Their reason: They (alone, I might add) deem shotguns with magazine capacities over 5 rounds to be "military."
As a retired member of the U.S. Military, I can authoritatively attest this is FALSE. In fact, there is absolutely NO military-designated difference between military and civilian arms based on magazine capacities.
Bottom line: BATFE is an old-school government thug society desperately seeking justification for their existence. Few government agencies have amassed such a huge and lengthy controversy. They use illegal strong-arm tactics to silence anyone who might challenge their legitimacy:
"In June 2011, Vince Cefalu, an ATF special agent for 24 years who in December 2010 exposed ATF's "Project Gunrunner" scandal, was notified of his termination. Two days before the termination, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to the ATF warning officials not to retaliate against whistleblowers. Cefalu’s dismissal followed allegations that ATF retaliates against whistleblowers. ATF spokesman Drew Wade denied that the bureau is retaliating but declined to comment about Cefalu's case."*
The issue has become so problematic that no self-respecting individual desiring a career in government services or law enforcement would ever willingly join BATFE. As a result, their ranks are filled with those who lack the moral integrity required for an honest, objective, and Constitutionally-respectful organization. Back in the 1980s, a Senate Subcommittee report stated that, based upon these hearings it is apparent that ATF enforcement tactics made possible by current federal firearms laws are constitutionally, legally, and practically reprehensible. The many controversies surrounding the ATF continued in the 1990s with Ruby Ridge and Waco Siege fiascos, which resulted in the NEEDLESS loss of many lives. In the 2000s, their illegal, un-Constitutional strong-arm tactics continued:
"Between May 2004 and August 2005, ATF Agents, in conjunction with Virginia State and local police, conducted an operation at some eight gun shows in Virginia. With special attention to female purchasers, many gun show attendees were stopped by agents as they returned home, then detained while being interrogated, and many had their purchases confiscated by ATF agents. The purchasers were compelled by an ATF letter to appear at ATF offices to explain and justify their purchases. ATF stated this was a "Pilot Program" that ATF was planning to apply throughout the country. In addition, in Pittsburgh, Pa., ATF agents showed up at gun show customers’ homes a week after a show, demanding to see the buyers’ guns or sale paperwork and arresting those who could not—or would not—comply. This ATF operation was the subject of a Congressional hearing where witnesses testified of harassment, intimidation and verbal abuse by ATF Agents, and ATF Agents actively dissuaded customers from purchasing firearms"**
Finally, they're overstepping the bounds of their authority with their latest effort to justify their existence. Their mandate includes regulating firearms commerce within the United States. Their mandate does NOT include regulating imports and exports.
Naturally, this raises the following questions:
1. Does America actually need the BATFE? If not, let's disband them NOW and save American citizens a lot of un-Constitutional, anti-American grief. Their tactics smack of those practiced by every totalitarian regime against which our nation has fought for more than two centuries. Hundreds of thousands of American mend and women lost their lives halting and eradicating this type of undesirable government behavior, both here and around the world. There's absolutely NO reason any freedom-loving American should allow this sort of behavior to continue even one more day.
2. If America actually does need the BATFE, I submit it doesn't actually need the subversive organization itself, but merely some of the services they provide which have proven valuable over the years. We already have an organization tasked with domestic law enforcement at the federal level: The FBI. While their record isn't spotless, either, it's far less tarnished that the BATFE's, and the FBI is very well-suited to take over the few useful services provided by the BATFE, while preserving the far more Constitutionally-respectful management within the FBI.
Bottom line, the BATFE has, time, and time again, proven beyond any shadow of a doubt their ineptitude when it comes to the lawful administration of federal law. THEY MUST GO. Whatever useful services they do provide are constantly undermined by their often-repeated abuses of our Constitutionally-protected rights and freedoms as U.S. Citizens. The FBI is well-equipped to take over the few services performed by the BATFE which are actually useful and legal in our society. It's high time we let them.
*O'Reilly, Bill (2011-06-30). "ATF Whistleblower Speaks Out About Botched Gun Operation". Fox News (Fox News). Retrieved 2011-07-01.
*Lott, Maxim (2077-06-27). "'Project Gunrunner' Whistleblower Says ATF Sent Him Termination Notice". Fox News (Fox News). Retrieved 2011-07-01.
**"GUN SHOW ENFORCEMENT HEARING". U.S. Congress (U.S. Congress). 2006-02-28. Retrieved 2011-07-03.
**Ross, Brian; RICHARD ESPOSITO, JOSEPH RHEE (2008, May). "ATF: Phoenix Gun Dealer Supplied Mexican Drug Cartels". ABC News (ABC News). Retrieved 2011-02-14.