Florida’s Matt Gaetz Calls for the ATF To Be Abolished for Threatening Constitutional Freedoms With Its Pistol Brace Ban

Toby Hazlewood

Florida Republican attacks ATF for overreach

On February 1, Florida Republican Matt Gaetz added his voice to those amongst the more extreme fringes of the GOP who have called for the defunding or abolishment of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms - the ATF - in response to a recent law that bans the use of pistol braces on certain types of gun.

Self-appointed 'firebrand' Gaetz spoke in the House of Representatives, decrying the move by the ATF as a overreach and an attempt to interfere with American constitutional freedoms.

As is usually the case, Gaetz has joined the usual suspects in Congress - including Marjorie Taylor-Greene of Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado who are also going after the ATF for their supposed infringements of freedoms.

Gaetz playing catch-up

On this occasion and in relation to this issue, it would seem that Gaetz is running behind his fellow far-right Republican colleagues. Gun enthusiast Marjorie Taylor-Greene took issue with the ATF on January 13, calling them out as another of the federal agencies that she believes are ripe for being defunded - presumably as their agendas and priorities don't mirror her own.

Marjorie Taylor GreenePhoto byTwitter of KwaiChangCaine

In addition to suggesting that the ATF should be defunded, both Gaetz and Taylor-Greene have also been in favor of the defunding of the IRS such that it should no longer be able to recruit an additional 87,000 IRS agents to investigate tax evasion. This was one bill that House Republicans approved in voting in the immediate aftermath of Kevin McCarthy being appointed as Speaker of the House.

Long before the Republicans took control off the House of Representatives, Gaetz had also hatched a plan to interfere with the expansion of the IRS. The Florida Republican introduced a bill to prevent IRS agents from being able to get ammunition for their guns!

Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms - "a fun weekend"?

Perhaps even more surprising than Gaetz going after the ATF with his comments on February 1, were the remarks made by Lauren Boebert, the Republican from Colorado.

Sharing her opinions on what should happen to the ATF, Boebert started out with a joke that appeared to fall on deaf ears within Congress when she stated:

"Alcohol, tobacco and firearms. In Western Colorado, we call that a fun weekend"

Boebert's remarks are sadly typical of the Republican representative who just barely managed to scrape a victory in the November 2022 midterm elections. Boebert has long been a close ally of Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Matt Gaetz, and amongst the so-called Republican 'deplorable' who consistently vote against bills that would seem to have significant humanitarian benefit to many Americans.

Bills that the group have voted against in the past have included measures to tackle human trafficking and to help those who've been victims of it, as well as a bill to cap the price of the diabetic drug insulin. It's as though Gaetz, Boebert, MTG and others are more interested in getting publicity than in serving the public who elected them.

Whether any of their calls to defund the ATF will ultimately amount to any legislative changes, remains to be seen.

Do you think that the frequent calls by House Republicans to defund federal bodies will amount to any kind of meaningful change? Do you think that Matt Gaetz is genuinely driven to serve the interests of Floridians? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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