Gun Owners of America Aghast at Potential ATF Expansion

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Organization calls on Congress to cut firearms control funding in Biden’s budget

A national gun rights organization is decrying the expansion of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) in President Joe Biden’s $6.8 trillion budget proposal for 2024.

“GOA is extremely concerned at the massive surge in ATF funding in recent years—doubling the size of the agency since the end of the Obama administration,” Aidan Johnston, Gun Owners of America’s director of federal affairs, wrote in an email to The Epoch Times.

Biden’s budget proposal contains $1.9 billion for the ATF. This is a 13.6 percent increase over 2022 and half a billion dollars more than the agency’s fiscal 2020 budget.

If passed as written, Biden’s budget would expand the ATF by 35.7 percent—an overall growth of more than 50 percent since the Obama administration.

According to Biden’s plan, the $1.9 billion would finance the expansion of multi-jurisdictional gun trafficking strike forces, increase firearms industry regulation, and implement the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.

The proposal also calls for $51 million for the FBI to complete implementing the enhanced background check system that is part of the Act.

In a statement, GOA said the budget items are nothing more than incremental gun control that will make no one safer while denying law-abiding gun owners their constitutional rights.

The organization is especially alarmed at funding for “crisis intervention programs,” so-called “Red Flag Laws.”

GOA and other gun rights groups claim that Red Flag laws set the stage for authorities to confiscate firearms without due process. They say that language in the Act requiring due process is misleading.

The Act calls for due process “at the appropriate phase” of the process to avoid violating a person’s constitutional rights.

The organization points out that the law doesn’t specify when that phase is, leaving open the possibility that the appropriate phase may come after a person’s firearms have already been confiscated.

“GOA analyzed the Biden administration’s disbursal of ‘Red Flag’ gun confiscation grants pursuant to the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and found that the ‘due process’ protections … were worthless,” according to the group’s statement reads.

By Michael Clements

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