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GUN LOBBY LIES TO LOOK OUT FOR IN CONGRESS TODAY: Jim Jordan’s Hearing on the “Oversight of ATF”


WASHINGTON — Today, the House Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing titled “Oversight of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.” We expect extremists on the committee to continue their baseless attack on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and its director, Steven Dettelbach. But here’s the truth: Attempts from MAGA extremists to sabotage ATF’s life-saving mission — let alone trying to defund or abolish the agency — undermine the work of local, state and federal law enforcement officials who put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe from gun violence.

Here are the facts the gun lobby wants you to ignore: 

  • Full funding and strong support for ATF is mission-critical, but gun extremists in Congress have called to defund and even abolish ATF altogether.
    • ATF’s mission is to protect the public from violent crime and violent criminals — which are made more deadly when firearms are involved.
  • In March, Congress passed a spending bill that slashed nearly $50 million from ATF’s budget, undermining the nation’s leading law enforcement agency when it comes to protecting the public from gun violence and solving gun crimes.
    • These cuts won’t just hurt ATF, but also state and local law enforcement partners who rely on ATF to help keep their communities safe.
  • Yesterday, the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government held a hearing attacking ATF’s lifesaving new “engaged in the business” rule that implements a law enacted by Congress with the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) in 2022.
    • This bill was supported by 14 House Republicans and 15 Republican senators.
  • BSCA, in part, addressed a loophole in federal law that — for decades — had enabled many gun sellers to sell guns to prohibited persons without a background check.
    • ATF’s “engaged in the business” rule is pro-law enforcement and pro-public safety, and to overturn it would make it easier for criminals to acquire illegal guns and would unravel the carefully negotiated bipartisan law that Congress enacted. 
  • Neither BSCA nor ATF’s “engaged in the business” rule prevents anyone who wants to sell guns from selling them.
    • Law-abiding gun owners who want to sell guns are able to do so under both federal law and this rule. The rule simply makes clear which sellers must get a dealer license.
  • Congress has directed ATF to implement and enforce federal gun laws to protect the public from violent crime, and that is exactly what ATF has done with BSCA through this rule.
    • ATF did so by following the proper rulemaking process—just like any other agency acting under the authority granted to it by Congress.