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Standing Guard

By Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President

Criminal Malfeasance In “Fast and Furious” Operation Is Deflected As “Possible Mistakes”

Until recently, just precisely how President Barack Obama would open his campaign to make good on his personal promise to Sarah Brady to dictate new gun controls—“under the radar”—was unclear.

No more. With exposure of the systemic misconduct by the leadership of the U.S. Department of Justice and its Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) in ongoing Congressional investigations of “Operation Fast and Furious”—the insane government-approved guns-to-Mexico tracing scheme—it is obvious that the gun-ban crowd is using that scandal to demand all manner of strictures on our freedom.

It is a bizarre application of former Obama White House Chief of Staff—now Chicago Mayor—Rahm Emanuel’s “first rule”:

“You never let a serious crisis go to waste. … It’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

In a truly evil twist, the “serious crisis” in this case is a major scandal involving the highest levels of the Obama administration. It is a scandal that has led to the death of at least one federal agent and a yet untold number of Mexican nationals.

So we have Obama, his Attorney General Eric Holder and others in the government aligned with wholly dishonest elements of the national media conspiring to serve up a dual-purpose propaganda campaign. First is their conspiracy to hide the widening evidence of criminal malfeasance by the Obama administration. Second is their smokescreen of lies claiming a deficiency of current law regarding highly illegal domestic commerce and international smuggling of firearms.

But in seeking to blame the scandal on the lack of gun control laws, they go further. How about, blame the scandal on the NRA, on you, me, family, friends and neighbors—on anyone who takes a stand against attacks on the Second Amendment.

Every rabid plan against our rights hatched by the Violence Policy Center, or the Brady Campaign, or George Soros is back in play: long-gun registration, gun bans, criminalizing intrastate private sales and prohibiting gun shows. What’s next? Home gun inspections?

The day after U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa’s remarkable hearing where courageous BATFE agents detailed the insane nature of “Fast and Furious,” and where the family of murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry—victim of the Justice Department-BATFE “gun-walking” plot—described its anguished search for answers, The Washington Post let the cat out of the bag.

Its June 26, 2011, editorial was a stunning counterpoint to the hearing.

Headlined, “How Congress can empower the ATF,” the Post attacked you and me, saying:

“The gun rights lobby has spent considerable time and energy in pursuit of one goal: crippling the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). It has largely succeeded—and with dire consequences.”

Dire consequences? Linked to us?  How about the “dire consequences” of BATFE “monitoring” scores of criminals for two years under “Fast and Furious” as they serially violated tough federal gun laws and laws against international smuggling? How about the “dire consequences” of 1,800-plus firearms put into criminal commerce over the vociferous objections of BATFE field agents?

“We may never know whether the bureau would have launched the Fast and Furious operation had it had other, more effective tools at its disposal. Those who would clobber the bureau for possible mistakes should look in the mirror and accept some responsibility for its failings.”

Possible mistakes? An American family grieving over the murder of a young border patrol agent serving on the porous U.S. border. Possible mistakes? At least 150 Mexican families grieving for loved ones lost because of the perfidy of agency “leaders” wedded to a wacked-out scheme.

Possible mistakes? Libel and slander by The Washington Post of honest firearm dealers who did their part and reported some 50 straw purchasers to BATFE agents, who then were forced to stand down while guns were “walked” across the border.

These were not “possible mistakes.” This was criminal malfeasance on a world-class scale, but true to form, The Washington Post lays blame squarely on our shoulders rather than on the reckless government officials who set this scheme in motion and watched it play out. So what is the Post’s end game?  More gun control. The President’s “under- the-radar” agenda.

“Lawmakers should give the ATF the tools it needs to fight illegal gun trafficking. They should enact stronger penalties for straw purchases and craft a federal gun-smuggling statute; close the gun-show loophole, which allows buyers under certain circumstances to purchase weapons without a background check; resuscitate the ban on assault weapons; and give the ATF the authority to collect data on multiple sales of long guns in border states. The Senate should move quickly to confirm a director for the long-leaderless bureau.”

To The Washington Post, the nation’s law-abiding gun owners should pay the price for the lawlessness of this rogue government agency.

How about demanding that the Senate and the House aggressively support the efforts of U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa and U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley to get to the truth not only about “Fast and Furious,” but about the obstruction of a Congressional investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and the White House?

As the New York Post put it:

“Not even the Department of Justice is above the law. … The best way to disinfect the putrid mess that is Operation Fast and Furious is to expose it to sunlight.”

As for that other Post, The Washington Post, it is clear they are active participants in the “putrid mess,” and care only for the civil disarmament agenda of the Obama political machine.

In all my years in Washington I’ve never witnessed political mendacity on such an audacious scale. Then, “audacity” was a watchword for the Obama crowd along with their phony “hope and change” mantra. In the shared world of the Brady Campaign, the Violence Policy Center and a host of gun-ban politicians, their fondest “hope” is that they can forever “change” our liberty.

Many of our allies have been assuming that given the clear message from the last national elections, the enemies of the Second Amendment might be savvy enough to back off. It ain’t happening.

If anything, with the true colors of BATFE being exposed, gun-ban activists are doubling down—going for broke. It’s not too soon to be acting on the 2012 elections. The best thing gun owners can do is to demand their federal legislators ensure that BATFE and DOJ will be subjected to a complete top-to-bottom housecleaning through Congressional investigations. And those in Congress who stand in the way or parrot the Obama administration’s mantra—save BATFE with more gun control—must understand there will be a price to be paid at the ballot box.