In what appears to fly in the face of the Bureau’s prior attitudes towards enforcement of gun laws, a white paper by BATFE Associate Deputy Director Ronald Turk was recently leaked which proposed loosening or modifying gun regulations in sixteen ways, to be discussed below. If you have not yet read Nicholas’ post on the leak, you can do that, and also follow the link here to the white paper itself. In this article, I’ll be taking a (hopefully) brief look at what the white paper means and why it’s so significant (and it is significant, don’t get me wrong).
First, we must understand what the white paper isn’t. It is not a new set of regulations, and it is not an announcement that regulations will soon change. It’s more like a memorandum containing suggestions that could be implemented in the future. Indeed, the entire document is worded this way, making it very clear. It even says, in the executive summary:
This paper serves to provide the new Administration and the Bureau multiple options to consider and discuss regarding firearms regulations specific to ATF. These general thoughts provide potential ways to reduce or modify regulations, or suggest changes that promote commerce and defend the Second Amendment without significant negative impact on ATF’s mission to fight violent firearms crime and regulate the firearms industry. This white paper is intended to provide ideas and provoke conversation; it is not guidance or policy of any kind.”