When Regulators Know Nothing About the Things They Regulate

During his appearance on CBS’s “Face The Nation” over the weekend, [Director Steve] Dettelbach outlined for CBS News’s Margaret Brennan the ATF’s desire to ban certain firearms and modifications he claimed are loopholes in restrictive gun laws.

In the sit-down portion of his interview, Dettelbach claimed his 5,000-person agency is “way, way, way too small” to fully satisfy Biden’s gun-grabbing goals. He also admitted the ATF, even though barred from creating a federal database of firearm owners, still devotes its time and resources to “work within that system” and link guns to owners.

When the interview shifted to a demonstration featuring a table of unloaded firearms, Dettelbach tried his best to make the case for more regulation of law-abiding Americans’ top self-defense option. Even with the help of one of the ATF’s “leading experts,” however, Dettelbach failed to demonstrate knowledge of even the most basic firearm anatomy such as the difference between a clip and a magazine.

Acting AFT (sic) division chief Chris Bort, the “expert” present for the demonstration, also struggled to disassemble a pistol in an attempt to show how allegedly easily Americans can swap firearm frames. Bort is acting head of the ATF’s Firearms Ammunition Technology Division.

“Can’t get this one apart,” he mumbled as Dettelbach complained that the ATF is barred from regulating most gun parts outside of frames and receivers.

“You would like to do that?” Brennan asked.

“That’s up to Congress to determine,” Dettelbach said. …

When the conversation shifted to bump stocks, Bort agreed with Brennan that “there’s no reason you would use that for hunting.”

“No, I do not believe you would use this for hunting,” he said.

“This is to shoot large numbers of people at once,” Brennan claimed. …

Dettelbach expressed the same belief about pistol braces. The ATF barred those via a rule that, if not stopped in courts, could have turned up to 40 million Americans who legally obtained pistol brace-equipped firearms into federal felons.

“The two weapons are designed to be fired from the shoulder identically,” Dettelbach claimed of pistol-brace equipped firearms and the National Firearms Act-regulated short-barrel rifle.

“They all look the same,” Brennan added.

“Right, so we’re treating them the same,” Dettelbach said.

Dettelbach also claimed gun owners are using 3D-printed plastic guns and modifications to change their semi-automatic weapons to “functionally, to do the things that a fully automatic weapon” does.

“So now, do-it-yourselfers who are not in the law enforcement community, who are not in the military, can break the law by doing what I was talking about before,” Dettelbach said.

— Jordan Boyd in ATF Chief Tells CBS He’s Willing to Skirt Laws to Ban Guns He Doesn’t Even Know How to Use

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