Evidence mounts that government, not gun shops, arming Mexican cartels
April 29th, 2011 3:36 am PT
PITTSBURGH — As the National Rifle Association gathers here for its annual convention starting today — an event that NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre predicted to this column yesterday would attract possibly 70,000 people — there is mounting evidence that this country’s government, not its gun shops or gun shows, is largely responsible for arming Mexican drug cartels.
That revelation, plus the fact that Capitol Hill sources told this column on background that Congressional investigators remain in Arizona, interviewing various people in connection with the Project Gunrunner/Operation Fast and Furious controversy, will boost the NRA’s contention that American gun rights are not responsible for Mexico’s criminal wrongs.
This new information, detailed yesterday by Fox News, and discussed by this column here, gives NRA new ammunition to oppose an effort by the Obama administration and embattled Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, to expand reporting requirements on the sale of long guns in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. Many in the firearms community believe this expanded requirement, as reported by Reuters, would be instituted not to thwart gunrunning to Mexico, but to “soften up” gun owners and retailers nationwide to the notion that multiple sales of all firearms will be reported to the ATF. This back-door gun control strategy would be expanded nationwide.
Here is what Fox News said about the U.S. government’s own culpability in arming Mexican drug gangs:
You can't buy this stuff at a U.S. gun store. So where do the cartels get it? According to leaked diplomatic cables, there are three sources.
1. U.S. Defense Department shipments to Latin America, known and tracked by the U.S. State Department as "foreign military sales."
2. Weapons ordered by the Mexican government, tracked by the State Department as "direct commercial sales."
3. Aging, but plentiful arsenals of military weapon stores in Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua.
Even though these facts were well-known by the Obama administration, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder, it blamed much of the violence in Mexico on U.S. gun stores.
In 2009, when the Obama administration — primarily through Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton — began complaining about the number of U.S.-origin guns being recovered at Mexican crime scenes, they knew that gun shows and gun shops were not responsible. The press largely swallowed, and then regurgitated, the Obama “party line.”
Only after National Gun Rights Examiner David Codrea and independent blogger Mike Vanderboegh — who are to be honored here tomorrow evening during a reception for bloggers hosted by the Second Amendment Foundation — began digging into the Gunrunner scandal, did beliefs begin to change about guns flowing south, and where they are coming from. CBS News’ detailed reporting on the Gunrunner operation, and what appears to be an orchestrated cover-up by ATF and the Department of Justice, has gotten other mainstream press to begin questioning the administration’s claims.
In a bid to curb the flow of guns into Mexico, where drug cartels have waged deadly wars to protect their business, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has sought to tighten reporting requirements in Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and California.—Reuters
Congressional investigators, sources indicated, may be interviewing ATF whistleblowers, gun shop owners who repeatedly raised alarms about suspected gunrunners, and local law enforcement, and perhaps other federal law enforcement agencies including Customs and Border Protection, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, are possibly being interviewed. This process started Monday, when members of Congress sent “their people” to Arizona because of ATF and Justice Department stonewalling.
Tomorrow’s officer reports during the annual members’ meeting, which usually amount to rousing speeches by NRA’s LaPierre and chief Lobbyist Chris Cox, could become far more, if they discuss these new Gunrunner revelations and developments. Gun owners have turned from embattled and embittered over Obama administration accusations, to downright furious. The proverbial cat appears to be out of the bag about the so-called “flood of guns” showing up in Mexico, and their source. It is now becoming more apparent that the U.S. government, that is, the Obama administration, in one form or another (i.e. military contracts, sales to Mexican law enforcement, and the Gunrunner/Fast and Furious efforts which now appear to have been at best a fiasco) is largely responsible for the carnage.
As this column noted yesterday, the “Blame Bush” option is off the table. It would have no credibility. The blame now squarely appears to be landing on the Obama administration’s doorstep.