Proposition to merge ATF into FBI

FBI-Seal copy

Bridging on the political side of things slightly, but only because this directly affects all suppressor/SBR/ Class three/ AOW owners/dealers out there, a think tank by the name of Center for American Progress released a throughly researched and 2 years in the making report that recommends dissolving ATF into the FBI. This isn’t a new concept by any means, President Reagan once proposed a similar plan. But it is coming from a very legitimate and research backed report instead of political rhetoric. Some of the points from a Washington Post article read that-

The center said that ATF also suffers from “an identity crisis.” On the one hand, agency officials see themselves as the federal violent-crime police, combating gang and drug-related crimes. On the other, ATF is a regulatory agency, responsible for overseeing firearms and explosives commerce.


The report says that ATF was never designed to be a police agency and has channeled its scarce resources away from its regulatory side.

The actual report makes a point about the haphazard ways in which the agency is managed, effects that we see ourselves at the insane waiting periods for anything-

The haphazard way in which ATF has evolved over the years has contributed to fractured leadership at every level. At the highest level, the agency has been passed along from the Department of the Treasury, where it was housed in its current form for 30 years, to DOJ via the Homeland Security Act in 2002. In the more than a decade that ATF has been part of DOJ, it has not been adequately incorporated into the larger family of federal law enforcement agencies, and there has been insufficient oversight of its activities, particularly in the context of developing large-scale operations to address issues of national importance, such as gun trafficking to Mexico.

The actual 182 page report can be downloaded here. While the main page talking about the report can be reached here.

Again, politics aside, if ATF were to merge with FBI, I think the shooting industry could certainly benefit from such a merger. The FBI already does a good enough job with NICS checks, imagine if getting an SBR were handled the same way? One of the premise’s of the whole report is that ATF by itself is underfunded, under lead, and put to the wayside in the grand scheme of things government. Whereas the FBI is superbly run and efficiently organized, they could probably not only do ATF’s job, but do it better, and with more integration in the long run. Who knows, maybe even FBI will take a look at all the machine gun rulings and say to Congress, “Look, this is ridiculous, we need this law changed”. And we’ll be saying hello to economically affordable machine guns…

Miles V

Former Infantry Marine, and currently studying at Indiana University. I’ve written for Small Arms Review and Small Arms Defense Journal, and have had a teenie tiny photo that appeared in GQ. Specifically, I’m very interested in small arms history, development, and Military/LE usage within the Middle East, and Central Asia.

If you want to reach out, let me know about an error I’ve made, something I can add to the post, or just talk guns and how much Grunts love naps, hit me up at


  • matthew_carberry

    The counter-argument is that the politicized FBI would likely continue or expand ATFE anti-gun rights policies but be harder to stop as they have more prestige and can’t be as easily defunded.

    The real solution is simply strip off the bomb lab and arson investigators to the FBI and eliminate all the law enforcement agents from ATFE. Then move them back to Treasury and require them to put most of their Congressionally determined revenue into processing tax stamps. That will bring the wait times down to days, and make SBR/SBS/AOW/Suppressors more or less an over the counter item. Of course Congress should just move all of the above to Title 1 and put them under a NICs check only.

    • Patrick M.

      Well put!

    • Tom Currie

      Congress should get the “law enforcement agents” out of MOST federal agencies — right now no one in the federal government even knows how many “sworn law enforcement officers” are on the federal payroll, but the number is way too high.

    • n0truscotsman

      I’ve seen that argument before, and I strongly agree with it.
      Merging ATF with the FBI wouldn’t help the problem that the FBI current has with solving crime scenes, let alone preventing impending terrorist attacks.

    • J.T.

      This is exactly what needs to be done. Any proposal to merge the ATF into the FBI is just a ploy to shield their activities from criticism. It is a lot less feasible to say “defund the FBI” than it is to say “defund the ATF”. Strip them of law enforcement power and send them back to the Treasury.

      • Mark

        We must put a spotlight on all the whistleblowers who have shown that a majority of evidence from the FBI labs has been fabricated to suit prosecutors. We must also spotlight the modus operandi of the FBI—find a patsy, gin up the patsy to a terrorist plan, provide the patsy with material for the terrorist attack, arrest the patsy, and then the FBI preens before the “mainstream” media patting itself on the back for a job well done.

        These are the ones you want policing us?

        • AD_Rtr_OS

          Perhaps the lab-types from ATF can give their counterparts at FBI tips on how not to break the law?
          Right, I didn’t think so either.
          But, it would enable a wholesale Spring Cleaning of both agencies.

          • Tothe

            Yup, kick out those with any vestiges of a conscience so they stop gumming up the works.

    • Bp

      Damn right. First mistake made in this piece was to agree with a very left leaning anti-gun gun control think tank. As a gun rights advocate, I can’t believe your so ignorant and mis-informed.

      • BP

        The idenity of “you” is the articles author.

    • Big problem is the mindset.

      ATFE started as boozehunting revenuers during Prohibition, and the corporate mindset of Crusaders against Evil Things remained. Their agency hero is Elliot Ness, who was a *lousy* cop who favored headlines over the law.

      Move ATFE enforcement duties over to another agency, and not barring the movement of the agents from ATFE will just contaminate the receiving agency and help hide ATFE abuses under the cloak of respectability, because OF COURSE they’ll just hire the old “gun guys” to do the new work in the new agency. While there are good ATFE agents, you can’t seperate out the bad ones that way. You’ll just have ATFE MK2, but they’ll just have different badges, and be *harder* to sort out.

      My proposal is go ahead and move the functions, but bar the employment of former ATFE personnel from job duties involving firearms enforcement and regulation for a set period, say five or ten years.

