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Old July 2, 2011, 02:03 AM   #451
BillCA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca
I am prepared to accept that this was not Barry's brainchild. But I don't think it's at all unreasonable to suppose that some unelected, unappointed, liberal Democratic apparatchik might easily have dreamed up this operation as a way of promoting the administration's agenda to discredit gun ownership and to eviscerate the 2nd Amendment. So this genius talks to some other equally unelected, unappointed, unaccountable apparatchiks, one of them takes it down the street to some upper-mid-level honcho in BATFE, and from there things start snowballing rapidly downhill.

I don't think Barry ordered it. I don't think Holder ordered it. I do think Holder authorized it, and I do think both he (and probably Obama) knew about it pretty much from the outset. I think the important thing for us to learn/remember from this is that there are a great many hidden layers within our government, and they generally do not function to our benefit. Many of them, in fact, are there largely for no reason other than to provide plausible deniability.
Aguila Blanca (aka white water )

I don't think, at this point, it matters one whit who was the "brainchild" or "brain trust" that hatched this felony stupid plan, unless it was the POTUS or a cabinet level position.

The more important point is at what level was the plan approved to begin execution and was the approver/authorizer given all the details of the plan?

We can envision that unnamed, unelected GS-5 bureaucrat who takes some initiative to create the plan and pass it along through to someone who can "get the ball rolling". We can also envision some mid-to-high level officials "packaging" the plan for Holder (or deputy AG Ogden) without the sordid little details -- like losing track of the guns. Or simply saying they intend to cooperate with Mexico... but leaving out precisely when that might happen. We can see how such a plan might be endorsed with the belief it will be implemented according to agency policy and best practices.

Except for a few niggling little details in this case.

From what I've read, the jurisdictions on border cases requires inter-agency cooperation and teamwork (something the ATF also does poorly). Operations along the border use EPIC (El Paso Intelligence Center) with multiple agency members only steps away. Much of the work along the border is done under the OCDETF (organized crime drug enforcement task force) oversight, which combines DOJ and DHS resources (ICE, Customs/BP, USCG, etc). In addition, incidents along the border are reported to the State Department to notify them of potential diplomatic issues. Operations targeting Mexican nationals or US citizens involved in criminal activity within Mexico are also summarized for State.

It's possible that these agencies were "kept in the dark" about ATF's operation, but not plausible. Not with the jurisdictional turf wars each agency plays (each wants the credit for any major case). Plus, the State Dept. would be in the "need to know" category about any operation attempting to break the drug cartels or their supply chain(s).

It seems almost inconceivable that this operation could be contained entirely within the mid-level bureaucratic layers of DOJ, DHS and State. Government bureaucrats don't take a dump without a plan that is approved by at least one or two layers higher up. And a plan who's prima facie presentation looks good does not excuse agency heads from doing their due diligence by asking questions or trying to poke holes in the plan.

The important thing here is that AG Holder is the holder of the bag. It's his job to know what kinds of operations are going on within his agency and his responsibility that every agency and department adheres to the constitution and US laws.
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Old July 2, 2011, 02:16 AM   #452
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What is pathetic is the minority attempting to put a pro-gun control spin on a case that is definitively about the circumvention of existing gun laws for reasons no-one has even attempted to explain.

I believe the the BATF's behavior rises to criminal conduct. They knowingly put thousands * of guns into the hands of criminals, then purposely allowed them to vanish from their control. If that isn't a criminal violation of federal law, then I can't imagine what is.

As far as I am aware, there is no LE exemption for arming criminals and letting them walk away to plan their next murder.

(+/- 1700 guns just from this program. It's probably a fair assumption that there are at least some other more isolated instances guns getting walked by this agency.)
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Old July 2, 2011, 07:25 AM   #453
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Holder said in May that he learned of the operation a few weeks ago. Being generous, he may have meant March.

Grassley's first letter to him on the subject was in the beginning of February.

