Florida Republican Matt Gaetz Continues Push To Defund the ATF for Threatening Constitutional Freedoms for Gun Owners

Toby Hazlewood

Republicans summon ATF into Congressional hearing

Matt GaetzPhoto byShutterstock

Last month, Florida's outspoken Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz took issue with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms after it issued a ban on the installation of pistol braces that effectively turn handguns into rifles. He introduced HR374, the "Abolish the ATF Act" which seeks to defund the federal force, and has since been championing the abolishment of the ATF and any agency that he believes threatens American Constitutional freedoms.

And this week, it has begun to look as though the ideas proposed by Gaetz could be pursued by House Republicans. On March 6, Representatives Jim Jordan and Thomas Massie called for ATF officials to testify in Congress and to explain the new pistol brace rule they've seen fit to introduce.

Bringing federal agencies 'to heel'

For Gaetz - the self-appointed 'firebrand' - it would seem he is prepared to leave no stone unturned when it comes to ensuring that Federal Agencies play by his rules, or potentially lose their funding in retaliation for not doing so. Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) earlier this month, Gaetz was in a feisty mood, stating:

"I don't care if it takes every second of our time and every ounce of our energy. We either get this government back on our side or we defund and get rid of...abolish the FBI, CDC, ATF, DOJ, every last one of them, if they do not come to heel."

Where he thinks the power to abolish these federal agencies may come from, is anyone's guess.

What seems clear though, is that with officials from the ATF being called to congress to explain themselves and the pistol brace ban, that a wider group of Republicans than just Gaetz are willing to take an interest in defending constitutional rights. The real question though may be whether they are genuinely at risk?

Gaetz following the lead of Marjorie Taylor-Greene

On this occasion 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.

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.

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 embarrassing for House Republicans who want their views on gun control to be taken seriously, were the comments made by Colorado Republican Laurent Boebert.

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"

Whether the investigation into the ATF by Congress results in any kind of change in their funding remains to be seen.

Do you think that Rep. Matt Gaetz is right to be pursuing federal agencies like the ATF? Should he be more focused on other issues affecting Florida? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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