Gaetz Grills ATF Director Over Stolen Weapons and 'Gun Registry'

Gaetz Grills ATF Director Over Stolen Weapons and 'Gun Registry'

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
April 26, 2023

In January, Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) spoke of defunding or abolishing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). Recently, Rep. Gaetz interrogated ATF Director Steven Dettelbach for the Agency's apparent corruption and inefficiency.

In October, Bearing Arms reported that between 2016 and 2019, ATF employees stole thousands of guns, rounds of ammunition, and gun parts.

Rep. Gaetz questioned why if this was occurring, the ATF did not follow recommendations by the Inspector General to prevent further theft.

"There were recommendations made on what you should do so you don't become the victim of a theft, and the Inspector General said you're not following them. I'm quoting directly from the Inspector General's report, "thousands of firearms, firearms parts, and ammunition have been stolen from the ATF." So you gave testimony that brave ATF agents are the ones showing up at two in the morning after a burglary, but it seems as though in this case, you were the one burglarized. Why have you not followed the recommendations of the Office of the Inspector General?" demands Gaetz.

More egregiously, Gaetz pointed out that the ATF had kept a massive database of gun purchases, effectively creating a "gun registry" contrary to federal law.

"So you can't keep hold of the guns you're supposed to have, but then you do keep a hold of the ones you're not supposed to have. The [Gun Owners of America] report: "Firearms data, ATF did not always comply with appropriations and restrictions in its records keeping policies. As a result, that's breaking the law. Didn't you guys have to go and delete like a quarter of a million records which you illegally kept? I'm reading to you from the report from last year, Mr. Director. "We've found that the [National DataBase] staff does not currently, currently in 2022, adhere to the established operating procedures in place to mitigate the risk of firearms being lost and stolen." So that shows an ATF that is not functioning correctly, it's not responded to the problems that you've created. You keep records you're not supposed to... and you lose what you're not supposed to lose," concluded Gaetz.

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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