The lead federal agency responsible for tackling gun violence should be merged into the FBI to better protect public safety and reduce firearms crime, a liberal think tank with strong ties to the Obama administration said.
The Center for American Progress — after a two-year investigation and more than 50 interviews with people in both agencies — concluded that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is plagued by inadequate management, insufficient resources, burdensome restrictions and a lack of coordination. The center’s 182-page report, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post, is scheduled to be released Tuesday.
“We do not make the core recommendation of this report lightly and recognize that . . . this type of agency restructuring would be challenging and time-consuming,” said Arkadi Gerney, one of the report’s co-authors. “But the problem of gun violence in the United States warrants this kind of large-scale rethinking. With 33 people murdered with guns in the United States every day, it is time to think big about how best to fulfill the ATF’s mission to enforce gun laws and regulate the gun industry.”
The report comes seven weeks after B. Todd Jones, the first ATF director to be confirmed by the Senate, stepped down. It’s unclear when the agency will get a permanent leader. Before Jones, it went without a director for seven years.