      That will allow the receiving agency the chance to establish *its* mold on the corporate culture on the new gun section. The *good* ATFE agents will likely be good cops wherever they end up, while the bad ATFE agents will be spread out amongst federal LEAs, and be easier to eliminate by their receiving agencies, since they won’t be in one indigestible lump, with the old ATFE Good Old Boy network intact to cover for them.

      • Tothe

        Why do you think the AFT functions need to be performed in the first place?

        • Because as long as there at *any* regulations or taxes concerning making, manufacturing, importing, selling, or possession of any sort of gun or explosives (leaving aside the alcohol and tobacco part of their job), there will need to be regulators, tax collectors, and enforcement agents to cover those laws, and it’s generally best if stuff were specialized knowledge is important is done by people who are familiar with the details because they specialize in it.

          And there are a lot of places where there is *legitimate* Constitutional authority for such laws, *without* being infringements (in the legal sense) of the RKBA. Excise taxes (which *do* require technical knowledge to make sure the taxes are applied correctly), import regulations, and regulations on things that are “guns”, but *not* “arms”, are nit infringements on the RKBA.

          For example, “arms”, in the 18th Century usage, never meant “all things that go boom”, nor was it restricted to “things that go boom” – “arms” were the weapons and military equipment suitable for an *individual* soldier (and so would include, today, things like body armor, web gear, night vision, etc., in addition to selective fire assault rifles, handguns, bayonets, arguably LMGs, etc.). But “arms” *did not* include crew served or support weapons that would normally be assigned to *units* – those were classed as “ordnance” (so, cannon, ATGMs, GPMGs, etc., would *not* be “arms”); an entirely different category of weapons and military equipment. Nor are fireworks (which are neither ” arms” nor “ordnance”, generally, but *do* fall under ” explosives”) protected from infringement under the RKBA, but they *are* handled by ATFE.

          • Tothe

            But why do these things need to be taxed and regulated at all?

          • There’s no “need” to tax *any* particular thing, but some things have to get taxed , or the government has no revenue. Right now the import and excise taxes on guns pay for a variety of things, including earmarked revenue for wildlife conservation. Those taxes require administrative decisions to ensure the correct taxes are levied and paid, as appropriate. Just like there are laws and taxes regarding the manufacture, distribution, and sale of other Constitutionally protected things, like books, magazines, ink, paper, etc.

            Now, admittedly, we could collect those revenues by taxing, say, sunglasses, but we chose to collect them from firearm and ammunition excise taxes.

            Likewise, there are legitimate reasons to have certain laws regarding importation, as we do on *most* things that are imported – whether you agree with or like a particular import regulation has nothing to do with the fact that it is a legitimate sphere of Congressional authority. Just as there are laws and taxes associated with importing things that are *also* Constitutionally protected, like ink, paper, and printing machines.

            And if nothing else, there is a legitimate federal interest in laws defining “arms” (which are Constitutionally protected) and other things that may be related to arms, but aren’t “arms” under the Constitutional meaning. Just like we have laws regarding the differentiation between First Amendment protected speech, and other forms of expression.

            Now, in Fantasyland, it would be great if nothing you liked was subject to *any* laws or taxes, and only things you didn’t like were taxed and heavily regulated. But we don’t live in Fantasyland.

          • In short, thinking you will live in a Fantasyland where there are absolutely *no* taxes or federal laws pertaining to guns is insanely delusional.

            And if there are *any* laws or taxes that pertain to *any* facet of guns, someone will end up having to enforce those laws and taxes, regardless of whether they are official members of the “Gun Cops”, or they are just one small office within the IRS that happens to be who the “gun stuff” jobs go to.

          • Socrates Wilde

            Evasion — and strawmaning.

          • Tothe

            So extortion is justified based on the revenue obtained being used to fund monopolized services? Do government monopolies somehow become immune to the waste and abuse inherent in monopolies despite the notorious corruption of politicians and bureaucrats?

          • If you think all taxes are automatically “extortion”, we’re done with this conversation.

            I don’t normally waste my time arguing with crazy people.

          • Tothe

            Rick, a demand for property backed by a threat of harm for noncompliance is extortion, whether it is the mafia or the IRS. There is no voluntary, mutually-beneficial contract as with a purchase or subscription. There is no debt due to prior injury done by the taxpayer to the tax collector. If there is a rational and moral justification for taxation, make it. A monopoly in goods and services provided by the government is a clear example of the use of coercive force to prevent consumer choice and rational economic calculation on the part of anyone involved. Calling me “crazy” does not constitute a rebuttal or refutation of any of these simple points.

          • Yup, and he doubles down on demonstrating it.

            Sorry, taxes are how we fund things like national defense, so that other nations who aren’t inhabited by extremist libertarian theorists don’t just waltz in and take what they like.

            You may (theoretically) be able to fund other government functions solely through user fees, but national defense is one of those items that really has to be tax funded. And is a government service that one derives the benefit from, merely by living herehere, even if (strike that – *especially* if) they aren’t having to actively shoot invaders at the moment.

            We live under a Constitution. That Constitution (the social contract that governs how we are governed) specifically authorizes taxes. If you do not agree with that social contract – MOVE SOMEWHERE IT DOESN’T APPLY.

          • Tothe

            Rick, who really presents an immediate threat of invading the US? How is a populace that would no longer barred from military arms not a sufficient defense? Without a central power structure to capture or destroy, how is military victory possible? I know you’re trying to appeal to the concept of the free rider problem somewhere in your comment, but the free rider problem only exists when there is a central monopoly providing a service. As for the rest:

            “. . . In regard to the so-called social contract, I have
            often had occasion to protest that I haven’t even seen the contract,
            much less been asked to consent to it. A valid contract requires
            voluntary offer, acceptance, and consideration. I’ve never received an
            offer from my rulers, so I certainly have not accepted one; and rather
            than consideration, I have received nothing but contempt from the
            rulers, who, notwithstanding the absence of any agreement, have
            indubitably threatened me with grave harm in the event that I fail to
            comply with their edicts.” ~ Robert Higgs

            “But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much
            is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we
            have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is
            unfit to exist.” ~ Lysander Spooner

            And “love it or leave it” is a non-argument demonstrating your unwillingness to engage in a rational discussion on the matter.

