According to United States Attorney General Eric Holder, the United States is “losing the battle” to stem the flow of illegal guns into Mexico. Holder contends that Congress is partially to blame for the fact that American guns are landing in the hands of Mexican drug cartels that are responsible for murdering tens of thousands of people because Congress refuses to pass stringent gun control. The irony of Holder’s assertions given the recent revelations regarding the ATF’s and DOJ’s botched Project Gunrunner scandal has not gone unnoticed.
Wisconsin's AB 237 would make all civil forfeiture offenses into arrestable offenses.
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.”
Sheriff Chuck Wright of Spartanburg County, South Carolina, opened a news conference on Monday about an assault and attempted rape on Sunday in a local park by exhorting his law-abiding citizens to protect themselves from criminals: “Our form of justice is not making it. Carry a concealed weapon. That’ll fix it.” Wright was pointing to the example of 46-year-old habitual criminal Walter Lance, of Spartanburg, to express his frustration with the flawed justice system that allows such a man to still be out on the streets committing crimes. Lance's latest arrest was for allegedly choking a woman walking her dog in Spartanburg's Milliken Park on Sunday and attempting to rape her.
According to Fox News, Wright told his citizens:
It just struck me wrong that we keep telling everyone "trust us, trust us, trust us," but in reality, you need to protect yourself. If you are not a convicted felon or someone who causes trouble or don't have any mental issues, buy a weapon to protect yourself and get some good training.
Fox reported of Sunday's attack in Milliken Park:
Despite the Obama administration’s best efforts to place stricter gun controls on American citizens, support for the Second Amendment is currently at a record high. A recent Gallup poll shows a mere 26 percent of the respondents believe the federal government should ban handguns. Seventy-three percent of those polled are opposed to a government ban on handguns. Another Gallup poll reveals that the percentage of American gun owners has increased as well.
The Second Amendment poll shows a marked increase from the first time the question was asked in 1959, when 60 percent of the respondents favored banning handguns. Those figures changed dramatically by 1975, however, when the majority of Americans began to show opposition for such a measure.
This most current poll shows that support for gun-control measures is at a historic low. Gallup’s website reports:
For the first time, Gallup finds greater opposition to than support for a ban on semiautomatic guns or assault rifles, 53% to 43%. In the initial asking of this question in 1996, the numbers were nearly reversed, with 57% for and 42% against an assault rifle ban. Congress passed such a ban in 1994, but the law expired when Congress did not act to renew it in 2004. Around the time the law expired, Americans were about evenly divided in their views.
Responding to the fierce controversy and surprising developments surrounding the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' (ATF) botched Operation Fast and Furious gun-walking program, the United States Senate voted unanimously on Tuesday to block the Justice Department from taking part in any further gun-smuggling probes like that which characterized Operation Fast and Furious.
The provision was part of a $128 billion spending Senate bill that funds the Justice Department’s various operations, as well as those of a number of other Cabinet agencies for the 2012 budget year, in which we are already underway.
The measure to halt all further gun-walking operations from the DOJ was introduced as an amendment. The amendment, written by Sen. John Cornyn III (R.-Tex.) reads: “No funds made available under this Act shall be used to allow the transfer of firearms to agents of drug cartels where law enforcement personnel of the United States do not continuously monitor and control such firearms at all times.”
Cornyn, who serves on the Finance, Judiciary, Armed Services and Budget Committees, said when he introduced the amendment, “When 2,000 firearms go missing, and at least one is found at the crime scene of a murdered U.S. Border Patrol agent, we must do everything possible to ensure that such a reckless and ill-advised operation like Fast and Furious is not repeated.”
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.