TOP OF DOCTREASURY, POSTAL SERVICE, AND GENERAL GOVERNMENT APPROPRIATIONS FOR 1998
TUESDAY, MARCH 4, 1997.
BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO AND FIREARMS
RAYMOND W. KELLY, UNDER SECRETARY FOR ENFORCEMENT
JOHN W. MAGAW, DIRECTOR, BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO AND FIREARMS
Opening Comments From Chairman Kolbe
Mr. KOLBE. This meeting of the Subcommittee on Treasury, Postal Service, and General Government will come to order.
I am very pleased this morning to welcome again our third or fourth time Under Secretary Kelly and Director of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Director Magaw, to our hearing today. This hearing today, our third or fourth in our series on the law enforcement aspects of Treasury, will focus on how the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is meeting an increasingly heavy mission requirement that has been given it to combat violent crime and protect public safety.
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The importance of this mission is manifestly visible in the rising number of incidents of explosives and arson, as well as the continuing high rate of firearms use in the conduct of violent crime. The Bureau has the traditional regulatory and revenue collection responsibilities as well, and it is essential to apply the same energy and creativity to those routine responsibilities as it does to its law enforcement efforts.
Bureau resources have been taxed in recent years by several major and tragic acts of terrorism that have stretched its personnel and technical capacity greatly. The committee has been responsive to ATF's resource needs, providing, for instance, $12 million in supplemental funding last year for the Bureau to investigate church fires, church arson fires.
Last year, the Director expressed his concerns that ATF lacked the resources it needed to provide optimal levels of equipment and training for ATF personnel. The committee addressed this issue by encouraging ATF to downsize and use its resources for training, equipment, and staff. I am concerned that this downsizing has not happened as had been anticipated or directed by the subcommittee.
I share the views of my predecessor in this role of chairman that it is essential the Bureau can perform its missions with the optimal technology and systems for incident analysis and reporting, for database development, explosives, arson, and ballistics identification, and that Bureau personnel be trained and equipped at a level equal to or better than that of any other Federal law enforcement agency.
I am pleased with ATF's efforts at developing performance measures. I look forward to hearing about your progress, Mr. Director, in maintaining appropriate standards for internal investigations.
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Director Magaw's written testimony begins on a promising note, gauging ATF performance by focusing on outcomes and strategic planning. The categories you have selected, violent crime reduction, revenue collection, and public safety, I think are very much on the mark.
I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today and would, prior to your opening statements, ask the distinguished ranking member, Mr. Hoyer, for his comments.
Introduction by Representative Hoyer
Mr. HOYER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate your opening statement and the comments you made.
Mr. Director, I don't know whether you heard, but when Secretary Kelly was testifying here on the overall Treasury law enforcement picture, I mentioned both your agency and the Secret Service, as well as Customs, in terms of the significant law enforcement responsibilities under the Department of Treasury and how he was himself an outstanding law enforcement officer in our country. We are privileged to have the opportunity of working with both you and Mr. Bowron, who I told him were two of the best in the Nation, and I want to reiterate that with you in the room. I hope you heard about that because I feel strongly about it.
Mr. Secretary, as you know, Director Magaw was himself associated with the Secret Service for most of his career and Secretary Bentsen, at a time when ATF needed a strong leader and a leader who would be able to communicate ATF's mission within the Government and without prevailed upon Director Magaw to shift from his Secret Service responsibilities, where he was the Director, to ATF. ATF has benefited from that greatly, as has the country.
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I want to make a comment, Mr. Chairman and Mrs. Northrup. There has been a lot of controversy about the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and much undeserved. It obviously has some very vociferous opponents, opposed both to its regulatory capacity, in some degree, but also to the law enforcement responsibilities it has dealing with some of the most dangerous and deranged criminals in America who pose threats not just to individuals but to masses of people in our Nation through the use of explosives and other terrorist tactics.
Let me say, without criticizing any other Federal agency, but the ATF, in fact, even in its controversial roles, has for the most part not been the agency that brought the greatest controversy. Even in the Waco incident, Mr. Chairman, as you heard last week, when I mentioned the hearings that Mr. Lightfoot and I conducted on Waco. These were held immediately after Waco but before the trials of the Davidians, and, therefore, we did not go into some of the facts that may have come up at trial. But notwithstanding that, those series of hearings that we had essentially brought out all the facts that were brought out in the series of hearings that occurred in 1995. We already had that on the record.
In addition, Mr. Chairmanand I make this statement not so much for the public, but as we start to hear from the Director of ATFwe are not getting every word that I am saying? They are very important, and I know everybody wants to hear them. [Laughter.]
Mr. HOYER. I am appreciative of your help. Thank you so much.
The Treasury Department, Mr. Secretary, in looking at its performance and ATF's performance as it related to Waco, wrote a report that was very self-critical, and analytical. It spared no persons or policy, and was one of the best reports that I have ever read of an agency criticizing itself and correcting those aspects where it thought it did not perform properly.
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We know there were mistakes made at Waco, and there is no point in reiterating those. However, it is my view that the wrongdoers at Waco were the Davidians, not law enforcement.
But having said that, the important point is, Mr. Chairman, ATF is many times wrongly maligned. It has a very distinguished track record, as you know, and I mentioned this to Secretary Kelly. And, of course, he was in New York at the time when the World Trade Center was bombed. It was an ATF agent that found the VIN number, I suppose, the tag that led to the leads and led to the identification of the participant and led to the breaking of that case.
ATF has extraordinarily able leadership, but as leadership well knows, without an extraordinarily able management and officer corps, it could not be as successful as it is.
We have a number of issues that we are going to discuss. Moving headquarters buildings to a secure areas, is of critical concern to every law enforcement agency nowadays. Completing the construction of the new laboratory, which is included in your budget, is very important. I would mention also, Mr. ChairmanI do not know how familiar you are with itunder ATF we have the Gang Resistance Education and Training, a program which we have utilized. I know Arizona has utilized it greatly, with great success. And I look forward to reviewing the budget so that we ensure that an outstanding performance is continued both in terms of the law enforcement side and the regulatory side, and that we give you the resources that you need to perform the critical tasks necessary not just for the Federal law enforcement but for interface with local law enforcement as well.
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Mr. Director, your work in conjunction with the HIDTA in the Baltimore-Washington area, which I know and which I am familiar withand I am sure the chairman is familiar with the Southwest border HIDTAis absolutely essential to the effectiveness of that group, and I want to thank you for that.
Mr. Chairman, I know I was a little longer than I usually am in opening statements, but this agency does a superlative job. It is criticized a lot. Cheap shots are taken. I know that you will be in that same vein as Mr. Lightfoot who was a very strong supporter. He and I worked very closely together, and I know that you and I will continue to work closely together to make sure that its effectiveness is not compromised in any way because it is critical to the welfare of our country and our citizens.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. KOLBE. Thank you very much, Mr. Hoyer, and certainly you are accurate in saying that we will cooperate on these issues, and I welcome your insight, which is substantial and goes back a long way.
I will turn now to Secretary Kelly and Director Magaw for their opening statements. As always, the full statements will be placed in the record. We urge you to summarize them. That admonition I particularly want to give to Director Magaw, looking at the length of the submitted testimony here.
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STATEMENT BY UNDER SECRETARY FOR ENFORCEMENT
Mr. KELLY. Thank you, Chairman Kolbe and Congressman Hoyer and members of the committee. Once again, it is a pleasure to appear before you today.
With me is Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, John Magaw, and members of his staff, as well as Assistant Secretary James Johnson, Deputy Assistant Secretary Elisabeth Bresee, and other members from the Treasury enforcement staff.
As you said, Mr. Chairman, you have my written testimony, so I will not take your time to read it, but I want to make just a few brief observations.
No one is better than ATF in the investigations of arsons and bombings, and ATF has successfully translated its national expertise into a resource for local law enforcement. This partnership with local law enforcement is real and tangible, built on mutual respect. ATF is also the recognized leader in combating gun trafficking, and ATF is using computer advances and other technology to bring innovation to its law enforcement mission. Through Project LEAD and other programs, ATF is revolutionizing the way we attack crime in the United States. Let me give you one example.
Last March, a New York City police officer was shot and killed when he tried to stop a carjacking. In the running gun battle that followed, the carjacker was also killed. There were plenty of witnesses. The gun used to kill the police officer was recovered. The carjacker was dead, and his accomplices were in custody. That would have pretty much wrapped it up in the old way of handling gun case. But now, because of ATF's Project LEAD, investigators were able to trace the carjacker's gun and three other weapons recovered at the scene to gun traffickers in various States. ATF found that the traffickers were supplying other guns to other criminals who used them to commit crimes.
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Police used to stop when they took the shooter into custody. Now, because of ATF's innovative approach, we can get the trafficker behind the shooter and prevent potential crimes, as well as solve the immediate case at hand.
