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The FBI trumps the ATF. This time . . . (courtesy cbsnewscom)

Continuing our exploration of the theme that America has way too many [armed] cops, expanding into a discussion of who the hell needs the ATF anyway . . . “Within hours of the Navy Yard shootings, the FBI had traced the gunman’s recent shotgun purchase and sent agents to the shop in northern Virginia where he bought it. Left out of the loop was the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives,” reports, “a surprising snub between top U.S. law enforcement agencies that comes as the ATF struggles to show its relevance in Washington.” Surprising to who? The ATF/FBI overlap is well-known, including the infamous . . .

fist fight between agents arriving at the scene of an explosion. Truth be told, Ronald Reagan’s ATF should be sent back down to the minors (a division of the IRS). Meanwhile, here’s how Mike Bouchard, a former ATF assistant director for field operations, explains the need for the Fibbies to stay off the ATF’s patch:

Bouchard said another law enforcement agency asking for gun sales records could be confusing for licensed dealers who have become accustomed to dealing with the ATF.

“Gun dealers are accustomed to dealing with ATF and will always be cooperative with any law enforcement agency,” Bouchard said. “But because of dealing with ATF there could be some confusion on their part as to what they have to do during an investigation, or if they should surrender records that they are legally instructed to keep by ATF.”

I don’t know about that. One jackboot is pretty much like the other.

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  1. Yep, I call BS on that one. The ATF could disappear tomorrow, and I would celebrate the event with a 20 year old bottle of scotch.

    • Ive been saying for a long time that the FBI, ATF, DEA, ICE, and many of the other federal alphabet gangs could be downsized into one alphabet group that covers drugs, firearms, immigration, federal law enforcement, etc.. Cut the “confusion” about who has jurisdiction over what and save the taxpayers boatloads of money.

      • I agree accept for ICE. ICE is the immigration and customs guys. They actually have a real job to do that is not strictly law enforcement.

        • Like what? Examples, please. If they have things to do that do not involve enforcing laws, let’s hear about it.

        • If there are any actually good agents in DEA and BATFE, then let them transfer to ICE/Border Patrol and maybe actually enforce immigration law. Can the rest.

        • The problem isn’t with ICE so much as it is with the fact we have one organization in charge of citizenship and immigration (USCIS), one in charge of immigration and customs enforcement (ICE), and one in charge of customs and border protection (CBP). I can only assume this arrangement was designed by the Department of Redundancy Department.

      • I thought that Homeland Security was supposed to do away with all of these internecine battles, by providing for interservice coordination without tow to step on. Turned into a giant clusterf**k instead. We seriously need to consider consolidating police agencies and eliminating the redundant ones.

        • I dunno…create one great, all powerful law enforcement agency? I kinda like all them agencies stumbling all over each other rather than one super duper agency under the control of some egotistical megalomaniac..

        • DHS is too busy buying ammo and automatic weapons and building internal fiefdoms to streamline anything. The “subordinate” agencies just roll along without adult supervision, just like always, That’s why they aren’t allowed to have knives; they might hurt themselves.

  2. licensed dealers who have become accustomed to dealing with the ATF

    I guess that people can become accustomed to anything. Hemorrhoids, chronic nasal catarrh, suppurating boils, the ATF . . . .

    • Ill take the Hemorrhoids over the ATF. That can be treated, even while Obama is in office. Well, at the moment it can be… *Ancient Aliens Guy* “Obamacare”

  3. If these bozo’s in the federal branch of government can point to me where in the constitution they have the rights to overstep the laws setup by the states then I could see where we should keep paying them. But that will never happen.

    • Some state should just go full-on Nullification. Couple that with an unregulated Free Market, and demonstrate the success of both. For those dregulationophobes: The Free Market is the most brutal, merciless regulator there is. If you kill your cusomers, everybody stops buying your crap. And so on. If you “make too much profit,” some other enterprising profiteer will eat your lunch.

      Of course, laws against stuff like rape and murder and robbery are necessary, but stay within the bounds of the Constitution(s).

      • How does this so-called “unregulated free market” work, exactly. Baker A wants $50 for a loaf of bread; Baker B, $65. Baker C, $45. Baker D, $49. Either way, you’ll need at least a fifty to go buy a loaf of bread. Exchange “bread” for “gasoline”, or what have you. Nothing prevents seller collusion.

        Witness the collusion we saw in the deregulation of telecoms. It still largely exists today.

        I’m not totally against a free market. Hell, I can only choose between ONE cable/WiFi provider. Friends less than ten miles away can only choose between one OTHER such provider. But you can’t argue that telecom “deregulation”, which supposedly we had, didn’t result in current telecom monopolies.

        • It works because there is always someone not in on the collusion. $45 bread? Costs me $.50 to make? Is there demand? It’s called a profit opportunity. How much are you going to pay every person in the country with access to flour and an oven to maintain your price-fixing scheme? More than you will ever make on $50 bread.

        • Yeah, it’s worked great in the petroleum industry. Who is the company undercutting the cartels?

          This “free-market” crap is only theoretical in nature. It’s almost nonexistent in the real marketplace.

