BATFE in the Belfry

Recently, the Bureau of Tobacco, Alcohol, Firearms and Explosives, also known by its old initials ATF, has been on the receiving end of a myriad of criticism.

The facts revealed about ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious during last month’s congressional hearing have been the source of considerable public scrutiny. This is only one of many instances when ATF has acted recklessly and irresponsibly.

Like many aspects of the federal government, ATF has a long history of corruption.

Established under the Department of the Treasury, ATF was originally meant to serve as a tax-collecting agency, operating independently of the IRS. Today, ATF is also expected to enforce the growing number of laws regulating alcohol, tobacco, and firearms.

After the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, ATF separated from the Treasury Department and was transferred to the Department of Justice with the intent that the agency’s law enforcement role would be carried out more efficiently and effectively under the DOJ.

According to ATF’s mission statement, the agency is committed to protecting our communities from violent criminals, criminal organizations, and the illegal use and trafficking of firearms.

However, now and in the past, ATF has failed to accomplish these aims without throwing civilians, quite deliberately, in harm’s way. 

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