Chris Field
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Thousands of guns have been sold to Mexican drug cartels under orders from the Obama Justice Department. Now that Americans have been killed by the department's failed operation, the White House is blaming law-abiding gun shops for its deadly scandal. But was that the administration's plan all along?

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President Obama is calling for "commonsense" gun reforms, but as a man with a long a history of acting to limit Second Amendment rights and advocating gun control who tapped an attorney general with the same ideology -- and possibly the biggest gun trafficking scandal in U.S. history with his name written all over it -- is the president really calling for reforms or more government control?

In the past, President Obama hasn't been shy about expressing his views against the right to own a handgun and the right to carry concealed and his support for the reinstatement of the assault-weapons ban -- more accurately understood as a ban on semiautomatic firearms. He believes the nation's crime problems lie with gun ownership rather than criminals.

In fact, as an Illinois state senator, Obama endorsed and spoke in support of an outright ban on ownership of all handguns and favored the licensing and registering of gun owners. Before his run for public office in 1996, Obama filled out a questionnaire expressing his support for a ban on the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns.

Considering our uber-liberal president's true beliefs on guns -- and the anti-Second Amendment stance of the leftist base of his party -- it shouldn't surprise anyone to read about the most recent scandal we expose in the June issue of Townhall Magazine involving the Justice Department, guns, and law-abiding citizens.

In "Misfire," Townhall News Editor Katie Pavlich gives an in-depth report on a little problem the administration doesn't want to talk about: Operation Fast and Furious.

Because of this botched operation, thousands of guns have been put into the hands of Mexican drug cartels, Americans have been killed, and now legal gun-shop owners are in the White House's crosshairs.

Here are a few excerpts from the powerful report:



The lethal project [Operation Fast and Furious] was conducted under the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which is overseen by the Justice Department. Operation Fast and Furious is a product of the Obama administration and was conducted under a pilot program started by the Bush administration in 2005 called Project Gunrunner. Project Gunrunner allowed ATF agents to watch the purchase of weapons by "straw men" outside American gun shops, and purchasers were immediately apprehended before crossing back into Mexico. But starting early in 2009, ATF's actions through Operation Fast and Furious had the opposite result: They actually allowed and encouraged the sale of weapons to known straw-man purchasers for the cartels and let the guns flow across the southern border into Mexico.

Reports have shown the ATF told gun shops to sell massive amounts of weapons to known drug cartel buyers, even after gun shop owners expressed discomfort in assisting the government in breaking federal law to arm known violent drug cartels. According to a CBS News report uncovering the scandal:

"In late 2009, ATF was alerted to suspicious buys at seven gun shops in the Phoenix area. Suspicious because the buyers paid cash, sometimes brought in paper bags. And they purchased classic 'weapons of choice' used by Mexican drug traffickers -- semi-automatic versions of military-type rifles and pistols. ...

"[S]everal gun shops wanted to stop the questionable sales, but ATF encouraged them to continue. ...

"ATF managers allegedly made a controversial decision: allow most of the weapons on the streets."

How many guns did the ATF ultimately let go? The same CBS News report revealed that the number is in the thousands: "On the phone, one [Operation Fast and Furious] source (who didn't want to be identified) told us just how many guns flooded the black market under the ATF's watchful eye. 'The numbers are over 2,500 on that case by the way. That's how many guns were sold -- including some 50-calibers they let walk.'"

The project didn't sit well with many ATF agents, either. CBS also reported, "One agent called the strategy 'insane.' Another said: 'We were fully aware the guns would probably be moved across the border to drug cartels where they would be used to kill.' … For months, ATF agents followed 50-caliber Barrett rifles and other guns believed headed for the Mexican border but were ordered to let them go. One distraught agent was often overheard on ATF radios betting and pleading to be allowed to intercept transports. The answer: 'Negative. Stand down.'"

The consequences of the operation have been deadly. ...

This process, better known as "letting guns walk," has left at least two U.S. federal agents dead -- Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and ICE Agent Jamie Zapata -- and has contributed to the deaths of thousands of innocent Mexican citizens.


U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry,
killed with a gun put into the hands of
criminals under the direction of the ATF.

Though the ATF had hoped tracing the guns into Mexico would lead to the busts of cartel kingpins, the operation hasn't lead to a single arrest of a cartel leader -- or, for that matter, the actual tracing of the firearms. Instead, the guns have been lost in Mexico until they show up at crime scenes.

But was Fast and Furious really about tracing drug cartels? Or was it about "proving" false statistics liberal gun control advocates like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Eric Holder have been throwing out for years? If it was a legitimate operation, who did the U.S. government intend to prosecute after the guns crossed the border, considering officials in the United States don't have jurisdiction in Mexico and the Mexican justice system is essentially nonexistent? It turns out law-abiding gun shop owners wound up in their crosshairs.

In early 2009, when the bulk of the operation got started, Clinton, Obama and Holder all stated that nearly 90 percent of guns in Mexico being used by cartels were coming from the United States. A WikiLeaks cable from the State Department recently showed that 90 percent of guns in Mexico actually come from Central America and others are bought in bulk from Russia and China. The 90 percent figure blaming U.S. gun shop owners has been discredited multiple times by the National Rifle Association, law enforcement officers at the federal, state and local levels and even by ATF officers. ...

Before the public, the media and even the Mexican government knew about what the ATF was doing, President Obama met publicly with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and blamed violence in Mexico on gun shop owners in America, saying the U.S. government needed to do a better job of tracing guns into Mexico. ...

"What we've focused on is how we can improve our enforcement of existing laws, because even under current law, trafficking illegal firearms, sending them across the border, is illegal," he continued, "and that is something we can stop."

But the ATF did it anyway. At the same time President Obama was saying the U.S. government can stop the trafficking of guns into Mexico, that same government's ATF was ordering gun shop owners to sell weapons to cartels.

Holder denies having known anything about the operation, although he is responsible for the oversight of the ATF as the head of the Justice Department, but he did say in a press conference that he believes ATF agents do a good job at stopping the flow of illegal guns across the border. ...

Of course, much of the liberal media have been happy to do the White House's bidding and blame law-abiding gun shop owners, making them scapegoats for violent crimes happening in Mexico and the United States.

Get the full, explosive report ONLY in the June issue of Townhall Magazine.
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Chris Field

Chris Field is the former Executive Editor of Townhall Magazine.