avatar That Jason says:

        As opposed to what you’d make at the bank on your $50 per month? They’re out at most a whole 2 bucks.

        Please. Explain further how you successfully run your household finances like a Fortune 500 company.

    3. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      It’s not a tax refund. It was your money all along. You just overpaid. An interest free loan to the government. On the other hand. Try to explain to them why you shouldn’t pay interest if you owe them.

    4. avatar LazrBeam says:

      Should be a convenience store.

    5. avatar Albert Tullis says:

      I shop at that store.

    6. avatar Duke Hobbs says:

      Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms should be a convenience store not a government agency!

  5. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Why is there a federal bureau with an explicit mission to investigate arson? That seems totally and utterly unnecessary.

    I can see potential value in a bureau to enforce safe storage requirements for explosives since mistakes can easily harm people well beyond the storage location (depending on its size and isolation).

    As for the firearms mission, of course I want to see that go away entirely. Unlike explosives, firearms have no ability to harm people beyond a storage location. And we already have law enforcement entities in place that can prosecute people who misuse forearms to harm others.

    (Sure, some jackass could store a loaded rifle outside without the safety engaged, and that rifle could fall over into brush, actuate the trigger, and maim/kill someone several hundred yards away. Needless to say, this type of event might happen once per century and is not worth considering.)

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      typo correction: who misuse FIREARMS to harm others

    2. avatar Ranger Rick says:

      As a “policy” the BATFE makes itself available to assist with any arson investigation that has the potential for an Insurance settlement of a $ million dollars or more. Regardless of federal venue.

  6. avatar Political gristle says:

    Govt love their acronyms.

    The new federal agency will be called…… *FFEAAEBNTOA*
    Federal Firearms Explosives And Arson Enforcement But Not Tobacco Or Alcohol.

    1. avatar Ridgy says:

      Their new acronym would be so close to BARF that I really hope some politician can actually do their job and devise a special name for the agency or drudge up some obscure archaic name for explosives so that we don’t miss this opportunity for another great law enforcement acronym.

  7. avatar MB says:

    This is a start. First real progress in a while. If would could get rid of the NFA, GCA and FAWB laws off the books, there would be no need of the agency and the regulations they generate, and the agents could be transferred to C.B.P. & F.B.I.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Now THAT is something that I can support!

      1. avatar LazrBeam says:

        Got some work to do in the House first.

    2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      And think about actually adding value to society:

      Tracking and enforcing National Firearms Act rules adds ZERO value to society. Even worse, it takes law enforcement officers away from other activities that actually would add value to society.

      Instead, have that personnel work for Customs and Border Protection or Federal Bureau of Investigation and actually add value to society.

      1. avatar MB says:

        @uncommon Yup, we as taxpayers are getting very little value out of the BATFE, redistribution of tax dollars (something all Democrats love) to other agencies could really enhance public safety, while providing a cost savings and citizens satisfaction with their government.

        1. avatar Ed Schrade says:

          And now they took a little load off their mission so they can devote more time to go after gun owners, real good way to go.

        2. avatar MB says:

          @Ed, 94% of BTAF’s efforts are already firearm and explosives. I want to see them not responsible for any of it. Gun crimes are already covered by other laws against murder, robbery, bank robbery etc. No need for a agency that was created to deal with Prohibition crimes. Agents can better serve the public by working for C.B.P. or F.B.I. and really protecting citizens from the real criminals.

        3. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

          Firearms come under BATF because of taxes. Department of Treasury anyone? Pittman-Robertson Act? We’re real big on touting how much money that collects on firearms, ammunition and, I believe, even archery equipment. All required to be spent on wildlife conservation. Much to the consternation of democrats who would like to raid it for social programs. What needs to be redefined is the means of collection and enforcement. It should be strictly administrative. Violation referred to any of another of LEO organizations as needed.

      2. avatar frank speak says:

        an agency whose primary function seems to be chasing guns is unnecessary…and will constantly be in a search for “incidents” to demonstrate their value and relevance…and future funding….Ruby Ridge, Waco and “fast and furious” can all be laid at their feet…as well as numerous others that didn’t acquire that kind of widespread publicity…collection of taxes (and fees?) can better be performed by treasury…enforcement of gun laws…[when encountered] can can easily be added to the list of duties of other law enforcement agencies….we really don’t need these guys….

    3. avatar frank speak says:

      checked out their website?…”Keeping America safe”….but from who?

  8. avatar barnbwt says:

    So we can just call them Fags instead of BATFags?

    1. avatar Moltar says:

      No. BATFags are what Batman calls his smokes. Granted it’s archaic and very European but hey dude’s like hella rich and packs a shitload of gadgets let him call them whatever he wants. Also you owe Bruce Wayne and Wayne enterprises $0.15 for using a name they copyrighted for some reason. Damn Wayne enterprises always copyrighting Batman’s gadgets.

  9. avatar David Walters says:

    I wish every president took the trouble and spent the political capital to reorganize the Federal government agencies for more efficiency. Thank God the Holy that Trump (although not very holy) is trying.

    Let’s give credit where credit is due.

  10. avatar tmm says:

    I would prefer they just get the “F” out, too.

  11. avatar Bill R says:

    So, juggling bloated and power-hungry bureaucracies but not really shrinking or eradicating anything. Meanwhile Trump humpers cheer the move.

  12. avatar RMS1911 says:

    Shouldn’t any federal bureau concerning firearms be involved in enforcing shall not be infringed with lethal force?

