The U.S. government's Operation Fast and Furious was a plot to subvert gun rights in America, National Rifle Association president Wayne LaPierre charged October 14 in an interview with Newsmax.TV. “It’s the only thing that makes any sense,” LaPierre said of the gunrunning "sting" operation that resulted in thousands of U.S.-purchased firearms ending up in the hands of violent Mexican drug traffickers. LaPierre noted that "over a period of two or three years they were running thousands and thousands of guns to the most evil people on earth,” while government officials were claiming that 90 percent of the guns used by the Mexican cartels were coming from the United States. However, said LaPierre:
The controversy surrounding the disastrous Operation Fast and Furious (part of Project Gunrunner) has prompted a congressional investigation which is quickly heating up as more facts emerge. The investigation has led Congress to question Attorney General Eric Holder as to how much he knew of the operation, and how long he was sitting on the knowledge that known Mexican drug cartel members were permitted by the officials of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (still known as ATF) to walk with weapons provided by the ATF. The inquiry has resulted in an exchange of scathing letters between Holder and the investigation head, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).
Operation Fast and Furious was launched in 2009 in an effort to target major gunrunners. The stated plan was to follow gun purchasers in the hopes that the suspects would lead the ATF to major heads of Mexican cartels. Unfortunately, some of those same deadly weapons were found at crime scenes in both Mexico and the United States, and were involved in the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry last year.
Attorney General Holder has done his best to distance himself from the failed gunwalking operation. However, one week ago, Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), a ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, distributed five separate memos from July and August of 2010 addressed to Holder, which cite Operation Fast and Furious by name. The documents implicate Holder, proving he likely knew about the program for at least a year.
ABC News reports that California's Governor Jerry Brown has just signed a new law "mak[ing] it a misdemeanor to openly carry an exposed and unloaded handgun in public or in a vehicle." Assembly Bill 144, authored by Democrat Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, was directed against the “open-carry” movement, and exempts only law enforcement officers, and those either hunting, or at military gatherings or gun shows. Dallas Stout, California chapter president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, was gratified: "By prohibiting the open carry of guns, we can now take our families to the park or out to eat without the worry of getting shot by some untrained, unscreened, self-appointed vigilante."
For those caught open-carrying, the law carries a fine of $1,000 and up to one year in jail.
Calls from county sheriffs in the Southwest for the resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder over the "Fast and Furious" gun-walking scandal received a shot in the arm from House Government Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) over the holiday weekend, as Issa skated close to calling for Holder's resignation.
"Mr. Attorney General," Issa wrote in reply to a Holder letter to the House Oversight Committee, "you have made numerous statements about Fast and Furious that have eventually been proven to be untrue. Your lack of trustworthiness while speaking about Fast and Furious has called into question your overall credibility as Attorney General.... Whether you realize it yet or not, you own Fast and Furious. It is your responsibility."
"Fast and Furious" involved the transfer of some 2,020 firearms to the Sinaloa Drug Cartel of Mexico from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (still known as ATF) beginning at least as early as 2009. The firearms included weapons such as AK-47s, AR-15s, and at least two different models of armor-piercing, .50 caliber sniper rifles. The idea officially behind the gun-walking scandal was to track the guns and arrest the cartel leaders. But the ATF and other liaising agencies never had a practical plan to track the guns. In any event, the guns were lost as soon as they changed hands to Sinaloa cartel members.
Tensions are building in Georgia over a controversial new law which would restrict the rights of gun owners, and the judges of the 11th Circuit Court may be weighing precisely how many of the fundamental rights of the American people will be at stake when they issue their ruling in a case involving the right of licensed gun owners to carry their firearms with them to church.
GeorgiaCarry.org has played a significant role in the fight for the Second Amendment rights of the citizens of Georgia, and it is a lawsuit by the organization’s attorneys which has brought a review of the law in front of the judges of the 11th Circuit Court. GeorgiaCarry has successfully used such court actions before in its effort to compel supposed "public servants" to actually abide by the laws of the state; as the group’s website notes:
Prior to July 1, 2008, the State of Georgia had many restrictions on where and how a law-abiding citizen could carry a firearm. Coupled with a law so vaguely and poorly written that determining where one could legally carry was extremely difficult, many citizens never bothered to obtain a Georgia Firearm License to exercise their rights.
The Wisconsin State Legislature will take up the Castle Doctrine in October.
Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is not impressed with the explanations given by Attorney General Eric Holder and other Department of Justice spokesmen about Operation Fast and Furious — the gun-walker scandal in which ATF officials oversaw the transfer of 2,000 weapons across the border to brutal Mexican drug cartels, mainly the Sinaloa group. He is calling for a formal review by someone outside the government:
We’d like to have a true special prosecutor, particular when it’s obvious if Eric Holder didn’t know, it’s because he didn’t want to know or because he wasn’t doing his job…We’d like to know who did know and why they didn’t brief the attorney general.
Holder in May said that he did not know when he first heard about the operation. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano claimed that she did not know about the operation until after some weapons sold by federal officers to Mexican drug cartels were found to have been used to murder Border Patrol agents.
High-ranking officials across Mexico including the Attorney General are reportedly demanding answers from the U.S. government about its secret program that sent high-powered weaponry across the border to drug cartels, saying the Obama administration’s explanations so far are inadequate. The Mexican public is outraged as well.
Hundreds of Mexicans including law-enforcement officers have been murdered with guns traced back to the operation, which was handled by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (still known as ATF). “Project Gunrunner” weapons were also involved in the deaths of at least a few American agents including Border Patrol officer Brian Terry.
Under “Operation Fast and Furious,” the Obama administration was deliberately providing sophisticated and powerful weapons to violent Mexican drug cartels — often using taxpayer money. He was simultaneously campaigning for stricter U.S. gun control by citing violence in Mexico.
The New Hampshire Legislature has overridden a veto by governor John Lynch of a bill to allow citizens to use deadly force against assailants anywhere they have a right to be. The state House of Representatives voted 251-111 in support of the bill Wednesday, exceeding the two-thirds vote needed for an override. The state Senate last week voted for the override. 17-7.
The bill expands a provision of existing law, often called the "castle doctrine," that allows the use of deadly force in self-defense, or the defense of others, in one's home or attached property. In all other places, current law requires a person under threat of attack to retreat to safety whenever possible. The new law, effective within 60 days of passage, removes the retreat requirement for someone under attack "anywhere he or she has a right to be." Supporters said a resort to lethal force in defense of one's life or the life of others should be legal in public places as much as in the home.
When Jeremy Hoven put his concealed carry permit to use for self-defense purposes during an armed robbery last May, he was fired by his employer, Walgreens. Though Hoven defended the use of his weapon by asserting he feared for his life, and while no one was injured during the encounter, Walgreens issued a pink slip, prompting Hoven to file a wrongful termination lawsuit.
At a Walgreens in Benton Township, Michigan, two armed robbers wearing masks burst in at 4:30 am with weapons drawn. Pharmacist Jeremy Hoven was working behind his counter when he saw the attackers grab the Walgreens store manager as a hostage. The men also jumped behind Hoven’s counter, with their weapons drawn. While one of the masked men held a gun to the head of one of the Walgreens’ employees, the other attempted to shoot Hoven three times, but his gun would not fire.