The A.T.F. traces its roots to Eliot Ness and the Prohibition-era federal agents made famous in the movie "The Untouchables." But the modern A.T.F. has focused its stagnant budget on violent crime and bombings, while tobacco smuggling - a little-known crime that costs the government billions in lost taxes each year - goes largely unenforced.
Under the Trump administration's plan, the Treasury Department would inherit the authority to investigate tobacco and alcohol smuggling. The A.T.F. would need a new name. One possibility: the Bureau of Arson, Explosives and Firearms, or A.E.F.
The move would resolve a bureaucratic split that has existed for years. Treasury collects the taxes on cigarettes and liquor, but A.T.F. investigates efforts to evade those taxes.