Documents obtained by CBS News show that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) discussed using their covert operation “Fast and Furious” to argue for controversial new rules about gun sales.
In Fast and Furious, ATF secretly encouraged gun dealers to sell to suspected traffickers for Mexican drug cartels to go after the “big fish.”
“Bill – can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same (licensed gun dealer) and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales. Thanks.”
On Jan. 4, 2011, as ATF prepared a press conference to announce arrests in Fast and Furious, Newell saw it as “(A)nother time to address Multiple Sale on Long Guns issue.” And a day after the press conference, Chait emailed Newell: “Bill–well done yesterday… (I)n light of our request for Demand letter 3, this case could be a strong supporting factor if we can determine how many multiple sales of long guns occurred during the course of this case.”
“It’s like ATF created or added to the problem so they could be the solution to it and pat themselves on the back,” says one law enforcement source familiar with the facts. “It’s a circular way of thinking.”
The ATF secretly told gun dealers to approve sales the dealers would have refused because of suspicions the gun would end up in the hands of bad guys. The dealers repeatedly asked for reassurance from the ATF and received it. The ATF then used these sales from gun dealers as justification for illegal regulations against those same gun dealers.
It’s as if the ATF really believed it was in their job description to, as one bigot expressed it, “to make it harder for people to get guns.”
The ATF should no more make it difficult for people to get guns than there should be a government agency that makes it more difficult for people to purchase religious materials, publish newspapers, or get a fair trial.
That the ATF apparently sees it’s mission as such is justification to, if not abolish it, at least severely cut their budget and prosecute the people responsible for this atrocious abuse of power.