  13. avatar strych9 says:

    “This despite claims that cracking down on cigarette smuggling would bring in a windfall to federal and state governments in lost tax revenue.”

    *facepalm* Create a problem that loses or costs money. Invent a solution that costs more money in an attempt to recoup lost funds instead of fixing the original problem. Typical government work.

    “This doesn’t work.”

    “Don’t worry, we’ll do it bigger and better with a larger budget and more layers of bureaucracy, that’ll fix it. You’ll see.”

  14. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    So would the new name be shortened to the B Fers? Considering some of their flaming failures of the past, it would seem appropriate.

  15. avatar MyName says:

    I suggest the Bureau Assigned to Regulate Firearms or BARF.

  16. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    The definition of dumbfounded; The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

  17. avatar possum says:

    No funding for local law enforcement, adding more on the Fed level. I like to play Chess, it appears my Queen is about to be captured and it won’t be long before Game Over.

  18. avatar Made in America says:

    I think that Explosives and, Arson should eliminated from the ATF responsibilities.The Admin may have a loophole here if Individual One wants to get rid of some of his properties that may not generate THOSE funds he so much enjoys.

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      those fire, arson and explosives people are some of their best personnel…and could easily be absorbed into some other law enforcement agency………

  19. avatar Alan says:

    I have a much better idea, as follows. Repeal ALL the firearms and ammunition/components laws that BATFE currently messes about with/messes up. Replace with the following. Any and or all criminal use/possession of firearms and or ammunition shall be subject to Capitol Punishment. Leave the law abiding citizen the hell alone, for a change, and take real action against armed criminals, for a change.

  20. avatar Rick Hess says:

    I should open a convenience store called “Pot, Firearms, Alcohol, and Tobacco”. Acronym PFAT.

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      Acid, Crack, Tobacco, Ritalin, Ice, Gats, Heroin and Tussin.

      The US Department[store] of ACTRIGHT.

  21. avatar ted says:

    Why in 2019 is the federal government involved in alcohol & tobacco regulation? Let the states handle about these. If they NEED to be federally regulated then move them where other consumables are regulated, FDA or USDA. Treasury makes zero sense.

    Firearms, leave to the states. Explosives move to the FBI.

    1. avatar tmm says:

      What about really big fires? 🙂

    2. avatar frank speak says:

      perhaps the DEA?…after all, both alcohol and tobacco [nicotene] are drugs…

  22. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    and if they’re never disbanded they will be my bff.

  23. avatar DaveL says:

    I say disband the whole thing. Give tobacco and alcohol tax enforcement to the Treasury. Put civil regulation of gun stores and manufacturers under the Department of Commerce. Give the prosecution of gun crimes to the FBI. Seriously, what other country has a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (and Really Big Fires)?

  24. avatar Derek says:

    “Bureau of Arson, Explosives and Firearms”
    BAEF, it’s what’s for diner. bum bum bum

    1. avatar possum says:

      Well there’s a reason to drink more Gin

  25. avatar GlockMeAmadeus says:

    Whats that crashing noise in the middle of the night? Home invaders? Cartel heist gang? Rest easy!

    Just your friendly rejuvenated and single purposed ATF, err, AEF, driving a Bearcat thru your door and shooting your dog because they found your name on Slidefires customer list.

    Good thing Trump is all for RKBA!

    1. avatar Ardent says:

      I drive my Saracen through your garden last night, I kicked your front door down around at midnight…something’s telling me boy, that your avoiding me, and when I find you you will go for your tea…

      Lyrics…try them.

  26. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    I like the idea. If Donald Trump wants it that means the Democrats in the House of Representatives don’t want it. It doesn’t matter if it makes sense or not to the Democrats.
    Orange man bad!

  27. avatar Anonymous says:

    Guns, alcohol, and tobacco are none of the government’s business. At all.

    1. avatar MB says:

      @Anonymous, Yes, I agree, but 2 out of the of them are taxable and public health issues, and not protected by enumeration in the Constitution. My concern is guns, the FBI investigates crimes, we already have laws against murder, robbery, etc. Why single out guns for special treatment, hammers used to kill more than rifles, yet rifles controlled by regulations.

  28. avatar Neil says:

    I want to shop at ATF.

    In no way should is be a government agency.

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      …especially when they can’t secure their own guns…..

  29. avatar Evalyn M Welsh says:

    I support this move of President Trump. Saves us more taxes out to pay for government billing.

  30. avatar Godfather says:

    Another wasted overlapping agency we don’t need like 95% of goobermint

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      ATF and the Dept.of education…both ripe for elimination….

  31. avatar Hal Lemoyne says:

    Trump Admin Seeks To Strip BATF of Alcohol & Tobacco Enforcement

  32. avatar sound awake says:

    so does this mean we cant drink whiskey smoke cigars and shoot guns at the same time
    that would be really bad

  33. avatar borg says:

    The ATF would have to change the name to FAE for firearms, arson, and explosives. They could keep their old ATF name if it was Arson, Terrorists, Firearms.

  34. avatar Jim Bullock says:

    Oh, ATF is under Justice dept — their spawning righteousness-regs makes more sense now.

    Yeah, move A and T to “vices we’re just accepting”, n lighten the regs enough to pull them mostly out of the black markets.

    Meanhile, former ATF gets called what it really does — firearms regulation, and the argument gets clearer.

    All incrementally better.

  35. avatar Bierce Ambrose says:

    “Trump proposed creating new dept of T and A.”

    What, nobody? I am dissapoint.

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