          • Socrates Wilde

            “It is a general principle of law and reason, that a written instrument binds no one until he
            has signed it. . . .
            The laws holds, and reason declares, that if a written instrument is not signed, the
            presumption must be that the party to be bound by it, did not choose to sign it, or to bind
            himself by it. . . .
            Neither law nor reason requires or expects a man to agree to
            an instrument, until it is written; for until it is written, he cannot know its precise legal
            meaning. And when it is written, and he has had the opportunity to satisfy himself of its
            precise legal meaning, he is then expected to decide, and not before, whether he will agree
            to it or not.”
            –Lysander Spooner

          • So the only form of military attack you recognize is invasion for the purposes of annexation, apparently.

            You want to try complete anarchy, go move to warlord country in some failed nation.

          • Tothe

            That is basically the only kind of military attack that the US has used since its inception, so yeah. The War of 1812 started with US invasion of Canada, the Mexican-American War started with US invasion of Mexico, and so on. The past century of war is a consequence of US intervention in WW1 to support the British empire. And then you point out people trying to establish new governments as proof that freedom doesn’t work. Clever.

  • Nicks87

    They should merge the DEA into the FBI as well, they are just as worthless as the BATFE. Too many alphabet soup agencies creates way too much red tape, confusion and animosity. In a prefect world federal law enforcement should really be done away with, except for the U.S. Marshal Service. State, county and city cops are well enough equipped to handle 99% of crime in the U.S. and the Marshals could handle anything that happens to cross state lines.

    • Ethan

      Read up about what the Center for American Progress is.

      This is NOT going to end well for gun owners judging by who’s pushing for it,

      • Nicks87

        My comment is about saving tax payers money and shrinking the federal govt. Which are conservative ideals. You have no idea how much money federal LE agencies piss away every year. Stop trying to make this into a left-right argument. The BATFE does absolutely nothing to protect your gun rights but you want to keep them around because you think some liberal think tank is conspiring to take your guns?

        • Ethan

          That’s why I asked you to read up – its NOT an effort to shrink the govt, its an effort to EXPAND the law enforcement power of the ATF under a different name.

          The whole premise of that report is that the ATF needs to get bigger and gain more manpower (read: more funding) to crack down on ‘gun crime’.

          I’d absolutely love it if this really was what its trying to appear as – a good faith effort to reduce violent crime. But this is firmly in once-burned, twice-shy territory – the people pushing hard for this are not friends of the Constitution.

          • toms

            Exactly. You really have to educate yourself to see these things coming. So much of this type of stuff is disguised to look reasonable to the average Joe. Once you start to see the patterns and methods utilized by these groups, you can start to make fairly good predictions of the actual desired effect.

        • Nick

          The ATF is easier to fight. Legislation stripping power or money from ATF would be much easier to pass than similar legislation restricting or defunding parts of FBI. An attempt to cut part of the FBI would result in leftists screaming that were abetting criminals.

          • Random Disabled Person

            Do not forget a monopoly of power, is seldom good for the common masses. Our founding fathers broke things up for a reason. The power corrupts proverb still applies.

            While we may have various things that are pain to deal with for scattered laws and rules, we don’t have one authoritative “yes or no” agency. If the agencies don’t agree, that helps show that maybe something is wrong and creates wiggle room. .

            Is there bloat and are we paying a lot for some double positions? Yes. But we try to have things separated and small enough that we can still control and migrate our way through their departments. Plus have some control with our elected representatives.

            How many rights has the FBI whittled away at and which agency got immunity for broad spying on the people in violation of The Constitution ? Which isn’t their first time going against the people in this manner, remember McCarthyism ?

            So nether agency is the people’s rights best champion. Once joined breaking them apart would be hard and cue the cries about the money….. Just look at the TSA and DHS? Think we can get rid of them and reassign the duties back to other agencies? I wish I could remember the old joke from when The department of Homeland security started that the punchline was something close to “soon we would be calling it DHS because it fits on a (bullet resistant) vests easier.” Which was warning about what the monster would become….

            The BATF&E has some things handed off , name what are they doing about alcohol and/or tobacco? Besides helping collect the taxes? So their agency’s purpose and scope of operational direction has gone a stray and history has changed the needs also in fairness. But between the two, the BATF&E and the FBI, which one tends to act more “blackhat” like the CIA? Which one has known to have profiles/files on lots of people for very little reasons? Which one would you rather face if an issue came up?

            Politically and public opinion wise, we’re better dealing/fighting with the BATF&E than the FBI. Because no Politician wants their opponent to show them interfering with the mighty good guys(FBI has that positive public image ingrained hard) and helping criminals by being soft on crime…. BATF&E rulings are easier to change than laws.

            The FBI is known to the uneducated masses, the BATF&E isn’t and that works to our favor some. Especially if our own people would quit phoning/mailing/emailing/carrier pigeon… them with stupidity for harassment’s sake…. We could have better interactions and less pissing wars for bruised egos. So in way we need them, they at least know more about firearms more than what could be in charge of handling them. They haven’t always given us what we want but they do look at their actions and admit & clean up blunders.

            Following the money trail back on who creates the report often shows what the real agenda is . Which most research produces something positive for the people funding it or the groups don’t keep getting funded. Which is a sad state of affairs for research/studies in today’s world.

        • HSR47

          You’re right that cutting the size and scope of government is the bread and butter of Constitutional Conservatives/Classical Liberals (CC/CL).

