ATF Gun Ops May Have Led To 1,800 Deaths

mexican gun violenceBack in December, border patrol Brian Terry was shot and killed by a group of Mexican thieves who were believed to have been preying on undocumented immigrants. The gun which was used to kill him was later traced to an Arizona gun store. Even more appalling, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives purposefully permitted the weapon to “walk” into the hands of drug lords and gun runners. It was all part of an ATF operation entitled Fast and Furious which allowed guns to be trafficked south of the border with the hope that they would lead authorities to high-level cartel operatives.

Special Agent John Dodson — the program’s whistle blower — told Univision’s Jorge Ramos yesterday that he found Fast and Furious morally reprehensible, pointing out that it might have led to the death of over a thousand people:

My motivation is simply because this isn’t what we signed up for, this isn’t what we do as law enforcement officers, as an agency, this is not what we do as ATF. My mission for coming out here was to stop this kind of activity. To prevent as much firearms trafficking as I can and then as I learned that my agency, as I believed, is perhaps contributing to that, at the very least condoning it, allowing it to occur right underneath our noses, if not contributing to it – I disagree with professionally, morally, ethically and I felt that I had an obligation of all these things to try and do something about it. […]

We knew that these weapons were going to end up in crimes; they were going to a known criminal organization; that was the whole theory behind the case.So you have 1,800 guns that you let go, imagine if you only had one bullet for each gun, or you get one death for each gun, that is 1,800 people.

Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association (NRA) is calling on Congress to hold hearings on the ATF’s efforts to stem the flow of weapons to Mexico. Ironically, it’s the NRA lobby that has so weakened the ATF and rendered it leaderless since 2006. The Washington Post recently reported that for “over nearly four decades, the NRA has wielded remarkable influence over Congress, persuading lawmakers to curb ATF’s budget and mission and to call agency officials to account at oversight hearings.”

Yet, according to The Hill, the NRA hopes that “the public discussion [about Fast and Furious] will help kill a request from federal regulators for more authority to track gun purchases in the southern border states.” That request would involve requiring gun dealers to Andrea Nillreport multiple sales of rifles and shotguns to ATF. According to the NRA, the reporting requirement “would flood the agency with even more reports of legal transactions, while likely driving criminal traffickers further underground.” Yet, experts argue that the proposal could save thousands of lives from drug cartel violence.

In 2010, MSNBC reported that Mexican cartels are taking advantage of lax U.S. gun laws which the NRA has lobbied hard for. At that time, around 80 percent of the 90,000 weapons confiscated by Mexican authorities were purchased in the U.S.

Andrea Nill

Wonk Room


  1. WuzYoungOnceToo says

    P.S. The attempt to imply that the NRA is somehow to blame for the actions of the DOJ/BATFE (and possibly DHS) under the Obama admin couldn’t possibly be more pathetic. Just how stupid do you think everyone is?

  2. WuzYoungOnceToo says

    – “At that time, around 80 percent of the 90,000 weapons confiscated by Mexican authorities were purchased in the U.S.”

    This – and other similar claims – was exposed as a flat-out lie two years ago, and is soundly debunked every time it comes up. Anyone who continues to repeat it is either profoundly stupid or hopelessly dishonest. So…which are you Andrea? A blithering idiot, or a pathological liar?

    • passerby says

      Andrea might not be either an idiot or a liar. It’s possible that she just doesn’t know.

      The real deal is, that 80-90% of the seized weapons SUBMITTED TO THE ATF for tracing, came from the US. However, that’s only a small fraction of the guns used by the cartels. The vast majority of seized weapons aren’t sent to the ATF for tracing because it’s very obvious they didn’t come from the US.

      Indeed, most of the cartel weapons come from Central America and include full-auto AK-47s, RPGs, etc — stuff you can’t get in a US gun shop.

      Ironically, Mexico is one of only 4 countries in the world — along with the USA, Guatemala, and Haiti –where the right to own guns is written into the Constitution. In all 4 cases it was put there by victorious revolutionaries.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *