On January 8th, Mexican forces executed a raid recapturing infamous drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. Unwittingly, they also ensared the U.S. federal government in yet more controversy surrounding its failed “Fast and Furious” sting operation.
One of the eight weapons seized in El Chapo’s safe house was a .50 caliber rifle, sold to criminals as part of the program.
Fast and Furious was a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) program that allowed the sale of around 2,000 weapons to unauthorized buyers. Of those, 34 were .50 caliber rifles, which shoot a very large bullet that’s capable of tearing through car engines and even downing helicopters. The ATF hoped they could follow the rifles and other firearms as part of a sting operation, but promptly lost track of the vast majority of the weapons.
Advocates of firearm registries should take note of this disaster.
These activists claim that registering and licensing every gun in the U.S. could keep firearms away from criminals. But even when the ATF tracked the sale of a very small number of firearms, they were still totally incapable of preventing the guns from disappearing and falling into the wrong hands.
Last year, 23 million new firearms were sold. If the ATF couldn’t track 2,000, how could they possibly expect to track the nearly 310 million firearms in the U.S.?
Criminals completely eluded the federal government, even when ATF was intimately involved with the sale of firearms.
Clearly, more government monitoring of firearms sales and ownership won’t prevent even the worst monsters from getting their hands on guns. Instead, it will force law-abiding Americans to open up their property to federal inquiry.
Yesterday, a federal judge rejected the Obama administration’s claim of “executive privilege” to deny Congress the records of the Fast and Furious debacle. Hopefully, the president will put a stop to this obfuscation and stalling as the investigation continues.
Perhaps then the American people will be able to hold the most transparent administration in history accountable.