          Still, when it comes to the BATFE, the CC/CL argument is that the statutes they enforce are the real issue. In detail, the argument is that the statutes themselves are not constitutional, and that doing away with them would also obviate the need for the agency tasked with enforcing them.

          Thus, why pass legislation to roll the budget and enforcement duties of the BATFE into the FBI when you can just pass legislation to do away with the laws that the BATFE enforces, and obviate the need for said enforcement/enforcers entirely?

        • BD

          The ATF puts guns into the cartels hands and the DEA is prostitution ring. Conservative for smaller gov. Says dismantal both corrupt agencies and by the way its also time to take a look at how Homeland Security is administrated in its entirity.

  • Chris

    you understand that center for american progress is a soros funded progressive outfit that doesn’t have gunowners let alone american interests at heart right?

  • Ethan

    This idea sounds cool, but The Center for American Progress is as shady as they come from what I’ve read. I would be very cautious…

    • n0truscotsman

      The devil, they say, is always in the details. 😉

    • America; worth fighting for

      Ethan, you nailed dead nutz on.

      ANYTHING from “The Center for American Progress” is hard left anti-American, PERIOD. They are the “Fifth Column” in America, and if you love freedom, respect the Constitution, and love your country, they are poison to you.

      For those who are less politically aware…

      Whenever you see the word “progress”, “progressive”, etc., be alert and on guard. These are the true enemies of America, and successfully accomplishing what the Soviet Union and old line Communists failed to do – defeating the United States.

      BTW, “Progressive Insurance”? Created by & run by a hard leftist that LOVES Obama.


      Cancer is progressive, too.

    • AD_Rtr_OS

      All you need to know about CAP is in their Mission, and Values, statements –

      Our Mission:
      “…an independent nonpartisan policy institute…” using “… bold, progressive ideas…”

      Our Values:
      “As progressives…”

      Enough Said!

      • Chrome Dragon

        There *used* to be conservative democrats and liberal-leaning republicans.

        • Doug1973

          There still are, Chrome Dragon. In fact, our ranks are growing quickly. Except these days we call ourselves “Independents”, as we’re tired of all the crap that comes with being tied in any way to both the Democratic and Republican parties.

          I really miss the days when being a “moderate” was considered a good thing, rather than invective or a slur.

          • Tothe

            The problem is that people keep trying to drag discussion into this left-right paradigm where you’re supposed to decide which half of freedom is better, all the while forgetting that you can’t be half-free. I don’t care whether someone is “left” or “right” nearly as much as I care where they fall on the authoritarian/libertarian axis. When you look at issues through the lens of liberty, it makes the people stuck in the left-right paradigm think you’re inconsistently wavering all over their precious left/right measurement system.

          • Ethan

            BINGO! I truly hate the left/right false paradigm, though sometimes you have to use it to communicate an idea succinctly. The above post is one of those times, though I cringe every time I read it.

            In my experience it all boils down to two types of people:
            Those that value Freedom, and those that value Control.

          • ThomasD

            Burying the ATF in the black hole that is the FBI is not about freedom, nor good government, it is about hiding their tracks.

  • toms

    lets ask the southern poverty research center for thier imput while were at it. You can be sure the merger would not be advocated if it didn’t have some serious infringement motivations behind it .

    • MANG

      Have seriously never heard anyone throw shade on the SLPC until now. Really? Tracking hate groups is a no-go, huh? These comments are awful thin on substantive reasons against the merger, full of political ones. I’d have thought small government types would love this.

      • Phil Elliott

        SPLC when it was founded was a really good organization, and really helped. It has slowly dissolved into a Democrat run group that only has Left-
        wing politics on it;s radar.

      • M40

        ALL the FBI stats show that both hate crimes and hate groups have been steadily declining for well over a decade. Then along comes a horrifically inaccurate and heavily politicized “study” by the SPLC, who claimed a 67% increase in ‘hate groups’.

        The SPLC were only able to come up with that number by classifying Christian groups that oppose abortion or same-sex marriage as “hate groups”. The FBI eventually was forced to dump them as a credible resource after they published that debacle.

        It is a truly scary prospect when a party starts labeling political opposition as “hate groups”, and lumping them in with terrorist organizations. However, actions like this are ALWAYS the predecessor to all manner of totalitarian control, re-education camps and all the other leftist horrors we’ve witnessed over the last hundred years.

      • toms

        The SPLC is nothing more than a progressive extremely left wing government subsidized think tank, charged with supporting: liberal anti gun, anti christian, pro abortion, and anti free state agendas. To listen to them one would think that a crazy, right wing, christian, anti gay, anti muslim, militia group hides behind every white conservative face in american. The SPLC and the center for american progress are cheer leaders and spin men for the more liberal arms of the democratic party. Sorry you never heard that before but there about as fair and balanced data source as NPR and the Brady Bunch. I don’t know how many times I have heard their hate filled, anti gun ownership comments, pop up in concerted media pushes, fortuitisly timed with Obama/Holder/Nepolitano efforts. If you like your firearms, these arn’t the ones to support.

        • MANG

          Look toms, since the mods aren’t really enforcing any sort of ‘firearms not politics’ in this thread, I am pretty far to the left on everything but guns, so I’m not really with you on that.

          • toms

            So you don’t care that some people in power use taxpayer money to spread propoganda against a constitutional rite? If you like your firearms then you should know that those people don’t want you to have them and they will make up whatever they can to make sure they achieve that objective including faked statistics and fear mongering. Your political preferences should not affect your sense of right and wrong. What they do is wrong in so many ways.

          • MANG

            I’m pretty comfortable with how my personal politics fit together. Here’s a way to think about it, toms (I posted this earlier, but post has not been approved?) – the SPLC is somewhat like the ACLU. You may not like everything they do, but you don’t want to live in an America where they do not exist. That would be your totalitarian nightmare.

