How Congress Weakened the Gun Regulators
Posted at 2:15 p.m. on Dec. 26, 2012
“The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been without a permanent director for six years… But even if someone were to be confirmed for the job, the agency’s ability to thwart gun violence is hamstrung by legislative restrictions and by loopholes in federal gun laws,” according to the New York Times.
“For example, under current laws the bureau is prohibited from creating a federal registry of gun transactions… The bureau’s struggles are epitomized by its lack of a full-time director since Congress, prodded by the N.R.A., decided that the position should require Senate confirmation.”
“While other law enforcement agencies like the F.B.I. have benefited from greatly increased budgets and staffing, the A.T.F.’s budget has remained largely stagnant, increasing to about $1.1 billion in the 2012 fiscal year from just over $850 million a decade ago.”
“The Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986, for example, prohibits A.T.F. agents from making more than one unannounced inspection per year of licensed gun dealers… The so-called Tiahrt amendments… prohibits the bureau from using tracing data in some legal proceedings to suspend or revoke a dealer’s license, and it requires that records of background checks of gun buyers be destroyed within 24 hours of approval.”