Banish it, vanish it, boot it!

The BATFE, that is.

This weekend, the crack reporting team of Mike Vanderboegh and David Codrea (the bloggers who broke the Fast & Furious scandal) revealed another scandal-to-be. Or perhaps we should say “scandal that should be” since chances are this one will get swept under the rug, its significance ignored.

They’re reporting that the NRA made a deal to save the ATF’s bacon. Mike writes:

Sipsey Street Irregulars can now confirm the broad outlines of a story first disclosed two days ago by National Gun Rights Examiner columnist David Codrea. Last week, a secret deal involving the National Rifle Association lobbying arm and brokered by politicians of both national political parties was struck in Washington DC that would save the ATF from the political and legal consequences of its own regulatory errors. In the process, this deal would broaden the language of the 1968 Gun Control Act regarding “sporting purposes” and allow ATF to extract itself from the potentially catastrophic political damage of enforcing its arbitrary ruling that makes every owner of a pistol grip 12 Gauge shotgun like the Mossberg Cruiser a felon in possession of a “destructive device” subject to the penalties of the National Firearms Act of 1934 — currently up to 10 years in federal prison and a quarter million dollar fine. …

As explained by sources here and in the nation’s capitol, the outlines of what one called “this cynical deal with the Devil” are as follows:

1. The ATF will be let off the hook by broadening the “sporting purposes” language and legislatively negating their own determination that millions of heretofore legal pistol-grip shotguns produced over the past decades by companies like Mossberg are “destructive devices.”

2. The NRA will get to claim credit for, as one source said, “riding in out of the storm on a white horse and claiming to have saved millions of firearm owners from federal prison, even though,” he added, “everybody in the room with an IQ above room temperature understands that politically and legally there is no (expletive deleted) way that ATF can enforce this ruling on anybody. They can’t and they won’t . . so” he concluded, “the NRA will claim to have saved their members from a boogeyman that never really existed.”

3. In return for allowing NRA to claim the credit, the Democrats demanded another ammunition import ban on “specialty ammunition,” to include tracers. Some sources agreed that this last “gimme” was a “throwaway,” in the words of one. “Look, their M.O. is to always demand more than they know they can get in to get the thing they really value. They’d like to get it but what they really covet is knocking a bigger hole in the Constitution by (widening the ‘sporting purposes’ language) . . . this deal will give them one big enough to drive Diane Feinstein’s limousine through.”

More at the link. It will be interesting to learn the details, including which politicians were involved in the deal. But in short, the ATF has (once again) inflicted damage on itself through its own incompetence and arbitrary rulemaking — and the National Rifle Association has stepped in to save that most despised anti-gun arm of the fedgov from itself. The deal has a price, which gun owners will pay in the long run.

Now of course news of yet another NRA sellout would hardly be news to anybody who’s been watching. (UPDATE: So far, after days of refusing to comment, the NRA’s Chris Cox denies everything, which may mean that the backroom deal has fallen apart.) That’s not my point.

I’m just here to observe that any organization that truly represented gun owners would never do anything to make the ATF look better or have a greater chance of survival. The ATF is the enemy of gun owners, always has been, and always will be. Making it “better” does us no favors.

Also, this reported backroom “fix” revolves around the obscene “sporting purposes” rule that that the ATF has used as one of its major tools against gun owners for decades and will continue to use as long as it can get away with it. And you remember where the “sporting purposes” rule came from, right?

Yeah. It came from Nazi law. It came via the Gun Control Act of 1968. Prior to 1968, no such thing as a “sporting purposes” test had appeared in U.S. federal law. “Sporting purposes” was imported along with much of the rest of the GCA by Sen. Thomas Dodd (D-CT) via a 1938 Nazi gun law that he brought with him after his experience as a prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials. Aaron Zelman and Richard Stevens proved this conclusively when they laid out the text of the two laws side-by-side in Gun Control: Gateway to Tyranny.

The original (now late, lamented) Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership revealed the Nazi origins of GCA ’68 to the world. The texts are there for anyone to see. Why do so many “pro-gun” mainstreamers choose not to see them?

Any organization that claims to be pro-gun should want GCA ’68 gone. Not “improved.” Not “interpreted in a more favorable way.” Certainly not “broadened.” Any organization that claims to be pro-gun should also want the ATF thrown into the dustbin of history. Not rescued from itself. Not made more efficient or more popular.

The old JPFO, Aaron Zelman’s JPFO, was vocal in wanting both these obscenities banished, vanished, booted, and gone forever. Our brand new Zelman Partisans continues the tradition. We advocate and agitate for the principles on which Aaron based his mission. We’re a small voice — now. But we speak for the principles of individual rights. And we always will.

