Report Prepared for Congress Offers Details on ATF Funding

By David Codrea

This costs money. (ATF/Facebook)
David Codrea in his natural habitat.

USA – -(Ammoland.com)- A report issued Aug. 7 by the Congressional Research Service providing lawmakers with a detailed analysis of ATF funding can now also be scrutinized by citizens interested in keeping informed on expenditures and what they mean. Congressional Research Service’s “Gun Control: FY2017 Appropriations for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Other Initiatives” has been posted on the Federation of American Scientists’ website.

It’s an important public interest task the group, founded by former Manhattan Project scientists, is performing by posting such reports, because the Congressional Research Service, which acts as an issues “think tank” for Congress—does not generally make their reports available to the public, despite our tax dollars funding them. EveryCRSReport.com and CRSReports.com are also working to change that (the older OpenCRS.com site has been discontinued, albeit some of its history is available via the Internet Archive). Ultimately, changing that is largely in the hands of a majority Republican Congress that does not appear sufficiently motivated to pass an equal access bill (“7% chance of being enacted according to Skopos Labs”).

How much is budgeted for Constitution/Bill of Rights training is not specified. (ATF/Facebook)

“For FY2017, Congress has appropriated $1.259 billion for ATF in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 (P.L. 115-31), about $47.5 million less than the Obama Administration’s budget request and $18.6 million more than the FY2016 appropriation,” the report summary states. “This report chronicles the FY2017 appropriations cycle for ATF and other gun control initiatives, including legislative histories for several ATF funding limitations related to firearms. It also includes discussion of year-to-year data trends that could affect ATF workloads, such as the number and type of federal firearms licensees (FFLs), growth in the civilian gun stock, and firearms-related violent crime.”

Tangential efforts by the FBI and CDC were also highlighted.

“Congress provided funding to support NICS fully, and $73 million for NICS improvement grants,” the report noted. “Congress maintained a limitation … that continues to prohibit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other agencies from using appropriated funding to advocate or promote gun control.”

That’s an important distinction from claims made by citizen disarmament flacks that NRA is keeping all gun research from happening. Gun owner rights advocate should use that acknowledgment, coming from no less an authority than the research arm of the Library of Congress. Instead, what NRA properly objects to is tax-funded “attempt[s] to convince Americans that lawfully owned firearms are a public health menace.”

Informed investigations should not only be one-way. (ATF/Facebook)

So now that AmmoLand readers have access to the CRS ATF report, what should you do with it? Aside from noting that no “legacy media” outfit is (yet) reporting on this, that’s up to you. For starters, read it over and be informed. It doesn’t hurt to have an “official” government document validating the claim that “Selected Data Trends That Could Have Affected ATF Workloads” include “Growth in the Civilian Gun Stock” and a “Downward Trend in Violent Firearms-Related Crime.”

Share it with others you think would (or should) be interested, and share your concerns with receptive members of Congress (dont waste your time on known hostiles). If you agree, tell your representatives that non-classified reports like this ought to be made available to the people paying for them, and find out where they stand on legislation to correct that.

After all, it's not like Congress has a lock on how information can best be used to ensure proper oversight of ATF and other agencies.

UPDATE: Google removed this from its “News” feed.

About David Codrea:

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.

In addition to being a field editor/columnist at GUNS Magazine and associate editor for Oath Keepers, he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

  • 14 thoughts on “Report Prepared for Congress Offers Details on ATF Funding

    1. “That’s an important distinction from claims made by citizen disarmament flacks that NRA is keeping all gun research from happening.”

      Whenever I see some whinger make that claim, I point them at the 2013 CDC gun study commissioned directly by Obama, that found that “defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year, in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008.” (http://www.guns.com/2013/06/27/cdc-releases-study-on-gun-violence-with-shocking-results/)

      If the CDC is forbidden to do gun research, then how did that happen?

    2. It’s been many years since I went through the ATF academy, but I don’t remember hearing anything about the constitution other than how to skirt around it when making a case in such a way that the case would still hold up in court.

        1. Yes, I was at FLETC in 1991 as a new agent. I’m sorry I can’t remember exact verbiage…it was twenty years ago. I just remember the overall feeling towards the constitution was that it was an annoyance we were going to have to maneuver throughout our careers.

          I find it amazing that while every LE officer swears to uphold the constitution, very few can really tell you anything about it other than how it hinders LE. I’m embarrassed to say, I was one of the many who knew little about the constitution I swore to uphold. With the benefit of hindsight, I think this general ignorance of the constitution and the annoyance towards it, is one of the main problems with much of our LE.

    3. I wouldn’t give them a damn nickel. They need to be shut down and eliminated and their duties taken over by the FBI. Other law enforcement agencies (Federal, State & Local) consider the BATF to be a joke and have nothing but disdain for the agency and consider the agents to be “the bottom of the barrel” of law enforcement. If no other Federal or State law enforcement agency will hire you because you are unqualified or have emotional or mental problems, you can find work at the BATF.

      1. @jm, I agree! Defund and decommission the BATFE. The BATFE has a long history of dishonest prosecutions, so that no citizen or resident of the U.S. is safe from their accusations. Remember Waco? That was BATFE “Operation Showboat”; and was designed to prevent Congress from diminishing the BATFE’s funding. Long past time for the BATFE to go.

        1. You’re correct Bill – Waco was indeed a stunt showcased to helped repair ATF’s image. “60 Minutes” had just done an expose on ATF in 1992 and the show was aired prior to ATF’s yearly ‘budget beg’. I was on that show along with many other ATF employees.

          Dan Hartnett was the director at that time. Hartnett had already been caught in sworn testimony perjuring himself. He was also cited in this same case for “conspiring” to coverup for an ATF SAC (Special Agent in Charge). The SAC had a long record within ATF for illegal activity. Hartnett was not fired after this, but instead promoted to the director from deputy director for his troubles.

          For the record, I too think ATF should be completely abolished. It has become too corrupt to exist.

      2. Flat wrong Joe Martin…
        https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.policefoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/PF-MCCA_Reducing-Violent-Crime-in-American-Cities_FullReport_RGB.pdf&sa=U&ved=0ahUKEwittbHgvvvVAhUr2IMKHZu6BNAQFggNMAA&usg=AFQjCNHT775qbIwtyyuYRCTRBeGzWopBqQ
        This whole discussion is such a 1 sided obtuse view of the very complex issue of gun rights and associative violent crime and everyone here should take a less hateful breath and look at facts.

        1. No Flarn, I’m not,wrong, you’re a troll. I taught at FLETC in both Glenco and in Artesia. It’s you who at talking out your ass who doesn’t know squat or facts.

          1. @joe martin, What years were you at FLETC… and Artesia? Forget this Flem or Flotsom or whatever he calls himself. I have nothing but the greatest respect for the instructors of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. Maybe, sometime, I will tell you how I got laid on the second story walk way of the light house on St. Simons Island.

            1. WB, I was a guest lecturer in Glenco in early 1987 and late 1988 and in Artesia in 2003 and 2004. We made a movie out of Glenco that I was in and a lot of people saw me in the movie and over the years an LEO was always giving me the “evil eye” remembering me from somewhere and thinking poster or BOLO. Most of the time we had a good laugh, but once or twice, I had some splainin’ to do, but it always wound up good.

            2. That is funny. I knew a guy that taught shooting at FLETC, that always said, ” The bullet will go where the sights are aligned, when the hammer falls.”

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