Friday, July 8, 2011

On the Second Amendment: Gunwalker

Alright, so full disclosure. I'm a pretty strong supporter of people's rights in the United States to own guns, even if I don't exercise that right for myself. It's always been my belief that the right to arm oneself is an expression of trust in one's citizens, trust that is critical when you depend on those people to choose your government representatives. The loss of those rights opens the way for tyranny, whether that of a foreign nation, a politician with influence over the official military, or some gang of punks down the way that the cops don't want to bother with. So I typically view any attempt to ban or manipulate the ownership of guns with a pretty jaded eye, even if I believe that the efforts are motivated by good intentions.

The recent news over Gunwalker, also known as operation 'Fast and Furious' at the ATF has not lessened my skepticism. For those who are experiencing grim feelings of foreboding, it's probably because the ATF is involved in an operation named after such a crappy, crappy movie, but that's besides the point.

The ATF is the federal organization in charge of enforcing the laws regarding alcohol and tobacco, along with guns and other weapons. If somebody wants a license to sell guns legally, they have to go to the ATF, presumably so they can make sure you aren't going to be selling them to criminals. If you want a license to buy a gun, once again the ATF will be in charge of making sure you aren't a felon or crazy person or something. If a state bans a particular type of gun, such as semiautomatic rifles, sniper rifles or other weapons, the ATF kicks down the doors and takes them. That's their job. Kinda.

You see, for the past little while the ATF has been forcing gun shop owners in Arizona and other areas to sell guns to gunrunners, who then sell them to the narcotrafficantes in Mexico. They likely threatened to take away the licenses for the shops--you know, the ones that supposedly mean you don't sell guns illegally--in order to provide sufficient leverage. The agents of the ATF watched through bugs, cameras and other means, while straw buyers walked into gun shops, purchased hundreds of semiautomatic weapons, sniper rifles and other guns, and walked out. They then traced the shipments to the border, but couldn't be bothered to continue their efforts after that. Mexico, who wasn't really consulted on the operation, has reported upwards of 150 deaths among their soldiers and law enforcement officers as a result of those guns, and at least two federal agents in the USA have been shot to death by them.

Let me repeat. While legal citizens of the United States have to literally take a suit all the way to the Supreme Court to own a handgun in Chicago, the ATF is funnelling guns to Mexican drug cartels by the hundreds. While someone is waiting days or weeks to recieve their concealed carry permit, the Zetas are getting their guns right away, all the better to kill mayors and police officers with in Mexico.

It's a common argument that strict gun control only keeps the guns out of the law abiding citizens, not the criminals, but does it have to be actual government policy? Seriously, how are we supposed to trust the government to regulate this stuff after this crap? When you have to honestly contemplate whether the senior officers of the gun control wing of the government need to be extradited to Mexico for gunrunning and felony murder, somethings horribly, horribly wrong, and I don't think the answer is 'more federal gun control.' Maybe that's just me, but I doubt it.

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