The White House is calling for a 12.8 percent cut in the budget of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). The cut would pare about $160 million from the agency that has been without a director since 2006, The Washington Post reports
Former senior ATF official James Cavanaugh said the cuts laid out in the document obtained by the Post “would really handicap the ATF. It's a small agency and it's a lean machine. There are not a lot of agents and inspectors. There is not a lot of fat. With ATF, it would be an amputation," according to the Post.
ATF officials said the level of cuts would probably end up eliminating a program targeting gun trafficking at the Mexican border.
The program, called Project Gunrunner, was responsible for the recent arrest of more than a dozen people in Arizona allegedly involved in a plot to ship hundreds of weapons to Mexican drug cartels, the Post said.
ATF has been without a director since Congress required that, for the first time, they go through Senate confirmation in 2006.
President Barack Obama’s nominee, Andy Traver, who runs the ATF office in Chicago, has been held up by concerns raised by gun advocates, the Post said.
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