Banish, vanish, boot the ATF! In the meantime, go ahead and let it shoot itself in the foot with its long history of idiotic, unfair, catastrophic regulations. Let the entire bogus “sporting purposes” rule go … well, where it belongs. Don’t merely make obscene rulings on an obscene rule a little more favorable to us peasants in exchange for dirty political favors. Freedom isn’t a sport. Nor is it something to be compromised away in backroom political deals.


8 thoughts on “Banish it, vanish it, boot it!”

  1. I am a realest enough to understand that everyone has a political agenda but this is really dumb on the part of senior NRA quislings, er… staffers.

    A similar situation with the RCMP unilaterally making certain firearms prohibited took place. The result would have been several thousand folks would have been turned into criminals with the stroke of a pen. The National Firearms Association up here in Canada was asked to help with the transition by calming the waters. The big difference was that the senior guys at the NFA hung the RCMP out to dry in the press and those in power in Ottawa listened. The result was that the folks in Ottawa listened and a amnesty was announced by the government so owners would not loose their property. Now there is a bill before the House of Parliament which should pass in a few weeks that will take away the RCMP power to unilaterally prohibit certain firearms with the stroke of a pen.

    You guys need to get on the offensive and get this into the mainstream media ASAP so the quislings at the NRA get smacked!

    1. MJR — If anybody has the clout and the experience to get this to the mainstream, it’ll be David and Mike.

      Good on your NFA for facing the regulators down. Wish the NRA would take a lesson from that, but of course the NRA has rarely ever met a form of gun control or “compromise” it didn’t like.

      Meanwhile, Mike elaborates on the importance of the “sporting purposes” rule:

  2. Pingback: RRND - 04/14/15 -
  3. Ms. Wolfe,

    I respectfully urge you to carefully consider your words regarding this issue. I’m sure you are familiar with the many reasons that while disbanding BATFU without first repealing the laws they enforce might be a viscerally satisfying symbolic victory in the short term, it would be an unmitigated the long term.

    As mushy as the GOP is already, can we imagine trying to get Congressional hearings over a Gunwalker scandal in an alternative universe where BATFU did not exist and the FBI was the key player? Not bloody likely.

    Any readers who have not already read Kurt Hoffman’s excellent essay on this counter-intuitive issue should do so now. Like right this second.

    I wonder if Democrats, for all their historic whitewashing and stonewalling in defense of BATFE murder and mayhem, may be starting to appreciate the strategic benefits of shifting the gun-grabbing duties to a less politically vulnerable and less spectacularly corrupt and incompetent bureau/deparment such as FBI or DHS. In fact, the lion’s share of the tobacco control action has already been quietly shifting to the FDA per the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 and subsequent regulatory action. BATFU still gets to play revenuer on the tax enforcement side, but this merely renders them the errand boy of the FDA, which are the ones handing down the decisions on what gets taxed, how, and how much. Are the Dems already hollowing out BATFU in anticipation of cutting them loose?

    More recently Rep. Sensenbrenner proposed the catastrophic ATF Elimination Act, and it is unsurprisingly gaining much support from our side, with little thought as to the practical results. Disbanding BATFU is of course reflexively appealing to many well-meaning but misguided 2nd Amendment supporters.

    I have no doubt that some of our shrewder enemies more familiar with the power dynamics of Washington have considered the opportunities in finally divorcing themselves from F-Troop and wedding their cause to a far more powerful enforcement body. I believe the only thing preventing such a move is the question of how the Schumers, Durbins, Feinsteins, and their ilk could weather the short-term political fallout. They need cover — some kind of justification palatable to their own constituencies without divulging their true goal. I have no idea what that might look like, but then I don’t devote my life to manipulation, betrayal, and pursuit of power.

    If/when they do make such a move, we already know that our enemies will gladly seize upon any opportunity to twist our words to their purposes. This brings us to the call in this blogpost to dissolve BATFU. Yes, I know and you know that much was also written on the need to be rid of the NFA and GCA, but a minor omission of such contextual minutiae would not exactly be the damnedest lie ever foisted by our foes in the service of gun grabbery. Even one of our own scanning this blog post quickly could easily come away with “We should get rid of the BATFE!”

    My point is that we should not be talking about dissolving BATFU at all. There is no benefit and much danger in our side endorsing such action. What we should be talking about is repealing the NFA and GCA. Once those are gone, the empty BATFU detritus left in the wake of those unconstitutional travesties of “legislation” can be addressed, but at that point of course BATFU will be largely irrelevant anyway, except for the pure and unreformed remnants of their Prohibition forebears.

    Until that happy day, we need to back off this talk, educate our own, and hope the issue fades before our enemies figure out how to exploit it.

    Happy trails,


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