As I said, this is revolutionizing the way police solve and prevent crimes, and it is due in large measure to ATF's expertise and to this committee's support of ATF and its mission.
I am confident that with the continued help and guidance of the committee, ATF as well as Treasury enforcement overall will remain leaders in law enforcement innovations.
Thank you very much.
[The information follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
Mr. KOLBE. Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.
Statement by ATF Director
Mr. MAGAW. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Congressman Hoyer and Mrs. Northup. My written statement, as the chairman mentions, contains a complete description of our budget request, and I will not take up time covering those details. With me, though, here today is ATF's executive staff, to include, Mr. Chairman, our Legal Counsel, our Ombudsman, our Executive Assistant for EEO. I want them all to hear what has been said here. I am very proud of the staff. I believe it is extremely important that they get involved and they hear your questions, concerns, suggestions and comments so that we can better carry out the wishes of Congress.
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The Secretary of the Treasury is charged by Congress with a unique set of regulatory and criminal enforcement responsibilities involving very controversial products: alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives. These ATF-regulated products all have legitimate applications, but also have serious social consequences if misused. Congress has chosen to address these products through the full array of Federal powers.
ATF is a law enforcement agency with interwoven responsibilities for criminal investigation, tax collection, of which we collect about $12 billion a year, and industry regulation. ATF's fiscal year 1998 budget request flows from our key strategies developed to best fulfill our mission activities, which are to reduce crime, collect revenue, and protect the public, as you mentioned in your statement, Mr. Chairman.
In compliance with the Government Performance and Results Act, we have developed a performance plan and a set of program performance targets for each major activity. Our budget request this time is approximately $602 million. If we were to withdraw the headquarters and the laboratory relocation funding, our request represents less than a 3 percent increase over fiscal year 1997 base funding.
The most important message I bring to you today is that you are now overseeing a revitalized ATF, made stronger by the accountability demanded by the men and women of ATF, the Secretary and the Under Secretary of the Treasury, and, as important as any, the close oversight of this Subcommittee.
None of our recent successesand there have been manywould have been possible without the funding you have provided for the vital training and the much needed operational equipment. The Director and women and men of ATF thank you.
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This concludes my statement, Mr. Chairman.
[The information follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
Mr. KOLBE. Thank you very much. I appreciate that
Mr. HOYER. They took you pretty literally.
Mr. KOLBE. They did, they did. I appreciate the brevity in summarizing that.
As I have indicated in the past, we will do the questioning with the chairman and the ranking member, and then we will go to other committee members as they come in. So Mrs. Northup will be the third person to question. We will try to stick to our 5-minute rule, and I will do that as much as I can on my first round. I do have several areas of questioning that I would like to talk about, so I will not get through them at all in my first round.
Let me just focus on what is fundamentally a budget issue here. It may not be as much fun as some of the other things that we talk about in this committee with law enforcement agencies, but I do want to ask aboutand I referred to it in my opening remarksthe downsizing and the base restoration for the agency.
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As I indicated, in 1997 the subcommittee appropriation provided authority for ATF to downsize with the expectation that it would be using this to meet its requirement for equipment and training and operating expenses. But you did not do so. You have not done so. So my first question is: What was your decision not to downsize? Why did you decide not to downsize?
Mr. MAGAW. Well, shortly after that meeting, Mr. Chairman, a rash of church fires started to occur. Bombings have gone up, and arsons have gone up some 600 in that period of time. As a result this Committee saw a need to give us additional funds.
Now, by taking those additional funds that you gave us and applying them to the equipment, moving personnel in to assist in all those particular areas, it freed up some of our base, and, therefore, I did not have to do that.
I want to make sure that you understand, as well as everybody on the Committee, that this was not any intentional act whatsoever to do something different than what the Committee wanted us to do. Last year, as I remember this discussion, it was, ''Mr. Director, what will you do if you do not get your base restored?'' Our base was cut up to 70-some percent, and we did not have much operational money because our fixed costs were 16 or 20 percent. My answer was: ''If I do not get the funds, I will have to reduce the size.'' I must have a balanced budget. I must be fiscally sound. And that was what I intended to do.
But in the meantime, all these other things occurred. As a result, I think we have been able to serve the public very well and, at the same time, do it with a reasonable amount of money.
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The truth is that this organization is only 48 people larger than it was in 1973. We are 200 smaller than we were in 1990. So, it is not a large organization. And with the things that have occurred in the last yearwe had the Olympics, the church fires, the bombings, the Anti-Terrorism Act, the Brady law, the Youth Crime Interdiction Program, the Lautenberg amendmentthese kinds of things have added to our responsibilities. And I believe that we have done them well.
Had we not received that extra amount of money and had those other things not occurred, we would have downsized.
Mr. KOLBE. Are you proposing to reduce any positions this year? If so, what savings would you achieve in the forthcoming budget?
Mr. MAGAW. In the forthcoming budget, we are not going to lose positions.
Mr. KOLBE. Let me ask you first, are you reducing any at all during this fiscal year?
Mr. MAGAW. During this fiscal year, no, sir. We have hardly hired any agents or regulatory inspectors since 1993, and I want to try to start working at that vacuum so 15 years from now we do not have a huge vacuum there. So I intended to hire about 100 people this year.
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Mr. KOLBE. What is the current cost of equipping and training an ATF officer?
Mr. MAGAW. If you are talking about an agent, it costs
Mr. KOLBE. Yes, an agent.
Mr. MAGAW. To hire, to train, to provide the equipment, the desk space, computer, all of that, we figure around $120,000 in the first year.
[CLERK'S NOTE.Bureau amended this to $203,000.]
Mr. KOLBE. What would you propose that it be with your proposed base increase?
Mr. MAGAW. I do not understand the question.
Mr. KOLBE. Well, you are proposing to increase your base. Is that figure going to stay the same, or does part of the base go into more of the equipment and the training?
Mr. MAGAW. If the base is restored by $20 million, it would cover what I am talking about doing, hiring the additional 100, and it would cover all of that amount for their training
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Mr. KOLBE. But the cost per officer would not change?
Mr. MAGAW. The cost per officer would not change. Now, an inspector is less than that. It is somewhere around $65,000.
[CLERK's NOTE.Bureau later clarified that the cost per agent and per inspector would change based on one-time, non-recurring items (e.g., computers and desks) that do not remain in the base after the first year.]
Mr. KOLBE. You have always identifiedand I am not familiar with other agencies who do this, but you have always identified an ideal mix of expenditures of 62 percent for personnel, 23 percent for operations, 15 percent for fixed costs. Is that your current allocation?
Mr. MAGAW. No, we are a little higher than that right now.
Mr. KOLBE. Higher on which one?
Mr. MAGAW. We are higher on the personnel side.
Mr. KOLBE. The personnel side.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2Mr. MAGAW. We have gained about half of our $40 million shortfall. The 1998 budget request would get us to about 62 or 63 percent of total budget for pay. This year we are still up around 68 or 69 percent. We went from 74 to about 68 percent. Not only the public sector but the private sector would say that you need to be somewhere between 60 and 65 percent for pay and that you need to have 20-some percent for operational costs for a unit like this.
[CLERK's NOTE.The bureau later clarified that in fiscal year 1997, we reduced our payroll costs by 4 percent compared to fiscal year 1996. Thus, we are able to increase funding of operational costs. The Bureau's fiscal year 1997 financial plan distributes funding as follows: pay69 percent, fixed costs16 percent and operational costs15 percent. The fiscal year 1998 request would result in an even better distribution: pay63 percent, fixed costs16 percent and operational costs21 percent.]
Mr. KOLBE. Does the $20.5 million fully fund your base?
Mr. MAGAW. The $20.5 million would put our base back to fully funded, yes, sir.
Mr. KOLBE. One more question in this area here. You have no offsetting reduction in personnel. You have the base increase, but no offsetting reduction in personnel as you are proposing it. Your current attrition rate is only about 1 percent. Is that likely to continue?
Mr. MAGAW. That is likely to continue, yes, sir.
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Mr. KOLBE. What is the ideal rate for officer replacement? Is that attrition rate correct for what you need in terms of maintaining your officers, your agents?
Mr. MAGAW. Well, you know, when you used to have an attrition rate of somewhere between 5 and 7 percent, that took care of those that were gradually getting higher in grade.
Mr. KOLBE. Right.
Mr. MAGAW. But now that it is down to 1 percent, you have grade creep sometimes, and what we are trying to do is look very carefully at every grade we have and does it need to be that high of a grade so that we can kind of maybe have less 14 and 15 positions so that that grade creep is not as strong. And we are also looking at the administration which has given us guidelines in terms of how many people should you normally supervise for a particular grade and trying to apply that to our organization.
Mr. KOLBE. The attrition rate is unusually low for law enforcement agents, isn't it?
