March 12th, 2015 at 7:20 pm
ATF Halts Ammo Ban, For Now
After announcing plans to confiscate certain kinds of ammunition through a new and textually dubious regulation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is reconsidering. Indefinitely.
“Thank you for your interest in ATF’s proposed framework for determining whether certain projectiles are ‘primarily intended for sporting purposes’ within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(C). The informal comment period will close on Monday, March 15, 2015. ATF has already received more than 80,000 comments, which will be made publicly available as soon as possible,” reads a statement from the bureau’s website.
“Although ATF endeavored to create a proposal that reflected a good faith interpretation of the law and balanced the interests of law enforcement, industry, and sportsmen,” the statement continues, “the vast majority of the comments received to date are critical of the framework, and include issues that deserve further study. Accordingly, ATF will not at this time seek to issue a final framework. After the close of the comment period, ATF will process the comments received, further evaluate the issues raised therein, and provide additional open and transparent process (for example, through additional proposals and opportunities for comment) before proceeding with any framework.”
Though I’m glad to see a federal agency rethinking a bad policy change for the stated reason that the “vast majority” of 80,000 comments oppose the move, I suspect the real reason for the sudden about-face is because ammunition confiscation through regulation is an issue that will make it virtually impossible for Democrats to get elected in swing districts.
Whatever the reason, it’s great to see some level of responsiveness from a federal bureaucracy that ostensibly exists to serve the public.
August 21st, 2014 at 1:38 pm
Judge Orders Release of Fast and Furious Documents
Soon the American people may finally get some clarity about the Fast and Furious scandal.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that the Department of Justice must provide a list of documents related to the gun-running scheme that it says are protected by executive privilege. The list will be turned over to investigators at the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA).
Disclosing the list will allow House investigators to challenge DOJ’s privilege claim for shielding each document, a case-by-case process that will likely result in at least some transparency into the murky program that enabled Mexican drug cartels to kill a U.S. Border Agent and scores of Mexicans.
H/T: National Review Online
September 16th, 2013 at 6:39 pm
Navy Yard Tragedy Marks Yet Another Failure of Gun-Free Zones
Don’t we ever learn?
Within seconds of initial reports leaking out about Tuesday’s attack that left the apparent killer and 12 others dead in the Washington Navy Yard in southeast D.C., liberals and anti-gun activists took to Twitter to demand tougher gun controls laws.
Apparently in their haste to exploit a tragedy for political capital, these gun opponents didn’t take the time to recognize that the shooting took place in a gun-free zone — in the city with the most restrictive gun laws in America.
In fact, the mass shooting sprees at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Virginia Tech, the Cinemark Theater in Aurora, Colo., and Tuesday’s appalling episode at the Navy Yard all occurred in gun-free zones.
The reality is that mass gun violence almost only occurs in gun-free zones. Economist John Lott, recently discovered that “With just one single exception, the attack on congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson in 2011, every public shooting since at least 1950 in the U.S. in which more than three people have been killed has taken place where citizens are not allowed to carry guns.”
Why are gun-free zones so ineffective? The answer is obvious: A gunman knows the innocent people inside gun-free zones will be sitting ducks, unable to defend themselves or mount a resistance against someone carrying a gun.
No matter how much gun opponents want to claim otherwise, implementing more silly gun control measures or increasing the number of gun-free zones will only lead to more mass shootings. The easiest way to prevent tragedies like the Navy Yard shooting is to allow more responsible adults to take guns more places.
June 28th, 2013 at 9:46 am
Podcast: How Guns Have Shaped the United States
William Doyle discusses “American Gun: A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms,” the book he co-authored with the late Chris Kyle, bestselling author of “American Sniper.” Doyle describes thrilling turning points in American history and the remarkable role that guns have had in shaping our great nation.
Listen to the interview here.
