Obama, Lynch, Democrats’ plan to put ATF on steroids Click to Tweet


The highly influential Center for American Progress, which has deep ties to the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton, recently released an extensive report calling for the nation’s lead agency on gun regulation to be merged into the FBI.

The generalities of the center’s 182-page report were widely covered by media upon its release last May. However, the details in the report were largely unmentioned, including by conservative media agencies.

The center’s report explains how merging the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF, into the FBI can result in more a proactive approach to gun regulation. That would include stepping up the collection of trace data on gun owners; more policing of sales at gun shows and the Internet; and enhanced gun regulation functions.

The report and other recent center recommendations may provide a window into the thinking of a future Clinton administration, with Clinton taking a strong anti-gun stance as part of her presidential campaign.

CAP was founded by John Podesta, who directed Obama’s transition into the White House in 2009 and served as White House counselor until earlier this year, when he took on the role of chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

The ATF’s primary mission is supposed to be to police the illegal market of guns and to target the criminal use of weapons.

However, the CAP report finds the ATF is “struggling” to successfully carry out its core functions. The report cites inadequate oversight and accountability throughout the agency, limited resources, operating restrictions and what it claims is a lack of effective coordination with other law enforcement agencies, especially the FBI.

Collecting data

The center says a merger with the FBI will allow the federal government to more effectively address interstate firearms trafficking, particularly by stepping up the collection of data on legal gun owners. The data collection, the report claims, is intended to be used “to identify patterns and trends in the movement of crime guns around the country and to develop innovative investigations into trafficking networks based on these data.”

The report laments that “to the extent that agents have taken on trafficking cases, they have largely focused on reactive cases, meaning that they often pursue these cases after a major gun crime has been committed.”

Instead, CAP recommends the stepped-up collection of data on gun owners, with particular focus on the eTrace system.

ETrace does not electronically tag any of the guns. It serves as an online database that contains all registered information for each gun, including the personal information for all registered owners as well as whether law enforcement has information the gun was ever used in a crime. In essence, eTrace is a giant firearms monitoring database.

The gun only traces legal owners. Once a gun enters the black market, the system cannot provide future information on a firearm unless the weapon is retrieved in a crime or once again enters into official registration.

Policing gun shows, Internet sales

The CAP report concludes the ATF is lapsing in its ability to police gun shows using current law, which stipulates it is illegal for individuals to sell guns to those who they know or have reason to suspect are prohibited from gun possession…

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