An internal memo went out to agents at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives this week expressing support for a reductions in gun regulations. The memo, which was sent by the ATF’s COO Ronald Turk, surprised many when it leaked to the public. Far from supporting stricter gun control legislation, Turk told officials at the agency that it was time for the ATF to consider new ways to enforce the gun laws on the books.
“There are many regulatory changes or modifications that can be made by or through ATF that would have an immediate, positive impact on commerce and industry without significantly hindering ATF’s mission or adversely affecting public safety,” Turk wrote.
In the letter, Turk said there was an opportunity under the Trump administration to improve the ATF’s relationship with gun enthusiasts who often see the agency as hostile to the Second Amendment.
“There are also areas where adjustments to policy or processes could improve ATF operations,” he wrote. “Alleviating some of these concerns would continue to support ATF’s relationships across the firearms and sporting industry, and allow ATF to further focus precious personnel and resources on the mission to combat gun violence.”
In the memo, Turk specifically mentioned silencers, interstate firearms sales, gun imports, and regulations on gun shows as areas where the ATF could pull back without endangering public safety. All of these issues have been at the forefront of the gun control debate for some time, especially during the Obama era.
While the ATF assured the press that Turk did not necessarily speak for the bureau, the memo got the attention of gun-control activists who fear it could be a preview of where the agency is headed.
“This white paper offers a disturbing series of giveaways to the gun industry that would weaken regulatory oversight of the gun industry without adequate consideration of the impact on public safety,” said Chelsea Parsons of the Center for American Progress.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Parsons said the ATF appeared to be putting the needs of the gun industry ahead of the security of the American people.
“ATF has long described its regulatory function as a core part of its law enforcement mission to fight gun crime, yet this paper seems to prioritize reducing perceived burdens on the gun industry over an interest in protecting public safety from the illegal diversion of firearms,” she said.
That’s a weird way to look at it, but what else would you expect from a liberal gun-grabbing organization? If the ATF follows Turk’s recommendations, they’ll be reducing the burden ON THE ATF, not the gun industry. Yes, Second Amendment rights are part of this, but Turk’s point seems to be that the ATF can’t properly enforce important gun laws because they’re too busy chasing down every instance of regulatory non-compliance. Logically, these changes would improve public safety, not deteriorate it.
But hey, when did these liberals ever care about logic?