Protect Our Gun Rights: Eliminate the ATF

 Whose side is he on? (courtesy

In How to Ban Guns, the lays out the gun control equation: registration > confiscation > civilian disarmament. Agreed, only I put a few more >’s into the equation: registration > confiscation > civilian disarmament > police state > mass murder. Even if we disagree on the eventual outcome, it’s nice when an enemy of freedom puts their cards on the table—instead of wrapping their statist plot against the U.S. Constitution in misdirection, lies and half-truths. And here’s the thing: there’s a federal agency ready, willing and able to make it so: the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). In fact, they’re already doing it . . .

With all the hysteria over the Sandy Hook slaughter, the mainstream media has completely forgotten about Operation Fast and Furious. The ATF black bag job ran for ten months in 2010. During its course, the Bureau enabled some 2000 gun store firearms sales to known members of Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel.

At least a few of these ATF-enabled firearms ended up in the hands of drug thugs who murdered U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officer Jaime Zapata. Hundreds if not thousands of Mexicans have been intimidated, tortured, raped and/or killed by criminals wielding ATF-enabled firearms.

Contrary to the Bureau’s spin, Fast and Furious was not a “botched sting.” No attempts were made to “follow the guns.” No arrests were made until after Terry was murdered and the program was suspended, when the glare of public scrutiny forced the ATF to do something. The few gang members who had their chains yanked received light prison sentences in exchange for their silence.

I mention this not because the Washington Post has singularly failed to do any real reporting on this story, then or now, but because Fast and Furious is proof positive that the ATF is quite happy to act extra-legally. As there were no consequences for any of the Agents involved (save the whistleblowers), the ATF is no more humbled by this screw-up than they were after the needless loss of life during the massacre at Waco. Or the assassination at Ruby Ridge.

If anything, the Bureau that’s been mired in scandal for four decades has been emboldened by the Fast and Furious failure. What happened to the Contempt of Congress citation issued against Attorney General Eric Holder for withholding tens of thousands of documents from the Congressional Committee investigating Fast and Furious? Well exactly.

Equally, no one—certainly not the ATF—seems to be bothered by the continued existence of the ATF’s long gun registry. The program requires 8500 gun dealers in four border states to file a same-day report on any sale of two or more larger than .22 caliber rifles to the same buyer in a five-day period.

As we reported in April 2012 (and before), the long gun registry is an illegal program created entirely by Executive Order, still in force in America’s southern border states. Which hasn’t led to a single prosecution. If you think the ATF will cancel the registry or not seek to expand it to other states at the earliest opportunity you’ll believe that Viki Makrianis is taking a shower upstairs.

Fast forward to President Obama’s post-Sandy Hook flurry of 23 firearms-related Executive Orders. EO 13 mandates that the government “Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and enforce gun crime laws.” Translation: increase funding to the ATF, which has been limited thanks to the NRA’s lobbying efforts.

That would be a big mistake. Again, the ATF is the same bunch of arrogant, unaccountable, 2A-stomping government agents they ever were. Check out this excerpt of a report by entitled ATF’s Milwaukee sting operation marred by mistakes, failures

A store calling itself Fearless Distributing opened early last year on an out-of-the-way street in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood, offering designer clothes, athletic shoes, jewelry and drug paraphernalia.

Those working behind the counter, however, weren’t interested in selling anything.

They were undercover agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives running a storefront sting aimed at busting criminal operations in the city by purchasing drugs and guns from felons.

But the effort to date has not snared any major dealers or taken down a gang. Instead, it resulted in a string of mistakes and failures, including an ATF military-style machine gun landing on the streets of Milwaukee and the agency having $35,000 in merchandise stolen from its store, a Journal Sentinel investigation has found.

When the 10-month operation was shut down after the burglary, agents and Milwaukee police officers who participated in the sting cleared out the store but left behind a sensitive document that listed names, vehicles and phone numbers of undercover agents.

And the agency remains locked in a battle with the building’s owner, who says he is owed about $15,000 because of utility bills, holes in the walls, broken doors and damage from an overflowing toilet.

The sting resulted in charges being filed against about 30 people, most for low-level drug sales and gun possession counts. But agents had the wrong person in at least three cases. In one, they charged a man who was in prison – as a result of an earlier ATF case – at the time agents said he was selling drugs to them.

Other cases reveal that the agency’s operation was paying such high prices that some defendants bought guns from stores such as Gander Mountain and sold them to the agents for a quick profit.

The greatest enemy of those who cherish their firearms freedom: politicians and agitators who want to infringe on Americans’ Second Amendment protection. Their second greatest enemy: government agents who would willingly, happily, joyfully do the bidding of these proto-tyrants.

To protect the right to armed self-defense, gun rights advocates should not forget that the sooner the ATF is demoted from federal agency status back to a division of the IRS, or disbanded entirely, the safer we’ll be from the enemy within.