        • The companies working the Bakken and Eagle Ford shale formations are giving it a go. They’re already upending Gazprom’s apple cart.

        • “Yeah, it’s worked great in the petroleum industry. Who is the company undercutting the cartels?”

          American oil companies would be, if Our Glorious Beloved Infallible Commissar weren’t fighting against them tooth and nail, every step of the way.

        • Rich: our oil companies are DYING to sell us gas at $2.50 a gallon, but the goddamned POTUS won’t let them!


        • I do think it’s good that there’s at least one person who believes we can wish Tinkerbell back to life. When you wish upon a star, makes no diff’rence who you are…

        • You don’t even need money. Say farmer A raises chickens, farmer B sets potatoes, farmer C grows vegetables, and D raises herbs and spices. So, at harvest time, farmer A has 4 chickens, farmer B has four pounds of potatoes, farmer C has four pecks (a bushel) of veggies, and farmer D has four packets of herbs & spices.

          So farmer A trades framer B one chicken for a pound of potatoes.
          Then farmer A trades farmer C one chicken for a peck of vegetables
          Then farmer A trades farmer D one chicken for a packet of herbs.
          Then farmer B trades farmer C one pound of potatoes for a peck of veggies.
          Then farmer B trades farmer D one pound of potatoes for a packet of herbs.
          Then farmer C trades farmer D a peck of veggies for a pack of herbs.

          And they all have beef stew! Voila! Value miracluously created from NOTHING but the farmers’ own work and cleverness and, of course, Mother Nature, but She’s a prerequisite to anything..

          THAT’s the Miracle of the Free Market.

        • From farmer A, when they traded a peck of veggies and a pack of herbs, respectively. Apparently I neglected to finish my word diagram. Each farmer trades one of his items for one of each other farmers’ items.

          My Grandpa on my Dad’s side was a doctor during the Depression. Dad used to tell stories, notably that destitute patients (aka customers) would pay his (Grandpa’s) fee in chickens or whatever.

        • You seem to think I am opposed to the barter system; I’m not. But how many gallons of gas does one of your chickens fetch?

        • It depends how many chickens the guy with the gasoline wants. We’ll most likely negotiate something in the middle, that we’re both satisfied with. That’s what Free Individuals do. If it’s not a good enough deal, don’t do the deal. But self-responsibility apparently has become some kind of alien concept or something.

        • Kind of why anti-trust laws were amongst our first regulations. I am all for free-er markets but some regulations are necessary.

        • Using the petroleum industry as an example of a free market is ridiculous. Try starting a refinery and tell me how little regulation you find. Bribing the government to create a protected cartel for you is exactly the opposite. Check for the real history of antitrust legislation… find out who lobbied for it. It’s not as you think.

        • That collusion only works if they are collectively coercing, though force and/or cronyism, anyone else from getting into the bread selling game. The higher they set the price the more attractive and worth-it it gets to countermand them and the whole thing breaks down. In other words, you can’t have that kind of behavior without the government on your side.

        • Using anything that has happened in the US in the last century as an example of the “negatives of the free market” is disingenuous as no such thing has existed in this nation for some time. Especially since we don’t trade via currency whose value is determined by the market, which skews every example even further.

        • “And they all have beef stew! Voila! Value miracluously created ”

          Not to mention “beef miraculously created”, when the only protein listed was chicken.

        • Oopps! Did I say, “Beef?” Silly me. Chicken stew, obviously. Or, if you’re from the planet Vega, you could have farmer A raising soybeans, and they could all have toficken stew! 😉

          But thanks for reading! 🙂

          And, BTW, you did get the point, right?

    • NCIS, OSI and Army CID are the law enforcement arms of the military. I believe only NCIS employs civilian agents. CID are all Army enlisted or Warrant Officers. I think OSI might have some civilians but is predominantly uniformed (well in the sense they are military). Unlike the TV show they really only have jurisdiction over military crimes on military reservations. The civilian NCIS agents can have jurisdiction over some civilian crimes but they usually don’t use those powers.

      • From my experience in dealings with all three, NCIS, CID and AFOSI are the go-to entities for any crime committed on their respective military reservations (NCIS also is responsible for the USMC). It gets interesting to watch in a multitenant facility like a joint base or the Pentagon. Since they are sworn LEOs they have police powers off-base, but typically request support from the local po-po and/or FBI for off-base operations and specific expertise and capabilities, and for ops augmentation. That’s how the FBI got involved.

      • Yeah, and we let them have guns. Look where that got us. Now Homeland Security/TSA is pushing for police powers so they can do warrantless searches for contraband anywhere in the country and arrest airline passengers without the cooperation of the local LEO. The FBI is a national investigative agency with police powers, but it is not the national policing agency Napolitano dreamed of.

  4. The NICS check is through the FBI. FFLs are (in theory) accustomed to dealing with the FBI, not the ATF. The FFL has to work with the ATF to get their permit and for inspections, but they deal with the FBI on a daily basis, probably several times a day even in a small market.

    • The FBI is supposed to destroy records of background checks, right? To assure no national registry of purchases, right? So how was it so easy for them to trace Alexis’ shot gun purchase? Kind of makes you wonder….

