While I still haven’t gotten a response from Fred Thompson’s campaign directly; Field and Stream’s David E. Petzal asks the question many of us have and candidates have avoided:
Under the Bush administration, the BATFE seems to have been concentrating their efforts on prosecuting legitimate dealers for paperwork errors—making it difficult or impossible for them to make a living. If you were President, would you have the BATFE relent on this practice, and what would you ask them to focus on? The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives should have as its priority its efforts to combat violent crime, violent criminal gangs, and to interdict and disrupt the gun traffickers who supply violent gang members with firearms. While one way to curb illicit gun trafficking is to ensure that legitimate dealers maintain their paperwork in good order, these paperwork violations should in no way be BATFE’s focus. I would also consider giving BATFE a wider range of sanctions so that dealers’ simple paperwork violations do not result in license revocations. Finally, having a politically accountable BATFE Director, who is now subject to Senate confirmation, instead of a career bureaucrat should also help change BATFE’s priorities and make the agency more responsive.
Here are the responses that I have received from Ron Paul and Mitt “Extreme Guns” Romney; I still have yet to receive a response from Huckabee, Giuliani, Hunter, Tancredo or McCain. Some Second Amendment Democrats have been touting Bill Richardson but he is silent as well.