Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Usefulness of the ATF

Bob Owens over at has a great write-up on a lawsuit Sig Sauer is bringing against the ATF for classifying their muzzle break as a silencer.

It reminds me of a recent decision in a similar case brought by Innovator Enterprises, in which the ATF made a similarly arbitrary decision. The case was recently decided in IE's favor, probably supporting Sig Sauer's decision to move forward on this rather than just take it in the gut.

My Take: Actually what caught my eye in the BA article was Mr. Owens' call for the ATF to be disbanded, saying,
"It is time to defund and disband this useless relic that hasn’t been needed since Prohibition was repealed, December 5, 1933."
I don't agree with this. While I dislike the ATF as much as the next guy, if they were disbanded their regulatory responsibilities would probably fall under the FBI. I think we're better off having the execution of firearms regulation (if there's to be any) managed by a distinct group, which can be held accountable without fighting the full weight of an organization with much broader and more meaningful responsibilities. In short, I think it's easier to constrain the ATF than it would be to constrain the mammoth FBI. Now if the argument is more pointedly that all firearms regulation should be discarded and the ATF along with it, well, okay.

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