Emails from inside the Department of Justice appear to indicate Obama administration officials were plotting to use the consequences of Operation Fast and Furious to further a gun-control agenda.
Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News reported Wednesday that the emails show agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) discussing how they would use Fast and Furious to “argue for controversial new rules about gun sales.”
“ATF officials didn’t intend to publicly disclose their own role in letting Mexican cartels obtain the weapons, but emails show they discussed using the sales, including sales encouraged by ATF, to justify a new gun regulation called ‘Demand Letter 3,’” Attkisson reported. “That would require some U.S. gun shops to report the sale of multiple rifles or ‘long guns.’ Demand Letter 3 was so named because it would be the third ATF program demanding gun dealers report tracing information.”
In the emails CBS News acquired, lead Fast and Furious agent Bill Newell and ATF Field Operations Assistant Director Mark Chait discussed how to use the scandal’s aftermath to promote the long-gun reporting requirement for multiple sales.
The Daily Caller has reported extensively on what Illinois Republican Rep. Joe Walsh has called Attorney General Eric Holder’s “undercurrent” of using Fast and Furious to promote gun control. Walsh was among the first members of Congress to call for Holder’s resignation. There are now 52 House members, two senators, four presidential candidates and two sitting governors in that camp.
“The attitude that he took toward the young man who was killed … was troubling,” Walsh said, during a Nov. 15 press conference, referring to slain U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. “And, then, there’s this undercurrent of his call — his advocacy — for more gun control, a problem of our guns going south of the border when our own government, led by him, was complicit in that. He needs to be held accountable.”
TheDC also reported that during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in early November, California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein attempted to leverage the crisis to promote gun control. (RELATED: Complete coverage of the Justice Department)
“My concern, Mr. Chairman, is there’s been a lot said about Fast and Furious, and perhaps mistakes were made, but I think this hunt for blame doesn’t really speak about the problem,” Feinstein said during a November 1 hearing. “And the problem is, anybody can walk in and buy anything, .50-caliber weapons, sniper weapons, buy them in large amounts, and send them down to Mexico. So, the question really becomes, what do we do about this?”
“I’ve been here 18 years,” Feinstein continued. “I’ve watched the BATF get beaten up at every turn on the road. And, candidly, it’s just not right.”
During that hearing, Sen. Feinstein advocated for Operation Fast and Furious as a springboard from which to advocate for strict gun control laws, including national databases and government-controlled firearms registration. She argued that new laws could prevent future programs like Fast and Furious from reaching maturity.
Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar, the third congressman to demand Holder’s immediate resignation, told TheDC over the weekend that more and more evidence suggests the Obama administration is trying to take political advantage.
“You’re seeing more and more of this stuff coming out in the cover up and it really does look like it’s an attempt on our Second Amendment rights,” Gosar said. “In the hearings, it became evident that they [the Obama administration and Holder] created an incident to in the end amend gun laws. Holder himself said before the Senate Judiciary committee that, if we had ‘better’ gun laws, this wouldn’t have happened.”