The ATF has been unpopular with extremist gun-nuts ever since the ATF attempted to seize the illegal weapons cache at the Branch Dravidian compound in Waco, TX, resulting in the subsequent destruction of that compound by the FBI. For the extreme right, it's a serious enough matter that it prompted one of their number, Tim McVeigh, to bomb the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, because it contained an ATF office. He has been lionized by the Tea Party to the extent that Tea Baggers have celebrated that date by bringing their weapons to "Open Carry" protests near Washington, DC. But Republicans have actually found a much sneakier way to keep the ATF from enforcing gun laws, and Democrats want to change it.
The No. 2 Democrat in the Senate is readying legislation aimed at pressuring the gun lobby to endorse the confirmation of a permanent Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) director.
The bill being crafted by Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) would allow for the ATF’s functions to be shifted to another agency, such as the FBI, effectively bypassing the need for the Senate to confirm a director of the embattled bureau.
“It strikes me that if the Senate has not confirmed the head of an agency as important as this, after a certain period of time, that we should transfer the jurisdiction of that agency to the FBI for example, which has a long-term director,” Durbin told The Hill.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has successfully lobbied Congress to block every presidential pick to head the ATF since 2006. The group argues that a permanent director could lead to more severe enforcement of firearm laws… [emphasis added]
Inserted from <The Hill>
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Rachel Maddow Provided Details
The hypocrisy here is extreme, because Republicans are saying that we just need to enforce the laws we have, at the same time they are preventing those laws from being enforced. I like Durbin's bill, but I see no chance of its passage as long as Republicans control the House. However, I consider it worth pursuing, because it makes public the manner in which Republicans are sabotaging Americans' safety for the sake of gun industry profits and seditionist hate groups.