February 13th, 2013 at 1:02 pm
The Most Important Civil Liberties Column of the Year
My old friend Deroy Murdock was kind enough to cite me in this column, but that’s not why the column is important. In chilling — nay, not just chilling, but sickening and frightening — detail, Murdock lays out the growing problem of over-use of SWAT teams, often deadly. He also ties it to the gun-control debate, saying, in effect, that these sorts of SWAT abuses are one reason individuals need guns — yes, to protect themselves against government agents.
Please read it. Yes, this. Here is one of many examples:
On July 13, 2010, a dozen St. Paul, Minn.–area policemen and a federal Drug Enforcement Agency officer assaulted Roberto Franco’s home. Clad in Army fatigues, they rousted all nine people there, including three children. “Each plaintiff was forced to the floor at gun and rifle point and handcuffed behind their backs,” states Franco’s $30 million federal lawsuit against these authorities. “Defendants shot and killed the familydog and forced the handcuffed children to sit next to the carcass of their dead and bloody pet for more than an hour while defendants continued to search the plaintiffs’ home.”
According to the complaint, one young girl who “was handcuffed and prevented by officer from obtaining and taking her medication thus induced a diabetic episode as a result of low blood-sugar levels.”
Oops. Wrong house!
Negligent police meant to hit the house adjacent to the Francos. The search warrant named next-door neighbor Rafael Ybarra, but did not mention anyone named Franco. Perhaps these cops forgot to read that document before launching their onslaught against the Francos, their home, and their dog.
Eventually, the SWATsters realized their error. As the complaint continues: “Despite the fact that defendants learned that the suspect did not live at the address raided, defendants remained in the home of plaintiffs and continued searching the home.” The authorities eventually found a .22-caliber revolver in the basement. Although it belonged to Gilbert Castillo, another resident of the house, the gun was pinned on Franco, leading to his incarceration with Minnesota’s Department of Corrections.
January 21st, 2013 at 2:08 pm
Ramirez Cartoon: The Truth About Guns and Spending
Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.
View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.
January 16th, 2013 at 12:38 pm
Erickson: Real Purpose of the Second Amendment
Now that President Barack Obama has announced the most sweeping gun control measures in generations, RedState’s Erick Erickson reminds us of what the Second Amendment is really about:
In all the talk that has happened and will happen, the press and the general public seem willing to ignore the actual purpose of the second amendment.
The amendment is not about sports. It is not about recreation. It is not about hunting. It is only partly about defending yourself from a criminal.
The second amendment is about ensuring a “free state.”
The 2nd Amendment, contrary to much of today’s conversation, has just as much to do with the people protecting themselves from tyranny as it does burglars. That is why there is so little common ground about assault rifles — even charitably ignoring the fact that there really is no such thing. If the 2nd Amendment is to protect the citizenry from even their own government, then the citizenry should be able to be armed.
There are plenty of arguments and bodies to suggest that we might, as a nation, need to rethink this. The Founders gave us that option. We can amend the Constitution.
In doing so, we should keep in mind that in the past 100 years Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan, China, and other governments have turned on their people at various times and, in doing so, restricted freedoms starting often with gun ownership. You may think a 30 round magazine is too big. Under the real purpose of the second amendment, a 30 round magazine might be too small.
Erickson is right. If it’s true that times have changed, and the Founders’ method of ensuring a free state is no longer dependent on individual access to weapons that would repel tyranny, then there is a mechanism to do that. It’s not unilaterally mandating twenty-three executive actions. It’s amending the U.S. Constitution.
January 16th, 2013 at 8:31 am
Coincidence? Obama Introduces New Gun Agenda on Anniversary of Prohibition
On this date in 1919, Prohibition became the law of the land via the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution. We all know how wise and effective that proved.
Today, Barack Obama unveils his new gun control agenda to the nation, using an audience of children as props. Even had they realized the coincidence, we suspect that the White House wouldn’t recognize the irony.
November 16th, 2012 at 6:24 pm
ATF Finds New Source for Fast & Furious Guns?
