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Tag: ATF

ATF Handles Far Fewer Cases Because of Policy Change Under President Obama

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The number of ATF cases recommended for prosecution dropped by a third since 2004, according to data compiled by Syracuse University, the Washington Times reports.

Federal investigators and gun law experts said the decline is attributed to a policy change in the Obama administration, which has changed its focus to regulatory-type cases.

“Within the later part of the Bush years, case selections within the ATF have gone from mostly violent crime cases – which is their forte – toward the regulatory, where they look at dealers, manufacturers and trafficking cases – and they take a lot more time to develop,” said Robert Sanders, a former ATF assistant director. “The agencies philosophy has shifted to guns are the problem, and access to guns are the problem, rather than the criminal being the direct indicator of crime.”

Under Obama, the agency merged its regulatory division with law enforcement.

The result was the loss of law-enforcement and an increased focus on regulation, the Washington Times wrote.

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USA Today Investigation: ATF Drug Stings Targeted Minorities

By Brad Heath
USA Today
WASHINGTON — The nation’s top gun-enforcement agency overwhelmingly targeted racial and ethnic minorities as it expanded its use of controversial drug sting operations, a USA TODAY investigation shows.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has more than quadrupled its use of those stings during the past decade, quietly making them a central part of its attempts to combat gun crime. The operations are designed to produce long prison sentences for suspects enticed by the promise of pocketing as much as $100,000 for robbing a drug stash house that does not actually exist.

At least 91% of the people agents have locked up using those stings were racial or ethnic minorities, USA TODAY found after reviewing court files and prison records from across the United States. Nearly all were either black or Hispanic. That rate is far higher than among people arrested for big-city violent crimes, or for other federal robbery, drug and gun offenses.

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Chicago Gets Additional ATF Agents to Quell Outbreak in Gun Violence

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Chicago is getting seven more ATF agents to help quell an outbreak violence, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

The decision was made recently by Attorney General Eric Holder, who had met with the Chicago mayor.

The Windy City now has 52 ATF agents.

“They wanted to bring more resources to Chicago to combat some of the gun violence that’s taking place here,” said ATF spokesman Tom Ahern.

“Initially we’ll have four starting out here on the 21st of the month, then we have more coming down the road,” Ahern said.

The decision comes after a bloody Fourth of July weekend in which 13 people were killed and 58 wounded in Chicago.
Ahern said the help is desperately needed.

“We welcome the new agents. We can always use more manpower,” Ahern said. “The ATF’s primary focus is firearms trafficking and stemming the flow of illegal guns into Chicago.”

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Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association Strongly Opposes Proposal to Eliminate ATF

 

Rep. Sensenbrenner

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) on Thursday denounced  Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner’s proposal to eliminate ATF and have it absorbed by another agency.

“Violent gangs, gun traffickers and active shooters will not take pause while Congress attempts to engage in an unwarranted bureaucratic maneuver that would waste taxpayer dollars and leave the public at risk,” said FLEOA President Jon Adler in a statement. ” Any bill that calls for dismantling  ATF would simultaneously dissolve a critical layer of enforcement and protection for the American public. We cannot afford to diminish ATF’s Frontline Strategy, nor the dedicated Special Agents.” and Inspectors who enforce it.”
 
The Milwaukee Journal reports that Sensenbrenner has a bill in the works to eliminate ATF. The Congressman cites recent operational failures and ATF’s  overlap with other federal law enforcement agencies, the paper reports.
“By absorbing the ATF into existing law enforcement entities, we can preserve the areas where the ATF adds value for substantially less taxpayer money,” Sensenbrenner said. “While searching for its mission, the ATF has been plagued by decades of high-profile blunders….We cannot afford to ignore clear changes that will greatly enhance the government’s efficiency.”

 

ATF Sees Major Upswing in Recovered, Traced Machine Guns in Pennsylvania

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The ATF recovered and traced more machine guns in Pennsylvania than in the past four years combined, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

The ATF issued the alarming report, which states that the ATF reported 132 machine gun traces in the past year in Pennsylvania. By contrast, the agency traced 110 machine guns between 2009 and 2012.

The ATF defines a machine gun as “any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.”

In Pennsylvania, adults can obtain permits to own machine guns. The state has 17,714 such permits.

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FBI Agents to Begin Recording Interrogations After Long Policy Against It

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Overturning an FBI policy that is as old as the bureau, the Justice Department is now requiring the FBI in most cases to make audio or video recordings while interrogating suspects in custody, the Arizona Republic reports.

Since the FBI’s creation in 1908, agents have been barred from making audio recordings of suspects without special permission.

“This policy establishes a presumption that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the United States Marshals Service (USMS) will electronically record statements made by individuals in their custody,” says the memo from James M. Cole, deputy attorney general, to all federal prosecutors and criminal chiefs.

“This policy also encourages agents and prosecutors to consider electronic recording in investigative or other circumstances where the presumption does not apply,” such as in the questioning of witnesses.

Seattle Times: ATF Needs to Provide More Regulatory Oversight After Gun Shop Blunder

By Seattle Times
Editorial Board

Revelations about the sloppy, arrogant business practices of a nationally known Skagit County retailer with a lethal inventory are stunning.

To know that Kesselring Gun Shop had been arming generations with virtually no regulatory oversight, even after grotesque violations were discovered, made Seattle Times reporter Mike Carter’s story all the more shocking.

Nearly a decade ago, after more than a half-century in business, the gun shop received its first visit by inspectors with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

They discovered that nearly 2,400 assault-style rifles and handguns could not be accounted for. A seemingly incurious ATF did nothing for the next five years.

Incredibly, it took a nasty state workers’ compensation claim inside the family-owned business to provide any transparency about the pumping of thousands of lethal weapons into society.

As Carter pointed out, when the ATF finally made Kesselring a priority, inspectors spent four months compiling evidence of ATF violations “in virtually every aspect of the shop’s operation.”

The gun shop failed to have buyers provide key information on purchase forms. Instant background checks were not documented. Guns were sold to non-Washington residents. Multiple handgun sales to one person were not documented in a half-dozen cases.

The company surrendered its license last October. That leaves Washington with 1,093 firearms dealers.

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Washington State Gun Store That ‘Lost’ or had Stolen Nearly 2,500 Guns Stayed Open for 8 Years

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It took eight years for the ATF to shut down a gun store in Washington state that had nearly 2,500 guns stolen or lost, Raw Story reports.To put that into perspective, there were fewer than 200 combined guns missing at the state’s other 1,093 stores.

“Stunning,” James Zammillo, a former ATF deputy assistant director, told The Seattle Times. “That is just an incredible number.”

Among the citations against the Kesselring Gun Shop were the failure to report stolen weapons or to secure explosive material. The store also was cited for selling guns without trying to confirm the identities of buyers.

Still the gun shop continued to operate and even posted a record $14.6 million in sales in 2006, Raw Story reported.