Hearings started today in the US House of Representatives today regarding the BATFE's Operation Fast and Furious. For those of you unfamiliar, this was a case where Federally Licenced Firearm Dealers (aka FFL's) reported to the Phoenix ATF office their suspicions that certain buyers were buying guns to give/sell to "Prohibited Persons" (people who cannot legally buy firearms). These are called "Straw Purchases" and are illegal. As in going to Federal Prison illegal. And these guns were going to drug gangs both in the US and Mexico.
In an effort to "prove" that US FFL's were selling guns to Mexican Drug Gangs/Cartels, the highest levels of the BATFE ordered that the sales and allowing the guns to "walk" were to continue, despite the warnings and red flags raised by several BATFE agents. Warnings that these guns probably could and would be used against US Law Enforcement Officers.
Tragically this is what transpired. Customs and Border Patrol Officer Brian Terry was killed in a firefight with Mexican Drug Gang Members shortly before Christmas 2010, with guns that had been allowed to "walk".
Now hundreds of firearms that were allowed to "walk" are in the hands of drug cartels and other criminals. Mostly likely some of those guns will end up killing Americans. Guns that had the BATFE done their job would have been prevented from going into the wrong hands.
BATFE agents that raised the warnings were threatened with retribution if they didn't "follow the company line".
It is simply unconscionable that the very agency charged with preventing such crimes, actively encouraged it, by allowing it to continued unabated. Those that made that decision need to not only be removed from office, but also held to account for the murder of Officer Terry and any others killed or maimed by guns they allowed to "walk".
Sadly that won't happen. They will be shuffled off to a nice retirement courtesy of you and I, and the whole sordid affair will be swept under the rug. And the BATFE will continue on as before, possibly with more funding to "improve" their methods and tactics. I say enough. The BATFE needs to be disbanded as they should have been at the end of Prohibition. They serve no function that cannot be readily absorb by other Federal Agencies. The FBI already operates the NICS system for the background checks on gun buyers. Licensing and inspecting FFL's could easily be done by the FBI and reduce the duplication of effort when it comes to enforcing the law.
Creating crime to justify your existence, simply proves that you need not to exist. The BATFE needs to go.