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Old September 17, 2014, 05:01 PM   #1
Ruger480
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New Legislation to Eliminate the ATF

Republican congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI 5th District) has introduced legislation to end the ATF.

In a report here this comes after several failed stings in WI where the ATF convinced mentally disabled people to commit crimes and then jailed them in order to justify their operations. There are reports of this practice from all across the country. Ranging from Oregon to Kansas to Florida.

This is a copy of the proposal.
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Old September 17, 2014, 05:45 PM   #2
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Good luck with that. It'll never happen unless both houses of congress and the White House are dominated by the Repub party. Even then it's doubtful.
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Old September 17, 2014, 07:46 PM   #3
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Not in my lifetime!
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Old September 17, 2014, 10:31 PM   #4
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Uh, without the ATF, how will any manufacturers get licenses or pay their SOT, and how will all the still-legally-required taxes for other stuff get paid? If we gut their enforcement operations, scary guys and everyone else really will start us down the dangerous path of flouting these very serious laws; easy recipe for a later crackdown.

The ATF is part and parcel with the NFA/GCA; can't have one without the other. If Jimmy Sensenbrenner is serious about correcting this great crime on our civil rights, he should be proposing changes to the NFA directly. Anything else is cheap talk. Defunding is not enough when the law still requires them.

EDIT: Knew it; cheap talk. He wants to roll the ATF into the FBI. Apparently that's what 'abolishment' goes by these days. Same logic that got us the Homeland Security Department; increased centralization of power was somehow supposed to make it more responsible and effective.

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Old September 18, 2014, 12:11 AM   #5
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He wants to roll the ATF into the FBI. Apparently that's what 'abolishment' goes by these days.
Yes and no. Tobacco and alcohol stuff would be handled by the DEA under this proposal, and the rest would be folded into the FBI. Essentially, that dissolves the ATF as an entity.

Now, as for the NFA, it wouldn't go away. It predates the ATF by 34 years anyhow. However, I suspect that having it administered by the FBI would make it far more efficient.

Consider the NICS system. As far as the FBI's involvement in it, it runs really well. With the exception of Black Swan events like Sandy Hook, it's reliable and accessible.

On the other hand, the ATF can't even keep a registry of ~130,000 machine guns straight. They've admitted that the error rate in the NFRTR might be well over 50%.

Then there's the matter of things like Fast & Furious.

The FBI is an older, larger organization with a professional culture. It's the very antithesis of the go-getter cowboy culture of the ATF that has resulted in so many catastrophes.

The funny thing? The idea of folding the ATF into the FBI has come up several times over the years (John Conyers proposed a bill after Ruby Ridge and Waco). The reaction from many ATF agents was favorable. They'd get better support and a much better working environment. It also wouldn't hurt to have the same organization handling compliance and enforcement of firearms laws.

There will always be regulation on firearms. If it's to be done, I'd rather have the FBI doing it.
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Old September 18, 2014, 04:59 AM   #6
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Lots of activity by law enforcement these days to justify their existence, and also expand their presence. It needs to stop.
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Old September 18, 2014, 05:00 AM   #7
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Entrapment?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruger480
ATF convinced mentally disabled people to commit crimes
When the authorities try to convince people to commit crimes, isn't that entrapment? While it is certainly possible for a government agency to convince people to commit crimes so they can lock them up and make their books look better, it would seem more likely to entrap them so they would supply important information and/or become an undercover government operative.
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Old September 18, 2014, 06:00 AM   #8
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Quote:
it would seem more likely to entrap them so they would supply important information and/or become an undercover government operative.
I think this was the idea at the outset but for whatever reason didn't produce the desired results. So, they rounded up their informants.
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Old September 18, 2014, 06:25 AM   #9
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Sensenbrenner is pandering to his electorate. The BATFE is not going away.
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Old September 18, 2014, 08:39 AM   #10
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It's only considered entrapment if they tell them to commit a crime and that they'll be exempt from prosecution. If however an undercover agent convinces you do something illegal and you do it... well you're guilty. The article never specifies if they identified themselves as law enforcement or whatnot. It is pretty despicable they went after people with disabilities.
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Old September 18, 2014, 09:01 AM   #11
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It's only considered entrapment if they tell them to commit a crime and that they'll be exempt from prosecution.
Actually, entrapment is when someone is coerced into doing something they wouldn't normally do. There doesn't have to be a promise of exemption from prosecution.
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Old September 18, 2014, 11:09 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Servo
Quote:
It's only considered entrapment if they tell them to commit a crime and that they'll be exempt from prosecution.
Actually, entrapment is when someone is coerced into doing something they wouldn't normally do. There doesn't have to be a promise of exemption from prosecution.
And in a properly conducted "sting", a government agent merely gives someone an opportunity to commit a crime. The criminal commits the crime of his own volition.
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Old September 18, 2014, 11:42 AM   #13
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Had the pleasure of working with some FBI guys while on active duty.

To a man, they were competent, friendly, and earnest. Let me repeat that they were competent. Did I mention they were competent?

The Bureau has a culture of professional integrity and public service, that in my opinion the boys in the BATFE lack.

Granting I was six at the time, I can't understand how post Waco the the BATF wasn't folded into the Bureau.

The appellation of F Troop is rightly applied in my opinion, even if it is a bit of a disgrace to the fine flyers in our F Troop (Aviation)

All that being said, even if the BATFE(io-eio) was to be disbanded, we'd still have the NFA and, more intolerably, the Hughes Amendment.
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Old September 18, 2014, 12:56 PM   #14
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Quote:
Granting I was six at the time, I can't understand how post Waco the the BATF wasn't folded into the Bureau.
There were proposals along those lines. Even Al Gore supported the idea at the time.
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Old September 18, 2014, 01:39 PM   #15
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I've also had the opportunity to work with the FBI and agree with other comments about their professionalism. I've never had any contact with BATF.
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Old September 19, 2014, 02:51 AM   #16
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Quote:
The ATF is part and parcel with the NFA/GCA; can't have one without the other.
I strongly disagree with this statement. The laws stand apart from which agencies are tasked with their enforcement.

