Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., has proposed legislation that would dissolve the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The one-time Judiciary Committee chairman said other federal law enforcement agencies can handle the controversial bureau’s duties.
His bill, the ATF Elimination Act, would impose a hiring freeze at the ATF, require the Justice Department to “eliminate and reduce duplicative functions and waste,” and mandate a report to Congress detailing how it would shut down the ATF and transfer its responsibilities to the FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency and other departments.
Sensenbrenner would see the FBI assume the ATF’s enforcement of firearms, explosives and arson laws while the DEA would absorb its responsibility for ensuring that alcohol and tobacco are not illegally distributed. The FBI would take over the ATF’s building and assets.
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“Common sense budgeting solutions are necessary, and the ATF Elimination Act is one measure we can take to reduce spending, redundancy, and practice responsible governance,” Sensenbrenner stated in introducing the bill. “The ATF is a scandal-ridden, largely duplicative agency that has been branded by failure and lacks a clear mission. It is plagued by backlogs, funding gaps, hiring challenges, and a lack of leadership.”
“These facts make it a logical place to begin draining the swamp and acting in the best interest of the American taxpayer,” Sensenbrenner concluded.
The veteran lawmaker first proposed eliminating the ATF after 2010’s “Operation Fast and Furious” gun-walking scandal, in which the ATF intentionally allowed gun traffickers to sell guns to Mexican cartels in hopes of bringing down the cartels. Instead, the ATF lost track of most of the guns it allowed to flow across the U.S.’s southern border.
This post originally appeared on Washington Examiner