According to a story posted to the Los Angeles Times web site this evening, the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (commonly called the ATF or BATFE) has been “leaking” guns to known arms smugglers so that they could smuggle those guns into Mexico. Apparently the ATF wanted to track where smuggled guns would end up. At least one of the guns in question was used to murder a U.S. border patrol agent last December.
The story has been all over the Second Amendment supporting blogosphere (that is, U.S. bloggers who support the right to keep and bear firearms) and various mainstream media sources for a few weeks. However, today a working ATF agent went on CBS News and told what he knew. So this cat is well and truly out of the bag.
Sometimes it’s hard to know what to say. My thoughts on this one: what MORON thought up this brain-dead plan!? I own and shoot guns, and firmly support the right of individuals to keep and bear arms. (Non-American readers: this right is guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, Second Amendment.) Like most gun owners, I also know how dangerous guns can be. There are reasons that the law controls who is allowed to buy a gun. There are reasons why the law requires an export license to sell a gun outside of the United States. There are also reasons why we have rule of law in the United States, one of which is to prevent agents and agencies of the U.S. government from violating the laws when it seems like a good idea at the time!
If the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) had been caught smuggling real drugs into another country as part of an effort to track where they ended up, heads would roll. The director of the DEA would certainly be fired, might be prosecuted, and those DEA agents found to be directly involved would certainly face criminal prosecution. The same rules should apply to the ATF. Fire the people who let this happen, and prosecute those who planned it and carried it out.