December 16, 2013

ATF Takes Advantage of Mentally Challenged, Flouts Gun Laws

As if the horribly botched Operation Fast and Furious wasn’t enough.

If the horribly botched ATF Operation Fast and Furious wasn’t enough, a lengthy investigation by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reveals that a number of sting operations conducted by the ATF were executed with highly questionable tactics, such as using mentally challenged men as unwitting marks to buy and sell arms. Many of those men were then charged for their involvement. The newspaper found a half-dozen operations where legally dubious methods were used to rack up significant numbers of arrests; unfortunately, most of those prosecuted were small-time criminals.

On several occasions, undercover agents found low-IQ men and enlisted them as helpers in their schemes. Their general mode of operation was to open up a storefront or pawnshop that openly traded in stolen goods, including guns, and use the “slow-headed” helpers to work odd jobs and bring in the desired types of customers.

Yet when dealing in guns, the undercover agents frequently allowed known felons with stolen guns to “walk” them out of their stores. One store was even located directly across the street from a middle school, a mistake the responsible agent said he made because he entered the building through a back door and never noticed the school. The owner of that building incurred $30,000 in roof damage when the ATF agents removed an overhead light that lit an adjacent parking lot. Other landlords were left with removed walls and electrical wiring in disarray from the installation of hidden video equipment.

In other locations where the ATF opened undercover pawnshops, local authorities had to deal with a rash of break-ins and burglaries in these areas, with some perpetrators literally driving from the scene of a crime to a pawnshop to get quick cash.

Obviously, the very nature of undercover work is that of a tradeoff: committing some illegal acts in order to bring down a larger criminal conspiracy. These stings seemed to yield high numbers of arrests and convictions, the Journal-Sentinel writes, but many in the legal community question their value. “That is a waste of federal resources,” said a former U.S. attorney who worked in the organized crime unit.

And while many would protest by saying these criminals got what was coming to them, the question of how many criminals were manufactured in these operations is a nagging one. There’s enough real crime out there without creating more incentives in order to make headlines and an excuse for a larger budget.

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2022 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.