As regular readers will attest, The Truth About Guns is no great fan of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (and Really Big Fires). In fact, I’ve argued for the billion-and-a-half-dollars-plus-per-year federal agency’s abolition—on the grounds of overlap, inefficiency and, recently, a sneak-attack on Americans’ Second Amendment rights (i.e. the “emergency” long gun registration initiative). And now there’s a scandal brewing that threatens to expose the ATF for what it is: a criminal conspiracy. Reports are circulating that the rifle used to kill Border Patrol officer Brian A. Terry was an AR-15 smuggled into Mexico by the ATF. Seriously . . .
We’ve highlighted the fact that the ATF mislead the Inspector General’s Office and the American people about the number of guns confiscated in Mexico that were eventually traced to America, and the relative unimportance of these weapons to the Mexican cartels.
We’ve documented the cluster-you-know-what that is the ATF program known as Project Gunrunner, designed to interdict weapons headed from American firearms dealers to Mexican drug cartels.
We’ve pointed out that the Inspector General’s report tore the ATF a new blankhole, exposing a program with a stunning lack of results.
We blogged a story wherein a gun dealer claimed that the ATF secretly green-lighted sales to known smugglers.
The current accusation: the ATF smuggled—or allowed to be smuggled—some 300 AR-15s into Mexico to “prove” the need for Project Gunrunner. And that one of these weapons was subsequently used to murder officer Terry.
I’ve resisted blogging this story, broken by the Gun Rights Examiner and The Sipsey Street Irregulars, because of a lack of hard evidence or a whistle blower willing to go on record. My sources in Mexico and the ATF cannot confirm or deny the story—except to say that it may account for the Wednesday delay in the implementation of the ATF long gun registry.
Suffice it to say, this would be a major scandal for the ATF. It would kill the long gun registry dead and damage the ATF for decades if not permanently. How it would effect Andrew Traver’s re-nomination for the agency’s head position is anybody’s guess; I’m thinking a scandal would spur calls for an outsider to take charge.
All I can say about this story at this point: despite Dan Baum’s exhortation to trust the ATF, the idea that the agency resorted to gun smuggling to justify the unjustifiable is not implausible. I’ll be working my contacts and scanning the net for more info. Meanwhile, know this: if you expect honesty, integrity and results from law enforcement officials working on the public’s dime, the ATF is not your friend.