Taking him at his word, I'd say that ignoring mail from a US Senator for over a month is malfeasance. His word does not strike me as particularly credible in this case.
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Old July 2, 2011, 09:36 AM   #454
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The minority whitewash report on Gun Runner Fast and Furious Gunwalking begins:

Quote:
On March 16, 2011, Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa launched an investigation into allegations that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), as part of an effort known as Operation Fast and Furious, failed to properly monitor hundreds of firearms acquired by suspected straw purchasers and destined for drug cartels in Mexico.
You first have to try in order to fail, and agents were ordered not to try to track the guns. That is all that the minority report has to say about the actual gunwalking. The rest of it is a gun control wish list.

The NY Times said:


Quote:
This week Mr. Issa said he believed that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. lied when he testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee in May that he had learned just weeks earlier about the operation, which was begun in 2009 in the Phoenix office of the A.T.F. Asked about the issue at a news conference on Wednesday, President Obama said he believed Mr. Holder.
Grassley sent his first letter to Holder about this scandal back on January 31st, but Holder first heard of it "a few weeks ago" when he testilied in May? He should keep better track of developing scandals within his department and begin opening his mail from US Senators, if he is telling the truth.
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Old July 2, 2011, 10:03 AM   #455
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro Pistolero
What is pathetic is the minority attempting to put a pro-gun control spin on a case that is definitively about the circumvention of existing gun laws for reasons no-one has even attempted to explain.

I believe the the BATF's behavior rises to criminal conduct. They knowingly put thousands * of guns into the hands of criminals, then purposely allowed them to vanish from their control. If that isn't a criminal violation of federal law, then I can't imagine what is.
I agree completely. I also agree with BillCA. My point was that we need to look very closely at how the administration is parsing their language now that the kitty cat is out of the bag. Before this sordid affair meanders to a conclusion (or simply fades from memory), I suspect there will be a whole lot more statements of the "It depends on what the meaning of 'is' is" type from various corners of the Obamanation.
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Old July 2, 2011, 02:24 PM   #456
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I want to see BATF people go to prison for this, and the agency neutered.
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Old July 2, 2011, 02:54 PM   #457
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Quote:
I want to see BATF people go to prison for this, and the agency neutered.
If history of past performances holds true, I expect to see promotions for those involved and perhaps new weapons legislation come to the forefront... but then again, I've become somewhat cynical when it comes to this issue (2nd/RKBA/BATF) over the years. What with ATF whistleblower Cefalu terminated already and only one or two fatal casualities to date... AND a Presidential Election coming up soon. Never let a good crisis go to waste...

...and all that transparency stuff?
Quote:
My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_...penGovernment/
Call me a cynic, but... I think openess, efficiency and effectiveness in Government must mean different things to different people. Oh wait a minute, Chicago... Gov't... nevermind. Ignore the above. I'll simply say, this ain't Chicago, and...

RIP BPA Terry
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Old July 2, 2011, 07:35 PM   #458
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maestro pistolero View Post
What is pathetic is the minority attempting to put a pro-gun control spin on a case that is definitively about the circumvention of existing gun laws for reasons no-one has even attempted to explain.
That was the goal in the first place. They made these statements that 90% of all firearms traced to Mexico were from the United States. When that claim was found to be patently false, the word went out to make it so. The only way to do this was to feed the dragon, hence "Operation Gunrunner" and "Fast and Furious" were born.

The goal is to create animus for firearms among the American populace to cause an outcry for gun control. They have now been caught and their only defense is "Who are you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?"
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Old July 2, 2011, 07:50 PM   #459
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From the "minority whitewash" report linked by publius42:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Special Agent Canino, p. 11
A trafficking statute would be helpful, too. You know, our agency is, I don’t know what the word is, misunderstood, you know.
The ATF is misunderstood?!? Really?!?

It's not hard to understand. They wanted more funding and more power, and they broke the law to get it.
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Old July 2, 2011, 09:51 PM   #460
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That is what the ATF is, that is why they should be disbanded. That is what they will continue doing untill this country is put right!
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Old July 2, 2011, 10:44 PM   #461
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maestro pistolero wrote:

I want to see BATF people go to prison for this, and the agency neutered.