Mr. MAGAW. Well, not really, not for at least the two units that I have worked with, the Secret Service and ATF. That is not too low. Now, the uniformed division of Secret Service would be a little higher.
[CLERK's NOTE.The bureau later amended this by adding ''the attrition rate for ATF agents is rather low. Currently, the rate is approximately 1 percent.'']
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If you go to local police departments, it is going to be much higher because what they do a lot of times is they go to college, they get their degree, and they go on to other law enforcement units that pay more. So you do have more turnover in local law enforcement, but not so much in Federal, certainly not in the Secret Service or ATF. I think the highest might be 2 percent.
Mr. KOLBE. If that held up forever, 1 percent attrition rate, if it held up perpetually, every 100 years you would replace your force.
Mr. MAGAW. Well, you
Mr. KOLBE. Is that right? What is wrong with my thinking here?
Mr. HOYER. If every 100 years you replace your force, then you have got an aging group of folks.
Mr. KOLBE. That is what I am trying to get at. If you don't have a higher attrition rate than that, you are going to be suddenly faced with a very high attritiongrade creep and a very high attrition rate.
Mr. MAGAW. That is correct, Mr. Chairman. You will have bulk years. For instance, I just mentioned that we did not hire from 1993 until now very much. So come the 20 years, you add 25 years on to 1993, 2018, you will have a fairly large group go because of an age limit. And then that is where that vacuum occurs. So sometimes if you have a vacuum, it offsets that some, too.
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[CLERK's NOTE.The bureau later clarified that is why it is good practice to hire some new agents every year. This hiring would offset the number of those retiring.]
Mr. KOLBE. Thank you. I have gone over my time.
Mr. HOYER. What is the age limit, Mr. Director?
Mr. MAGAW. It is 57, sir.
Mr. HOYER. It is 57?
Mr. MAGAW. Yes, 57 for us. That is mandatory. And I have had a number of requests
Mr. HOYER. Well, that is still very young, I would add. [Laughter.]
Mr. HOYER. Mr. Director, the chairman asked certain questions about the personnel and your base. What is your caseload now and what is projected for the coming budget?
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Mr. MAGAW. The caseload
Mr. HOYER. Per agent. I am talking about agents, obviously.
Mr. MAGAW. Per agent, with arson and explosives and firearms trafficking cases, because those are such detailed investigations and they take such amount of time, the caseload per year for those people working those kinds of investigations generally will run about four or five because they are so extensive.
If you are talking about cases where you havesome agents we have working with the United States attorney in court monitoring everything that comes through there, and if this is a third-time offender, then we are trying to apply the habitual criminal
Mr. HOYER. Career criminal.
Mr. MAGAW. That is right. And so as a result of that, they will run many, many more in total. So it is hard to measure the number.
We have quit measuring the performance of our personnel by number of cases. It is more the quality and the kind of case that they are working. So it is a little difficult to answer that.
CHURCH ARSON TASK FORCE INTERIM REPORT
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Mr. HOYER. Mr. Director, I did not mention it specifically in my opening remarks, but I had the opportunity to see the interim report on the church burnings task force, also known as ATF. The arrests of 143 suspects in the 107 burnings is a very high ratio for arson cases, which are very tough cases. I want to congratulate you and all the other law enforcement officials who have worked together at the Sate, Federal, and local level to effect that end. This is an excellent report, and, Mr. Chairman, there is some good news in this report in that the hate crimes aspect appears to be less than what originally we might have perceived, which, of course, is good news. It is bad news that any of the arsons occurred, but some were for sort of base venal reasons of insurance proceeds and others were apparently more vandalism than malicious. That is not to say that the result was not malicious and terrible, but more sporadic than some planned efforts. So I was glad to see this report and glad to see the success we are having.
We are doing the 5-minute CEASEFIRE, Mr. Director. As you know, I am very interested in that program. There is some controversy, as we know, as to who ought to be doing this. Mr. Secretary, I hope you stay on top of this because it will be at your level and higher where some of this competition occurs.
But, Mr. Director, if you could speak to CEASEFIRE, what we are doing, and what success we are having? I noticed there is no request for new sites. Do we have request for new sites we simply are not funding?
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2Mr. MAGAW. We had requests for new sites but OMB made the decision and judgment not to fund those. It so happens that with the funds that the FBI has for this fiscal year, they will virtually saturate the country with Drugfire. So we will have 27 CEASEFIRE units; they will have hundreds of Drugfire units out there. [Bureau Insert]
I think what we need to do nowDirector Freeh and I are working on this with the National Institute of Standards and Technology and (NIST), OMB and, of course, the Secretary's officer to make sure that we bridge these machines together so they can talk to each other and so that we can help the police officers all throughout the country so it becomes a national net rather than just a local net.
For instance, you may have read in your county the other night the police officer that was shot there, they picked up the shell casing. They know
[CLERK'S NOTE.Bureau clarified that ''they'' refers to the perpetrator.]
Mr. HOYER. This is the metropolitan police officer.
Mr. MAGAW. That is right. They [the perpetrators] know that these shell casings can be checked. They picked up the shell casings. But we [CLERK'S NOTE.Bureau refers to IBIS] can also do the bullets, and we have done that. The gun found in the suspect's car had the bullet that came from that weapon.
We are doing this all over the country, and also some of the things that the Secretary mentioned. It is a very positive program. It will allow 13 handlers of these machines, do what 7,000 technicians had to do before. It picks the needle out of the haystack.
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[CLERK'S NOTE.Bureau clarified that this refers to firearms examiners using the IBIS system.]
Mr. HOYER. It is a great program. Mr. Chairman, if you haven't seen it, I hope you have the opportunity to see it.
This program is a critically important program, that is one of the reasons why crime statistics are going down. I think one of the reasons is not because we have got more personnel, although I think the Cops on the Beat program the President has fought for is a good one, but having said that, our technology has, I think, been helping crime efforts. Secretary Kelly referred to how, what could have been a discrete incident in New York turned into a successful arrest; but as importantly, a broader perspective and effort on the broad range that gave that discrete incident the ability to happen. So that is good.
My 5 minutes are gone. I have a lot of other questions, and I will ask them on subsequent rounds, Mr. Chairman. Thank you very much.
Mr. KOLBE. Mrs. Northup.
ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO REVENUE BY STATE
Mrs. NORTHUP. Yes, I have a couple of questions. First of all, a more local issue, you regulate tobacco and alcohol. When you regulate racehorses, you will probably get most of Kentucky's industries. But in the meantime, I wondered if you had a breakdown State by State of what the revenues are that you collect in each State.
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Mr. MAGAW. We would have that, and we can get that to you today or tomorrow. I do not know off the top of my head exactly what it is.
[The information follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
Mrs. NORTHUP. Alcohol taxes I presume you regulate at the point of the distributor as opposed to the manufacturer.
Mr. MAGAW. Yes, the point of manufacture of alcohol.
Mrs. NORTHUP. Point of manufacture, okay.
Mr. MAGAW. And it is about $6 billion, somewhere in the $6 billion area. The other $6 billion would come from tobacco, and then the small 0.8 would come from firearms and ammunition.
[CLERK'S NOTE.Bureau amended 0.8 to be 0.3 in excise taxes.]
Mrs. NORTHUP. Do you think there is any State that pays more into that fund than Kentucky does?
Mr. MAGAW. Does anybody have thatI don't think so.
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Mrs. NORTHUP. Well, you might think about looking at Louisville as a possible site. You would be right there where you regulate. [Laughter.]
We are not under water most of the time. Anyway, I just thought I would talk to you about how close you would be to the business you are conducting.
Mr. HOYER. The new member is learning very fast, Mr. Chairman. [Laughter.]
We are really aware of Mrs. Northup's focus here.
GOVERNMENT PERFORMANCE AND RESULTS ACT
Mrs. NORTHUP. Let me ask you about outcome. You do point out in your report about the Government Performance and Results Act when you were talking about the Achilles program, and I really do not mean to be critical here. I have a lot of appreciation and admiration for what you all do. But when I look at sort of the varied areas that you regulatearson, illegal trafficking in drugs and guns, gang violenceI feel like all of those things, what we are hearing is they are going up. And I just wondered, you know, it seems like there is so much focus in your statement on input-based analysis: we have done this, we have added this computer model, we have trained. And I know that those are all attempts to improve, but since the problems seem to be getting worse, do you collaborate with other agencies and try to perhaps find a different paradigm for addressing these issues rather than just keep trying to improve these programs when the problems, especially the gang violence, are just escalating across this country? The 44 sites that you currently have will hardly begin to touch the cities that are currently affected by that.
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Mr. MAGAW. This gives me great frustration and our personnel who are out there on the street every day with the increased violence and the children's violence. That is one of the things that we are so thankful for the GREAT program, the Gang Resistance Education and Training program, which is in virtually every State now. There is one more State, and it comes online this summer. And we have reached 2 million children already, and we do it with local law enforcement. And so the law enforcement officer is in the school. The University of Nebraska has just run a complete examination of our success in the first 3 or 4 years, and compared the children who have been in the program as opposed to those who have not. The results are encouraging.
