“Outgunned: Law Enforcement Agents Warn Congress They Lack Adequate Tools to Counter Illegal Firearms Trafficking” relies upon a carefully balanced blend of newly minted buzzwords, long-debunked statistics, and purposeful disinformation.
The 26-page report appears to exist for a political purpose: to gloss over the felonious actions of a multi-agency task force drawn from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security, and the Internal Revenue Service, with input from the State Department. Operation Fast and Furious (“Gunwalker”) was responsible for providing weapons used in the murders of two federal officers, along with 150 or more Mexican police officers, soldiers, and civilians.
This scandal is about the dead.
But the substantial body count that resulted from this operation is something that Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings and his colleagues avoid mentioning. The report simply does not include the two American federal law enforcement officers killed in ambushes with Gunwalker firearms, and does not mention the Mexican casualties of this Obama administration-created fiasco.
Instead, the minority report minimizes the magnitude of the crimes perpetrated under the guise of law enforcement, while building the case for gun control — an interesting development, as gun control may have been the ulterior motive for Gunwalker all along.
The report recommends three gun control initiatives. First:
Congress Should Increase the Criminal Penalties for Illegal Straw Purchases
The report mischaracterizes the penalties for straw purchases while calling for more severe penalties. The report refuses to mention what the current penalties under federal law for straw purchases are, simply claiming that the penalties are inadequate and toothless, and comparing them to probation and to a speeding ticket. It cites an ATF agent saying:
Some people view this as no more consequential than doing 65 in a 55.
Under the Gun Control Act of 1968, straw purchases are a bit more serious than a speeding infraction. They are in fact felonies — for both the straw purchaser and the ultimate owner of the firearm. Fines can range up to $250,000, and incarceration upon conviction can be up to ten years in a federal prison.
The potential penalties are well-known inside gun shops and at gun shows, which tend to post warnings as part of the anti-strawman marketing campaign “Don’t Lie for the Other Guy.” (Which, by the way, was developed with the coordination of the ATF.)
Elsewhere, the report comes a bit closer to the truth of the problem: the laws are robust, yet prosecutors and judges are soft on straw purchaser cases. A damning statement does appear within the report:
We don’t get traction with the U.S. Attorney’s office, they don’t follow through, they don’t want to prosecute cases.
In other words: the U.S. attorneys, appointed by Barack Obama and reporting to Attorney General Eric Holder, are the problem. Enforcement is lacking.
The report’s second recommended gun control initiative:
Congress Should Enact a Dedicated Firearms Trafficking Statute
The report mentions:
Multiple law enforcement agents who appeared before the Committee stated that their efforts to combat international drug cartels would be strengthened through the enactment of a federal statute specifically designed to criminalize the trafficking of firearms.
Even on the surface, the logic of this position is bizarre. International drug cartels are in the business of assassination, intimidation, murder, kidnapping, human smuggling, torture, bribery, extortion, and drug dealing, just to name a few of the more common felonies they commit daily as part of their business model.
While every law enforcement officer on the planet supports laws of convenience that make their jobs a bit easier, there has been no evidence presented that indicates another law hurled onto the pile of felonies would dissuade gun trafficking more than the straw purchase laws that the officers already admit U.S. attorneys won’t enforce.
It is worth noting that Rep. Cummings’ report relies upon the testimony of William Newell, the former special agent in charge of the Phoenix Field Division. Newell is the “former” SAC because of his involvement in Gunwalker.
In a January 25, 2011, press conference, Newell was asked whether ATF agents were ever ordered to allow guns to “walk” into Mexico. He answered, “Hell no!” He’s not a witness with sterling credibility and, depending upon how the Gunwalker investigation turns out, is perhaps a candidate for long-term residence in a taxpayer-funded facility.
The report’s third recommended gun control initiative:
ATF Should Implement a Multiple Long Gun Sales Reporting Requirement
Of the shallow proposals offered by the minority report, none is as easy to thwart as the proposal to require reporting of multiple long gun purchases. Straw buyers would simply adapt their tactics, buying individual long guns at a greater number of gun shops, and continue to fly under the law enforcement radar.
Once again, getting U.S. attorneys to actually prosecute existing laws is the single most effective tool in the administration’s playbook, and one of many glaring faults that Rep. Cummings and the House Democrats would prefer that you ignore.
At this point it is important to remember that Cummings’ minority report isn’t about enforcing laws broken by felons, but about imposing yet more laws on American citizens and demonizing those whom Democrats consider their opposition.
Next, the most deceptive elements of the report: