Gun Laws & Legislation

Anti-gun group downplays ‘Operation Fast and Furious’ death toll

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
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A spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, a left-wing anti-gun group based in Washington, D.C., told The Daily Caller his organization doesn’t believe firearms trafficked to Mexico in Operation Fast and Furious have killed hundreds of civilians in that country. That those guns have been used often to kill Mexicans is a position articulated by both Attorney General Eric Holder and Mexican authorities.

Coalition spokesman Ladd Everitt argued that there was no evidence for The Daily Caller to report that “[t]here are hundreds of Mexican citizens who were murdered with weapons the Obama administration gave to cartels through Fast and Furious and two American law enforcement officers — Brian Terry and Jaime Zapata — were killed with Fast and Furious guns.”

Everitt argued that he didn’t think there is “actual trace and ballistics evidence to prove that conclusively.”

And when TheDC presented Everitt with video of Holder’s own admission that the death toll from Fast and Furious weapons will likely increase, he scoffed.

During an exchange with Texas Republican Rep. Ted Poe before the House Judiciary Committee on Dec. 8, Holder was asked if he would agree that “more people are going to die” because of Fast and Furious. “Unfortunately I think that’s probably true,” Holder admitted in his testimony.

But Everitt, an anti-gun advocate, attacked Holder’s statement to Congress as “purely speculative.”

TheDC also sent Everitt a September 2011 article by Townhall’s Katie Pavlich in which House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa said Mexico’s Attorney General Marisela Morales claimed there were at least 200 citizens in her country killed with weapons linked to Operation Fast and Furious.

Everitt balked at Morales’ claims by way of Issa, saying the statement doesn’t matter because Issa cited Morales saying it. That “piece of ‘evidence’ is Darrell Issa claiming to reporters, ‘I would be remiss if I didn’t mention, as the Attorney General in Mexico is so concerned, she’s made the point that at least 200 Mexicans have been killed with these weapons and probably countless more,’” Everitt told TheDC.

“Where has Marisela Morales actually made this claim herself? She’s certainly had every opportunity to.”

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence spokesman also accused Issa — who has led the congressional into Fast and Furious — of being in the bag for the gun lobby. “The Issa statement is second-hand and comes from a man who is clearly biased toward protecting the interests of the National Rifle Association,” he said.

He also attacked the Los Angeles Times for reporting that Mexican prosecutor Patricia Gonzalez’s brother was murdered with a gun trafficked to Mexico through Operation Fast and Furious. Gonzalez, according to the LA Times, believes the “basic ineptitude” of Obama administration officials responsible for Fast and Furious “caused the death of my brother and surely thousands more victims.”

“The LA Times reporting is interesting, but it provides only circumstantial — and sometimes contradictory — evidence,” Everitt told TheDC, “because there is still no trace and ballistics data to link any Fast & Furious gun to any specific murder.”

The LA Times has also reported that Mexican congressman Humberto Benitez Trevino “said the number of people killed or wounded by the weapons [from Fast and Furious] had probably doubled to 300 since March, when he said confidential information held by Mexican security authorities put the figure at 150.”

Everitt also balked at this claim. “It’s unclear how he came to that estimate,” he told TheDC. “He does not say.”

The anti-gun advocate also attacked TheDC for citing Morales — Mexico’s attorney general — and other Mexican government officials about statistical data covering Fast and Furious-related murders.

“The Daily Caller is dragging itself into a giant-size ditch by citing Marisela Morales and other Mexican authorities as credible sources,” Everitt said.

“Because, as you know, Mexican authorities have been always been consistent in making it clear that Wide Receiver/Fast & Furious guns are just a drop in the bucket of the total number of guns that have been illegally trafficked into Mexico over the past decade. Like the ATF, Mexican authorities have stated in no uncertain terms that the problem of military-style firearms being trafficked from U.S. gun stores and U.S. gun shows into Mexico has continued AFTER the cessation of Fast & Furious right up until the present day.”

These attacks from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence come as Holder faces contempt of Congress proceedings for refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena over the ill-fated gunwalking operation.

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