November 11, 2011
(MANASSAS, VA, Nov. 11) Earlier this year, former Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Attach to Mexico (basically their Bureau Chief in that country), Darren Gil, told reporters and congressional investigators that he only learned about the gunwalking scandal known as Operation Fast & Furious, after he had retired and the operation began making news in the blogosphere and the press.
But he said that he and his team in Mexico detected the surge in guns that Fast & Furious generated as early as the latter part of 2009 — within weeks of the initiation of the gunwalking scheme. Gil reported that the sudden spike in crime guns being traced back to the Phoenix, Ariz., area caused immediate concern and that he quickly reported the analysis to his superiors and the Phoenix ATF office, but that the problem continued to grow, causing tension between his office and his Mexican law enforcement counterparts. When he demanded to know why the investigation, into what was obviously a major gun trafficking operation, was not yielding results and staunching the flow, he was told that the investigation was ongoing and that he was to leave it alone — and not to share his analysis with Mexican authorities.
While Agent Gil's statements have been rightly recognized as a scathing indictment of the Fast & Furious operation and the people directing it, a very important aspect of his account has been largely overlooked — or studiously ignored: If the flow of guns from Fast & Furious was clearly discernible by Gil and his analysts in late 2009, at the very beginning of the gunwalking operation, then the reports of an "Iron River" of guns flowing from U.S. gun dealers to Mexican drug cartels is obviously a lie.
While assertions of politicians, bureaucrats, and media stooges that 90% or 70% or, most recently 64,000 of 94,000 guns seized in Mexico originated in the USA, are open to debate and nuance, the fact that an ATF analyst was able to spot a surge of guns coming from Arizona during the initial stages of Fast & Furious is extremely telling.
If indeed there were an "Iron River" of guns flowing from the USA to Mexico, the addition of a few dozen extra guns should have barely created a ripple, but clearly it created a visible wake leading right back to Phoenix.
Certainly the fact that so many of the Fast & Furious guns came from just a few ATF-directed shops would make the trail more obvious, but even so, in a sea of guns, such a connection should not have been so easy to spot. And, according to Gil, not only did his office make the connection, Mexican authorities, not privy to Gil's analysis, also detected the surge and were demanding answers from Gil as to why ATF seemed incapable of plugging an obvious hole in the dike.
It is to be expected that a very high percentage of the firearms existent in Mexico originated in the USA. The US-Mexico border was completely open for a century and barely controlled for decades afterwards. It is still very porous, but it is much tighter today than it has ever been in history. Over those many years there have doubtless been tens of thousands of guns transported from this country into Mexico both legally and illegally for every imaginable purpose. That, in itself, is no indictment of U.S. gun laws.
Obviously current efforts to reduce cross-border gun trafficking are working, otherwise the guns of Fast & Furious would not have made such a visible splash. But would additional gun control laws — from mandatory reporting of semi-auto sales to a new ban on "assault weapons" — actually improve the situation in Mexico? And more importantly, would such laws be reasonable and acceptable under the Second Amendment?
The answer to both of those questions is a resounding no.
On top of that, ATF has a long and bloody history of shifting its gun control law enforcement focus from dangerous thugs onto good people who trip over confusing laws. We have good reason not to trust them or to support giving them broader authority. Reasons like Ruby Ridge, Waco, and now Fast & Furious. Every gun law in this country was passed with the stated objective of reducing crime and there is no solid evidence that any of them have ever actually been successful.
Gun control is a lie. The "Iron River" is a lie. The ATF and DOJ are swimming in lies, and it is the responsibility of every American to reject the lies and the liars and to demand the truth. What was the real objective of Fast & Furious? How did they expect to achieve that objective? Who authorized the operation? And who is responsible for the ongoing cover-up?
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