Questions about "Fast and Furious"
POSTED: Monday, July 16, 2012 - 4:51pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - 1:05pm
The so-called “Fast and Furious” gun sting gone bad is a complex story, and one that has led to the Attorney general being found in contempt of Congress.
So how hard is it to convict these gun buyers who plan to sell guns to the cartels?
We’ve all been following the political aspects of the case, and the ultimate outcome for Attorney General Eric Holder is yet to be determined.
The case of US guns bought on this side of the border, and ending up sold to Mexican drug cartels on the other side, is complex.
And one reason is the law.
One of the problems the ATF has as opposed to the DEA is that buying illegal drugs is, well, illegal.
Buying a gun, even a number of the guns the cartels are known to prefer, is legal.
No matter what it is you intend to do, you can’t be arrested until you do it.
And even then, reselling the gun to an unqualified buyer, means you can be charged with simply lying on the government form number 4473, the yellow sheet every gun purchaser fills out.
Usually, the punishment is probation, and then only if it can be proved you knew the person you sold it to was unqualified.
That’s because an individual selling a gun to another individual is perfectly legal. It happens in gun shows all the time.
Federal agents can follow straw buyers fairly easily inside the US, and arrest the bad guys.
Over the Mexican border, it becomes almost impossible.
Even knowing that, were four essentially identical failed sting operations throughout the 2000’s out of the Phoenix office of the ATF.
And in each, the agents couldn’t get US Attorneys to back them up since the evidence of a straw purchase is hard to get…and harder to prove in court.
So why didn’t the Justice Department lean on the attorneys to be more aggressive? Why aren’t stiffer sentences levied on straw purchasers? Why did the ATF use the same plan 4 times when they knew it was flawed?
That is yet to be determined, but the results are seen every day on the streets of Juarez, Tijuana and Monterrey.