[CLERK'S NOTE.Bureau amended this to be 1 million.]
The majority of those arrested today are career criminals that we are putting in institutions, they are for the most part what we deal with, those Achilles and those multiple offenders and the continual criminals. Violent criminals, they are beyond the kind of help that we would be able to give them at this point. But what about the next generation coming along? So we are doing both, and we love this program, and our people, our personnel, just love the program. We want to keep it going. So we are trying to do that.
And in all the cities, almost every place we work, if you go to a local law enforcement probably any place in your State, and you say what Federal agency helps you the most on a day-to-day basis, they will tell you ATF almost always, and they will follow that very quickly probably with DEA. We do work in task forces, and we do try to make sure that we are dealing with the United States attorney, the States attorneys, and make sure we are prosecutingor they are prosecuting the cases that are most important to them.
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Mrs. NORTHUP. Exactly. And if you have any of those studies, I would really love to see the analysis of, like I said, the outcome instead of the input basis of what we are improving. Because, again, you may be doing the best job that is even imaginable, but if our Justice Department is not or if our youth programs are not, then we need to address that, because you cannot just keep running around the same track and ignore the fact. I know that gang violence is something that actually is moving into our area, and many cities, and the community feels almost helpless to stem that.
Mr. MAGAW. This GREAT program is starting to work closely with the Boys and Girls Clubs. We are now sitting down with the leaders of the DARE programwe did last weektrying to see how they can complement each other. Most people think that we have to influence the children in kindergarten and first grade and then again in third and fourth, and then again in about the seventh and the eighth grades and then in high school. And if we put all these programs together, I do not care what program, what grades ATF and the other police departments this GREAT program teaches. It is just how can it all bind together. We cannot all do it, so we
Mrs. NORTHUP. And does it work?
Mr. MAGAW. Pardon me?
Mrs. NORTHUP. And does it work? The question eventually has to be: And does it work?
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2Mr. MAGAW. Does it work? That is correct. And that is why we are evaluating our GREAT program now.
Mrs. NORTHUP. I have more questions. I will be back next round.
Mr. KOLBE. Thank you very much.
Mr. ADERHOLT. Not at this time.
Mr. KOLBE. Let me go back to some of the questions that I had.
On this issue of forcefirst of all, a question occurred to me after we were starting the hearing here about the recent L.A. bank robbery where two robbers used AK-47's. There were 300 police officers there, and they were unable to do anything. They went to a local gun shop, I believe, and borrowed a couple of AK-47's, and the robbers were gunned down, basically.
Does this incident suggest anything about the disparity in the fire power that the criminals have versus the law enforcement officers?
Mr. MAGAW. In certain situations, it does, but I think it is too early to tell across the board.
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The Los Angeles Police Department has an outstanding response unit. They got there just about the same time that the officers did with those weapons from the gun store. I thought it was a very innovative way of doing it. They realized their troops were in trouble. They saw a gun store. They used it.
By the time that they got there, then their real crack team arrived, and so we just have to wait and see where this goes. These people [CLERK'S NOTE.By ''people'' bureau refers to the perpetrators.] even designed armor for their legs, arms, neck and face. It was fairly crude, but it worked. Some of the police officers said, ''I could see our bullets bouncing off their bodies.''
There have been probably, in the last 5 years, eight or nine incidents like this. Up in the Midwest, there was a police officer that was killed like this and two others wounded. So I think we have to try to monitor it, but to carry weapons of that magnitude around in every police car, I don't think is justified yet. There is too much training involved, but every unit, including ATF, has a very, very well-trained response unit to handle those kinds of situations.
The officers took cover behind automobiles and waited for the rest of the response.
Mr. KELLY. If I may just add something, Mr. Chairman?
Mr. KOLBE. Yes.
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Mr. KELLY. I was head of a major police department, and to address the issue, many police departments are going to having heavier weapons on patrol, with officers who are especially trained to handle these weapons because it does take, as the Director said, a lot of training, a lot of proficiency.
In New York City, we want our officers with heavy weapons. We want them to go and shoot once a month. Now, there is a large cost attendant to that.
So I don't think it is practical for most departments to have patrol officers armed with heavier weapons, but the key is to have people well trained who are immediately available, who are on patrol 24 hours.
If you see what happened in Los Angeles, the SWAT team responded very quickly. They are among the best in the business, no question about it, the Los Angeles SWAT team, and they did an outstanding job.
I don't think as yet you see a trend developing, but it is something that has to be monitored closely.
Mr. KOLBE. I appreciate that statement. I think that is exactly right that it is something that has to be monitored, but I am interested in hearing you say that the trend is not yet developed. Certainly, I would find it discouraging if we found it necessary for police officers to have to carry in every police car that kind of fire power.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2On the issue of ATF and force, your agency has been criticized for its use of force, and I think many of the reports that have been done, investigations that have been done, have given you a clean bill of health on that, but just for the record, can you tell me how many incidents you had in 1996 where ATF officers were required to shoot or use deadly force? Can you provide that for the record if you don't have it?
Mr. MAGAW. We will get those numbers to you. They are very small in terms of deadly force; in terms of physical force, rather low, also.
What we are doing now in ATF
Mr. KOLBE. Oh, include with that a comparison from previous years.
Mr. MAGAW. From previous years, all right.
We were also concerned to make sure when I came here 3 1/2 years ago of what our use of force policy was. We got together with the Attorney General and Treasury and made sure that all of our use of force policies could stand the test and were in proper order. I am pleased to say ours is in that order, sir, but I will get you those statistics.
[The information follows:]
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 21. The number of times the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) has used excessive force during the past few years is:
FY 19968 times.
FY 19956 times.
2. What is the procedure for reviewing excessive force?
Deadly force can be used by any ATF special agent whenever he/she believes that his/her life, or the life of another is at risk, or whenever a threat of serious bodily harm is evident against a special agent or another.
All shooting incidents are reviewed and, depending upon the seriousness of the incident, may require an investigation by a Shooting Incident Review Team (SIRT).
All SIRT investigations conclude in a report and are reviewed by a Shooting Review Board. This Board may make recommendations to those involved in the incident, their superiors, or other ATF entities about a variety of issues including safety, compliance with ATF and Treasury policies and guidelines, planning, etc.
If an employee, or one acting under ATF color, is alleged to have used ''excessive force,'' such matter would be investigated by the appropriate inspection service and, in the case of an ATF employee, would be reviewed by ATF managerial authorities and ATF's Professional Review Board for administrative and/or disciplinary action. Employees actions may also be reviewed by other law enforcement agencies and prosecutorial entities if so warranted.
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Mr. KOLBE. One of the criticisms in the past of ATF and its use of force, at Waco and some of the other incidents, is that there was a culture that existed within ATF, as you know. That is the suggestion that has been made. There was a lack of adequate assistance to ensure the right professional behavior and, perhaps most important, accountability for it.
Tell me a little bit about the review that is applied to these kinds of cases when there are suggestions or criticisms of excessive force and how does it currently work.
Mr. MAGAW. Well, if there is an accusation that there was some excessive force used, our Inspection Unit, will go out and make an inspection to find out what the facts are.
Let me just back up for one second here. I believe that over the years, ATF was in a position where they had to make a lot of arrests. ATF arrests a lot of armed, dangerous individuals, and we, in my view, got into a situation where we would do whatever was necessary to make that arrest with safety to all the officers, and a lot of times, we did make arrests at homes and in very high-risk situations.
Now we don't do that. The guideline now and culture, if you will, say, is that you make the arrest. You try everything else to make this arrest before you use a forcible arrest, before you use a special response team, before you enter someone's home and invade that area.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2We are successfully implementing those policies now. Our training instructs along those lines. We used to have 24 special response teams. We now have five.
Mr. KOLBE. That is good to hear you say that. How do you deal with the public, though, on this issue? There is certainly still a large perception among a lot of the public that the general rule of thumb for ATF is kick the door down first and ask questions later. So how are you dealing with the perception of the public that you use, what is referred to as dynamic entry or heavy force, first?
Mr. MAGAW. We have a liaison and public information unit now that we really didn't have before. Previously there was one person doing it. Now we have public relations and information officers in each field office. They are agents. So they are regulatory personnel.
[CLERK'S NOTE.Bureau amended ''regulatory'' to ''enforcement'']
What we want to do is make sure that we are dealing with the local media, making sure that they have the facts and the straight story, not to try to slant it in any way. It is a slippery slope because if you get in a situation where you are trying to work public relations, you may not be doing your job and you can be criticized for that, but what we want to do is make sure that the message and the information gets out.
