Down Range: July 2011
More Gun Runner Fallout
Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa is vowing to block President Obama’s nominations until he gets detailed answers on a controversial program that resulted in drug cartels acquiring more than 1,300 firearms from the U.S., according a report in The Hill.
Grassley is pressing the Department of Justice (DOJ) on who initiated the "Gun Runner" program that authorized the sale of guns to people acting as straw purchasers for drug cartels in Mexico. Gun Runner might have contributed to the death of at least one federal agent.
As the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Grassley has been working closely with House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) for the past several months, gathering documents and conducting interviews with DOJ officials and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents in an attempt to find out who gave the order for the operation.
Gun Runner and another operation called Fast and Furious were designed to dismantle the gun-smuggling routes that drug cartels use to ferry high-powered assault rifles from the U.S. into Mexico. By allowing people to illegally purchase large quantities of the weapons from gun dealers, officials hoped to trace the firearms to the drug cartel members and prosecute them. But ATF whistleblowers allege that officials lost track of the guns.
Preliminary FBI figures reveal that the levels of both violent crime and property crime in the U.S. declined in 2010 from the previous year’s data.
The recently released 2010 Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report shows a 5.5% decrease in the number of reported violent crimes when compared with data from 2009. It also shows a 2.8% decline in reported property crimes.
This latest report is based on information submitted to the FBI from 13,007 law-enforcement agencies around the country. The crimes covered are murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor-vehicle theft, and arson.
So what are all we carrying "wild West gunslingers" supposed to make of this? Over at GunReports.com, "Gaviota" said it best: "Quick, send this report to Sarah Brady, Mayor Bloomberg, Josh Horowitz, Pete Shields, Paul Helmke, and all the other anti-gun astroturfers! Surely, when they discover that crime rates are continuing to fall across the board while gun and ammunition sales, and concealed-carry permit issuances, continue to skyrocket, they may just decide that their job is done. They say that all they want to do is reduce gun violence, and now all violence is lower now than it’s been since the early sixties, right? Right? Sarah? Bloomie? Josh? Pete? Paul?"
[crickets chirping] GT
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