-----------------------------

I would like to see that happen too, and let's not forget those responsible parties at DOJ. While on the subject of what I would like to see happen, I'd like to win the state lottery, to which I have now and then bought tickets. Didn't happen though. Likewise, I don't think that any of BATFE management will go to jail, ditto for DOJ people, though they should. What should be, and what is are often markedly different though, as I submit will be the case here.

Oh I'm reasonably certain that some convenient low level lambs, suitable for sacrifice, will be found and offered up. As for those responsible parties, "FOREGDABOUDIT", as the Mafiosi used to say. Yes, it is sad.
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Old July 3, 2011, 12:47 AM   #462
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maestro pistolero
I believe the the BATF's behavior rises to criminal conduct. They knowingly put thousands of guns into the hands of criminals, then purposely allowed them to vanish from their control. If that isn't a criminal violation of federal law, then I can't imagine what is.
At the very least, the ATF agents ...
  • aided and abetted straw buyers,
  • knowingly aided and abetted the acquisition of firearms by foreign nationals,
  • aided and abetted unlawful exports of weapons in violation of 22 CFR Sec. 121-128,
  • conspired to violate laws regarding the export of weapons in violation of 22 CFR Sec. 121-128,
  • knowingly aided and abetted acts of terrorism against Mexican civilians and the government of Mexico,
  • directed others to violate the terms of Title 18 §922 et seq in delivering weapons to straw buyers
I'm sure a good lawyer could make this list at least 4 times as long. The point being that Maestro is correct. Laws were willfully ignored, bent, folded, stapled and mutilated to put guns into Mexico.

Quote:
Originally Posted by publius42
Holder said in May that he learned of the operation a few weeks ago. Being generous, he may have meant March.
IIRC he also said he first heard about it "in the media"... if that's true, he has less credibility than my dog trying to pretend that's not his puddle on the den floor.

Quote:
I want to see BATF people go to prison for this, and the agency neutered.
Be careful what you wish for...

The question is whether to defund and disband ATF, disbursing it's power and authority
to other agencies or keeping ATF on a tight leash. I prefer the latter.

Suggested changes...
  • Restructure BATFE into a purely investigative agency.
  • No authority to make actual arrests¹
  • No authority to close a business or revoke any license or permit.²
  • Relies on US Attorneys office to direct other agencies, obtain warrants.
  • Relies on the use of other federal agencies for law enforcement
  • Reclassify personnel as (a)Inspectors, (b)Agents or (c)Technicians.
  • Inspectors verify licenses, records keeping, security requirements, etc. and document results.
  • Agents build cases on information from Inspectors and technicians, conduct follow-up investigations, compile leads and other information. Presents case to US Attorney for enforcement or prosecution.
  • Technicians analyze and review evidence materials (e.g. explosives residue, chemical traces, functional reviews, etc.) and provide their reports to both an Agent and any requesting agency (local LE, FBI, DHS, etc.)

You get the idea. ATF has proven itself incapable of performing a bona fide law enforcement function over the last 39 years. It has proven itself to trample civil rights, commit abuses of authority, engage in entrapment, falsify records and routinely commit perjury. Now it has engaged in conduct that, had it been directed against the US, Germany or Israel could have been classified as "acts of terrorism" or "acts of war". It could well be classified as a "terrorist organization" under our own rules governing such.

Stripping ATF down and making it an investigative agency still allows them to conduct investigations, even undercover operations. But now it has to document and present cases to a U.S. Attorney for review prior to any law enforcement action or prosecution. That means the AUSA in charge has to ensure ATF's investigations are performed to "best practices" standards and are conducted within the law.

Simply transferring ATF's authority to the FBI or DHS would likely mean transferring or rehiring many of the same "bad apples" under a new name. Worse, it could result in combining information with these other agencies in ways that are undesireable.³


¹ except for crimes committed in an agent's presence.
² License/permit revocation authority passes to US Attorney's office
³ Such as DHS/Customs/ICE flagging your passport as a gun owner for closer inspection
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Old July 3, 2011, 02:04 AM   #463
maestro pistolero
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Quote:
Quote:
I want to see BATF people go to prison for this, and the agency neutered.
Quote:
Be careful what you wish for...

