The New American
November 8, 2011
Operation “Fast and Furious” — the scandalous sale of thousands of weapons to Mexican drug lords with the complicity of President Obama’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (still known as ATF) — is now being used as an excuse for further governmental interference in the rights of American citizens to keep and bear arms. Rather than blaming the ineptitude of a federal agency run amok, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D.-Calif.) declares that the fundamental problem exposed by the “Fast and Furious” debacle is, in fact, that “anyone can walk in and buy anything” when it comes to firearms.
As reported by CNSNews, Sen. Feinstein does not blame the Obama administration for the scandal of foreign drug cartels being armed as a result of the deliberate policy decisions of highly-placed government officials; instead, she blames the existence of almost-vestigial rights of Americans under the Bill of Rights:
“This is a deep concern for me. I know others disagree, but we have very lax laws when it comes to guns,” Feinstein, an advocate of gun control, said during Tuesday’s hearing of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism.
“My concern, Mr. Chairman, is that there’s been a lot said about Fast and Furious, and perhaps mistakes were made,” Feinstein said. “But I think this hunt for blame doesn’t really speak about the problem. And the problem is, anybody can walk in and buy anything.”
In truth, some of the weapons which the Obama administration helped to place in the hands of Mexican drug lords included fully automatic rifles, which — given the systemic restrictions on Second Amendment liberties now taken for granted in these United States — are far from being the kind of weapons that “anyone can walk in and buy.” As Paul Babeu, the sheriff for Arizona’s Pinal County, recently observed: “Now we find out that it was them [the Obama administration]. They have been facilitating weapons — semiautomatic, fully automatic AK-47s and 50-calliber sniper rifles — into the hands of the most violent criminals in North America.” The fact is, the Obama administration helped provide weapons to known foreign criminals which many law-abiding American citizens would have a hard time acquiring for themselves.
However, such facts were of little interest to Sen. Feinstein, as she spoke with Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer during hearings before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism. According to CNSNews:
Feinstein asked Breuer about the number of U.S. guns in Mexico.
“From my understanding, 94,000 weapons have been recovered in the last five years in Mexico. Those are just the ones recovered, Senator,” Breuer said. “Of the 94,000 weapons that have been recovered from Mexico, 64,000 of those are traced to the United States.”
“We have to do something to prevent criminals from getting those guns,” Feinstein said.
Then she asked Breuer, “Do you believe that if there were some form of registration when you purchase these firearms that would make a difference?”
“I do, Senator,” Breuer said, adding that “information is the tool we need to challenge the people that are committing this crime.”
Breuer’s reply attempts to shift the blame for the flow of firearms into Mexico on a lack of information; in truth, the federal government had all the information it could possible want regarding the transfer of arms conducted as part of “Fast and Furious,” and it supposedly lost track of that information — as has been reported previously by The New American.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
The presence of firearms in Mexico is not a problem for Congress or the Justice Department, except insofar as the U.S. government was complicit in the flow of those arms across the border. Mexican laws which restrict the private ownership of firearms at the very moment when cartel violence is tearing the country apart is proof that the law — and law enforcement priorities — in that nation are far from what they should be.
What is certain is that the problem of firearms leaving the United States for Mexico was exacerbated by the actions of the U.S. federal government. If not for the BATF’s decision to engage in a sting operation, many of the weapons which went into the hands of Mexican drug cartel members would not have been sold to them, because the government already has very stringent rules regarding tracking the sale of firearms through gun shops.
The debacle caused by “Fast and Furious” would not have been averted by means of federal firearms legislation; one of the chief allegations in the current scandal was that the BATF was already instructing gun shops to essentially ignore the “straw purchases” which were taking place so that the government could conduct its sting. National registration is not about keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals; it is, by definition, about tracking the ownership of firearms by law-abiding citizens. The gun control legislation imposed on the Mexican people by an often corrupt and incompetent government has obviously done little to restrict the ownership of firearms by the cartels. Feinstein’s advocacy of such registration has yet to explain why providing further regulator power to similarly incompetent government officials north of the border would improve the lot of the American people.