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.