The question is whether to defund and disband ATF, disbursing it's power and authority
to other agencies or keeping ATF on a tight leash. I prefer the latter.
I do, too. Neutered feels like the right word for this.
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Old July 3, 2011, 08:08 AM   #464
publius42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimpeel
They made these statements that 90% of all firearms traced to Mexico were from the United States. When that claim was found to be patently false, the word went out to make it so.
They are down to claiming it is 70% now, and if you read carefully, it is only the ones submitted for tracing. They submitted guns for tracing if they suspected they were of US origin, so it looks like the Mexicans are able to correctly identify a US gun 90%, oops we meant 70%, of the time. This means that we need more gun control, but is completely unrelated to the ATF funneling guns to Mexico, according to noted US Senators.

Quote:
MEXICO CITY -- About 70 percent of the guns seized in Mexico and submitted to a U.S. gun-tracing program came from the United States, according to a report released by three U.S. senators Monday.

...

The report, issued by Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and two other senators, recommended background checks for sales at gun shows, a ban on the import of nonsporting weapons and the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban in force in the United States until 2004.
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Old July 3, 2011, 11:45 AM   #465
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Quote:
They are down to claiming it is 70% now, and if you read carefully, it is only the ones submitted for tracing. They submitted guns for tracing if they suspected they were of US origin, so it looks like the Mexicans are able to correctly identify a US gun 90%, oops we meant 70%, of the time.
Even if the number was 90 percent, the number represents only those guns submitted to the U.S. for trace, which was a very small percentage of the overall number of crime guns recovered in Mexico by Mexican authorities. They cherry picked -- they worked with the U.S. and submitted only those guns they were certain could and would be traced to the U.S. -- and out of that cherry picked sampling they could still only trace 70 percent. They way the trace was set up, it should have been 100 percent.

So Fast and Furious was created as a way of ensuring that the Mexicans would recover more crime guns that could definitely and conclusively be traced to the United States. Anyone who believes the BATFE thought these guns would in any way lead them (or the Mexican authorities) all the way up the food chain to cartel leaders is ingesting hallucinogenic mold spores. Fast and Furious is the program Obama was hinting at when he promised sarah Brady that his people were working on "something" he couldn't discuss.
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Old July 3, 2011, 12:40 PM   #466
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Quote:
Fast and Furious is the program Obama was hinting at when he promised sarah Brady that his people were working on "something" he couldn't discuss.
Can you confirm this with a date in conjunction to possibly a video? I would love to be able to infer from the timing, location and body language, etc...what he meant by that comment.
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Old July 3, 2011, 12:53 PM   #467
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One more thing, and an obvious one at that...

Whether the claimed figure is 90% or 70% or whatever, and the phrase "of the submitted guns" is used, doesn't that only apply to those guns that are not marked "made in USA"?

Any idiot (and we have plenty on both sides of the border, in and out of govt service) can tell that a gun marked "made in USA" comes from the United States!

And, all the trace can tell us for certain is that the guns were made in the US. In general, anyway. Now, specific guns, might be able to be traced to the US as the last place they were legally sold, but that doesn't guarantee the last place they were before entering Mexico was the USA.

The Fast & Furious gun, yes, they were traced from point of sale to the border, basically, and lost after that, until they turn up again, at a murder scene or in a siezure.

There's a buttload of M16s in Mexico, and for certain, those guns will be "traced" to the USA. And reported as such. What the antis will convieniently leave out is that the guns were supplied by the US Govt!

Apparently, the Fast & Furious guns were too!
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Old July 3, 2011, 01:48 PM   #468
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Quote:
There's a buttload of M16s in Mexico, and for certain, those guns will be "traced" to the USA. And reported as such. What the antis will convieniently leave out is that the guns were supplied by the US Govt!
In a similar vein, I wond how many firearms were legally supplied to the Mexican government only to "mysteriously" wind up in the hands of drug cartels. As I've said before, I think Mexico should put their own house in order before lecturing us about our gun laws.