Commentary from the National Rifle Association says new gun control legislation could be just around the corner:
…not long after Obama floated the idea of banning semi-automatic firearms, we learned that California Senator Dianne Feinstein was working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to draft new legislation that would ban semi-automatic rifles, shotguns and handguns, so-called “high capacity” magazines, and rifles and shotguns with pistol grips. Reportedly, Feinstein wants to make it illegal not just to sell your guns and magazines, but to leave them behind in your will.
Taking a step back, I can see the ATF’s point. After walking more than 2,000 guns into the arms of Mexican drug lords, they need a new source for weapons. What better way to get them than from the cold dead hands of law-abiding Americans?
June 20th, 2012 at 5:31 pm
House GOP Votes AG Holder in Contempt
As an update to my previous post, here’s the latest from The Hill:
A House panel voted Wednesday to place Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for his failure to comply with a subpoena, defying an assertion of executive privilege from President Obama.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, led by Republican Chairman Darrell Issa (Calif.), approved a resolution along party lines to place Holder in contempt after battling him for months over access to internal agency documents about the gun-tracking operation Fast and Furious.
All 23 Republicans on the committee voted for the contempt resolution, while all 17 Democrats voted against it. Every member of the panel was present for the vote.
There are still many off-ramps on the road towards Eric Holder being perp walked into federal prison for being found guilty of contempt of Congress.
Next week the full House will vote on the Oversight Committee’s contempt citation. If it passes, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia will convene a grand jury to decide on an indictment. If that is successful, then Holder would have to be found guilty by another jury. Only then would he be eligible to serve the one-year sentence for refusing to comply with Issa’s repeated requests for documents related to the Fast and Furious scandal.
The process is lengthy, and anyway is beside the point. The reason Issa and the Republicans are pushing the contempt process forward isn’t to see the U.S. Attorney General go to prison. It’s to apply the necessary pressure on a recalcitrant Obama administration to release information about one of the dumbest and most tragic federal misadventures in recent memory.
Hiding behind eleventh hour claims of executive privilege won’t make that task any easier. If Holder and President Barack Obama want to avoid letting Fast and Furious become this administration’s Iran Contra, Holder better personally deliver assurances to Issa that he’s ready to fully cooperate.
And if he can’t because there’s damning information about a DOJ-White House cover-up, get ready for a Watergate role reversal with Republicans in Congress making a Democratic president’s life miserable.
June 20th, 2012 at 1:46 pm
Executive Privilege Means Obama Owns Fast & Furious
Today marks a dramatic turn in the Fast and Furious scandal with the Obama White House announcing this morning that the documents sought by House Republicans are protected from disclosure by executive privilege.
For the first time since news broke of the Department of Justice gun-walking fiasco, the President of the United States is claiming an interest in DOJ’s internal deliberations about a program that purposefully armed Mexican drug cartels and ultimately allowed a drug runner to murder a U.S. Border Patrol agent.
In the short term, the president’s announcement may make House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa’s contempt vote closer than it would have been, if some members decide that an executive privilege claim inoculates Holder from punishment. My guess is that Obama’s announcement will embolden Republicans on the committee to go ahead with the contempt vote and give Democrats a talking point after they lose.
In the long term, today’s executive privilege claim finally elevates Fast and Furious into a surefire campaign topic for the fall. As long as the scandal was defended as a policy decision gone bad – especially one that was until today linked to the previous Republican administration – it was unlikely that conservatives would make Fast and Furious into a campaign theme.
But now that’s changed for two reasons. First, as of today DOJ has rescinded its claim that Bush’s Attorney General Michael Mukasey knew about Fast and Furious, thus admitting that the idea and its consequences belong completely to the Obama administration. Second, Obama’s claim of executive privilege means that he is now claiming ownership of the program.
