Proposition to merge ATF into FBI

    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…


    Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

    Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at [email protected]