Honestly, part of me wonders if the whole "crime guns in Mexico" issue isn't just a ruse anyway. It seems to me that the root of the problem is discontent over the drug trafficing and other crime coming across the border from Mexico. The Mexican government certainly doesn't seem overly inclined to do anything about it and a good number of politicians in the U.S. aren't either. I can't help but wonder if, with gun control being so politically unpopular in the last 10-15 years, it's just a convenient issue to distract the public from the real problem. No one will have to actually do anything besides blame someone else since new gun control legislation has about the same chance as a snowball in Hades of passing.
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Old July 3, 2011, 01:56 PM   #469
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
In a similar vein, I wond how many firearms were legally supplied to the Mexican government only to "mysteriously" wind up in the hands of drug cartels. As I've said before, I think Mexico should put their own house in order before lecturing us about our gun laws.
In fact, many of the arms (not limited to just firearms or "small arms") are known to have been supplied by the U.S. government to the governments of a couple of Central American countries other than Mexico a decade or more ago. But, even though these were known to have originated in the U.S., they weren't included in the trace data because they are military weaponry and can't be used to support the claim that they were sold by U.S. gun shops to straw buyers.
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Old July 3, 2011, 02:04 PM   #470
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There's a buttload of M16s in Mexico, and for certain, those guns will be "traced" to the USA
Yep, and how did those end up in circulation?

Gang members signed up for the Mexican army, then absconded with them. That's how. It's a well known practice. There's no way we could have stopped that. I heard that those number somewhere around 250,000.
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Old July 3, 2011, 03:16 PM   #471
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From David Hardy, http://armsandthelaw.com/

"Sen. Grassley says he has the figures. The wording of his release isn't entirely clear, but it seems to be referring to 24% of guns that the Mexican government asks to be traced (which are minority of its crime guns, and certainly disproportionately those of American make). And of course a gun sold by an FFL to a honest person, and years later stolen and smuggled out, would count as a gun traced to that dealer even though his transaction was 100% proper.

So the actual percent of Mexican crime guns traced to American FFLs is likely far less than 24%, and a good portion of that may be stolen. The actual percentages are a far cry from the Administration's claims of 80-90%. But for some reason I doubt you'll read this in WaPo or the NY Times anytime soon..."

Reference: http://grassley.senate.gov/about/Foc...gd1J-1Fw.email

The relevant number is 24% and that is of traces requested, not arms recovered, and traces overwhelmingly involve US made firearms. DiFi has no idea what she is really talking about but that is a long way from unusual, especially about firearms of any sort anywhere.
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Old July 3, 2011, 04:17 PM   #472
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maestro pistolero - neutered is a good term for it. I just wanted to make the distinction between limiting ATF's authority and spreading it's duties to other agencies...which could end up almost as bad (few things could be worse than ATF, IMO).

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoOfY-FoOt
Can you confirm this with a date in conjunction to possibly a video? I would love to be able to infer from the timing, location and body language, etc...what he meant by that comment.
Confirmation is just a step away. The source is a Washington Post article that quotes Sarah Brady about her March 30 visit to the White House. She quotes Obama as saying that gun control is very much on his agenda and that the administraton was "working on a few things under the radar." The article was a fluff-piece for Obama's regulatory whiz-kid, Steve Croley and this was just an "innocent" paragraph towards the end.

See the WaPo article here

In Re: 90% statistic.
The original stat was shot down quickly by public commentators (including thousands of bloggers). That was March of 2009. Not too surprisingly, the origins of "Fast and Furious" can be traced to approximately this same timeframe. Coincidence? (old adage: There are no coincidences in Washington).

Truth: Back then, the seized gun count was just under 30,000 (call it 29,000 and some change). Publicly, the ATF said that "6,000" guns were submitted for tracing and about 5,400 were "sourced" to the USA. Sure, this is not rocket science. Mexico sorted the guns stamped "MADE IN USA" and those with U.S. import markings into a separate pile and asked ATF to trace them. This resulted in "90% of the submitted guns being traced to the USA". Duh!

