This summer, Mexican President Calderon blamed the Yeso New Mexico Hotel and Gun Shop [above] for arming Mexico’s drug cartels with eternally misnamed assault weapons. [Note: exaggerating for effect.] Despite a distinct lack of credible evidence that this was anything near the truth, Uncle Sugar authorized an extra $81.3 million for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (and Really Big Fires) to create Project Gunrunner . . .
The ATF and Sometimes E opened four—count ’em four—new offices. As TTAG has stated from the start, as the Inspector General’s office confirmed in a scathing report, Project Gunrunner is, was and will be an enormous waste of time, energy and, of course, taxpayer money. An annual addition to the ATF’s $1.4b annual bill.
And now that the federal budget bunfight has begun, the ATF is once again demonstrating its willingness to put politics above policing. The Wall Street Journal clues us in . . .
At the department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, OMB had proposed, in a document drafted just before Christmas, a cut of 3.5% from what the agency is likely to spend this year, and a 12.7% cut from what the agency had said it needed. ATF officials therefore spent weeks deliberating whether to scale back Operation Gunrunner, part of the Obama administration’s effort to attack Mexican drug cartels by cracking down on gunrunning along the southwest border.
Privately, law enforcement officials say the agency expects to preserve Gunrunner and face a smaller overall cut in the president’s final budget proposal, in part because of the recent shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D., Ariz.) in Tucson.
An ATF spokesman declined to discuss any potential budget decisions.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns, an advocacy group led by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has argued the ATF is already underfunded.
“This is an agency with important responsibilities, and 500 mayors have called on the administration to give the agency the resources it needs to do its job,” said Arkadi Gerney, a special adviser to Mr. Bloomberg.
White House budget officials said in the OMB document “it appears that adding more agents does not increase the number of favorable outcomes,” citing a fall in the average length of sentences for convicted drug traffickers between 1996 and 2009.
I can’t say this enough: it’s time to disarm the ATF and send its responsibilities back to the IRS from whence they came. They’re an anti-Second Amendment agency gone rogue whose work overlaps with at least five federal agencies.
Meanwhile, TTAG continues to wonder why Bloomie’s homie Gerney, CEO of the “independent” Bloomberg-funded Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), is paid from the public purse. While we’re at it, who picked-up the tab for the Raben Group, and what did they do for MAIG? Was it the same thing Raben did for the Campaign for Prisoners Facing Federal Execution?