I'll be up front on this one: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is an unconstitutional agency. We don't have prohibition, I don't know where the central government claims constitutional authority over tobacco and they certainly have no business restricting or regulating arms per the Second Amendment. Still. The ATF has seen a recent report calling for a slashing of some gun control regulations.
The report, submitted by Associate Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer Ronald B. Turk, called for deregulation concerning gun suppressors and lifting the ban on importing semi-automatic rifles.
Turk claims the report was intended to "promote commerce and defend the Second Amendment," but fails to call for elimination of every illegal federal gun law and the elimination of his own agency.
"Since the sunset of the Assault Weapons ban in 2004, the use of AR-15s, AK-style and similar rifles now commonly referred to as 'modern sporting rifles' has increased exponentially in sport shooting," the report reads. "Action shooting sports and organizations such as 3 Gun and the U.S. Practical Shooting Association have also drastically expanded in recent years."
"Restrictions on imports serves questionable public safety interests, as these rifles are already generally legally available for manufacture and ownership in the U.S.," he added.
While I appreciate the logic of the fact that semi-automatic rifles are manufactured in the States, I have a huge problem with presenting them for sport shooting and tying that to the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment does not relate to sports shooting, but to a God-given right to defend one's self, family, neighbors and country. In fact, the Second Amendment includes that it recognizes the "uninfringeable" right of the individual to keep and bear arms and also references the militia, which are made up of individuals for the purpose of keeping a free state.
Turk also did what I have done and demonstrated that semi-automatic rifles are not often used in the commission of crimes. As Kitt Daniels points out, "In 2015, the FBI revealed that five times as many murders were committed with knives than semi-automatic rifles, which the mainstream media commonly refers to as 'assault rifles.'"
"Out of nearly 12,000 murders performed within the U.S. in 2014, 660 were committed unarmed, 1,567 were committed with knives and only 248 murders were known to have been committed using rifles of any type, including single-shot long arms and the aforementioned "assault rifles" routinely demonized by gun control groups," he added.
Gun suppressors or "silencers" are also rarely used in the commission of a crime.
"On average in the past 10 years, ATF has only recommended 44 defendants a year for prosecution on silencer-related violations; of those, only approximately six had prior felony convictions," Turk wrote. "Moreover, consistent with this low number of prosecution referrals, silencers are very rarely used in criminal shootings."
Turk says these two items put a heavy load on the ATF.
"ATF has devoted substantial resources in attempts to reduce processing times, spending over $1 million annually in overtime and temporary duty expenses," the report reads. "Despite these efforts, processing times are widely viewed by applicants and the industry as far too long, resulting in numerous complaints to Congress."
Not only do people have to pay a tax to obtain a suppressor, but they then have to also submit an application. This is nothing more than an infringement on the right of the people. As for heavy load, the ATF has demonstrated what kind of a heavy load it engages in when it was involved at Waco, Ruby Ridge and in the illegal gun trafficking of more than 2,000 arms to Mexican drug cartels in Operation Fast and Furious. And these are the big crimes which we've seen them involved.
So, while I am in agreement with Mr. Turk regarding the deregulation of both of these items, I do so based simply on the Constitution itself, not sports shooting nor a heavy work load. I'm guessing that if Mr. Turk had to actually "promote commerce and defend the Second Amendment" in justifying the existence of the agency he works for, he would be hard-pressed to do so.
Finally, for those who tell me we can't just eliminate the agency because it would be too tough, and you know it's an illegal agency, I ask a simple question, would you use the same logic with a common criminal? Would you allow him to stop some crime, but allow him to continue others with respect for his status as a criminal? That is exactly what we are doing with many of these unconstitutional agencies inside our government.
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