House Judiciary Committee Grills ATF Director In Oversight Hearing

The Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) faced intense questioning this week in a House Judiciary Committee Oversight hearing.

Two years ago, Congress passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and the ATF has created a new rule attacking the private sale of firearms by redefining what constitutes being a firearms dealer.

Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) had pointed questions for ATF Director Steven Dettelbach over exactly how many firearms a private party could sell before being considered a dealer. Gaetz expressed concern that the federal agency is trying to create felons out of law-abiding Americans.

Dettlebach admitted that the ATF’s rule is broad enough that, even with 16 pages of text and nearly 400 pages of explanation, he could not offer a clear definition.

The agency has come under fire following the agency’s raid against Bryan Malinowski, a Little Rock, Arkansas airport director who was shot and killed on his doorstep by ATF agents sent to serve a search warrant over his hobby of buying and selling firearms.

Congressman Troy E. Nehls questioned why the heavily armed agents were conspicuously lacking body cameras, despite agency policy, when they they served the warrant.

Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) also put ATF Director Steven Dettelbach on the hot seat and dispelled two common myths often cited by proponents of gun control.

Massie forced Dettelbach to admit that the so-called gun show loophole wasn’t real and that the ATF along with the media artificially inflate the number of childhood deaths by firearm by including 18 and 19 year old gang members in their statistics.

The hearing brought forth new calls to abolish the ATF or to strictly limit its authority where its rules are being treated as laws.

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Photo: Steven Dettelbach, President Joe Biden's pick to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearing, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, May 25, 2022, the morning after the killing of at least 19 children by a teenage gunman at a Texas elementary school. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Notable Replies

  1. The ATF has always been an outlaw / black sheep federal agency which even other LE agencies look down on. The ATF should be disbanded entirely, and its employees terminated or allowed to join LE federal agencies that will have them. The rest can work at Walmart or join the local po-po or Sheriff’s office.

  2. Avatar for task task says:

    As usual Congress establishes these agencies, gives them some power and then they become populated with people who expand their power because they have been given the opportunity. In affect it becomes a work around to the intent and purpose of the very Constitution designed to protect the people from their government.

  3. They should be calling for his arrest for enforcing laws WITHOUT authority.

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