• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Calls for Gun Control in Wake of Fast and Furious Ignore Current Law


    Attorney General Eric Holder used his testimony before a House committee on Thursday to tout the supposed need for new gun control laws to prevent “gun walking,” or the transportation of firearms across the Southern border. But he – and members of the committee – ignored existing laws that already accomplish Holder’s ostensible goals.

    “That is why we need a stronger gun trafficking law,” Holder said in response to questions about recourse against officials who signed off on the gun walking tactic. The tactic was integral to Operation Fast and Furious, which allowed the transportation of roughly 2,500 firearms into Mexico, often with not just the knowledge but the facilitation of federal law enforcement officials, where those guns were given to violent drug cartels.

    Many Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, where Holder was testifying for the sixth time on Fast and Furious, echoed the attorney general’s calls for greater gun control. Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) touted legislation they introduced, which would make suspected “straw purchases” – the purchases of guns to be handed off to others – illegal.

    Holder called that bill “a good place for us to start.”

    But neither Holder nor committee members mentioned the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, a federal law already on the books that appears to criminalize the precise conduct undertaken by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in Operation Fast and Furious.

    According to James Steinbauer, a former Senate Intelligence Committee staffer who wrote the Kingpin Act, an extension of the IEEPA, “it is illegal for any U.S. entity or individual to aid, abet, or materially assist — or in the case of Operation Fast and Furious, to facilitate others to aid, abet, or materially assist — designated drug traffickers.”

    Steinbauer detailed some of the law’s intricacies at Pajamas Media in December:

    Based on the July 5, 2010, memo to Eric Holder, it would appear that Fast and Furious facilitated the delivery of weapons to — at a minimum — the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico. The U.S. Department of the Treasury, which administers both the IEEPA and Kingpin Act programs, has designated numerous members of the Sinaloa cartel under both programs. IEEPA prohibitions apply to the U.S. government as well as to individuals, and as stated there are no exceptions within IEEPA programs for unlicensed U.S. law enforcement or intelligence agency operations.

    There is a provision in the Kingpin Act for “authorized” law enforcement and intelligence activities, however the only procedure by which an Operation Fast and Furious program could have been “authorized” under the Kingpin Act was by the U.S. attorney general requesting a waiver (known within the Treasury Department as a Specific License), prior to any such operation being undertaken.

    But Holder has repeatedly insisted – and emphasized again today – that he was not aware that gun walking tactics were in use at the time. Simply, he could not have requested a waiver allowing the ATF to walk guns without knowing that the ATF was walking guns.

    So laws designed to deter the type of gun walking seen in Operation Fast and Furious – and to punish those who permit it – are already on the books. Additional laws aimed at gun trafficking are therefore unnecessary, assuming, of course, that their purpose is not gun control unrelated to the scandal at issue, but rather to prevent the type of activities that the ATF engaged in, which led to the deaths of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata, and potentially hundreds of Mexican citizens.

    Posted in Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    14 Responses to Calls for Gun Control in Wake of Fast and Furious Ignore Current Law

    1. Brian says:

      Incredible. What's even more amazing is the media's silence on this. This illustrates media bias.

    2. Brian says:

      And he wants to use this as an excuse to enact more restrictive gun laws? Wasn't that their motive in the first place? This is beyond despicable. Our head law enforcement officer is as criminally corrupt as they come. A complete inversion of our value system and our core values.

    3. Westernman says:

      Let's see now … holder breaks laws …. holder is AG of nation … WE should be subject to stricter gun control laws.

      Personally, I think the sequence should be: holder breaks laws …. holder goes to jail …obama pardons him … Delta Force and SEALs take obama and holder into custody and transfer them to Guantanamo, where the CIA uses them to teach waterboarding.

      holder, you can eat fugu and die.

