Back when I lived in Fairfax, VA, before my illustrious writing career began, I had an FFL 03 — a license to collect firearms over 50 years old. Having one is pretty awesome — anything over 50 years old can be shipped right to your door (click here for info on how to get one). And life was good. My move to Texas happened to coincide with the FFL’s expiration, so I simply sent in the $30 renewal fee and filled out the change of address form. That was over a year ago . . .
Since then, I’ve been accused of a felony by the ATF, had my paperwork “lost,” and generally been given the run-around in terms of getting re-upped. Yesterday, I sent in the third duplicate application in an attempt to get everything finally resolved. I’m generally a patient man, but this is getting ridiculous.
I don’t blame the ATF guy in charge of the application, he seems like a legitimately nice guy. I don’t blame the licensing department, as every time I’ve called or asked for help, they’ve bent over backwards to assist me. I blame Congress.
The ATF is supposed to be the entity in charge of the firearms in the United States. They run the licensing mechanism, they coordinate the importation process, and they enforce federal firearms laws. But for their mission, they are massively underfunded and understaffed.
Take the NFA branch for example. A simple form 4 should take about an hour to process, and net the government $200 in revenue. Yet the waiting line is currently about 9 months long.
From where I’m standing, the system appears to be designed to fail. As much as Democrats love to point to the Taihrt amendment that bans the CDC from publishing pro-gun control propaganda as an example of using congressional funding for political ends, it looks to me like the Democrats are doing the exact same thing to the ATF. They want it to fail, to up the body count, to do nothing to decrease gun related crimes, so that they can justify new gun control laws.
Is the ATF perfect? Nope. Should it be rolled into the FBI? Definitely. But while it exists, Congress should at the very least give it enough funding to carry out its basic missions.