By Paul Helmke
According to a recent report in The Washington Post, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) could suffer budget cuts of almost 13 percent, which would effectively eliminate Project Gunrunner, a program designed to combat gun-trafficking from the U.S. to Mexico.
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Any cuts to the already under-staffed and under-funded ATF would be a setback, but the kinds of cuts that are rumored would be devastating to the ATF’s ability to interrupt the flow of illegal guns across America and Mexico. Worst of all, though, would be for the Obama Administration to pursue these cuts without pushing to implement strong, commonsense gun laws, such as those to ban large-capacity , assault weapons, and closing the gun show loophole.
These laws would be more effective and efficient because they offer a pro-active means — instead of a reactive one — to stemming the flow of guns to Mexican drug cartels and to criminals and gangs on America’s streets. Not having an ATF director in place is also problematic. If we don’t get these new laws and the ATF has to absorb substantial cuts, our nation will have effectively surrendered to the purveyors of the most massive gun violence in the U.S. and Mexico.