          • Donnie Robertson

            In short you support the dude in the White House and all his followers are your heros. That’s sick. SPLC is sick AND operating under the closed minds of idiots.

      • pun&gun

        They’re a sick and twisted lot that uses “hate group” to describe anything they find disagreeable from a political or worldview perspective. Anything espousing Christian or family oriented values gets their ire, along with gun rights groups, state sovereignty groups, Southern history and cultural academic organizations, and whatever else. The fact that people still trust them so blindly makes them all the more dangerous, and their whacko labeling of hate groups actually inspired a left wing nut to go kill a security guard for a family counseling organization not too long ago.

      • R H

        Well then you “seriously” haven’t been looking hard enough (or at all). The SPLC has come under fire from both the left and the right for its fundraising practices, questionable data, and strong political bias. This is the same group that listed Dr. Ben Carson on its “extremist watch list”. This is also the same group that was accused by its own lawyers as being “fear mongers” and using “white guilt and black pain” for their own financial gain. This is also the same group who claims year after year that hate groups and hate crimes are on the rise, even though the FBI crime data tells a completely different story. Why? Because it’s much easier to raise money this way.

  • Mister Thomas

    Yeah. This is about as good of an idea as nationalizing the police force.

    • marathag

      Is having two of them better than one?

      • Ethan

        Separation of powers is vital to the survival of democracy. So, yeah in a way, the more the merrier. (within reason of course)

        • marathag

          But it has turned into a hydra, each agency with its own enforcement arm.

          That needs to be stopped, leave it to US Marshal or FBI

          • Ethan

            Perhaps… I’m certainly no expert in that area, but I think the people pushing for this are hoping for a central power that’s easier to control. The gun-control group seems a little unhappy with the ATF after the recent gun-control failures and like the M885 debacle and Fast-and-Furious.

            Either way, vigilance is key. It is the price of freedom.

      • J.T.

        It is a way to shield the current activities of the ATF from criticism. It is easy to say the ATF should have funding cut. It would be a lot less politically feasible to say the FBI needed it’s funding cut. The ATF is currently a very easy target for the pro-gun side and the anti-gun groups don’t want that. The FBI would be much harder target to criticize.

        • marathag

          Has the ATF had real funding cuts from their misdeeds?

          Its a threat that never gets used.

          • MichaelZWilliamson

            Yeah, every time they stomp a kitten or burn a kid, they get another letter on their name and more money.

  • Llewellyn Franks

    This seems to just be one thinktank that came up with this, and a minor one at that. I doubt theres anything to worry about here.

  • Pat

    The Center for American Progress is run by Democratic anti-gun political operatives. If they are supporting this they are doing so because they believe it will advance their Anti-2A agenda.

    The FBI’s influence in gun regulation is almost never positive. J Edgar Hoover was one of the driving forces behind the passing of the NFA . His original plan would have classified handguns as NFA weapons.

    • marathag

      Hoover has been dead a really long time

      • mosinman

        just because a man is dead doesn’t mean his ideas are

      • Ethan

        I hear you, and I’d never want to be too bullheaded to pass up a good thing, but I’m still leaning hard towards caution on this. This smells like a setup.

        • Gilbert

          It is a setup. The last thing we need is an even more prestiege attached to an antigun agenda from the left.

      • Pat

        Other than his stance on 2A issue’s, I love Hoover. The real meat of my comment was the top half… Do you know who John Podesta is?

        But it’s a lot easier to fight against ATF over reach than FBI over reach. The whole “we are fighting terrorism” is a card no pro-2a politician can go up against.

      • ThomasD

        So has Karl Marx, but many people sure are keeping the dream alive.

    • Tothe

      Ray-Gun was behind many California gun bans in the 1960s. But people still worship him as some kind of paragon of liberty.

  • Bill

    The more agencies that merge, the closer we come to a national police force. The FBI literally stole bombs and explosives investigations out from under the ATF after the Atlanta bombings, and pried into drug cases when the DOJ absorbed the DEA. People forget that the FBI, as it is chartered, has very limited jurisdiction. Along with this “research,” study the history of the FBI before deciding to give them more things to not do great at.

    The ATF, and the IRS has since their inception have always been heavily involved in criminal investigations. They are far from just “regulatory” agencies, and even seemingly regulatory agencies need enforcement branches.

    • nadnerbus

      It’s not like the FBI was ever run by a guy that kept dossiers on all his political enemies, perceived and real What could go wrong?

      • Bill

        But they were neatly tucked between his camisoles and his petticoats. And what’s a few black-bag jobs and illegal wiretaps? And of the thousands of highly trained, professional agents, there’d have to be a few foreign intelligence moles, that’s only normal. And a crime lab that was held as the paragon of forensic science when it couldn’t meet it’s own standards, that’s fixed now, pretty much. But they had a great press and media division.

        If it weren’t for TV and Efrem Zimbalist Jr., the FBI would have been disbanded decades ago. In all fairness, what they are good at, they are very good at. It’s just a pretty small skill set that’s heavy on bureaucracy.

        In my experience, if you got a bunch of gun owners and ATF street agents together, after everybody warmed up there’s be a hell of a party. Much beer and grilled meats would be consumed, garden tractors would be drag-raced, the sober ones would be shooting, someone would be passed out farting under the deck, and occasionally somebody would have to check the stock pond to see if Fred was floating face up, or face down. Good times…..

      • Donnie Robertson

        And wore ladies panties!

  • John

    >Again, politics aside, if ATF were to merge with FBI, I think the
    shooting industry could certainly benefit from such a merger. The FBI
    already does a good enough job with NICS checks, imagine if getting an SBR were handled the same way?

    “Good morning sir. I’m Agent Smith with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I see you’ve applied for a short battle rifle, correct?”

