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No Surprises Here--BATFE Wanted Fast and Furious to Justify Gun Control

Friday, December 9, 2011

From the first moment that the American people became aware that senior BATFE officials ordered agents in the field to allow guns sold in the U.S. to be smuggled on an all-but-certain path to Mexico’s vicious drug cartels, many of us have wondered “why.” 

What possible legitimate purpose could be fulfilled by allowing a large number of guns—over 2,000, by some estimates—to disappear across our southwestern border without the Mexican government’s knowledge?

There has been only one logical answer possible. Someone within the BATFE or higher in the Department of Justice wanted the smuggled guns to be recovered at crime scenes in Mexico, and traced to sources within the U.S., so that the Obama Administration could claim a need for one or another gun control measure being pushed by anti-gun groups. Someone who values gun control more than the lives of innocent people killed by cartel operatives armed with the BATFE’s “walked” guns. Someone who believes, as one BATFE official put it, that “to make an omelet, you have to break some eggs.”

Until now, there was no proof, however. But this week, CBS News reported that the BATFE “discussed using their covert operation Fast and Furious to argue for controversial new rules about gun sales.” In particular, agency officials wanted guns to fall into Mexican drug cartel hands and be traced back to gun dealers in the U.S. to make a case for requiring dealers to report individuals who buy more than one detachable-magazine semi-automatic rifle over .22 caliber in a five day period.

According to CBS, “emails show they discussed using the sales, including sales encouraged by ATF, to justify a new gun regulation called Demand Letter 3. That would require some U.S. gun shops to report the sale of multiple rifles or ‘long guns.’”

CBS singled out a July 14, 2010 email sent by BATFE Field Operations Assistant Director Mark Chait to Bill Newell, the agency’s Special Agent in Charge in Phoenix, from which Fast and Furious was based. In the email, Chaits asked Newell to “see if these guns were all purchased from the same [licensed gun dealer] and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales.” 

Pro-Second Amendment U.S. Senator John Cornyn (Texas), the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Immigration, Refugees and Border Security subcommittee, quickly responded to CBS’s revelation, saying “If these reports are true, even by Washington standards this reaches a new level of arrogance and corruption.” With Attorney General Holder again appearing before Congress to testify about Fast and Furious this week, Sen. Cornyn added, “again, the Attorney General has some explaining to do.”

Also this week, CBS reported another means by which Mexico’s drug cartels have acquired a large enough number of U.S.-made firearms to partially explain the high tallies repeated time and again by Mexican president Felipe Calderon, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Eric Holder, and other gun control supporters.

Apparently, hundreds of firearms sent to Mexico by U.S. firearms manufacturers, through Direct Commercial Sales approved by the State Department since 2006, cannot be accounted for by Mexican officials and are presumed to have made their way to the cartels. As CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson relates it, “The Mexican military recently reported nearly nine thousand police weapons missing. Yet, the U.S. has approved the sale of more guns to Mexico than ever before.” The government of Mexico now buys more U.S.-made firearms than Iraq, whose security forces American and allied troops trained from the ground up, after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Providing some insight into the scope of the problem, after one U.S.-made rifle sold to the Mexican military ended up in a cartel arms cache, the State Department asked Mexico to account for 1,030 more rifles, but received no reply. Between 2006 and 2009, 2,400 firearms were sold to Mexico through direct sales. But trying to avoid further embarrassment, State refuses to provide the numbers for 2010 and 2011. Attkisson says, “With Mexico in a virtual state of war with its cartels, nobody is tracking how many U.S. guns are ending up with the enemy.”

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NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.