The Corner

CBS Links Fast and Furious to Gun Control

Since the beginning of the Fast and Furious scandal, some avid gun-rights supporters have been suggesting that the operation was designed to promote gun control: The Obama administration sent a bunch of guns south of the border hoping to make the Mexican drug wars more violent, so that it could use the violence and the presence of American guns as an excuse to implement stricter gun-control measures. I have been (and remain) highly skeptical of this explanation — I do not think the Obama administration is quite that evil, and even if it were, the risk of getting caught would be too great to make such a project worthwhile.

Nonetheless, CBS has a rather damning report. While there’s still no evidence that Fast and Furious was designed from the beginning to promote gun control, the ATF did consider using the anecdote of a Fast and Furious case as an argument for restrictions on the sale of multiple long guns at once:

On July 14, 2010 after ATF headquarters in Washington D.C. received an update on Fast and Furious, ATF Field Ops Assistant Director Mark Chait emailed Bill Newell, ATF’s Phoenix Special Agent in Charge of Fast and Furious:

“Bill – can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same (licensed gun dealer) and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales. Thanks.” 

On Jan. 4, 2011, as ATF prepared a press conference to announce arrests in Fast and Furious, Newell saw it as “(A)nother time to address Multiple Sale on Long Guns issue.” And a day after the press conference, Chait emailed Newell: “Bill — well done yesterday. . . . (I)n light of our request for Demand letter 3, this case could be a strong supporting factor if we can determine how many multiple sales of long guns occurred during the course of this case.” 


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