By the numbers, BATFE has a fair scorecard, as its 2,000+ active special agents recommend around 10,000 felons for federal prosecution each year, compared to about 11,000 gun related homicides that occur in the United States per year. But new legislation, particularly laws that introduce new restrictions on firearms or increased federal licensing, would require BATFE to expand to keep pace with the demands of new regulations. How much would this cost? Currently BATFE operates with a staff of 5,102 employees and a budget of $1.152 billion (about one-tenth of what the DOD spends on the F-35 Lightning II alone) so increases here could be substantial and make mere ripples in the federal budget.
With Washington mired in debate over the debt ceiling, taxes, and federal spending, it is unlikely that much progress will be made in the near term on gun regulation. However, it is important that the federal government create reasonable, effective, enforceable standards for qualifying a firearm as an "ssault weaopn, otherwise a new law will be just an ineffective as Congress' prior attempts at gun control. Lastly, any new regulation must be acocmpanied by an expansion of BATFE since SCOTUS has twice ruled that when regulating firearms, Uncle Sam is on his own.