    4. Grenadier says:

      More laws to do what? Disarm American citizens. Look at the big picture – Obama wants to "fundamentally transform" the United States of America. Unarmed people are much easier to control than those who are armed. Fast and Furious was an attempt to stimulate anti-gun regulation and laws. Debate will never persuade leftist progressives – facts do not matter to them- only their proclaimed ends. Finally, preaching to the choir may lift our morale but does nothing to persuade our opponents. It is time to get tough – no retreat, no surrender!

    5. Nanjing03 says:

      Wow, what was Eric Holder smoking when he made that comment? The only gun smuggling was DOJ's own BATFE launching a smuggling operation of their own into Mexico to create the illusion that Billy Bob's Guns and Sporting Goods was the cause of thousands of Mexican police, soldiers, judges, mayors and other bystanders — not to mention the murder of an American Border Patrol official because of a Justice Department conspiracy to prompt more useless gun control. I'm surprised that Holder can keep a straight face through all of his lies.

    6. Bobbie says:

      If this isn't contempt, what is?

      Can't believe the good of America's government will allow such predetermined inhumanness acts of authority without strict and necessary punishment! How dare he play his games of intent, pawning the innocent lives of others calling it "good intention…" thinking that should get him off the hook when "intention" can be fitting for any agenda government defines as "good!" Eric Holder's and otherwise intentions, isn't the role of government! It's to protect and serve! What American tax payers pay for, expect and deserve. Obviously Mr. Holder is incapable of his expected job duties civility of and respect to human life, can't afford!

    7. Terry & Friends says:

      That's what we need, more Left Wing, Gun Control!!! I have owned several rifles and pistols for all of my adult life (~48 years), and have never had a problem, or "caused a problem". The Second Amendment is just like so many other Constitutional Rights that are systematically being modified and/or taken appart by extreme leftist 'wing-nuts'. I live in California, where the gun laws are 'suffocating' already. This state is the most evasive and anti-gun rights state in the Union. I hope the new President and his administration take another look at what has been done to the "Second Amendment"… and repeal the negative leftist effects made to our Constitutional rights.

    8. KenW. says:

      We don't need more gun control; we need BATFE control.

    9. Stirling says:

      Holder is just taking a page from Saul Alinsky.,.. Create a situation to push an agenda… and deny your link to creating the situation. I applaud Issa for trying to get the Truth out of this DOJ. Part of similar Gun control was pushed at the UN level, in order to disarm amaericans and put us under global gun rights (sidesteping our constitution) Holder is in essance a pawn to this ideology of control.

    10. geck says:

      He needs to go to jail. That'll help control his thirst to commit crimes against U.S. citizens and law enforcement.

    11. James says:

      Why don't we set up a Federal Narcotics Cartel to initiate drug smuggling and distribution as a means of raising awareness for the need for stricter anti-drug laws?
      The hypocricy and willingness to lie on the left is reminiscent of the former Soviet Union. Whenever I hear anyone begin to defend the left or a Democrat I immediately assume he or she is lying. When I see a (D) next to a politician's name I instinctively know he/she is lying.
      Beating Obama in November is only the first step. We must not stop until the Democrat party and liberlism are completely destroyed. Not by outlawing them as they would have done to us, but destroyed in the hearts and minds of the American people. Then we can get to work on the Establishment Republicans. Long live the Tea Party.

    12. Carol,AZ says:

      The Foundry removed all direct re. under Trending ,that archive the F& F Hearing sequentially.
      Why ?

    13. Phili says:

      So, the US Attorney General has been charged with Contempt before Congress, and civil litigation has been filed by members of the US House of Representatives against Holder for contempt of Congress. So, why is he even standing before Congressional committees when he has no credibility. He should be persona non gratis before all of Congress, and his department should be de-funded until he is replaced, indicted or fired as the Attorney General.
      If Speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner had any spine and balls about him, Holder and all of Obama's "czars" for which there is no constitutional provision, the House of Representatives would de-fund every position and every department of tax payer funds until these people passed the requisite background investigations and were properly vetted and confirmed by Congress.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×