ATF Rules Capricious,
Arbitrary, Political, and Stupid

By David Codrea. December 23, 2020

As gun owners react to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' latest bit of mind-changing nonsense on stabilizing braces, it's not out of line to recall some acts of capricious rulings from the past. They, too, made no sense other than to show gun owners the agency could impose whatever diktats it wanted and that we were being given no choice but to obey or be destroyed.

Did I say "agency"? That, too, became a matter of contention several years back when the "Bureau" tried to weasel out of responding to a Freedom of Information Act request.

"The ATF is not an 'agency' within the meaning of the F.O.I.A., 5 U.S.C. § 552 (f) (1), and is, therefore, not a proper party defendant," Bureau mouthpieces claimed, trying to duck an action I was party to that simply sought to obtain copies of policies and rulings relied on for enforcement and determination actions. In a bit of ironic cognitive dissonance, the Acting Director at the time, Thomas Brandon, referred to the organization he headed as an agency in his executive staff profile, and significantly, ATF referred to itself as an agency in its fiscal year Congressional budget submission.

Why citizens wanting to know what the rules are even had to ask – and why that was being evaded – only becomes clear when you come to grips with the obvious: ATF knows it doesn't have a consistent set of standards by which to apply its evaluations. And it's not like everyone hasn't been aware of the problem for a long time. ....

"So the ATF "solution" is to pile on more arcane, contradictory mandates that leave gun owners scratching their heads and not knowing if what they do today will result in the hammer coming down on them tomorrow – depending on which bureaucrat is doing the rule-reading."


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