I suspect that the documents being withheld would make the case for the resignation or impeachment of Eric Holder or another high-ranking DOJ official. Claiming executive privilege helps delay the reckoning, but it opens the door for Mitt Romney and others – most notably Issa and other congressional investigators – to ask White House officials directly – and President Obama indirectly – about the president’s knowledge, involvement, and approval of Fast and Furious.
2012, campaign, Congress, contempt, Darrell Issa, Department of Justice, Election, Eric Holder, fast and furious, guns, Mitt Romney
November 30th, 2011 at 5:35 pm
Holder Seals Fast and Furious Records
How’s this for a breach of the public’s trust? From Judicial Watch:
The Obama Administration has abruptly sealed court records containing alarming details of how Mexican drug smugglers murdered a U.S. Border patrol agent with a gun connected to a failed federal experiment that allowed firearms to be smuggled into Mexico.
This means information will now be kept from the public as well as the media. Could this be a cover-up on the part of the “most transparent” administration in history? After all, the rifle used to kill the federal agent (Brian Terry) last December in Arizona’s Peck Canyon was part of the now infamous Operation Fast and Furious. Conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the disastrous scheme allowed guns to be smuggled into Mexico so they could eventually be traced to drug cartels.
Instead, federal law enforcement officers lost track of more than 1,000 guns which have been used in numerous crimes. In Terry’s case, five illegal immigrants armed with at least two semi-automatic assault rifles were hunting for U.S. Border Patrol agents near a desert watering hole just north of the Arizona-Mexico border when a firefight erupted and Terry got hit.
The report goes on to say that Border Patrol officials have been kept out of the loop on why the Mexican national charged with killing Terry has yet to be tried almost a year after the murder.
Just before the court documents were sealed, the Washington Times published an article showing why U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and others responsible for the Fast and Furious scandal want the details of Terry’s murder under wraps:
A now-sealed federal grand jury indictment in the death of Border Patrol agent Brian A. Terry says the Mexican nationals were “patrolling” the rugged desert area of Peck Canyon at about 11:15 p.m. on Dec. 14 with the intent to “intentionally and forcibly assault” Border Patrol agents.
At least two of the Mexicans carried their assault rifles “at the ready position,” one of several details about the attack showing that Mexican smugglers are becoming more aggressive on the U.S. side of the border.
According to the indictment, the Mexicans were “patrolling the area in single-file formation” a dozen miles northwest of the border town of Nogales and — in the darkness of the Arizona night — opened fire on four Border Patrol agents after the agents identified themselves in Spanish as police officers.
Two AK-47 assault rifles found at the scene came from the failed Fast and Furious operation.
Imagine if some corrupt machine politician tried to keep in the dark a metropolitan police department on why politically appointed prosecutors were delaying justice for a mafioso cop-killer and sealing his records. The cops – and the public – wouldn’t stand for it. Neither should the Border Patrol and the American people.
H/T: Mark Hemingway at the Weekly Standard
October 7th, 2011 at 3:06 pm
Fast and Furious Funded with Recovery Act Money?
World Net Daily reports that a rediscovered C-SPAN video shows Eric Holder’s deputy linking the un-stimulating Recovery Act to funding for Project Gunrunner, a sister program to ATF’s Fast and Furious ‘gun-walking’ scheme to track guns sold to Mexican drug cartels.
Here’s the money quote from Deputy Attorney General David Ogden:
“Attorney General Holder and I are taking several new and aggressive steps as part of the administration’s comprehensive plan. Those steps include the following: DOJ’s Drug Enforcement Administration, which already has the largest U.S. drug enforcement presence in Mexico with 11 offices in that country, is placing 16 new DEA positions in southwest border field positions .., uh, field operations, specifically to target Mexican trafficking and associated violence,” he said.
“The DEA is also deploying four new mobile enforcement teams to specifically target Mexican methamphetamine trafficking both along the border and in U.S. cities impacted by the cartels,” he continued.
