NRA Explore

Obama Administration Endangered Lives to Justify Gun Control

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

by Chris W. Cox,
NRA-ILA Executive Director

In all of my years fighting on behalf of the National Rifle Association to defend the Second Amendment, I never thought I would see a White House so vehemently opposed to gun ownership that it would be willing to arm violent criminals and endanger American lives in pursuit of a gun control agenda. Readers will recall that a little over two months ago, in this same space, I wrote:

“I would like to believe that President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder – no matter how much they oppose our Second Amendment rights – would never break the law and endanger human lives in their mission to score political points against gun owners…

“However, to believe all of this, I would have to ignore a lot of facts.”

And now, according to new documents obtained by CBS News, we are faced with the fact that the Obama administration helped transfer illegal guns to drug cartels in Mexico to build a case for gun control – specifically, gun registration – here in America.

“If these reports are true, even by Washington standards this reaches a new level of arrogance and corruption,” remarked Senator John Cornyn (R-TX). Unfortunately, Sen. Cornyn is not exaggerating.

On July 14, 2010, Mark Chait, who served as Assistant Director for Field Operations for the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives (BATFE) sent an email to Bill Newell, BATFE’s special agent in charge of operation “Fast and Furious.” Chait’s email said:

“Bill, can you 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 sales. Thanks."

Just six months later, after a press conference to announce arrests made in “Fast and Furious,” Chait emailed Newell again, saying:

“Bill--well done yesterday... (I)n light of our request for Demand letter 3, this case could be a strong supporting factor if we can determine how many multiple sales of long guns occurred during the course of this case.”

“Demand letter 3” is a letter sent to U.S. firearms dealers in the four southwest border states, demanding that they register sales of more than one semi-automatic rifle to the same person within five business days.

Under its “Fast and Furious” operation, Obama’s BATFE had been forcing licensed firearms dealers to sell semi-automatic rifles to shady straw purchasers, who would then supply them to drug cartels in Mexico.

Many of these dealers were extremely apprehensive because BATFE was, in fact, forcing them break the law. In fact, one licensed dealer emailed BATFE numerous times to express his concern, not only could these sales jeopardize his livelihood, but also that the guns he was being forced to sell could end up in the hands of criminals south of the border, where they might be used to harm or kill American Border Patrol agents.

BATFE reassured him that everything was fine and that he should just keep following their orders. As we now know, the dealer’s concerns were more than justified.

In April of this year, the Obama administration unilaterally imposed the “Demand letter 3” registration requirement. The National Rifle Association is currently funding lawsuits to end this unconstitutional edict.

“Very clearly, they’ve [the Obama administration] made a crisis and they’re using this crisis to somehow take away or limit people’s Second Amendment rights,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who is leading the House investigation into “Fast and Furious.”

“There’s plenty of evidence showing that this administration planned to use the tragedies of ‘Fast and Furious’ as rationale to further their goals of a long gun reporting requirement,” stated Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), who is leading the investigation on the Senate side.

Even Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, recently admitted to Congress that “Fast and Furious” guns would continue to show up at crime scenes in the U.S. and Mexico “for years to come” – just as two of them were found at the murder scene of slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

Ever since the “Fast and Furious” scandal first broke, Eric Holder and his colleagues in the Obama administration have refused to fully cooperate with congressional investigators. Now we know why. Because the truth is uglier than we ever could have imagined. Our own federal government willingly endangered American lives to build a case for weakening our Second Amendment freedoms.

Chris W. Cox is the Executive Director of The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action and serves as the organization’s chief lobbyist.

This article first appeared at



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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.