Obama's Assault on Weapons
The ATF implemented Project Gunrunner in 2006 as a strategy to track weapon distribution networks between the U.S. and Mexican drug cartels -- a worthy goal on the surface. Problem is, once the guns crossed into Mexico, ATF lost most of its tracking capability, which is to say that efforts to follow the distribution trail and stem the tide ended at the border.
Enter the Obama administration's gun control agenda, which breathed new life into Gunrunner and re-established the ATF leadership's standard ops tempo: SNAFU.
Project Gunrunner Backfires on the Left
“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” –Second Amendment to the United States Constitution
Barack Hussein Obama and his Socialist cadre, in their enthusiasm to “fundamentally transform the United States of America,” have redoubled efforts to do what all tyrannical governments must do to establish absolute state supremacy and usurp Rule of Law – disarm the people.
Leftists accomplish this through incremental implementation of gun confiscation measures, most of which are overt political machinations. These include legislation written and promoted by Leftist groups such as the American Bar Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, the Violence Policy Center, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and the Brady Campaign.
Current legislation under consideration includes H.R. 308 to limit rounds in magazines, S. 35 to lock in gun show registrations, S. 436 designed to “fix gun checks,” and, most disturbing, the reauthorization of Section 215 of The Patriot Act, which permits the FBI to seize gun sale records (4473’s) pursuant to “an authorized investigation.” Regarding the latter, the Inspector General estimated that between 2003 and 2006, the FBI exceeded its authority under Section 215 in more than 6,000 instances.
The objective of most of this legislation is centralized registration, which provides the federal government with data on the owner of every gun in the U.S. Then, under the duress of, say, the collapse of our economy, Leftists will “justify” confiscation by way of such nefarious measures as an Executive Order – just as they justified weapons confiscations after Hurricane Katrina.
“Rule one: Never allow a crisis to go to waste,” right?
The generation that witnessed the adulteration of our Constitution by Franklin Roosevelt and his Useful Idiots during the Great Depression know exactly what I mean. Fortunately, growing ranks of Patriots across our nation are awakening to this very real threat against our Second Amendment rights.
As FDR aptly demonstrated, the primary method in the Left’s playbook for advancing its agenda is to convert tragedy into political capital. That is precisely what they did with the shooting of Democrat Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others in Tucson in January of this year, and that is the rallying point for current gun control legislation.
Another case in point, and one that is now backfiring on the Obama administration, is Project Gunrunner, a government program run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). As you may recall, ATF is an agency that exposed itself as a puppet for political agendas in the botched and bloody assaults at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992 and Waco, Texas, in 1993.
The ATF implemented Project Gunrunner in 2006 as a strategy to track weapon distribution networks between the U.S. and Mexican drug cartels – a worthy goal on the surface. Problem is, once the guns crossed into Mexico, ATF lost most of its tracking capability, which is to say that efforts to follow the distribution trail and stem the tide ended at the border.
Enter the Obama administration’s gun control agenda, which breathed new life into Gunrunner and re-established the ATF leadership’s standard ops tempo: SNAFU.
While Project Gunrunner failed in charting weapons distribution channels south of the border, Democrats saw its utility as a means to implement new gun regulations north of the border by asserting that all the violence in the region is the result of gun sales in the U.S.
The Obama administration hoped to make a case that Mexican organized crime syndicates depend on illegal U.S. sales of so-called “assault weapons.” In doing so, they hoped to revitalize their political agenda to register and regulate the sale of those weapons – a major Leftist goal for the last two decades.
With its mission transformed, in 2009 and 2010 the ATF expanded Project Gunrunner offices to McAllen, Texas, El Centro, California, Las Cruces, New Mexico, Sierra Vista, Arizona, and Brownsville, Texas, and added new Gunrunner teams in Tucson and in El Paso, Texas. Project Gunrunner’s focus became exposing the illegal sale of guns in the U.S. in support of Obama’s political objectives.
But the ATF’s Gunrunner is now the subject of a political firefight.
On 28 December 2010, I was contacted by a career federal agent who, like many of his colleagues, honors his oath to “support and defend” our Constitution, whose support and defense is contingent on the Second Amendment’s prohibition against government infringement on the right of citizens to keep and bear arms.
The contacting agent, who has a good track record of identifying government agendas designed to thwart 2A rights, told me that he suspected the weapon used in the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry on 14 December was among those lost by the ATF during the Gunrunner operation a few months earlier. Senior career agents in Phoenix and Tucson confirmed that some of the weapons recovered at the scene of the murder of Agent Terry were, indeed, Project Gunrunner weapons, but because the ATF took control of the weapons, it could evade the establishment of any ballistic link between Project Gunrunner and the bullet that killed Terry.
Further, the agent I spoke with confirmed that the mission of Project Gunrunner was now purely political, an effort to “implement the registration of ‘assault-type’ rifles purchased anywhere in the United States.” Obama’s political appointees at ATF rejected numerous objections from field agents, including supervisory agents. Some objections were career terminators, including that of the ATF’s attaché in Mexico City, Darren Gil, whose objections resulted in forced retirement on 31 December 2010, just two weeks after the murder of Brian Terry.
Now, in response to the ATF’s stonewalling on ballistics related to Agent Terry’s murder, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, is demanding answers. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), ranking minority member of the Judiciary Committee, is leading Senate inquiries into the connection between Gunrunner and Terry’s murder.
Additionally, Grassley has also inquired about the murder of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata on 15 February, which may also involve weapons connected to Project Gunrunner.
For the record, a search of the ATF website, which prominently promotes Project Gunrunner, makes no mention of the murders of CBP Agent Terry or ICE Agent Zapata other than mentioning their names in off-the-shelf condolences.
For his part, Obama says of Gunrunner, “There may be a situation here which a serious mistake was made. If that’s the case, then we’ll find out and we’ll hold someone accountable.” He then asserted, “I did not authorize it; Eric Holder, the attorney general, did not authorize it. He’s been very clear that our policy is to catch gunrunners and put them into jail.”
Obama and Holder may have enough cutouts to provide political insulation from Gunrunner fallout, but their politicization of its mission has not only been responsible for countless deaths in Mexico (more citizens were murdered in the city of Juarez in 2010 than in the nation of Afghanistan), but very likely the murder of two front-line U.S. agents trying to do their job in accordance with their oaths.
The attention focused on Project Gunrunner has been motivated primarily by politics: first, Obama’s gun control agenda to politicize the operation, and now the Republicans' agenda to see how far up the chain of command knowledge of the operation went.
Upcoming testimony from Adam Price and Jeffrey Stirling, program managers for Gunrunner at ATF headquarters, may lead to appearances by Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, FBI Director Robert Mueller, DHS Director Janet Napolitano, Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
All the political shenanigans aside, the Left’s assault on the Second Amendment is a much bigger contest: Liberty versus Tyranny.
To that end, it’s worth recalling the words of James Madison: “The advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation … forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition.”
James Madison’s appointee to the Supreme Court, Justice Joseph Story, wrote in his 1833 “Commentaries on the Constitution,” “The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”
(Footnote: It is no small irony that as Obama endeavors to disarm the American people, he is contemplating how to arm “freedom fighters” (who are revealed, more each day, to be al-Qa'ida operatives or their useful idiots) in Libya. “I’m not ruling it out,” says Obama. “If we wanted to get weapons into Libya, we probably could.” Indeed, just call the ATF!)