MARTINSBURG, WV –-(Ammoland.com)-AmmoLand News has learned from a leaked Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) video conference meeting that the agency is looking to double its size over the next five years.
Acting ATF Director Marvin Richardson started the conference call by discussing the number of comments received from the two previous comment periods. According to Richardson, almost 300,000 comments were submitted to the Federal Registry for unfinished frames and receivers during the comment period. Also, Americans submitted just over 250,000 comments on pistol stabilizing devices during that comment period.
President Joe Biden and his administration have targeted pistol stabilizing braces and unfinished frames since he came into office. Earlier this year, Biden took executive action on the firearms market. He ordered the ATF to change the rules surrounding braces and frames by using Chevron deference. The ATF submitted proposed regulations for public comment on frames and receivers four weeks later. Shortly after, the ATF published propose rules for public comment on pistol stabilizing devices.
Anti-gun states and groups have long been trying to outlaw unfinished frames. The Biden administration has pushed the narrative that unfinished frames and receivers are a tool only used by criminals. Biden calls these kits “ghost guns” and wants the ATF to regulate them as firearms. The ATF has also carried out several high-profile visits to makers of unfinished frames, including Polymer80. Stamps.com and Authorize.net also turned over Polymer80’s customer information to the ATF.
The ATF has also been targeting pistol-stabilizing braces. Shortly after the presidential election, AmmoLand News uncovered a meeting between the ATF and the Biden transition team. During these meetings, the Biden transition team asked then ATF Acting Director Regina Lombardo and Acting Assistant Director Richardson what their top priorities were for the new administration. Other than unfinished frames, the other item on its list have pistol stabilizing braces. The ATF, specifically Richardson, saw these items as a workaround to the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) and believed that pistols equipped with most stabilizing braces should be considered short-barrel rifles (SBR).
The ATF is creating two teams to deal with the massive number of public comments. Enforcement Programs and Services (EPS) Division Director Alphonso Hughes and Deputy Assistant Director Andy Graham will run these two teams. Each man will run a team to sort through the submitted comments. Richardson did not give a timeline for the teams to review all the submitted comments.
Richardson also talked about the ATF’s plan to double in size over the next five years under President Biden’s administration. The ATF plans to expand to around 2500 special agents, up from 1700 gun-carrying agents. This amount would put the number of agents at a higher level than the IRS, with 2000 special agents.
An expansion of the ATF concerns those in the gun world.
Gun rights advocates see the ATF as an out-of-control agency. Richardson didn’t expand on how the agency plans to pay for all the proposed new ATF employees, but it is known that Biden wants to see the ATF’s power greatly expanded.
No specific plans for the agency expansion were given to the agency’s employees in attendance. Besides the five-year time frame, Richardson didn’t give a rate of growth that the agency is expecting.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.