What was more interesting (and I can't find the source) was that a significant portion of those traced guns (about 40% IIRC) were traced to two U.S. "foreign aid" programs. One is the military assistance program where we supply guns to Mexico's military. The other is called the "commercial sales" program, where commerical guns are sold to "authorized" Mexican businesses -- armored car companies, security companies, power and pharmacuetical companies,etc. The bottom line was that only about 7% came from border gun shops.

This is just like the focus Congress had on Assault Weapons. Instead of focusing on the significant problem, let's spend our resources on 2% of the problem. Here everyone is talking border gunshops that are the source in only 7% of the cases. Yeah, that's being really effective.

Quote:
Honestly, part of me wonders if the whole "crime guns in Mexico" issue isn't just a ruse anyway. It seems to me that the root of the problem is discontent over the drug trafficing and other crime coming across the border from Mexico. The Mexican government certainly doesn't seem overly inclined to do anything about it and a good number of politicians in the U.S. aren't either. I can't help but wonder if, with gun control being so politically unpopular in the last 10-15 years, it's just a convenient issue to distract the public from the real problem. No one will have to actually do anything besides blame someone else since new gun control legislation has about the same chance as a snowball in Hades of passing.
It could also be that U.S. authorities are letting the situation escalate while flailing about just enough to contain it until the citizenry starts clamoring for them to "do something" about it.

Of course, such clamoring will start just before the next election and I would not be surprised to see Brady/VPC/Bloomberg priming the pump with articles and editorials in the border state newspapers. I know that's cynical of me...
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Old July 3, 2011, 04:34 PM   #473
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Quote:
It could also be that U.S. authorities are letting the situation escalate while flailing about just enough to contain it until the citizenry starts clamoring for them to "do something" about it.

Of course, such clamoring will start just before the next election and I would not be surprised to see Brady/VPC/Bloomberg priming the pump with articles and editorials in the border state newspapers. I know that's cynical of me...
While plausible, I find it unlikely that they would use this rather than any other number of incidents in not-too-distant history such as the D.C. Sniper, the Virginia Tech Shooting, or the Gabrielle Giffords shooting. Those incidents would, in the 80's and early 90's, have been disasterous for gun owners but despite the howling of the Bradys and other usual suspects the gun issue was kind of swept under the rug. It seems to me that the '94 AWB was kind ot the peak of gun control, people figured out that it doesn't work and public support has pretty much shriveled and died.

Regardless of what the ulitmate goal was, it seems as though their method has blown up in their face.
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Old July 3, 2011, 06:52 PM   #474
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The relevant number is 24% and that is of traces requested, not arms recovered, and traces overwhelmingly involve US made firearms.
You guys do know that a trace can be initiated for any number of reasons, right? Just because a gun is being traced doesn't mean there's blood on it. It could have been reported lost, then traced when found. The manufacturer could have found an error on their books, then reported it to the ATF for flagging. The list goes on.

Quote:
Confirmation is just a step away. The source is a Washington Post article that quotes Sarah Brady about her March 30 visit to the White House.
Sarah Brady has said many things that stretch the truth. So has the Washington Post. I worry about neither.
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Old July 3, 2011, 07:20 PM   #475
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Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 11,364
They say the world changed on Sept 11...

It didn't. But a number of people did have their eyes opened.

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It seems to me that the '94 AWB was kind ot the peak of gun control, people figured out that it doesn't work and public support has pretty much shriveled and died.
The terrorist attacks, done without guns, killing thousands that Sept day began the massive erosion that support for US gun control has seen in the past decade.

People who had just gone along, or even supported gun control, because "it was just common sense" to reduce violence, suddenly saw how much, and how badly they had been lied to. Some of them even realized that the gun control laws might keep them from getting a gun when they needed it!

Even Michael Moore, the so called documentary film maker, and darling of the anti-gunners, just after 9/11 publically said how wrong he had been going after guns, when people with box cutters could wreak such havoc. I believe he was in shock, and some actual honesty slipped out, as I think he has recanted that statement since.

The fact is lots of people saw that US gun laws and gun owners were NOT the terrible problem they had been led to believe they were. Support in general for gun control, and support for the Brady group in particular has been slipping ever since.
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