“DOJ’s bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is increasing its efforts by adding 37 new employees and three new offices, using $10 million in Recovery Act funds and redeploying 100 personnel to the southwest border in the next 45 days to fortify its Project Gunrunner, which is aimed at disrupting arms trafficking between the United States and Mexico,” he said. (Emphasis added)
The date of the press conference: March 24, 2009. That’s fifteen months prior to the June 2010 memos that earlier this week showed Holder lying to Congress about when he was first aware of the ATF programs.
Holder has no credibility left. It’s time to fire him, immediately.
October 4th, 2011 at 12:58 pm
Did Holder Lie to Congress?
It certainly looks like U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder lied to Congress when he said on May 3rd of this year that “I’m not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.” The most generous accounting would limit Holder’s knowledge of the international gun scandal to no earlier than the beginning of 2011.
Not so reports CBS News.
Yet internal Justice Department documents show that at least ten months before that hearing, Holder began receiving frequent memos discussing Fast and Furious.
Specifically, memos dating from July, October, and November of 2010. Spinners at Holder’s Department of Justice are trying to cover their boss by saying he misunderstood the question about when he first heard about Fast and Furious and its criminally negligent gun-walking element.
Spare us the feigned stupidity, Mr. Attorney General. Among your many derelictions of duty, the gun-walking scandals offer the strongest rationale for your resignation. Failing that, it may be time to consider impeachment proceedings.
September 27th, 2011 at 12:04 pm
ATF Sold Guns Directly to Cartels, But Never Followed Up
Fox News reports that ATF’s Fast and Furious botched gun-tracking operation to Mexican drug cartels didn’t stop at encouraging private gun owners to sell to known criminals with assurances of surveillance. Six months before Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered with one of these weapons, ATF supervisors in Phoenix directed field agents to sell the guns directly.
The result was the same as when the guns came from private sellers: no surveillance was initiated by ATF to track the guns. Instead, the buyers for the cartels were allowed to store them in a stash house and ship them south with impunity.
These are the kinds of revelations that get bureaus like ATF shut down. Could it also be the scandal that sinks Attorney General Eric Holder, the man who oversees ATF’s operations?
Read the whole story here.
September 21st, 2011 at 12:25 pm
Obama’s Watergate Now Has Tapes
The ATF’s “Project Gunrunner” and “Operation Fast and Furious” scandals continue show a cover-up by high-ranking officials in Eric Holder’s Department of Justice. The most recent revelation was the emergence of tapes secretly recorded by an Arizona gun dealer who grew suspicious of ATF’s ability to intercept guns deliberately sold to Mexican drug cartels.
Howard made the tapes in March 2011 after a meeting he and his attorneys held with federal officials. In that meeting, Assistant U.S. Attorney Emory Hurley continued to insist the guns Lone Wolf sold were stopped and seized before reaching Mexico.
But ATF officials are quoted in a Washington Post article and the Spanish language daily La Opinion saying just the opposite — blaming Lone Wolf for “selling guns to the cartels” with no mention that Howard was operating under the federal government’s direction, encouragement and approval.
In related news, the Mexican government is seething because ATF brass and supervisors at Justice chose not to inform relevant officials of the gun-walking program. After learning of the operation from news reports following Border Agent Brian Terry’s murder, the Mexican Attorney General said, “In no way would we have allowed [the selling of guns to drug cartels], because it is an attack on the safety of Mexicans.”
And an affront to American integrity as well.
September 9th, 2011 at 3:42 pm
More ATF Guns Found at Murder Site of Border Patrol Agent
The web of possible criminality in the ATF “gun-walking” case i still stretching with a Fox News story confirming the existence a second and third ATF gun at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
Congressional investigators have been looking for evidence of the third weapon for months. Now, it looks like it disappeared at the behest of the FBI for fear that an informant working for it and ATF would be exposed.
This revelation follows on the news that ATF and the FBI coordinated efforts on other dubious programs that allowed guns to reach known criminals.
There seems to be no end to the incompetent corruption at Eric Holder’s Justice Department. Can the same indefinite tenure be true of the Attorney General?
