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Old 08-06-2011, 03:51 PM  
mohel
 
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ATF delivered assault weapons to drug cartels

How ATF delivered assault weapons to drug cartels - KansasCity.com

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What did happen was Fast and Furious, a new operation out of the Justice Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives that turned the world of fighting gun trafficking upside down.

Before, ATF agents routinely busted straw purchasers - usually people with clean records who are paid to buy guns and pass them along to others with criminal records - and confiscated any weapons found. But straw purchasers are the bottom feeders in the gunrunning food chain. ATF officials, understandably, wanted to get closer to the cartel bosses running the smuggling operations.

Fast and Furious was supposed to help make that happen. The plan was to allow straw purchasers to make their deliveries, and then the ATF would trace the flow of the weapons.

But one huge detail was left unaddressed: The ATF made no provisions to actually trace the guns once they crossed the border.

The agency wasn't attaching electronic-tracking devices to the guns, and agents were not pursuing them into Mexico. They were forced to stop and watch the weapons "walk." Maybe Mexican authorities could have picked up the trail - but the ATF never told its counterparts across the border about the operation.

So, essentially, the U.S. government was now arming the very drug cartels that it was supposed to be helping Mexican officials fight.

Agents themselves were appalled. "It goes against everything we've been taught," Special Agent Carlos Canino said last week at the latest in a series of hearings on Fast and Furious by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

More than 2,000 weapons walked. Fewer than 600 have been recovered. And recovered usually means found at the scene of a crime, often a shooting or a homicide, in the United States or Mexico.

The last straw for some agents occurred in December, when two weapons traced to Fast and Furious were found at the scene of a firefight in the Arizona desert that killed U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

Agents took their concerns up the chain of command at the ATF, and to the Justice Department's inspector general. When that didn't work, they went to Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, ranking member of the Judiciary Committee. Grassley has been working with his House counterpart, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who had the power to initiate hearings.

As a result, Holder has ordered an internal investigation at Justice, and has said he didn't learn of the program until this year. Both Grassley and Issa have complained about the department's lack of cooperation as they have tried to find out who authorized the program and let it continue when it was clear that there was no way to keep track of the weapons. Further, they have warned about retaliation against ATF acting director Kenneth E. Melson, who took the unusual step of testifying July 4, accompanied by a private attorney rather than one from the Justice Department.

At last week's public hearing, one ATF official apologized for mistakes made, and agent William Newell said more "risk assessment" should have been conducted.
Quote:
The Justice Department?s new policy on requiring all gun shops in four Southwest border states to report frequent buyers of semi-automatic weapons is drawing both praise and criticism.

Dennis Henigan, acting president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, is pleased with the new requirement.

?This new reporting rule will give law enforcement new capacity to interdict these deadly guns before they can be used against Mexican police and citizens.?

But the National Rifle Association (NRA) said it plans to sue the administration over the rule.

?This is a blatant effort by the Obama administration and ATF to divert focus of Congress and the general public from their gross incompetence in the Fast and Furious scandal,? NRA executive director Chris Cox said in a statement.

?This scheme will unjustly burden law-abiding retailers in border states,? he said. ?It will not affect drug cartels and it won?t prevent violence along our borders.?

When asked to respond to the imminent lawsuit, Justice officials declined but noted that there is already a policy in place that requires gun dealers to report multiple sales of handguns to a single individual within a short time period.

The Justice Department says the new rule is narrowly tailored. It requires federally-licensed gun dealers in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas to report multiple sales of certain semi-automatic weapons to a single buyer within a five-day period.

On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, ?This targeted measure will improve the ability of the ATF to detect and disrupt the illegal weapons trafficking networks responsible for diverting firearms from lawful commerce to criminals and criminal organizations.?
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Old 08-06-2011, 04:10 PM  
mohel
 
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Mired in violence, gun-strict Mexico points to U.S.

Mired in violence, gun-strict Mexico points to U.S.