The jobs done by the ATF could be done by other agencies. There is a lot of strong feeling that other agencies (notably the FBI) could do those same jobs better than the ATF.

Which agency does what is, essentially, an executive decision, so long as Congress provides the funding.
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Old September 19, 2014, 02:54 AM   #17
ATN082268
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Ettin
And in a properly conducted "sting", a government agent merely gives someone an opportunity to commit a crime. The criminal commits the crime of his own volition.
Is that opportunity merely a government agent asking someone to do something illegal without threatening legal action, bodily harm, etc?
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Old September 19, 2014, 10:58 PM   #18
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Quote:
Is that opportunity merely a government agent asking someone to do something illegal without threatening legal action, bodily harm, etc?
No, it means more than that. Let's take an actual U.S. Supreme Court case. First, the general rule:

Quote:
There can be no dispute about the evils of child pornography or the difficulties that laws and law enforcement have encountered in eliminating it. See generally Osborne v. Ohio, 495 U.S. 103"] 495 U.S. 103, 110 (1990); 495 U.S. 103, 110 (1990); New York v. Ferber, 458 U.S. 747, 759-760 (1982). Likewise, there can be no dispute that the Government may use undercover agents to enforce the law.

It is well settled that the fact that officers or employees of the Government merely afford opportunities or facilities for the commission of the offense does not defeat the prosecution. Artifice and stratagem may be employed to catch those engaged in criminal enterprises.

Sorrells v. United States, 287 U.S. 435, 441 (1932); Sherman v. United States, 356 U.S. at 372; United States v. Russell, 411 U.S. 423, 435-436 (1973).

In their zeal to enforce the law, however, Government agents may not originate a criminal design, implant in an innocent person's mind the disposition to commit a criminal act, and then induce commission of the crime so that the Government may prosecute. Sorrells, supra, 287 U.S. at 442; Sherman, supra, 356 U.S. at 372. Where the Government has induced an [p549] individual to break the law and the defense of entrapment is at issue, as it was in this case, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant was disposed to commit the criminal act prior to first being approached by Government agents. United States v. Whoie, 288 U.S. App.D.C. 261, 263-264, 925 F.2d 1481, 1483-1484 (1991).
Jacobson v. United States, 503 U.S. 540 (1992) available at http://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/503/540

The Court went onto explain the typical drug sting scenario would not involve entrapment:
Quote:
Thus, an agent deployed to stop the traffic in illegal drugs may offer the opportunity to buy or sell drugs, and, if the offer is accepted, make an arrest on the spot or later. In [p550] such a typical case, or in a more elaborate "sting" operation involving government-sponsored fencing where the defendant is simply provided with the opportunity to commit a crime, the entrapment defense is of little use, because the ready commission of the criminal act amply demonstrates the defendant's predisposition. See United States v. Sherman, 200 F.2d 880, 882 (CA2 1952). Had the agents in this case simply offered petitioner the opportunity to order child pornography through the mails, and petitioner -- who must be presumed to know the law -- had promptly availed himself of this criminal opportunity, it is unlikely that his entrapment defense would have warranted a jury instruction. Mathews v. United States, 485 U.S. 58, 66 (1988).
However, the Supreme Court indicated there was a whole lot more than just simply offering the defendant a chance to break the law:

Quote:
But that is not what happened here. By the time petitioner finally placed his order, he had already been the target of 26 months of repeated mailings and communications from Government agents and fictitious organizations. Therefore, although he had become predisposed to break the law by May, 1987, it is our view that the Government did not prove that this predisposition was independent, and not the product of the attention that the Government had directed at petitioner since January, 1985. Sorrells, supra, 287 U.S. at 442; Sherman, 356 U.S. at 372.
So, the key is that there be something more than just an offer by the government and and the defendant must have no pre-disposition to commit the crime. State laws may vary a bit I think this is pretty much the standard.
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Old September 19, 2014, 11:06 PM   #19
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Old September 20, 2014, 05:05 AM   #20
ATN082268
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KyJim
So, the key is that there be something more than just an offer by the government and and the defendant must have no pre-disposition to commit the crime. State laws may vary a bit I think this is pretty much the standard.
Thanks. That clears up things quite a bit.
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Old September 20, 2014, 04:24 PM   #21
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Entrapment

John DeLorean comes to mind.
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Old September 21, 2014, 09:03 AM   #22
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Do we really want the FBI to take over?

The FBI was pretty much J. Edgar Hoover's personal police force that did his bidding. Has that changed much since his death?
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Old September 21, 2014, 12:11 PM   #23
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The FBI was pretty much J. Edgar Hoover's personal police force that did his bidding. Has that changed much since his death?
Suggest you ask Richard Jewell about that one. Oh, forgot: You can't ask Richard Jewell. Richard Jewell died an early death after being wrongfully accused by the FBI of planting the bomb in Olympic Park.
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Old September 21, 2014, 06:00 PM   #24
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I'd rather take my chances with the FBI in lieu of the cowboys (and cowgirls) of the BATFE and their list of rather egregious encroachments and oversteps.
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Old September 22, 2014, 02:49 AM   #25
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Quote:
Actually, entrapment is when someone is coerced into doing something they wouldn't normally do. There doesn't have to be a promise of exemption from prosecution.
Did you mean induced when you said coerced?
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