As we noted in the Sept. 24, 2010 Grassroots Alert, a draft report prepared by the Justice Department Inspector General had called into question the BATFE’s mega-million-dollar Project Gunrunner program. Established in 2007, this program sought to expand the agency’s firearm tracing operation, relative to the still uncertain amount of smuggling of firearms from the United States to Mexico. This week, the report appeared in final form.
Like the draft, the final report notes that despite Project Gunrunner’s lavish funding, the program suffers because the BATFE fails to coordinate with its own people, with those of the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, and with Mexican officials.
“We also found no routine sharing of firearms trafficking-related information and techniques between ATF intelligence personnel in Southwest border locations and in the ATF Mexico Country Office,” the report says. “ATF and ICE do not work together effectively on investigations of firearms trafficking to Mexico. . . . ATF does not systematically and consistently exchange intelligence with its Mexican and some U.S. partner agencies.”
And, like the draft, the final report calls into question the value of many of the BATFE’s tracing operations. In FY 2009 and 2010, BATFE received $59.4 million to fund Project Gunrunner, but “most trace requests that are submitted to ATF from Mexico are considered ‘unsuccessful’ because of missing or improperly entered gun data. . . . [T]he percentage of total trace requests that succeed has declined since the start of Project Gunrunner. Moreover, few of the traces that do succeed generate usable investigative leads. . . . Mexican law enforcement officials view gun tracing as merely a tool that ATF uses to further its own investigations. The Mexican officials did not see the long-term benefits of gun tracing in reducing the flow of illegal guns to Mexico. . . .”
However, the final report differs from the draft in one conspicuous respect. Whereas the draft merely noted that dealers are not required to report multiple sales of long guns, as they are with sales of handguns, the final report flat-out recommends that the BATFE “Work with the Department [of Justice] to explore options for seeking a requirement for reporting multiple sales of long guns.” To justify its recommendation, the report claims “[l]ong guns have become Mexican cartels’ weapons of choice,” without noting that no one knows what percentage of the cartels’ guns are long guns, or what percentage of their long guns ever had any connection to the United States whatsoever. In a response to the report, the BATFE says it agrees with the recommendation, but that requiring multiple sales reports on long guns "may" require a change in federal law—although existing law makes clear that Congress only imposed such a requirement for multiple handgun sales.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has joined Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderon, as a card-carrying member of the “Blame America First Club”—perverting the traditional economic model known as “supply and demand” —to fault the United States for supposedly “supplying” guns to law-breakers who smuggle the guns to Mexico, and for “demanding” the drugs that the Mexican cartels smuggle into our country.
To enthusiastic applause by a number of members of the House of Representatives and Senate, many of whom are currently clearing their Capitol Hill offices to make way for their replacements, a straight-faced Calderon told a joint meeting of Congress on May 20, 2010, that the drug-smuggling problem’s “origin is the high demand for drugs here and in other places. . . . However, there is one issue where Mexico needs your cooperation, and that is stopping the flow of assault weapons and other deadly arms across the border.” (At 19:30 and 22:28 in the video.)
Since Calderon’s hypocrisy got a free pass from the nation’s anti-Second Amendment “news” media, Clinton gave it a go in even plainer terms last month. During “Remarks to the Commonwealth Club” in San Francisco, Clinton said “the United States shares the responsibility for the violence that is plaguing Mexico. Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs. Our unwillingness to crack down on thousands and thousands of weapons being trafficked across our border into Mexico.” (At 1:03:30 in the embedded video.)
The threat of increased gun control originated by Executive Department bureaucrats according to the Inspector General’s recommendation, perhaps without Congress’ participation, reminds us that increasing the pro-Second Amendment majority in the House and Senate earlier this month must be followed by not only expanding that increase in 2012, but by, at the same time, electing a president whose nominations and appointments to key Administration posts will underscore his own commitment to protect the right of the people to keep and bear arms.