I just got off the blower with Brent R. Weil [above] 0f Kightlinger and Gray, LLP. The Evansville, Indiana lawyer represents the [as yet unnamed] gun store that sold firearms to ATF-enabled straw purchasers. “The ATF told my client to let the sales go through,” Mr. Weil told TTAG. “He later told me that the guns went to Chicago gangs.” In one case, a straw purchaser failed to pass the FBI’s NICS [National Instant Check System] background check . . .
The dealer called an ATF agent in the parking lot; the agent told the dealer to let the sale go through. The ATF arrested the so-called straw purchaser after he walked out the door. In every other instance, however, the ATF did not apprehend the buyers immediately after purchase.
In one case, a buyer and his associate left the store and smashed their vehicle into a police car on their way out. (Seriously.) The driver was charged with the traffic incident, and the weapons were taken by the local police pending proof of ownership. The guns were never reclaimed.
Mr. Weil also threw some cold water on the theory that Mexican cartel members in Indiana purchased the guns with the ATF’s blessing as part of an anti-Los Zetas quid pro quo. “The buyers were black and caucasian,” Weil said. Also, the gun store in question initiated the contact with the ATF.
The new information doesn’t rule out the possibility that the Indiana gun store “sting” involved criminals affiliated with the Sinaloa or La Familia cartels (whom the ATF armed during Operation Fast and Furious). But that possibility seems a whole lot less likely.
Nonetheless, the Indiana intel reveals that the ATF was allowing known criminals to purchase firearms. The crucial question: did they lose track of the guns accidentally on purpose, as they did during Operation Fast and Furious?
And if the guns purchased in Evansville ended up in The Windy City, the ATF’s heir apparent—Chi-town Bureau Chief Andrew Traver—must have known about the policy. What did Andy know and when did he know it?
As Ralph points out below, we’re still left wondering about the scope, scale and final destination of all ATF-enabled firearms. How many vicious thugs bought firearms with the ATF’s help? How many of those were recovered and/or recovered from crime scenes?
Meanwhile, rumors are swirling that the Carson City killer used an ATF-enabled AK-47 during his murderous rampage. The attacker, Eduardo Sencion, was Mexican-born (with an American passport) with no criminal record.
There’s no firm evidence establishing linking Sencion with the ATF. The fact that anyone would even think of that possibility reveals the corrosive effect of the ATF on the public’s respect for the federal government and the primacy of the rule of law. It’s yet another reason to deep-six the ATF—after we find out what they’ve been doing with our tax money.