    “Uh, actually that’s an acronym for ‘short barreled rifle’.”

    “What do you mean? You’re applying for an M4 carbine, right? That’s a short battle rifle.”

    “…not really, no. They’re actually diff–”

    “May I ask a question, sir? Why would a fine, upstanding individual like yourself need the firepower of an M-4? Your record says you’re not active military heading into a war zone, so why would you need this?”

    “…I’m not actually applying for an–”

    “Sir, we’re going to need to speak to you at the office. We can’t just hand out weapons willy-nilly to the first person who applies for one, you understand. We’re going to need to talk to you for some additional questions.”


    “Scratch that. We’ll come over and meet you instead, save you the trip. Do you still live at the address you put on your application? Does your neighbor still bake those delicious cookies with the sprinkle of sugar on top?”


    “We’ll see you tomorrow sir. Please try to clear your schedule for that time. Have a good day.”

  • Mark

    “Who knows, maybe even FBI will take a look at all the machine gun rulings and say to Congress, ‘Look, this is ridiculous, we need this law changed’. [sic] And we’ll be saying hello to economically affordable machine guns…”

    Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha….. tell us another funny one.

  • John Hardin

    ATF or FBI ,6 of one half dozen of the other. Nothing will change with liberals in the White House.

    • sauerquint

      Nothing changed with Bush in there either. Oh, wait, the imported barrel ban went into effect…

      • Random Disabled Person

        and Clinton at least put a sunset clause on his crap. Nether Bush did. I doubt Hilliary would do the same for us though…

  • iowaclass

    ATF serves a vital “Emmanuel Goldstein” function for the NRA. Without a free-standing, overburdened and erratically-managed ATF, the NRA’s direct-mail fundraising would lose a lot of steam. The organization and professionalism of the FBI could take a lot of the “fun” out of the perpetual and lucrative kayfabe and kabuki played out between the gun-rights organizations and the Brady/Bloomberg operations, especially in election years.

  • mosinman

    i highly doubt the merger would actually infringe less on our rights.
    what needs to happen is the ATF gets disbanded and no replacement is put in place, but that’s wishful thinking

  • Tom Currie

    Not that anyone here is likely to agree but, personally I’d like to see the BATFE regulatory functions stay with a regulatory agency…

    But I’d like to see ALL federal domestic law enforcement placed in a single agency (as well as being significantly reduced).

    Federal Law Enforcement should consist of investigation of federal crimes, technical support to state/local investigations and guarding federal facilities. Investigations & technical support are the proper role of the FBI and most of the Secret Service (that part of the Secret Service should be consolidated into the FBI – the part of the Secret Service that provides security details for officials should remain separate). Apprehension of criminals outside federal facilities should be handled by state/local authorities.

  • smartacus

    if one of use didn’t come up with it first; it’s probably a bad idea and I don’t like it already

    • Ethan

      No, more once-burned, twice-shy. (or in this case burned continuously for 60+ years).
      Statists gonna State, and that’s exactly who’s pushing for this ‘merger’ – The statists.

  • Geoff a well known Skeptic

    We need MORE dirty, lying, worthless, unionized Fedfinks to give more political money to the Democrat party, standard report. According to these ex-government scum, more Godvernment with more Bureaughods on earth is the cure for EVERYTHING. Suppressors should not be controlled and taxed, the SBR laws are long super-seeded by technology. Geoff Who is old, gray and cynical and in a negative mood this morning..

    • Donnie Robertson


  • derfelcadarn

    Political agenda, inefficiency, waste and corruption are endemic throughout the Federal crime family , what difference will it make who runs what or what it is called ?

    • HSR47

      Having enforcement of federal gun control statutes handled by the same agency tasked with finding kidnappers and preventing terrorist attacks on U.S. soil would make effective congressional oversight practically impossible.

      “Why would you want to cut the FBI’s enforcement budget? Do you WANT Al-Queda to attack us again? Why do you hate children?”

      • Donnie Robertson

        “Why do you hate the chillun'”? Chillun. Always the chillun. Thanks Michelle.

  • Dondgeon

    Yea I’d rethink all your optimism about this one, TFB.

    CAP is nothing but bad. Far left, progressive, Soros-funded BAD.

    And just how would merging ATF’s duties into an even larger, more politically charged agency be any more efficient? NOTHING government touches is efficient. Our system of government was purposely designed to work slowly.

    Its time to stop begging for scraps and demand real reform. This agency, along with scores of others, SHOULD NOT EVEN EXIST IN THE FIRST PLACE.

  • HKGuns

    It isn’t as if this is pure genius and it shouldn’t need a second of research. Nobody wants to step back and look at the big picture and how much it costs.

    My dog could figure out we don’t need all of these federal LE agencies. The Military gets cut and we maintain how many different federal LE agencies?

    FBI – CIA – DHS – BATFE – CBP – Secret Service – FPS – USMS – DEA – ….The list goes on and on….Each with their own structure and overhead costing us Billions each year.

    It is LONG past time to consolidate and make these agencies more efficient.

  • Tim Pearce

    As someone that sells guns for a living, I disagree that the FBI “does a good enough job with NICS checks.” I’ve meant to start a tally to get numbers for this, but it certainly seems like skin color is a determining factor on whether or not someone gets a Proceed or Delay. Further, if the FBI was doing a decent job with the NICS checks, the system would work well enough that less than 10% of people (of any skin color) would be delayed. It’s about 40% at the shop I work at.

    • Ethan

      The fact that “Race/Ethnicity” information is collected is pretty inappropriate all by itself.

    • HSR47

      To be entirely fair, part of the issue is incomplete digitization of arrest records: In many cases, as old records are digitized, they are only digitized partially. Frequently, this results in records of arrests and/or prosecution for prohibiting offenses without details of the final disposition of the cases in question.

