A Complete Reversal About the Fast and Furious Scandal
As a gun owner and sometime instructor in safety, basic use and defensive use of various weapons I watch gun & self defense issues carefully. I had believed the words of a whistle blower in this instance. But it now seems that is wrong. The reasons guns went walking from straw buyers may be a reluctance by prosecutors to arrest straw buyers in a pro gun state.
My legal training in this is very specific. Sets of facts on what we can and can not do. Should or should not do. As a Californian, I am used to some strict (okay IMO onerous) rules and regulations. Where my training fails is what is state law vs what is Federal law. Since I have to comply with both as do my students, it’s unimportant for training and safety.
I had the impression that Federal law forbids straw purchases strongly. Apparently that law is weak. If the following breakthrough article is correct anyway.
There is still a lot of conflicting information. To the extent this article is correct I retract most of my previous statements about the program.
IMO the investigation needs to continue but with a different motive-Fix the holes in the law and crash down on straw buys of guns. This has to happen. While I am certain no anti gun conspiracy exists with this administration, I am also aware from a long history that each and every gun incident is seized upon by those of an anti gun persuasion quickly and with an abundance of hyperbole.
I invite all to a complete reading of the following linked article. A review of the rest of the data. And a discussion of how to enable prosecutors to get straw buyers without encroaching on legit transfers like we do see in the sport shooting community. The following is an excerpt, please do take a look at the whole thing.
A Fortune investigation reveals that the ATF never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. How the world came to believe just the opposite is a tale of rivalry, murder, and political bloodlust.
Prosecutors: Transferring guns is legal in Arizona
This was not the view of federal prosecutors. In a meeting on Jan. 5, 2010, Emory Hurley, the assistant U.S. Attorney in Phoenix overseeing the Fast and Furious case, told the agents they lacked probable cause for arrests, according to ATF records. Hurley’s judgment reflected accepted policy at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona. “[P]urchasing multiple long guns in Arizona is lawful,” Patrick Cunningham, the U.S. Attorney’s then-criminal chief in Arizona would later write. “Transferring them to another is lawful and even sale or barter of the guns to another is lawful unless the United States can prove by clear and convincing evidence that the firearm is intended to be used to commit a crime.” (Arizona federal prosecutors referred requests for comment to the Justice Department, which declined to make officials available. Hurley noted in an e-mail, “I am not able to comment on what I understand to be an ongoing investigation/prosecution. I am precluded by federal regulation, DOJ policy, the rules of professional conduct, and court order from talking with you about this matter.” Cunningham’s attorney also declined to comment.)
It was nearly impossible in Arizona to bring a case against a straw purchaser. The federal prosecutors there did not consider the purchase of a huge volume of guns, or their handoff to a third party, sufficient evidence to seize them. A buyer who certified that the guns were for himself, then handed them off minutes later, hadn’t necessarily lied and was free to change his mind. Even if a suspect bought 10 guns that were recovered days later at a Mexican crime scene, this didn’t mean the initial purchase had been illegal. To these prosecutors, the pattern proved little. Instead, agents needed to link specific evidence of intent to commit a crime to each gun they wanted to seize.
For real contrast, take a look at the CBS Fast & Furious Timeline and compare it to the fortune article.
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.