ATF’s ‘fast and furious’ pushes DOJ to skirt Congress to crack down on gun sales
While the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (BATFE/ATF) “gun walking” scandal has captured the mainstream media’s attention; the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) response for added gun regulation is going over like a straw purchase.
As witnessed last week, the Department of Justice issued some harsh medicine for firearm dealers in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. These dealers will soon be required to report multiple sales of long guns.
Washington’s political posturing with ATF centers on the government-gone-wild approach, as in the “Fast and Furious” program that allowed guns to cross the border and into the hands of Mexico’s ruthless drug cartels. The reckless “Fast and Furious” program has left lawful firearm dealers scratching their collective heads and many rank-and-file ATF agents seething.
Congressional leaders investigating “Fast and Furious” have swiftly criticized DOJ’s handling of the program. Republican leaders say U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is trying to divert the “Fast and Furious” investigation by punishing Federal Firearms Licensees who operate in southwestern states. The plan President Obama and DOJ have cooked up targets some southwestern dealers and forced them to report multiple long-gun sales.
“The Judiciary Committee has primary jurisdiction over policy related to the Justice Department,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley, (R-Iowa) Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “We’ve learned from our investigation of ‘Fast and Furious’ that reporting multiple long gun sales would do nothing to stop the flow of firearms to known-straw purchasers because many Federal Firearms Dealers are already voluntarily reporting suspicious transactions,” Grassley explained.
In fact, documents obtained by Senator Grassley about BATFE’s “Fast and Furious” showed at least 150 long guns were reported in real time by law-abiding firearm dealers. Keeping that in mind, ATF leaders in D.C. watched (on closed circuit TV) the firearms transferred from known-straw purchasers (people who buy guns for those who cannot legally buy firearms) to third parties. The result of ATF’s rogue program put guns into the hands of Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs), which have lead to countless slayings in Mexico as well as complicity in the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December of 2010.
“This (data) makes it pretty clear that the problem isn’t lack of burdensome reporting requirements. The administration’s overreach with regulations continues, and is an (attempted) distraction from its reckless policy to allow guns to walk into Mexico,” Grassley said.
Department of Justice new overreaching firearm laws
Last week, the Justice Department announced it will move forward with a new reporting system despite its lack of authority to create legislation without Congress.
According to the National Rifle Association, a reporting procedure was proposed implemented last fall was an “emergency” measure by ATF. The new procedure specifically called for all the firearm retailers in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to report multiple long-gun sales.
The flawed program would force dealers to report law-abiding citizens who buy two long guns within five days. “For example, a dealer would have to tell the government every time a deer hunter in Sacramento or Amarillo finds a good deal on a pair of semi-automatic .30-06s like the popular Remington 7400,” the NRA explains.
Nevertheless, a DOJ statement from, Deputy Attorney General James Cole said; this new reporting measure “will improve the ability of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to detect and disrupt the illegal weapons trafficking networks responsible for diverting firearms from lawful commerce to criminals and criminal organizations.”
However, dealers contend the flood of new paperwork (ATF estimates 18,000 reports a year) would cost the agency and firearm dealers more money and labor as well as squander already limited resources that could focus on legitimate investigations.
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The NRA also points out that the ill-conceived and ill-fated “Fast and Furious” program encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell thousands of guns to suspicious buyers, despite documented objections from dealers and ATF agents alike.
“The (Obama) administration knowingly and intentionally allowed guns to be trafficked into Mexico,” said Lamar Smith (R-TX). The Texas lawmaker explained that “Limiting the Second Amendment rights’ of law-abiding citizens is not going to solve the problem…this is the height of hypocrisy.”
Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) introduced S 570 a bill that would also “prohibit the Department of Justice from tracking and cataloguing the purchases of multiple rifles and shotguns.”
The Obama Administration’s approach is to skirt Congress by issuing regulations by “executive order” will only result in multiple legal actions from the NRA, Second Amendment advocates as well as the California Association of Firearms Retailers (CAFR).
A spokesman for the CAFR posed the following question; “What part of federal law is so difficult for this administration to understand? Federal law applies to all states not just a select few. It may very well be the ATF ‘fast and furious’ program that has placed more firearms in the hands of (Mexican) criminals than any one legitimate firearm retailer in any state targeted by the DOJ proposal.”
Dealers and citizens contend Mexico needs to be held accountable for its own actions regarding firearm purchases and importation.
“The $40 billion transnational criminal enterprises don’t fill out paperwork and are not deterred by paperwork violations,” said Chris W. Cox, NRA-ILA Executive Director. “This is a blatant effort by the Obama administration and ATF to divert the focus of Congress and the general public from their gross incompetence in the ‘Fast and Furious’ scandal. This scheme will unjustly burden law abiding retailers in Border States. It will not affect drug cartels and it won’t prevent violence along our borders.”
The NRA and other Second Amendment organizations are preparing for the lawsuit and will file the moment “demand letters” are received from ATF or DOJ.
Next a report of Senator Feinstein’s efforts to limit guns…
Taking a serious look at the unique problems America faces with our southern neighbor is critical if the U.S. wants to gain the upper hand with narco-traffickers. Last month, to no one’s surprise, Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) issued a report that AG Eric Holder and President Obama have taken seriously. (Feinstein report here)
Included in the Senator’s firearm assessment are;
– Enactment of legislation to close gun show loopholes regarding background checks.
– Better enforcement of existing bans of military-style imports.
– Reinstatement of Assault Weapons Ban.
– Federal Firearms Licenses required for multiple long-gun sales.
– Senate ratification of the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and other related materials (CIFTA).
The Obama Administration has already begun implementing Senator Feinstein’s wish list much to the dismay of firearm retailers.
Stay tuned for more updates on the ATF scandal…
© Copyright 2011Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.
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