We had a number of Congressmen and Senators who really didn't understand what ATF did, and it was because we had a rule that you can't contact them except here in Washington. Now what we have is a requirement that our supervisors out there have to visit with them once or twice a year, and their staff, to let them know what we are doing in their area, what the pros and cons are.
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When you ask me a question or any of the staff a question, you are going to get an honest, straightforward answer and any documentation. There are a few publications that are interested in doing documentation about ATF.
Our job is telling the story as it is; if we make a mistake, say so. I believe over a period of time, if the public had seen our troops, as they did in Oklahoma City, as our troops would leave that bomb site in Oklahoma City, and the crowds would cheer.
[CLERK'S NOTE.Bureau changed ''troops'' to ''agents'']
It is the same way with some of the church fires. You won't find a minister now or any of those church congregations that are anti-ATF.
So we are just doing our job every day. When the opportunity arises to tell the straight facts of the situation, we will, but we don't do a public relations job.
Mr. KOLBE. Thank you very much.
Mr. HOYER. I think that was an excellent answer. I think it is always doing the best job possible.
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I am talking about successful programs, the K9 program. The chairman and Mrs. Northup and all of us know that there is increasing resort to the use of explosives in random and targeted ways.
Tell us about the K9 program. I understand you have 17 FTE additions scheduled and $4 million. Tell us about that, and tell us about the success of this program.
Mr. MAGAW. The success of the program in the explosives area
Mr. HOYER. Mr. Chairman, let me make a comment. We considered the airport safety. I forget what the specific name was, but in the last days of the session last year, this issue came up. It is important to focus on what ATF is doing in this area because I think it has broader application as it relates to security at airports, stadiums, convention hallswherever there is a large gathering and, therefore, attractive targets.
Mr. MAGAW. There are explosive dogs, and there are arson dogs, and I am going to talk about the explosives canines here.
Right now, ATF just has the one dog team, but with the success of that dog team and the success that you and others have seen, you have seen fit to give us the funds to move ahead.
[CLERK'S NOTE.The bureau later clarified that we have had success in training dogs and handlers for foreign law enforcement at the request of the State Department.]
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Customs already has a dog training facility for their functions on drugs and things at Front Royal, Virginia. We are using that existing site and are building some kennels and an indoor facility so that we can train year-round.
We expect that once we are up and running, there will be about 100 dog teams trained a year. So, in 1998, we figure we will train 100 dog teams.
This year, 1997, we will train much less than that, probably 25 or 30 teams. Of those, only seven or eight [CLERK'S NOTE.bureau corrected this to be ''six''] will remain with ATF. The rest will go out to State and local law enforcement. When ATF has a problem in that particular area, the local law enforcement usually has too. So they just share that dog, as we do our arson dogs.
[CLERK'S NOTE.The bureau later clarified that ATF plans to train approximately six additional ATF agent/canine teams to be deployed nationwide. Also, the Bureau plans to conduct eight pilot programs with State and local law enforcement.]
Those seven or eight that we will have, two will be used in an experimental program. At Dulles Airport, FAA and ATF personnel will use two canine handler teams as part of a two year pilot program to see where it can be beneficial, in what area, without being overly disruptive.
[CLERK'S NOTE.As above, bureau amended this to ''six'']
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2There also will be a second dog trained by the Air Force because the Air Force has a dog training unit, we see how the two training units work, how the two dogs work, are there things we can learn from them and that they can learn from us. That is the experiment that will take place in the next year as far as airports are concerned.
GANG RESISTANCE EDUCATION AND TRAINING
Mr. HOYER. Well, I think that has great promise, and I am pleased to see that request.
Gang Resistance Education and Training program. Mrs. Northup asked a question, and you responded. How much money are we asking for GREAT this year?
Mr. MAGAW. $11 million.
Mr. HOYER. $11 million.
You say, Mr. Director, that that will then extend to all 50 States, the GREAT program?
Mr. MAGAW. Yes. This summer, it will be in all 50 States.
And not all of these States are funded by this because, as soon as a police department or a city gets this program and sees how important it is, sometimes they fund it themselves, and all we provide are the training for their instructors and the book materials and things like that.
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[CLERK'S NOTE.Bureau amended ''all 50 States'' to ''44 localities'']
[CLERK'S NOTE.The bureau later clarified that the Bureau anticipates providing funding to 44 different localities to support their participation in GREAT. We estimate that over 800 different localities are currently teaching the GREAT curriculum. In addition to providing financial resources, ATF also provides training to law enforcement officers, certifying them as GREAT instructors.]
Mr. HOYER. Mrs. Northup asked a question and you responded. I don't know whether she has seen the GREAT program in operation. It is a terrific program in the sense that it started, as you know, with seventh-graders. In Prince George's County, as you know, they wanted to go to fourth-graders because they think the earlier you get to the young people, the better. Like the DARE program, one of its strengths is uniformed officers dealing with kids because one of the things we need is the synergy, the cooperation, the feeling of a joint enterprise between young people and uniformed officers. Bringing in ATF's expertise in this area and working with the local officers, really has been very successful.
These young people, Mr. Secretary, get a psychology that the policeman, the cop on the beat, is their buddy, not their adversary, not looking over their shoulder, but a joint enterprise. It is a dynamite program. I am glad to see it going forward. If we were spending twice that $11 million, I think it would be worth the money.
EXPLOSIVES TAGGANT STUDY
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The taggant study, a lot of discussion about this over the years, language in our bill with reference to taggants. I, frankly, personally am somewhat ambivalent in terms of whether or not this is a program that can be successful.
Would you speak to the status of the taggant study that was called for in the '97 appropriation bill?
Mr. MAGAW. Yes, sir. The taggant studywe are remaining neutral by learning what everyone says about this.
I want to make sure, too, that as we talk about taggants, that somebody doesn't misunderstand. We are not talking about black powder here. We are talking about taggants.
So, you take materials such as fertilizer determine whether and taggants can be put in those materials that won't be destroyed upon the explosion and then will help lead to the perpetrator.
[CLERK'S NOTE.The bureau later clarified that as part of the four-part study authorized by the legislation, the Bureau has met with worldwide representatives in an Interagency Committee on Explosives Technical Support Working Group; entered into two contracts with the National Academy of Sciences to independently study explosives for detection and identification; and contracted with the International Fertilizer Development Center to study the agronomic and economic impact of tagging ammonium nitrate fertilizer.]
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2There are a number of things to studyhow much is this going to cost, does it make these explosives more volatile, does it make them more difficult to handle, does it deteriorate the chemicals so that they don't work for what they were intended to do?
We are working with the Fertilizer Institute, the Sandia National Laboratory, and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, and we are using all the information we can get from foreign countries who have used it. Taggants have been used in Ireland and in Europe for a number of years. So we are pulling all that information together, making sure that it is not a group of just ATF persons. It is the national organizations as well as the Federal organizations, and making sure that we can have a good report to bring back to the body of Congress. The National Academy of Sciences is under contract with us. So we can bring a report back that will allow this body to make some judgments.
Mr. HOYER. How soon do we expect the report. I forget when it is called for, in the legislation.
Mr. MAGAW. The delivery to Congress will be May 24th of this year.
Mr. HOYER. May 24th.
Mr. MAGAW. But most people that we are working with, sir, feels that the initial report on May 24th is not going to be complete. There needs to be some additional time, and they are hoping that it will give us time for a supplemental report in December of 1997.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2Mr. HOYER. Mr. Chairman, I have some additional questions, but I can submit them for the record.
Mr. KOLBE. All right. I am going to do a couple more rounds myself. So I will be happy to get back to you in a moment here.
Mr. HOYER. All right.
VIOLENT CRIME REDUCTION TRUST FUND/BASE FUNDING
Mr. KOLBE. On the issue of the amount of money from the violent crime reduction trust fund, the GREAT program, I have a concern. You are requesting $50.4 million, I think, this year for violent crime reduction trust fund. $26 million is for the ATF headquarters. That is presumably a one-time expenditure. I have some questions about the capital that is involved in this, whether that is what was intended by that fund, but nonetheless, we are as guilty of that as anybody here in Congress, but the other part of this, your $24 million for increased explosive inspectors and the rest is for such things as the GREAT program. Those are all base activities. So this is going to get reflected in your base in the future years.
Mr. MAGAW. Those are base activities. We have felt that the church fires, the explosions, all the kind of things that have occurred in the last couple of years, that we need to work on inspecting 100 percent of those units out there because there is so much being stolen. What is being stolen, then, is ending up in your bombs.
So what we feel we have to do in order to support the correction of this bombing problem is to make sure we inspect every handler of explosives a year, and we can't do it with the personnel that we have.
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Mr. KOLBE. That is not what I am getting at. Why are we requesting this money out of the violent crime reduction trust fund, VCRTF, rather than in your salaries and expenses account if it is base programs?
Mr. MAGAW. I will have to get that answer for you. I just don't know.
