Tam, as she often does, hit the nail on the head:"Having a dedicated Agency responsible for "gun crimes" creates an incentive to find and, if necessary, manufacture gun crimes in order to justify their existence."
It is not because I'm a generalist that I am annoyed at the BATF. Hey, I'm all for specialization, in complicated areas. I just recently did a sexual assault investigation with the assistance of a larger city investigator who specializes in that, specifically on children. (And bless his heart for that. I would get burnt out within about 2 months of that work.) Two weeks ago, I provided some intel to a detective who specializes in copper theft. (Note: detectives who work in such areas are GOLD MINES for info on the meth trade in their area.) When I have a financial crime, I know just the detective to call on for help, and she's brilliant. Time to lift fingerprints? I call a neighboring crime lab. Specialization makes sense, in a lot of areas. Those fellows are better at it than I am, due to their familiarity with the topic. They are all subject matter experts.
Large cities generally break down their police department's investigative bureaus into sections like Property Crime, Violent Crime, Sex Crimes, Juvenile Crime, and Homicide. That's fine; there has to be some way to delegate cases. But when you create an entire agency that specializes in a specific type of crime, you run into problems. What if that type of crime is down that year? Their budget could be in jeopardy.
The problem is compounded when the premise of the crime fighting is in question, in the first place.
But we have a system in this nation, good or bad, that dictates how guns are sold from dealers. It's hackneyed, but it's followed. As FFL licencees are generally quite law-abiding folks, the prospect of committing felonies rightfully scares hell out of them. So obvious straw purchases are not permitted. Clear felonies in firearms purchases are denied. Unless. Unless the aforementioned hackneyed system is intentionally sabotaged by the agency ordering its use, to create more crimes for that agency to investigate.
This would be akin to the FBI ordering that the back door to banks be left unlocked, and the vaults be left ajar, with the alarm passcode be scrawled in pencil on the wall next to the door.
I believe that I've mentioned before that using numbers to try to promote your own crime-fighting agency is a double-edged sword. Trying to pump them up is a Bad Idea, friends. Look, you chief administrators: You're spin doctors, right? Right. If crime stats are down, we all know that you can just say "Look at what an effective job that we've done! Our agency needs more resources to continue in our quest to stamp out crime!" And if crime stats are up, you get to sound the alarm that "Now, more than ever, we need more resources to fight the growing trend of crime!" You can serve it up either way. We all know that.
You don't have to make more. Got it?
While at a nearby police range recently, I had to wait for the local ATF agents to finish their stuff. One of them, a friendly lady agent, chatted with me for a few minutes. I enjoyed our talk, but wondered if she was as annoyed by my shirt as I was by her hat. Her aftermarket custom hat was similar the standard ATF ballcap, but with the words "Mt. Carmel" embroidered in smaller letters below the agency letters. Marvy.
She didn't remark on my shirt, which I had ordered a decade ago through the assistance of the now-famous author and then fellow TFL denizen, Larry Correia:
I don't know if she understood the meaning behind the words "MOLON LABE." If she did, I suspect that she would have been confused as to why I, a cop, ordered the shirt, and why I, a cop, still wear the shirt.
Meanwhile, I don't have to guess whether the sentiment would have been understood by the Texas Ranger recently seen in the area with the Gonzales battle flag scrimshawed on the outside grip panel of his ivory stocks of his 1911 pistol.
But there I go, taking up for generalists. :)