The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives would be eliminated under a bill in the works from U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Citing ATF’s operational failures and its overlap with other federal law enforcement, Sensenbrenner is preparing a bill to dissolve the agency and have existing agencies in the U.S. Justice Department take on its duties. “By absorbing the ATF into existing law enforcement entities, we can preserve the areas where the ATF adds value for substantially less taxpayer money,” Sensenbrenner said.
A new Government Accountability Office report found an agency trying to redefine itself while struggling with high personnel turnover and problems tracking its own criminal investigations. The GAO report is the latest in a series of documents and studies going back more than two decades critical of the agency’s overlap with other law enforcement. At least two reports have called for the ATF to be dissolved. The ATF got $12 billion from Congress between 2003 and 2013. Analysts with the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning Washington, D.C.-based think tank, said the ATF needed restructuring and it made sense to blend it into the FBI. “The FBI already has a significant role in violent crimes,” said Arkadi Gerney, a senior fellow at the center who specializes in crime and gun policy and has studied the ATF. “Firearms are not a foreign concept to them.”