      • If it was me, I would take the serial number, call Remington directly, find out who the distributor was, who gives me the gun dealer. I then dispatch an agent to the physical location and they give me a copy of the 4473, or if he refuses, just take down all of the sales details. Takes about 2 hours total, leaving the ATF in the dust.

        • The hitch would be if it was a used shotgun such as an 870 or 500 sold in the mid80s and once or twice since then and in 2 or 3 bound books or maybe none. However, it doesn’t mean much at this point. What are they going to do, prosecute him for lying on the 4473? Or charge him for not paying the $200 stamp to make a sbs? Basically, they just confirmed that he bought a shotgun.

      • They supposedly contacted the maker of the shotgun and they told them the distributor who told them who the dealer was that sold it. If it was a new shotgun, it was straight forward. That is why they had to go out to the store to look at the 4473. Of course as things get more and more digital, they will be able to just call the NSA.

  5. I love the “back down to the minors” notion for the ATF. Kids, you had yer cup of coffee in the Big Time. Back down to the bush leagues fer youse guys. And that budget? Whoo… Cut 95%.

  6. ATF Wise Guy: “You got my trace data?”

    Gun Store Mook: “I gave it to the other guy.”

    AWG: “What other guy?”

    GSM: “The other guy. He said you was out of the business and that in the future I was to give him my trace data. I mean he’s here in my face and I didn’t want to get cross wise with him. Anyway, I don’t got your trace data. You’ll need to take it up with him.”

    AWG: “Grumble, grumble, grumble.”

    • Hmm, I got spam trapped.

      Civilians at NCIS can be special agents, clerical and other support activities, CSIs and intelligence analysts.
      I have worked with several people who spend time at NCIS. One was the comptroller for NCIS in Europe and the other was a CT analyst.

      As a little side bar Pauley Perrette, who plays Abby Shutto on the show is a real forensic scientist turned actress.

      • And by the way, all NCIS, CID and AFOSI agents hold the “official” rank of “Mr.” “Ms,” or “Special Agent (SA),” with their military rank or civilian grade/status withheld outside their own agency.

  7. For those who don’t know. NCIS and CGIS are largely made up of civilian special agents with a full range of federal law enforcement authority. Although their primary mission is crimes by or against US military personnel and facilities the authority goes way beyond that, and the special agents have the same sort of legal authority as any other federal law enforcement.

  8. As much as I hate the ATF, I’d rather their job did not get rolled into the FBI. At least by being a separate entity it’s at least a little bit easier to hold them accountable. I believe people would be a lot less willing to cut funds to the FBI if they started acting up than the ATF.

    • No need to roll them up, just take away ATF’s police powers. If their regulatory activities turn up criminal misconduct, they can turn that over to the FBI or the AG for prosecution. No need for them to have their own guns and their own swat units. This type of redundancy ensures a police state.

  9. This is a constant problem for business of all kinds in our over-regulated, ever-more-centralized country. Reason #41,743 to return to limited government.

  10. OK, here’s my perspective as a FFL:

    The ATF issued my FFL. They can (and do) cite regulatory authority as the issuing agency of that license (under the ’68 GCA) to conduct records checks, forward traces, audits, etc.

    The FBI might run the NICS system, but they have nothing to do with the record-keeping aspect of being a FFL other than issuing the NICS transaction results and tracking number.

  11. “Within hours of the Navy Yard shootings, the FBI had traced the gunman’s recent shotgun purchase and sent agents to the shop in northern Virginia where he bought it.”

    How did they do that? The only record of the purchase should have been the from 4473 that the purchaser filled out at the store where he purchased the shotgun. Since that paper stayed at the store and the store did not submit a copy of it to anyone or anything, how could any government agency possibly know what store sold it?

    • Oh wait. I think the firearm manufacturers register every new firearm with the ATF. And that registration includes where they delivered those firearms for their initial retail sale. Thus the Feds can trace any mass produced firearm to the first point of sale. Aside from tracking the first purchaser via the form 4473 that said purchaser would complete, no later transactions would be traceable in theory.

    • I think maybe they (the FBI) still has the NICS background check. They are not required by law to ‘immediately’ destroy it but must do so after a certain amount of time, but I think it is more than 30 days.

  12. The ATF was Nixon’s baby, not Reagan’s. In his book “Will”, G Gordon Liddy talks about helping set up the explosives division.

  13. And what about the CIA importing Afghani heroin, and the DEA tasked to stop them? The Justice Dept trading guns to Mexican cartels, and BATF with the job of sorting that mess out? In the Bible we are told not to let the right hand know what the left hand is doing, but that is only in reference to charity.

    In the same way the business world went crazy in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, Government in the USA has expanded and grown like Topsy. If the public really knew where their money went, there would be marches on Washington, and hangings from street lamp posts.

    Don’t expect any honest answers from your friendly local politician. Follow the money. The test? Cui bono. To whom is the good. Look at the thieves and parasites and murderers who have taken over the government and who weild sufficient power to prevent anyone from winkling them out. It will take an enraged citizenry. Your Constitution protects you against tyranny. Time certain people were given their marching orders.


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