Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

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The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF, BATF, or BATFE) is a law enforcement agency within the United States Department of Justice mandated to enforce federal criminal laws concerning the unlawful use, manufacture, and possession of firearms and explosives, as well as acts of arson and bombings, and illegal trafficking of alcohol and tobacco products. The ATF also regulates the firearms and explosives industries via licensing.

They were formerly known as the Department of the Treasury BATF, but are now the BATFE(xplosives) of the DOJ. Now they are a "real" law enforcement agency instead of mere tax collectors like the IRS.

The ATF works directly, and through partnerships with local law enforcement agencies to investigate and reduce crime.[1] The ATF employs approximately 5000 people across America and has a budget of nearly 1 billion dollars. Since 2001 the ATF has trained almost 6000 bomb technicians and investigators.

Conservative Veterans, Patriots, Gun Enthusiasts and Preppers See Police State Behaviors

Many Conservative veterans, American Oath Keeper Patriots, gun enthusiasts and preppers see the BATFE's behaviors since the Waco and Ruby Ridge tyrannical episodes as police state behaviors.

The ATF was severely criticized in the 1990's following several botched investigations and high profile shootings and "accidental" deaths, including the Waco Siege of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas. During the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, the ATF conducted "Operation Fast and Furious" which involved selling AR-15 and other assault rifles to Mexican drug cartels. A gun sold through the operation was later used to murder a US agent, and others were associated with various murders in Arizona and Mexico.

Malum In Se (Evil in Itself) versus Malum Prohibitum (Wrong Prohibited)

While conservatives never advocate committing crimes which are mala in se (i.e. "evil in themselves"), freedom-loving Americans should routinely challenge all mala prohibita (wrongs, though not evil, yet prohibited). A conservative gun enthusiast can think of no better example of such "victimless crime" legislation more deserving of our contempt that interstate commerce gun control regulations of the BATF, Obama Administration Executive Orders, and Eric Holder's BATF orders. While it is never "evil in itself" (malum in se) for a peaceable American to buy a gun across State lines (just like a bottle of beer), Congress has deemed such a "wrong prohibited" (malum prohibitum) with felony prison sentences and large fines (see MSSA v. Holder). As Emerson wrote: "Every actual State is corrupt. Good men must not obey the laws too well."

BATF Busting the Innocent Peaceable American Gun Owner/Seller

Enticing the ignorant, stupid, or greedy seller to break a federal firearms law is the most common of BATF stings via entrapment. Do not sell a firearm to "straw man" purchasers. If anybody asks if he can buy your gun for somebody else, refuse, even is such is not a "prohibited possessor" (meaning felon, out-of-State, under age). Do not buy a gun for somebody else. A nonlicenseed person (not an FFL), cannot buy a gun for anybody, except to give as a gift. So, if any stranger or "new" friend asks you do buy a gun for him (this called a "straw man sale"), you should politely refuse, even if the end recipient is allegedly not a "prohibited possessor". Beware of BATF tricks at gun shows. If they ask you to handle an item, refuse. Why put your fingerprints on something that did not necessarily have them before?

Know a Good Gun Rights Lawyer

If one is entrapped or troubled by the BATF the Gun Owners of America, Second Amendment Foundation, National Rifle Association or Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership can help you find a gun rights attorney. It is recommended to look for one now, before you ever possible need him.

See Also

Bibliography - Further Reading

External Links


  1. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives