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Gun Ban Groups Hold "Fast and Furious" Forum

Friday, July 1, 2011

Working with the nation's top anti-gun activists to divert attention from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' "Fast and Furious" scandal, U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, held a "forum" on Thursday, June 30 to address what he sees as too narrow a focus in the ongoing investigation of the controversial program and by the committee's chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). 

Not surprisingly, Rep. Cummings and his allies contend that Mexico's violent crime problem is due to the supposed lack of gun control laws in the U.S.  NRA and others have refuted this ridiculous claim on numerous occasions.  

The forum comes just weeks after Chairman Issa held a series of hearings on the reckless operation that pushed Arizona gun stores to sell thousands of guns to suspicious buyers, despite objections from dealers and BATFE field agents alike. 

Among those participating in the forum were anti-gun stalwarts Kristen Rand, legislative director of the Violence Policy Center, and Paul Helmke, the soon-to-be-ex-president of the Brady Campaign.  Unsurprisingly, the groups tried to exploit the Mexican crime situation in an effort to advance their anti-gun political agendas and attempt to gain relevancy.  For example, according to a FoxNews.com story reporting on the forum, the Brady Campaign's Helmke blamed America's gun laws for the illegal flow of U.S. guns into Mexico, saying, "As the six-month anniversary of Tucson approaches, we have still seen no change in our nation's weak or non-existent gun laws.  We still have no federal law criminalizing gun trafficking, banning assault weapons and magazines or closing the loopholes in our Brady Background Check system that help arm dangerous killers and supply gun traffickers."

Perhaps most absurdly, during the forum's question and answer session, VPC's Rand claimed that "No one wants to ban 'standard' rifles, shotguns or handguns."  VPC itself, of course, has long supported a ban on handguns, and the group's director, Josh Sugarmann, is a former staff member of another handgun ban group.

The Fox News article further reports that Rep. Issa is questioning Rep. Cummings' timing and motive in holding the forum. 

"This is a predictable maneuver from a minority that has sought to obstruct the investigation into Justice Department sanctioned gunwalking," Issa spokeswoman Becca Glover Watkins told FoxNews.com.  "It will not affect the committee's continued focus on a reckless operation that has been linked to deaths on both sides of the border." 

That investigation should continue until it gets full answers to the many troubling questions "Fast and Furious" has raised so far.

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