Mr. KOLBE. I don't think that is a difficult question to understand.
The violent crime reduction trust fund was designed to be for things that were one-time expenditures. That was the idea of it.
Now you are using this money to build things into base that you will have to request in the future years as part of your base. Why don't you start by requesting that in your base expenses?
Mr. MAGAW. I am told by the note here that OMB and the Administration gave it to us in that manner, and so that is the way we have accepted it. It needs to roll over in the base because we are going to need to continue to do that once we start it.
Mr. KOLBE. Let me go on, on this line here. You are also requesting a large$5.4 million of that is for increased explosives inspectors, and you say in your testimony, in your budget request, that you are going to increase the number of explosive inspections by 53 from the present number of about 47. Is that correct?
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Mr. MAGAW. That is correct.
Mr. KOLBE. That is a doubling?
Mr. MAGAW. That is right. We are going from inspecting about 28 percent of those.
Mr. KOLBE. So an increase of over 100 percent, fine.
Yet, you say that the number of sites you are going to be able to inspect will increase by 15 percent; from this year, 65 percent. Something doesn't add up here.
Mr. MAGAW. Well, the first year, you have got to get them on board. You have to train them. We go up to 100 percent in 1999. We will go to 100 percent.
Mr. KOLBE. With these additional inspectors.
Mr. MAGAW. With these additional inspectors. That is correct, sir.
Mr. KOLBE. So you will be able to reach 100 percent with these additional inspectors.
Mr. MAGAW. That is right. We will go from 28 percent to 100 percent in that 3-year period.
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Mr. KOLBE. Okay. You are not going to be coming back and saying, next year, we need another 53 in order to get another 15 percent.
Mr. MAGAW. No. That has been projected and preplanned, and we can handle it with those.
Mr. KOLBE. So it has to do with bringing on-line training, getting them out into the field and so forth, in that time frame.
Mr. MAGAW. That is right. Then, before you get through each inspection, because each one is fairly extensiveif it is a quarry, how they store explosives, the safety and all of those kinds of things.
[CLERK'S NOTE.The Bureau later clarified earlier information by adding but, as I mentioned earlier, the Bureau may have a problem paying these additional inspectors since the request for funding was not asked for in our direct Salary and Expenses account request.]
Now, once we get them all hired and they comply, then that number, we will be able to do that every year because you won't have so much to overcome after you have done it the first time.
Mr. KOLBE. All right. I have another line of questioning I want to do. It is going to take me a little time. So let me go to Mr. Price, who just joined us here, and see if Mr. Price has any questions, and then back to Mr. Hoyer.
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BOMBINGS AND ARSON
Mr. PRICE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to add my welcome and thanks to our witnesses and ask Mr. Magaw, if he could, to elaborate on a matter that Mr. Hoyer raised briefly, that is the bombings and fires at houses of worship, incidents that have plagued particularly the Southeast in the last couple of years. It is, of course, an alarming situation. I know you share that view, particularly about the numerous attacks against African-American churches, which I believe represent 138 of the total of 328 fires of this sort that have occurred since 1995. So I want to commend ATF for its involvement in helping investigate the violence and working with the National Church Arson Task Force to combat it.
I know there were some 328 church burnings investigated by ATF in the last couple of years, and I would like, first, to know how that figure relates to the total number of arson investigations that were opened over that time period.
Mr. MAGAW. Well, there were actually 508 church investigations, but, see, not all of them are arson. There are an awful lot of them that are accidental, but it takes a fairly decent amount of time to determine that. So you are right. Out of that 508, there are 352.
[CLERK'S NOTE.The Bureau later clarified that from January 1995 to February 25, 1997, 352 investigations have been initiated by the National Church Arson Task Force (NCATF).]
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But as far as all fires, all arsons throughout the country, we will run 1,700 or 1,800 during that period of time, almost 2,000 when you count all the different fires that we assist with throughout the country.
Mr. PRICE. Well, as Mr. Hoyer noted, the arrest rate for these church arson investigations has been higher than for other arsons. What kind of resources, both in terms of dollars and FTEs, have you devoted to the church burning investigations, and how much are you proposing to devote to this in fiscal 1998?
Mr. MAGAW. Up until now, we have spent about $13 million, and we have 125 to 150 personnel working on these church fires every day. Of course, we are not only talking about church fires in the South, but you are talking about church fires all over the country because all church fires now are reported. Sometimes they are a few days late, and sometimes they are very easy to resolve, but we are working them all around the country.
We expect next year, if this trend continues, to spend even more than that because it appears that the church fires are continuing. It is not a case that church fires are new. There have been church fires for years. They just haven't been reported for the most part. Now every one is being reported.
[CLERK'S NOTE.Bureau later gave the amount as $8.2 million.]
So, as you showed, of the 352 that are arson, 146 were African-American and 206 were non-African-American churches. So, it is a real mixed bag, but it is something that if there is going to be a repository, which the suggestion has been, and if ATF is going to continue to assist local fire departments and local fire marshals when they don't have the expertise or the wherewithal to do it, it still will need to be funded at about that same level.
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Mr. PRICE. You say the trend is continuing. Are there any particular trend lines you would deem significant?
Mr. MAGAW. ''Probable'' is an improper term, Congressman. I apologize for that.
The trend as far as number of fires are continuing, but those arrested is a real mixed bag. It is everything from people setting fires in their own church for insurance purposes, to juveniles who are satanistic, to covering up burglaries. In some cases, the perpetrators have been volunteer firemen. In other cases, they have been the Ku Klux Klan members. So, it has run the gamut.
Mr. PRICE. I am aware that there is a wide variety of circumstances and motivations. Yet, I wonder, in all this detail, if you are going to be able to draw some conclusions, some helpful conclusions.
I noticed in the interim report for the President you don't make any conclusions about why we have witnessed this rash of attacks on churches. Maybe that is just because it is an interim report, but I wonder, do you have any preliminary conclusions about the motivations, the dominant motivations that lie behind these incidents?
For example, can you give any estimate of the percentage of these 138 attacks against African-American churches that appear to have been racially motivated?
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2Mr. MAGAW. I don't have the percent here that were racially motivated. Maybe while I am answering another part of that question, we might be able to pull this off.
In terms of the fires around the country, it is just such a mixed bag. There is no doubt that in the Southeast part of the country, there have been an inordinate number of African-American churches burned.
What we are finding helpful as we go about our business is a booklet we put out. We have talked with the churches, and we have visited with the congregations and the pastors and talked to them about the safety.
A lot of them are remote. They have no outside lighting system. They have no alarm system. They have no smoke detectors. They have no provisions where once every 24 hours or twice every 24 hours, some of their parishioners will go by. That booklet has been very, very valuable.
The other part of this, too, is a lot of these people that we are arresting as a result of these investigations are copycat because of the notoriety and because there is notoriety. It is giving them the idea to do it. Some of them are very pathetic in the way they go about it. Others are very, very successful, and so it is so mixed.
The answer specifically to your question concerning how many of these are racially motivated, we haven't drawn any conclusions on that, neither has ATF or the National Committee.
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Mr. PRICE. But presumably, your final report would attempt to be more definitive than this interim document?
Mr. MAGAW. Oh, yes. The final report will be much more detailed.
Mr. PRICE. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. KOLBE. Mr. Hoyer?
Mr. HOYER. Mr. Director, I think it was 2 years ago, that we increased substantially costs of the licenses. Tell me the experience now in terms of your firearms licenses.
I know the number of licenses has substantially decreased reduced. I would like, therefore, the percentage of inspections that you can now make as it relates to licensees and whether or not we are receiving a large number of complaints.
I asked my staff whether or not we received complaints from former licensees who now find it too expensive to participate, and the answer was no, we have none, but I presume there have been some complaints. Obviously, you read stories about it, and I would appreciate your comments on this.
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Mr. MAGAW. There have been some complaints, Congressman. One, because of the expense going up
Mr. HOYER. For the record, we went from what figure to what figure?
Mr. MAGAW. From 288,000 toright now it is not quite 121.000.
Mr. HOYER. That is the gross number of licensees. I was referring specifically to the cost of the license.
Mr. MAGAW. The cost went from $10 a year to $200 now, and then $90, 3 years later, so $200.
[CLERK'S NOTE.Bureau later added that $200 is the cost of a three-year license, and $90 is the cost of a subsequent three-year renewal.]
Mr. HOYER. Am I correct, when we debated this and discussed it, the cost now is more reflective of the cost it takes to regulate, inspect, and to ensure compliance?
Mr. MAGAW. That is correct. They submit their fingerprints so there can be a record check and those additional things, but initially, when this program was instituted, it took a while to get it started. So there were some complaints about, well, it is taking longer to renew my license than normal. So we gave them a letter saying we are extending your privilege to operate until we get this done. So, as we have had complaints come to us, we have tried to correct them.
