Currently Eric Holder is screaming that the cause of guns going into Mexico was because of a “lack of gun control.” There’s one problem with that though, it is false. Not only is that statement blatantly false but in light of the evidence, given Operation Fast and Furious, gun control is what allowed those guns to walk to Mexico. While it may seem humorous and a joke, the fact is it’s true.
I have largely been silent on Fast and Furious for one major reason. There are a lot of other people covering it better and more in-depth than I possibly could.
To start off for those who are familiar with the term, root cause analysis is something used in engineering to identify problems to come up with solutions that don’t just hide the problem. Ultimately proper root cause analysis should trace the problem to a point where you can turn the issue on and off like a light switch. Now we’re going to trace back through the events and find the point where we can turn this issue that would turn this problem on and off.
What was Fast and Furious?
Fast and Furious otherwise known as Operation Gunwalker, was an operation conducted by the ATF under the guise of busting Mexican drug cartels. This was done by forcing FFLs to complete illegal firearms transactions, purchasing firearms and handing them over to known criminals, and otherwise circumventing current law for criminals.
The ATF didn’t just allow guns to flow into the hands of criminals, but actively encouraged the practice. They purposely cleared transactions that were flagged. They performed the straw purchases themselves, delivering the weapons to known criminals. They instructed dealers to go ahead with transactions the dealers could tell were not “honest”.
Often when agents had followed the firearms they were told by their superiors to let the recipients go and not to follow them. All of these actions violated existing law, yet the cause, as purported by Eric Holder, was a lack of gun control.
How did gun control cause Fast and Furious though?
The most direct route is the fact that this whole program was done with the mind of expanding gun control. New gun control legislation and powers were the motivator behind the program. Even as the program crashes and burns, pushes for new legislation based of the inflated numbers of Fast and Furious keep appearing. The results of the program were used to force the long arms registry and to bolster support for additional funding for the ATF.
However the actions of the ATF have common threads with different agencies. It is all a quest for money and power. So we have to look back further to where the ATF got the root of its power and what allowed them to use this power to try to gain more.
The ATF is responsible for overseeing FFLs and ensuring adherence to existing firearms laws. The can put a business that works in firearms under faster than any other. The agency can halt a FFLs license during an investigation which can easily put them out of business. So when the ATF asks a FFL to do something illegal, there ATF has all the leverage to make the dealer comply. The only other option is for the FFL to go out of business under the weight of the ATF.
The ATF gained this power and latitude under the Gun Control Act of 1968. Unsurprisingly allegations of abuse led to the Firearm Owners Protection Act to attempt to rein in the ATF. The FOPA also stated different registry’s were prohibited from being enacted or run by the ATF, one of which they are attempting in the wake of Fast and Furious.
The depth of the corruption within the ATF and its drive to seek power through runs even deeper back to the National Firearms Act of 1934. This provided the ATF, which was under the department of the Treasury at the time, the ability to enforce the newly created firearms laws. This law laid the foundation for what would become the power-hungry space the ATF occupies today.
Both the GCA 1968 and the NFA 1934 are both pieces of legislation made in the effort to regulate firearms and limit their ownership. The ATF blatantly violated existing laws during Operation Fast and Furious and went through considerable effort to arm and traffic firearms to prohibited persons. All the while the ATF was clamoring for more gun control. However many law-abiding citizens were left jumping through the hoops and difficulties of the existing maze of firearms legislation despite the appearance of lax laws created by the ATF.
Conclusion, Gun Control is the root cause
The ATF completely disregarded existing laws and regulations in conducting operation gun walker. Many of those coerced into participating were in a situation that allowed the ATF leverage over them because of existing gun control legislation. The ATF during the operation was petitioning congress for more gun control legislation, which it would be responsible for enforcement.
The ATF was also petitioning congress for additional funding for two reasons. The first was a claim of a lack of resources to enforce existing law, which was false since they were expending resources to actually circumvent it. The second was that it would need additional funding for enforcement of the expanded programs.
The root cause of Fast and Furious is gun control itself. Existing gun control legislation provided the ATF with leverage over FFLs to coerce them into transactions they knew to be criminal. Gun control provided the ATF with the resources and power to organize and conduct the operation. Lastly, gun control was the root cause of the operation itself. The operation was conducted in an effort to create a crisis that would warrant the further restriction of firearms. This restriction would either be that of ownership by law-abiding citizens, or that in preventing new purchase by a law-abiding citizen.
Without the GCA of 1968 the ATF would not have had the leverage over a FFL to coerce them into proceeding with an illegal sale. Without the NFA of 1934 the ATF would have never been the power-hungry beast it is today.
To say that a lack of gun control allowed Operation Fast and Furious is like saying a lack of prohibition let the DEA allow drugs to be smuggled across the border. Oh wait, bad analogy, the DEA took part in Fast and Furious too.
If a lack of gun control allowed Operation Fast and Furious then violating the law to commit a treasonous act of war against a friendly neighbor is lacking in laws as well.
Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.
He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.