September 6th, 2011 at 5:19 pm
ATF Gunrunner Scandal Sprouts More Legs…in Indiana
David Codrea, the blogger who originally broke the “Gunrunner” scandal at ATF, reports that another guns-to-criminals scheme is sprouting up in Indiana.
There, a gun seller defended himself recently against an FBI demand for information about guns sold to American crime gangs with all-too-familiar response: I was just following ATF’s guidelines.
That’s right, according to Codrea’s extensive documentation there is now another instance of ATF deliberately violating gun control laws to let weapons fall into criminal hands in the hopes of catching bigger criminal fish. And how’s this for oversight: when the FBI was told the Indiana gun dealer was working with ATF, the FBI promised to remove the seller from any further investigation.
Add the American Midwest to the list of ATF scandals including Phoenix, AZ, (Project Gunrunner, Operation Fast & Furious) and Tampa, FL (Operation Castaway).
Last week the Acting ATF director was reassigned and the Arizona U.S. Attorney abruptly resigned. With a third front opening up, how much longer can U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder – the man charged with oversight of ATF – keep his job?
H/T: Michelle Malkin
July 7th, 2011 at 7:27 pm
MSNBC Too Quiet on ATF Fiasco?
Writing for Big Government, AWR Hawkins asks the obvious question about the political hot potato being passed around by President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and interim ATF director Ken Melson – none of whom claim any “substantive” knowledge about a federal program to arm Mexican drug dealers.
In other news, on July 5th Jack Tapper (ABC News) peppered Obama’s White House Press Secretary with questions about “Fast and Furious” in front of the rest of the press reporters, but the most substantive answer that Jay Carney gave was: “The president takes this very seriously.” (In all fairness to Carney, he’s clueless because Obama keeps him clueless.)
Look folks, this is ridiculous. Where is Chris Matthews? Where is that Keith guy who used to work for MSNBC? Where are all the freaks who wanted to hang George W. Bush in effigy for supposedly-lying about Iraq?
Why are they silent in the face of so great a cover-up?
Probably because the “Gunrunner” and “Fast and Furious” projects have too many inconsistencies to tolerate; better to just ignore them. A liberal president presides over the intentional escalation of a narco-fueled civil war. His celebrated AG fails yet again to faithfully execute his oversight responsibilities. And the man charged with ensuring that alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives don’t fall into the wrong hands is at the head of a bureaucracy actively peddling the most lethal one (guns) to obtain the others.
With Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry killed as a result of guns used in the ATF program, isn’t it about time to get an updated (and much more accurate) version of “Bush lied, people died”?
July 5th, 2011 at 1:47 pm
ATF’s Gunrunner Program Worked in Theory…
The family of slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry is urging federal officials to accept “responsibility” but not be criminally prosecuted for a horribly bad program to sell guns to drug dealers. Terry’s cousin, Robert Heyer, tells The Hill that the family doesn’t want government agents (or their Washington superiors) to be indicted for crimes, just for them to take responsibility for being (criminally) stupid.
While it’s a noble sentiment for the Terry family to train its attention on the drug dealers who killed their son and cousin, killing Terry with guns intentionally sold to those drug dealers was a decision deliberately made by ATF officials. Therefore, it’s arguable that members of the Obama Administration were criminally negligent.
As if to underscore the impossibility of separating responsibility for this fiasco from its criminal consequences, The Hill’s interview with Heyer concludes with a paragraph stating that (in theory) Project Gunrunner worked as planned:
One of the main ways agents would be able to partially track a gun’s path under the operation was if it was found at the scene of a crime and officials were able to trace it back to the original federally authorized purchase, as was the case with the guns found at Terry’s murder scene. It remains unclear whether the guns found at the scene that were linked to the operation were actually used to kill Terry.
Here’s betting that Attorney General Eric Holder and his subordinates responsible for ATF’s policies won’t be using this as a defense.