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[CLERK'S NOTE.Bureau changed this to ''not correct'']
We are in the final of the three years. We expect the final third of those licenses coming through for renewal will be completed in May, and we expect that the total will probably drop down somewhere around $110,000 if the same number decide that they don't want to renew it.
Most of those people who decided not to renew were primarily the one or two purchases a year. They purchased one or two guns for themselves or their family, and by having this, they could get the wholesale price. So, that is the biggest group, but that is also the group that traffickers hid behind because they knew there was no way we could inspect them in a reasonable period of time.
Down around 100,000, with the personnel that we have, we feel not only by the telephone contacts, the inquiries from them, the kind of information we are trying to get out to help them do their job better and comply with the laws, that we will have close oversight. It will not be disruptive to what they are trying to do, but will also not allow the traffickers to hide or those who will not abide by the law to hide.
Mr. HOYER. Mr. Director, at $200, are we cost-neutral? That is to say, is the cost of the program now, for the most part, paid for by the fees?
Mr. MAGAW. At least what we have shown up until now, it is cost-neutral.
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[CLERK'S NOTE.The bureau later clarified that the current fees set by statute do not cover the costs of implementing this compliance program. The Treasury Under Secretary's 1994 memo to the GAO regarding ''user fees,'' stated that control of gun licenses and fees should be left to Congress to decide. Thus, legislation versus regulation was passed establishing license fees. Neither the $200 million initial fee nor the $90 three-year renewal fee covered the cost of the program.]
Mr. HOYER. Referring specifically to the case that Secretary Kelly mentioned to in New York, did we find that the traced guns were black market or were they, purchased from a licensed dealer or formerly licensed dealer? You may not have that knowledge.
Mr. KELLY. It was a store purchase from an FFL in Ohio, the one I remember most vividly.
Mr. HOYER. So it was a licensee?
Mr. KELLY. Yes, sir.
Mr. HOYER. Mr. Chairman, I think what we have done is focused the ability of ATF to do what we want them to do under law.
I have a number of gun dealers who are absolutely honest, law-abiding citizens. A gun show was held down in La Plata, a big attendance at the armory down there this weekend, very legitimate people, but there were some fly-by-nighters who were really participating in a lot of gun running, effectively, and getting guns to folks who were then using them to commit a lot of crime. While we want to make sure that legitimate citizens can own, and purchase without being hassled to protect themselves, their homes, their businesses, we also want to make sure that these thugs that are running around just don't have easy access.
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They are probably going to get them some way or the other, but the harder we make it, the better we are.
Mr. MAGAW. As part of our strategic plan, Congressman, we have reached out to the manufacturers, and also the firearms license dealers and those who are collectors, and we are reaching out in meetings with them by asking what can ATF do or what is ATF doing that is causing you problems and seeing how we can work those out. That, we have done a much better job with in the last 2 or 3 years, we have cut down the size of our applications, but still getting the same information. I think it went from seven pages to two or three. So we are reaching out to the legitimate businesses.
Mr. HOYER. Mr. Chairman, I have a few other questions. With your leave, I am going to go next door because the Labor Health Subcommittee is having a hearing on NIDA, the drug agency, and I want to see what their report is. It ties in with some of what you are doing, the GREAT program, DARE and all of that.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. KOLBE. Thank you very much, Mr. Hoyer.
I want to follow up with one question along the line that Mr. Hoyer had earlier, and that has to do with CEASEFIRE. You mentioned that you've got, I think, 11 sites, is that correct, or something like that?
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Mr. MAGAW. That is correct.
[CLERK'S NOTE.The bureau later clarified that by the end of FY 1997, ATF will have 25 to 27 IBIS sites operational.]
Mr. KOLBE. Drugfire has blanketed the country.
Do we have just an incredible amount of not overlap here, but of inability to have these two systems function together? I have been told that in Oakland and San Francisco, for example, right across the bay, these two police departments can't talk to each other. They can't compare notes on ballistics characteristics. I mean, this is ludicrous. It is the kind of thing we hear about over and over again, about law enforcement, at the local level, Federal level, or State level. I despair that we are ever going to change this.
I remember from my first days, 20 years ago, this year, when I first served on the State legislature and was on the Judiciary Committee and the Appropriations Committee simultaneously hearing about this kind of problem. Are we ever going to get this kind of thing where we get some commonality, interoperability? I just think that the criminals must have laughed their way to the bank all the time with the fact that we can't ever get our act together.
What are we going to do about getting CEASEFIRE and Drugfire to operate in a compatible fashion? How much of the money that we are appropriating to you this year for that is going to go to the interoperability of these systems?
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2Mr. MAGAW. Well, OMB has put together a team of specialists under the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST is doing it, and that contract is out. They are looking at how we can tie these two systems together.
[CLERK'S NOTE.The bureau later clarified that they are responsible for performing the interoperability test between IBIS and Drugfire.]
The fact that these two systems were developed side by side ends up with really two better systems. You have in CEASEFIRE a system that can do bullets, almost regardless of their condition. Drugfire is primarily a cartridge technology.
The fact is, what we have got to do is get them tied together, and I agree with you and that is what I said in my statement. I am not enough of a technician to know exactly how they can do that. The fact is, they are both systems that are computerized, and we should be able to tie them together, and we have NIST looking at that now in terms of exactly the amount of money we are spending for that.
I did, also, when you talked about our IBIS systemswe talked about 11. It is really 25 IBIS systems as opposed to 11.
Mr. KOLBE. It was the lack of interoperability of these systems.
So, at this moment, it is in the hands of NIST to come up with a plan to make them interoperable?
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Mr. MAGAW. Make them interoperable, yes.
Mr. KOLBE. You would expect to have a report on this, a plan to coordinate with the Justice Department on this? Do you expect to tell us what you are planning to do in this area?
Mr. MAGAW. Yes, sir, we do. I don't have a time frame.
Mr. KOLBE. You do not have a time table for that.
Mr. MAGAW. I know the study has taken place.
[CLERK'S NOTE.Bureau amended this to say ''testing is taking place'']
Mr. KOLBE. We will review this question again. My final line
Mr. MAGAW. We will make that a point, and as we get status reports on that, we will bring those to your staff.
THE LAUTENBERG AMENDMENT
Mr. KOLBE. All right. Thank you. I would like that very much, to be kept up to date on that.
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My final line of question is the Lautenberg amendment. The shorthand, everybody knows what we are talking about here, but for the record, it is the amendment that was adopted in the omnibus consolidated appropriations bill last year that says that anybody convicted of a misdemeanor crime of violence is prohibited from possessing, shipping, transporting or receiving firearms or ammunition. It does not exclude law enforcement agents. It does not exclude BATF, Federal law enforcement agents.
I guess the first question is to you, Mr. Secretary. Is the Treasury fully complying with this law?
Mr. KELLY. Yes, sir, we are fully complying.
Virtually, everyone has reported, and we have approximately 10 individuals who are affected by this law.
Mr. KOLBE. Treasury-wide.
Mr. KELLY. Throughout Treasury, yes, sir.
Mr. KOLBE. All the law enforcement agents carrying weapons.
Mr. KELLY. Everyone who carries a gun
Mr. KOLBE. Only 10.
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Mr. KELLY. Yes, sir. That is not the absolute final figure. It won't deviate from that very much, approximately 10.
Mr. KOLBE. Right. Well, the first question is, how did you make that determination?
Mr. KELLY. Well, the heads of the bureaus and agencies queried their personnel either through their personal records or
Mr. KOLBE. Going through your own internal personnel records?
Mr. KELLY. Yes, sir. Then they certified the number.
Mr. KOLBE. It should be able to tell you if there is a misdemeanor conviction in there? The personnel records would have normally any misdemeanor conviction?
Mr. KELLY. Personnel records should have it, but it may not have it. So there is a certification process where the employee is asked to certify that he or she does not have a misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence.
Mr. KOLBE. Right. If they falsely answered that and it later were discovered, they would be subject to dismissal, correct?
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2Mr. KELLY. Well, they would be subject, certainly, to disciplinary action, but obviously, they would be not in compliance with the law. They would be breaking the law.
Mr. KOLBE. Correct, in more than one count. What have you done with these 10 agents?
Mr. KELLY. We have taken their weapons away from them. We have formed an inter-agency committee to address this, and we are going to have to look at each individual case. Certainly, the number is 10 or approximately 10. It is certainly a number we can deal with.
Mr. KOLBE. Will those agents be placed in otherthey are not being dismissed
Mr. KELLY. No.
Mr. KOLBE [continuing]. Because it is only a misdemeanor conviction.
Mr. KELLY. That is right.
Mr. KOLBE. So they will be placed in other lines of duties that do not require them to have weapons?
Page 101 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2Mr. KELLY. Most likely. That is what this committee is about. I think we have to look at each individual case to see what they are doing, what their level is, their GS level, and to attempt to address it appropriately, but we don't have a concrete policy that says specifically what will happen to each individual. We hope to determine that with this committee.