      Then there are people with warrants due to non-payment of vehicle code violations (read: parking/speeding/etc. tickets).

  • Spencerhut

    Center for American Progress? Doesn’t our buddy George Soros foot their bills? Yeah let’s trust what they have to say.

  • BryanS

    Breakup an agency with issues and that is at best incompetent while trying to strip our rights, and put the responsibilities onto a competent and efficient agency with much easier leverage.

    I’ll pass. Revoke the NFA and GCA.

  • Bob_Dole_is_my_waifu


    • Geoffry K

      lois lerner would be more than happy to run some their way. After all, she is eric holder in a skirt.

  • Holdfast_II

    Um, the Center for American Progress is a VERY political shop – a think tank for the Democrat party, similar to what Heritage and AEI are for conservatives. There’s nothing prong with that, but it should be acknowledged up front that their “research”, and the conclusions reached therefrom, are all politically driven.

    In this case I happen to agree with a lot of their thinking, even though I hail from the other side of the political spectrum.

  • Tassiebush

    I thought the FBI funded gun purchases for their gang leader informants and frustrated ATF attempts to intercept them before they went over the border into Mexican drug war? I’d be pretty scared of that agency having more access and control of my information if I was a US citizen.

    • Donnie Robertson

      Oh no! It didn’t happen! Ask Obama! Ask Holder! ALL that information is “classy-fied” because it has to do with “Nasionul Sekurity”! SUCH A LIE!

    • Actually, that was an ATF operation, from top to bottom.

      • Tassiebush

        Fair enough I’ll have to read up more on it. Saw a documentary on it that was suggesting ATF was influenced by an FBI investigation.

    • ghost

      Tassie, if you be of the female persuasion, can you cook?

      • Tassiebush

        Sorry mate I’m a bloke. Can cook though. Why do you ask?

  • HSR47

    Apart from the Hughes Amendment, which was tacked on at the last minute with some pretty questionable votes, FOPA was pretty much an entirely positive piece of legislation.

  • n0truscotsman

    Well, if he was a true marxist and benevolent of the workers party, he would support arms ownership, which was deemed necessary as a means to overthrow the bourgeoisie.

    Communists have changed it seems…

  • edleary1227

    Should this fact affect your opinion …

    That the publisher of the report, The Center for American Progress, is a creation of billionaire philanthropist George Soros. Google it …

    • Donnie Robertson

      “The Center for American Progress is an independent nonpartisan policy institute that is dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans, through bold, progressive ideas, as well as strong leadership and concerted action. Our aim is not just to change the conversation, but to change the country.” SUCH BS! RIPE BS! “CHANGE THE COUNTRY”……. my fanny.

      • Donnie Robertson


        “Wealthy donors contributed many millions of dollars to help the CAP establish itself during the first few years of its existence. These donations included $22,274,000 from the Sandler Foundation, created by Herbert and Marion Sandler; $3 million over a three-year period from George Soros; $3 million from the Marisla Foundation; $2,192,450 from the New York Community Trust; $1.9 million from the Stephen M. Silberstein Foundation; $1,849,991 from George Soros’s Open Society Institute; $797,983 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and $765,000 from the Tides Foundation.”

      • Donnie Robertson


        “As of February 2011, CAP’s single largest department was its communications department, comprised of 31 full-time staffers tasked with spinning the news in a direction favorable to the Obama administration and the Democrats. “Rare is the day a reporter doesn’t get three or more press releases from [CAP],” said the Capital Research Center.”

        “CAP also periodically hosts panel discussions that serve as forums for Democratic lawmakers; one of the more frequent and prominent participants in these events has been Senator Harry Reid. Further, the Center’s website features a blog called ThinkProgress, offering commentary on news stories that fall under the headings of “Climate,” “Economy,” “Health,” “Justice,” “LGBT,” and “Security.”

      • Donnie Robertson


        “The Capital Research Center describes CAP, quite accurately, as “an adjunct of the Democratic Party” that “manufactures talking points, spins the daily news, and does opposition research”—essentially “a nonprofit public relations firm.” Little, if anything, that CAP produces can be considered serious research. Its policy positions and recommendations are indistinguishable from those of the Democratic Party. This is because so many of the Center’s senior staffers and Fellows are veterans of the Bill Clinton and Barack Obama administrations, and of the Democratic National Committee.”

  • Leigh Rich

    Obama won’t let it happen

  • sliversimpson

    The federal government shouldn’t have law enforcement agents, period. That is not to say that they couldn’t have investigators, but the role of the federal government should not be to enforce laws on individuals, but to enforce laws upon the states.

    The role of the federal government agencies should be to assist local law enforcement agencies with resources and intelligence. This could also include being a Liason between local agencies and providing assistance in coordinating their efforts.

  • Brick

    A better idea! Strip BATFE of all police duties and authority and make it strictly a regulatory and tax collection agency. I fully agree with mattew_carberry below that the FBI is too political.

  • AlDeLarge

    I seriously doubt the the rabidly anti “assault weapons” Center for American Progress has streamlined NFA application processing in mind.

  • MichaelZWilliamson

    How about remove the police powers from ATFE and all other agencies except the FBI and Border Patrol? If booze, cig and gun revenuers, or vegetable inspectors, or environmental assessors, or wetlands surveyors, or student loan managers think they need someone arrested, they can call the US Marshals to do it for them.

  • M1911

    The problem with merging the ATF into the FBI is that the FBI is mostly competent. The ATF just isn’t. Many of the ATF’s persecutions fail precisely because of their incompetence. I would rather that the ATF continues to be incompetent — we are safer that way.

  • Guido FL

    No ………….. never ! Giving the ATFE gangsters more power is not a wise move.

