The ATF wants to cut gun regulations and find ways to “defend the Second Amendment” under President Trump.
The number two official at the ATF, Ronald B. Turk, submitted a report calling for the deregulation of gun silencers and a lifting of a import ban on semi-automatic rifles, both of which are popular with sport shooters.
Turk said the report was intended to “promote commerce and defend the Second Amendment.”
“Since the sunset of the Assault Weapons ban in 2004, the use of AR-15s, AK-style and similar rifles now commonly referred to as ‘modern sporting rifles’ has increased exponentially in sport shooting,” he wrote. “Action shooting sports and organizations such as 3 Gun and the U.S. Practical Shooting Association have also drastically expanded in recent years.”
“Restrictions on imports serves questionable public safety interests, as these rifles are already generally legally available for manufacture and ownership in the U.S.”
Out of nearly 12,000 murders performed within the U.S. in 2014, 660 were committed unarmed, 1,567 were committed with knives and only 248 murders were known to have been committed using rifles of any type, including single-shot long arms and the aforementioned “assault rifles” routinely demonized by gun control groups.
And, like semi-auto rifles, silencers are also rarely used in crimes and are extremely popular with sport shooters.
“On average in the past 10 years, ATF has only recommended 44 defendents a year for prosecution on silencer-related violations; of those, only approximately six had prior felony convictions,” Turk wrote. “Moreover, consistent with this low number of prosecution referrals, silencers are very rarely used in criminal shootings.”
And, much like the import ban, silencer restrictions also places a heavy workload on ATF personnel.
Currently gun owners who want to purchase a silencer must submit an application to the agency for approval and pay a $200 tax, but because silencers are now extremely popular with gun ranges and hunters for noise reduction, the ATF has an eight-month backlog of applications.
“ATF has devoted substantial resources in attempts to reduce processing times, spending over $1 million annually in overtime and temporary duty expenses,” Tuck added. “Despite these efforts, processing times are widely viewed by applicants and the industry as far too long, resulting in numerous complaints to Congress.”