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Mexico has some of the toughest gun-control laws in the world, yet the country's drug cartels are armed to the teeth with high-powered illegal weapons because guns are so easy to buy in the United States and smuggle over the border. Last week, the Department of Homeland Security announced it would send dogs, X-ray machines and 100 more agents to the border to search southbound cars and trains for guns and cash headed to Mexico.
U.S. Gun Laws Fuel Mexican Drug Wars

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Anyone who needs convincing that our nation's gun laws are dangerously inadequate should consider the devastating impact those laws are having on our neighbor to the south, Mexico. Firearm-related violence across the border has skyrocketed recently in bloody battles between Mexican drug cartels and Mexican authorities, resulting in the slaughter of police officers, soldiers, judges, prosecutors, reporters and innocent bystanders. Because Mexico's strict gun laws make it extremely difficult for civilians to purchase firearms, the increasing gun violence raises an obvious question: Where are the drug cartels buying their guns? Unfortunately, they're buying them right here in the United States.

According to a report issued by the U.S. State Department on Feb. 27, more than 5,000 people were killed in the Mexican drug wars in 2008. The report states that Mexican authorities seized nearly 40,000 illegal firearms in 2008 and that 95 percent of the guns traced were purchased in the United States. Not surprisingly, the escalating violence has begun to spill over into this country.

The reason Mexican drug lords look to America for their guns is clear: In most states they can easily buy guns, including assault weapons and .50-caliber rifles, from private sellers without a background check, no questions asked. Gun sales in Mexico, in contrast, are strictly regulated, as they are in other industrialized nations outside of the United States. The reason shady gun dealers and private sellers here are willing to supply the illegal Mexican market is also clear: It is a highly lucrative business and our gun laws make it unlikely that they will ever get caught.

Three changes to our federal firearms laws would help dramatically stem the flow of illegal guns, both in Mexico and here at home.
Commentary: U.S. Gun Laws Fuel Mexican Drug Wars
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Old 08-06-2011, 09:53 PM  
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The three changes mentioned in #2 are:
1. Require a background check for all private sales
2. Ban "assault weapons"
3. Repeal the "Tiahrt Amendments", which require that NICS background check data is destroyed within 24 hours after approval, and prevents the ATF from requiring annual inventory inspections.

1. Requiring a background check for all private sales means that I can't sell a gun to my brother - who already owns dozens of firearms - without contacting the government and informing them of the sale. I purchased a Ruger 10/22 rifle and a Remington 887 shotgun for my brother's 18th birthday last year, and a Beretta PX4 Storm for another brother's 21st birthday.

I'll go a little further in depth in #3.

2. What is an "assault weapon"? No, really. The only "assault weapon" ban that I'm familiar with is California's. California bans these guns:




But it permits these guns:

(Bullet button mag release)

(California Rifle "U15" stock - no pistol grip, no thumbholes.)

All of these rifles are AR15s. The California-legal rifles will accept the larger magazines of the standard AR15s. There are no major functional differences between the "illegal" assault rifles and the "legal" California Rifles. In fact, the lower receivers may very well be identical in all of these rifles. (The lower receiver is the part that triggers the need for a background check. You can purchase different barrels, upper receivers, stocks, magazines, mechanisms inside the lower receiver, ammunition, and all sorts of accessories without requiring a background check)

The differences in these rifles are little more than cosmetic.


3. Permitting the retention of background check data is tantamount to gun registration, especially considered alongside the requirement that all firearm transactions require background checks.

The problem with registration is that it is only enforceable against those who otherwise obey the law. It is only enforceable against those who break no other law in conducting the transaction. The supreme court ruled that a convicted felon in possession of a firearm could not be charged with the crime of failing to register that firearm in a state that had mandatory gun registration.

Similarly, a person selling a firearm to a convicted felon cannot be charged for failing to conduct a background check, because it is already a crime to sell a felon a firearm, and the mandatory nature of the background checks is tantamount to compulsory self-incrimination in violation of the 5th amendment.