  • Comrade Misfit

    Read the summary page, at least. The “gun lobby” is heavily painted as the bad guys in regard to why the ATF is a lousy agency. One of their objectives in merging ATF with the FBI is to reduce our influence over how guns are regulated.

    So I think this i a bad idea.

  • Peter Smith

    How about we get rid of both organizations. The FBI is no less corrupt than the ATF. Like all playground thugs, all their thug statist organization wants to do is make everyone else comply with their rules, or they’ll beat you up and take your lunch money. I say we string all of them up by the neck… or wage war against them outright. Its about time for another revolution…

    I’m not alone feeling like that… if they were my views might be seen as a bit radical but they are not… they are rather common place held views today. I think most Americans would agree. The country is corrupt beyond all repair and needs to go. Dissolve it. Its been nothing but an evil and corrupt institution since its founding which has arrested change.

    • Donnie Robertson

      PETER ……………… You nailed it; well said, sir – WELL said.

  • Donnie Robertson

    BATF&E / FBI / K-9 UNIT / ALL QUESTIONABLE! Definitely politically positioned and serve as the POTUS tells their “bosses” they should operate. I realize Fast and Furious is old and has been beaten to death; HOWEVER —- Eric Holder lied, the Department of Justice lied to cover his miserable butt and then the highest ranked official (our so-called president) in our country LIED and then CLASSIFIED most documents and information pertaining to HOLDER AND HIS INEPT “BAND OF BROTHERS” (Obama appointees and DEFINITELY “brothers”). The LIES will never end and the protection our “Barack” affords his “brothers” is never ending!

  • Gaston Moses Browning

    The founder of the Center for American Progress is the guy running Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, John Podesta — a Clinton and Obama White House hack. Any report from this outfit is poison for gun rights.

  • Doom

    Lol, the “center for American progress” is an anti gun lefty prog think tank, I wouldn’t go around quoting these guys if I ran a gun blog.

  • Leslie48 .

    Something needs to change.

    If cars were regulated the way guns are there would be no mandate for seat-belts, no mandate for air-bags, no mandate for anti-lock brakes or for minimum crash resistance.. just every few years lagging sales of automobiles with V-8 engines would suddenly spike amid rumors of a new ‘Muscle-Car’ ban.

  • BambiB

    Hmm FBI already cleans up ATF messes. Look at the glorious job FBI did of burning men, women and children to death after the botched “Operation Hollywood” raid in Waco!

    Then again, maybe FBI could tell the difference between full auto weapons and AIRSOFT guns and avoid another debacle like the impoundment of a shipment of AIRSOFT “rifles” because, “They can be easily converted into full-auto machine guns”.

    Merge ATF and FBI? Hell no. Shut down the ATF, then license the name and logo to a convenience store chain. “We got your alcohol. We got your tobacco. We got your firearms. And now… we’ve got your EXPLOSIVES too! And we’re having a SALE! Hands… half off.”

  • Tothe

    How about abolishing the BATF and replacing it with liberty?

    • Socrates Wilde

      Abolish the ATF AND the FBI. ; )

      • Combining the FBI and the ATF will no more make them “better” than combining the Colombo and Gambino crime families.
        Actually, that’s unfair to the latter.

  • T Sheehan

    I’m sorry, but my head just did something like a 720 with a kick-flip at the end. This is TFB, a watering hole for anti-big government types and a sounding board for what is the American version of the Taliban. Let’s not kid ourselves about what we are.
    Are members of this community actually serious about exploring handing one agencies (however inefficient) powers over to The Cult of Hoover?? Why? Because they imagine THE G-Men would make it easier to sign off on a full auto SBR with a suppressor? Holy Shiite. It’s Opposite Day, and the cool aid is free. While I’m at it, I’ll ask Donald Trump to personally loan me some Refi cash on my house. I’m sure he would have my best interests at heart when we discuss terms.

  • ThomasD

    “… a very legitimate and research backed report instead of political rhetoric…”

    No, it is not. The Center for American Progress was founded by and remains heavily funded by George Soros, a committed anti second amendment advocate. The organization is effectively an instrument of the Democratic Party.

  • The Brigadier

    I use to have a lot of respect for the FBI, but ever since the former Director Mueller ran it and did nothing to preserve our liberty, and in fact sent a team to arrest the Minnesota militia in 2011 on trumped up charges that proves they have become an anti-Constitution agency. All but one were exonerated and Mueller still treated American patriots as dangerous as the militant jihadists in the Middle East. The new AG and FBI directors are now going after cops because of black protests and both are politicizing it just as badly as Eric Holder did before them.

    The Center for American Progress is a hard left Progressive organization and wants a super federal police agency to confiscate our firearms. Don’t be conned by their rhetoric. If the ATF is disbanded it should not be resurrected as another agency or merged with any other. It has proven itself to be an anti-Constitution agency and should die a swift death metaphorically speaking.

    • Tothe

      It always has been an anti-liberty agency.

      • The Brigadier

        Not always. The FBI was created after AG Palmer’s family was killed in their beds by communist bombers who had already killed two U.S. Senators and a Supreme Court Judge in the early ’20’s. J. Edgar Hoover was given control of the new Bureau and he was one of Palmer’s disciples at Justice. Hoover personally led teams and located all the terrorists in the capitol and they were all convicted and hung.

        Things changed in the Fifties and that’s when all kinds of skulduggery occurred in many government agencies including the FBI. Now they are agents of socialists and communists in the administration and its time for us to clean up their act. The Convention of States that is authorized in Article 5 of the Constitution is picking up steam. Alabama is the latest state that just approved their official participation in the Convention. Go on line and google Convention of States and sign up to help, and help us rein in the communists and preserve our liberties they want to take away from us.

    • Socrates Wilde

      J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI was anti-liberty from its inception.

  • ghost

    Join the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Really Big Erections? Tyranny I say, tyranny. Throw in the CIA and we might can make a deal.