Mr. KOLBE. I would appreciate it if you would give us just a breakdown of the agents and where they are at, obviously not the name, but just the numbers.
Mr. KELLY. Yes, sir. We will do that.
[The information follows:]
Offset folios 344 insert here
Mr. KOLBE. Is there a category for crime of domestic violence that exists now in the criminal record databases?
Mr. KELLY. In some States, yes, and probably most States, no. Some States have discreet domestic violence crimes that you can pick up by querying a database. Other States do not.
Mr. KOLBE. So how are local law enforcement agencies expected to comply with this if there is not the database, if we don't have this on the database?
Page 102 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2Mr. KELLY. Well, as I say, some States do. This will be a question on the form, on the Brady form. This will be added, and an individual will answer that question yes or no.
Mr. KOLBE. For new agents coming in, being hired.
Mr. KELLY. Oh, I am sorry. I was talking about
Mr. KOLBE. Prospective.
Mr. KELLY [continuing]. The public at large, but you are talking about an employee now.
Mr. KOLBE. An employee, yes.
Mr. KELLY. Well, a background investigation, which is done on any new employee, that will be a question, and obviously, there is an investigation that is done for people who carry guns. There will be a criminal records check.
Mr. KOLBE. That criminal records check, though, should always turn up this kind of a misdemeanor?
Mr. KELLY. No. It is going to be difficult, but the obligation is on the individual who fills out an employment form, just like anyone for a job. That will be a question that will have to be asked for people who are going to be authorized to carry a weapon.
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Mr. KOLBE. Do you have some concern about the tremendous wide variation of State laws in domestic violence and the fact this is going to end up with a very uneven application?
Mr. KELLY. Well, getting the information is going to be a challenge, no question about it.
Mr. KOLBE. That wasn't the thrust of this question. The thrust of what I am trying to get at is that, in some States, a misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence can be really almost words used rather than any kind of physical violence, and in other States, it may be, indeed, somebody who was plea-bargained down from a felony to a misdemeanor.
I am just wondering about the tremendously uneven application. The amendment has no common definition of what is domestic violence, and the States vary widely in that. I am just wondering whether that poses anywhether you have any concern about that.
Mr. KELLY. Well, we have some concern, but I think the
Mr. KOLBE. You have to go by the State law. So you have a Federal agent in one State that may have committed some real domestic violence, but isn't covered by it, and you may have another agent in another State that did something that is really fairly minor and now is deprived of his or her livelihood.
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2Mr. KELLY. I think the misdemeanor threshold is so relatively high to be convicted of a crime in this country.
I mean, there is a uniform penal code that is followed by most States. I am not certain there is that wide disparity. To be convicted of a crime, to be convicted of a misdemeanor, I think is still a fairly high threshold throughout the country.
Mr. KOLBE. Are you concerned at all about the retroactive application of this for your department?
Mr. KELLY. Counsel tells us that it is not retroactive in the sense that the law is violated after the passage of the Lautenberg law. Retroactive, I understand what you mean in terms of not being on notice previously; that this would be a bar.
Mr. KOLBE. No. I wasn't questioning the constitutionality of it, but the fact that it is being applied retroactively and agents that were hired legitimately and performed well are now suddenly, basically, out of a job.
Mr. KELLY. The law is applicable to, yes, law enforcement personnel, but everyone throughout the country. So, in that sense, it is being fairly applied.
Mr. KOLBE. Okay. Then you are not concerned about the retroactive feature of it, whether it is law enforcement agents to anybody else, then? That doesn't concern you particularly?
Page 105 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2Mr. KELLY. Well, I think the law should be applied across the board evenly.
Mr. KOLBE. Of course, but one could have adopted this and said, henceforth, no one shall be employed by any agency or no person who is convicted, henceforth, from this date forward of a misdemeanor will be allowed to possess a weapon.
What I am trying to get at, going back, my understanding with local law enforcement agencies is that they are opposing it, and they are very concerned for some individuals that have absolutely impeccable records as law enforcement officers from the day they were hired onward. They may have had some in a previous divorce, some minor incident that resulted in, for whatever reason, a misdemeanor conviction.
I think the local law enforcement agencies just dismiss it. They have no choice. They don't have the smaller units. They don't have the number of non-weapons-carrying jobs and the kinds of jobs that they can put these people into. I think there is a lot of concern about this.
Mr. MAGAW. Mr. Chairman, we are carrying out the law as it was written.
Mr. KOLBE. I understand. I was just wondering if you personally had any concerns about the way of the law, but apparently, you don't.
Mr. MAGAW. Mr. Chairman, can I mention something about Lautenberg before you go on?
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Mr. KOLBE. Yes.
Mr. MAGAW. Some of those concerns you were talking about, a young officer, in order to get a divorce settled, agrees to plead to something like this, and in 25 years, he or she has served very well. There are a few of those around. There are not very many, but the part about this law that really concerns me, and I want to bring it to the committee now, is that in almost every State, ATF is going to be the enforcement arm of first resort. There are no State statutes.
So, when we get a call that says my spouse or my former spouse has these weapons, was convicted as such and such a time, we are concerned about the ballooning of all of these investigations. We don't know where the number is going to go.
We have a number of them going on right now around the country and have made some arrests. We may not under these circumstances have the personnel to carry all of these investigations out, and if we do, I am not sure the committee and the Congress wants us doing that. We need to understand that part of Lautenberg, and if we don't do it and someone is killed as a result of it, then we are going to be sitting holding the bag on this one.
So I just want to make you aware of it that it is starting. We are handling it right now, but it may become very difficult in the months to come.
Mr. KOLBE. Just so I understand, do you use the word ''arrest'' here?
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Mr. MAGAW. If a person calls and says this person
Mr. KOLBE. My ex-husband.
Mr. MAGAW [continuing]. Is carrying a weapon or has weapons
Mr. KOLBE. And he has a misdemeanor.
Mr. MAGAW. That is right, and has not turned them over, has violated the law, has threatened me 2 days ago, what does ATF do at this point? The local law enforcement, unless there is an actual threat, unless somebody calls and says he is threatening me with a gun, and of course, we will have local law enforcement. We will call them right away, but how will we handle these cases? That is where the tremendous problem with Lautenberg is going to come in the months to come.
I don't think you want ATF handling these cases
Mr. KOLBE. No, I don't.
Mr. MAGAW [continuing]. But I don't know how we are going to get out of it if we aren't careful as we get into it because we are the only one that can enforce it. It is a Federal law for which there is no State or county or city counterpart.
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2Mr. KOLBE. I hope we are not going to arrest them, whether it is ATF or local, unless we have informed them, made sure that they were informed of this provision of law. Granted, there is a well-established provision that ignorance of the law is no excuse, but nonetheless, I hope we are not going after somebody who legitimately has had a gun for all these years, didn't get the word about Lautenberg. We are not going to just go out and yank them off the street because, aha, you have a gun and you didn't know that we just passed a law last year.
Mr. MAGAW. Your point is well made.
Mr. KOLBE. We can't have this.
Mr. MAGAW. Your point is well made. It is like that flashing traffic light yellow. They leave it flash for a few months. We are going to do that kind of thing, but the kind of cases we are going to get involved with, I think your imagination can tell you the kinds of things we are going to get involved with.
BUREAU COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE AMENDMENT
Mr. KOLBE. Have you done anything about what the workload for BATF would be under this? Do you have any estimations?
Mr. MAGAW. Well, there is no way for us to know yet. Right now we have put guidelines out to our personnel, as best we can right now. If there is an emergency call that an assault is taking place or something, have local police respond, and then they have the jurisdiction and we follow up with the investigation later, make sure that, like you said, if it is a situation where there is a call that this person has weapons, then we have a responsibility to make sure they are informed, and can we do that by registered letter and those kinds of things. We are just now trying to work out that policy and that procedure, and we need to share that with this committee, so that we make sure that as we go down this road, we are doing what this committee wants us to do.
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[CLERK'S NOTE.The bureau later classifed that the Bureau has spent over $1 million on printing and postage costs associated with notification mailing and revisions made to form 4473.]
Mr. KOLBE. I think that is very, very important because I think there would be significant budget impacts for that. I would appreciate it if you would do that.
I understand Mr. McCollum's subcommittee is holding a hearing on this issue tomorrow. I don't know whether you people are going to be testifying or not, but certainly, this issue is going to be one that we are going to be revisiting.
Mr. ADERHOLT. I have some I will submit for the record.
Mr. KOLBE. Okay. Mr. Aderholt will submit his questions for the record, and I will have a few others that I will submit also for the record.
Thank you both very much for coming to testify today, and this subcommittee is adjourned.
[Questions and answers submitted for the record and selected budget justifications follow:]
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