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Rothman 'Outraged' ATF Satellite Office Was Never Established; Demands Explanation from the Director

Location: Washington, DC

Rothman 'Outraged' ATF Satellite Office Was Never Established; Demands Explanation from the Director
January 23, 2006

Rothman to ATF Director: "This unresponsiveness to a Congressional Recommendation is unacceptable."

(Washington, DC)- With firearm violence continuing to plague Jersey City communities, Rep. Steve Rothman (NJ-9) today wrote the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) Director Carl Truscott (a native of Marlton, NJ) to find out why the ATF still has not established a satellite office in Jersey City and urged immediate action to fix the problem.

"I write to express my extreme outrage at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearm (ATF)'s failure to open a satellite office in Jersey City," wrote Rothman. Upon sending the letter, he said: "I fought two years for this office and secured overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress for it. Now, I find out that while Congress specifically requested that it be established, it never was. How could that be?"

Rothman began to push for a satellite office in Jersey City after an alarming ATF report published in 2000 showed that the safety and security of Jersey City's residents was being threatened largely by guns brought in from out of state. In fact, 85 percent of traceable gun crimes in Jersey City involved weapons first purchased outside of New Jersey, most of which came from one of six states-Florida, Georgia, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, or South Carolina.

Today, Jersey City law enforcement officials continue to report that traceable guns used in crimes are being brought into the city and sold illegally. They also report that sophisticated gang operations with ties to national crime entities are compounding the problem. The growing power of these networks makes it even more urgent that Jersey City get the federal ATF agents it needs to stop firearm sales at their source, before they are used to kill or maim Jersey City residents, argues Rothman.

"Gun trafficking continues to rip our city apart. How many more families must be devastated? How many young lives must be lost? How many more years will gun traffickers profit off of our suffering? How much more must we take before the ATF acts?" asks Rothman.

On March 5, 2002, Rothman and then-Mayor of Jersey City Glenn Cunningham met with then-ATF Director Bradley Buckles to personally explain the importance of establishing a satellite office in the Jersey City Police Department. To make the need clear, Rothman successfully secured a provision in the final federal Fiscal Year 2003 spending bill that expressed Congress' support for a Jersey City ATF office.

"To my shock," writes Rothman, "I recently learned that ATF never complied with this directive. This unresponsiveness to a Congressional recommendation is unacceptable. I urge you to take immediate action to set-up this long-needed satellite office, so that the ATF can best coordinate with the Jersey City police to develop a plan to prevent the unauthorized possession and use of firearms that is currently threatening Jersey City's security."

Jersey City presently relies on ATF agents in the ATF's West Paterson office in Passaic County to prosecute illegal gun sales to criminals, but a new satellite office in the Jersey City Police Department would put Jersey City gun trafficking higher on the agency's priority list.

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