The only people who could actually be charged for failing to conduct a background check are those who sold to a person who could legally purchase a firearm. Why create a law that can only be enforced against people who make a mistake in doing the paperwork?
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Old 08-06-2011, 10:27 PM  
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What you said is exactly the truth. It really makes it confusing even for law enforcement!
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Old 08-07-2011, 10:33 AM  
mohel
 
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ATF delivered assault weapons to drug cartels

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Requiring a background check for all private sales means that I can't sell a gun to my brother - who already owns dozens of firearms - without contacting the government and informing them of the sale.
In PA I bought a gun for a girl, paid $20 for the background call & forms and that was it. In Oregon I sold my SKS to my next door neighbor who has been arrested on weapon charges (fortunately not involving the SKS). I'd lived next to him for a year not guessing he was a complete nutcase.

I've spent years in gun forums, met a former Michigan Militia guy who owns 15 AR15's. I don't think he could be trusted with a cap gun.

Only background checks can keep nuts from easily obtaining a weapon. I like that.
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Old 08-07-2011, 05:01 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blucher View Post
ATF delivered assault weapons to drug cartels



In PA I bought a gun for a girl, paid $20 for the background call & forms and that was it. In Oregon I sold my SKS to my next door neighbor who has been arrested on weapon charges (fortunately not involving the SKS). I'd lived next to him for a year not guessing he was a complete nutcase.

I've spent years in gun forums, met a former Michigan Militia guy who owns 15 AR15's. I don't think he could be trusted with a cap gun.

Only background checks can keep nuts from easily obtaining a weapon. I like that.
I fully agree, when selling to an unknown individual, a responsible gun owner will insist on a background check and/or conduct the transaction through an FFL dealer. I'm not suggesting that background checks should be prohibited, or that they should be frowned upon. Quite the contrary, I think they should be widely used. Given that the NICS data is supposed to be destroyed within 24 hours after approval, my problem with background checks rests solely on the words "every transaction" and "mandatory".

You mentioned two strangers, the person you bought the gun from, and the guy with 15 AR15s. I'm not talking about random strangers with unknown intentions. Of course the responsible course of action is for the private seller to conduct a background check into a random stranger before giving him a gun. BUT. I'm not talking about random strangers. I'm talking about my shooting buddies. I'm talking about my family members. I'm talking about the people I know that, despite them being armed and me being unarmed, I could get into a heated argument with them and not fear for my safety.

My eldest younger brother has purchased several firearms from dealers. I was present and witnessed some of these sales. Mandatory background checks would require that if I transferred a gun to him, I'd have to do paperwork and notify the government. I understand why the dealers should be required to do a background check for every separate transaction, but why should I require that of my brother? He, like me, is probably carrying a loaded firearm on his hip at this very moment.
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Old 08-07-2011, 05:32 PM  
mohel
 
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I fully agree, when selling to an unknown individual, a responsible gun owner will insist on a background check and/or conduct the transaction through an FFL dealer. I'm not suggesting that background checks should be prohibited, or that they should be frowned upon. Quite the contrary, I think they should be widely used. Given that the NICS data is supposed to be destroyed within 24 hours after approval, my problem with background checks rests solely on the words "every transaction" and "mandatory".
You know your brother but you can see how "Well I know him" would be misused. If we don't have a system like car registration it will always be screwed with.

I intend to keep my guns and any conceivable background check or psychological profile holds no concern for me but I know a slew of people who would freak because it will hit them.

You mention a gun on your hip and I tried that myself. It quickly became clear that because I use commonsense about where & when I go certain places it was unlikely to ever be needed. Some people because of work or where they live may need constant carry but few do who I would trust to react well in conditions requiring them to pull it.

I sold the SKS because I had no need for it. It's easily bested as a hunting weapon, is crappy for home defense because the bullets will be stopping in your neighbor's house and is ideal only as a man killer.
I have plenty of handguns and several .22 rifles but the 30 rds. in my Kel-Tek Sub are a better home defense tool than an AK or AR. I'm looking to add a legally shortened double barrel to the mix but no more warfare tools.

Everyone here knows at least one crazy political nut who should never be allowed near a gun.Toss in religious crazies, spurned hubbies and your run of the mill next door psychotics and you have my short list of why good gun control helps limit bad behavior by whackos.
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