Saturday, July 30, 2011

Darrell Issa On The Last Round Of Hearings And His Bill Honoring Brian Terry

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) was interviewed by Ginny Simone for NRA News. Among the topics discussed were Issa's bill honoring slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and the latest round of hearings into Operation Fast and Furious (aka Project Gunwalker).

HR 2668 - Brian A. Terry Memorial Act

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who as Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is holding hearings into Operation Fast and Furious, has just introduced a bill to honor one of its victims. The Brian A. Terry Memorial Act would designate the U.S. Border Patrol station in Bisbee, Arizona as the Brian A. Terry Border Patrol Station.

The bill has 52 co-sponsors including some of the Democrats on the House Oversight Committee such as Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA) whose goal in the hearings seems to be to promote gun control and protect the White House. I guess a guilty conscience will sometimes prompt even the most politically jaded to do the right thing every now and again.

The text of the bill is below:
H.R.2668 -- Brian A. Terry Memorial Act (Introduced in House - IH)

HR 2668 IH
1st Session
H. R. 2668

To designate the station of the United States Border Patrol located at 2136 South Naco Highway in Bisbee, Arizona, as the `Brian A. Terry Border Patrol Station'.


July 27, 2011

Mr. ISSA (for himself, Mr. CUMMINGS, Mr. MICA, Mr. QUAYLE, Mr. SENSENBRENNER, Mr. FRANKS of Arizona, Mr. KING of Iowa, Mr. GALLEGLY, Mr. PENCE, Mr. CHAFFETZ, Mr. JORDAN, Mr. ROSS of Florida, Mr. MARINO, Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas, Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN of California, Mr. CHABOT, Mr. GOODLATTE, Mr. SMITH of Texas, Mr. CALVERT, Mr. LEWIS of California, Mr. MCKEON, Mr. DREIER, Mr. DENHAM, Mr. WALBERG, Mr. BURTON of Indiana, Mr. DESJARLAIS, Mr. GOHMERT, Mr. LABRADOR, Mr. MCHENRY, Mr. TURNER, Mr. WILSON of South Carolina, Mr. LUETKEMEYER, Mr. FORBES, Mr. REICHERT, Mr. PEARCE, Mrs. MCMORRIS RODGERS, Mr. CLAY, Mr. CONYERS, Mr. CONNOLLY of Virginia, Mr. REYES, Mr. PASTOR of Arizona, Mr. GRIJALVA, Mr. HINOJOSA, Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas, Mrs. NAPOLITANO, Mr. HONDA, Mr. BACA, Mr. TOWNS, Mr. CRENSHAW, Mr. KINGSTON, Mr. GARRETT, Mr. WESTMORELAND, and Mr. QUIGLEY) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure


To designate the station of the United States Border Patrol located at 2136 South Naco Highway in Bisbee, Arizona, as the `Brian A. Terry Border Patrol Station'.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the `Brian A. Terry Memorial Act'.


The Congress finds the following:

(1) A native of Flat Rock, Michigan, Agent Brian A. Terry served his country proudly with the United States Marine Corps and continued his service as a police officer with the cities of Ecorse and Lincoln Park, Michigan, prior to joining the United States Border Patrol.
(2) Agent Terry was a member of the 699th Session of the Border Patrol Academy assigned to the Naco Border Patrol Station within the Tucson Sector.
(3) On December 14, 2010, Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry was conducting a Border Patrol Tactical unit (BORTAC) operation in the area of `Peck Wells'.
(4) At 11:15 p.m., near Rio Rico, Arizona, and about 15 miles north of Nogales, Arizona, Agent Terry and his team spotted a group of individuals approaching their position.
(5) Shortly thereafter, an encounter ensued and gunfire was exchanged that left Agent Terry mortally wounded.
(6) Agent Terry succumbed to his injuries on December 15, 2010.
(7) Agent Terry is survived by his mother, father, stepmother, stepfather, brother, and two sisters.


The station of the United States Border Patrol located at 2136 South Naco Highway in Bisbee, Arizona, shall be known and designated as the `Brian A. Terry Border Patrol Station'.


Any reference in a law, map, regulation, document, paper, or other record of the United States to the station referred to in section 1 shall be deemed to be a reference to the `Brian A. Terry Border Patrol Station'.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Rep. Trey Gowdy On Tuesday's Hearing

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC)said he didn't think it was possible to know less about an operation after a hearing than before. He thinks William Newell through his testimony just proved it was possible.

Dick DeGuerin Discussing Gunwalking In Houston Area

Dick DeGuerin is the attorney for Carter's Country gun shop in Houston. After being criticized for being one of the stores that sold guns that were found in Mexico and traced to the U.S., it came out that they only went ahead with sales at the request of the ATF. If this sounds similar to what we heard Phoenix area gun store owners say, it is.

DeGuerin was interviewed by Cam Edwards for NRA News. He would like the House Oversight Committee hearings into gunwalking to be expanded to include what went on in Texas. I think we could safely add the Tampa area to that list as well.


It is often said that one of the best ways to inoculate people against the gun prohibitionists is to take them shooting.

Yesterday evening I took the Complementary Spouse's brother-in-law and nephew shooting at the Top Gun Shooting Sports in Arnold, Missouri. Scott may have shot a couple of times when he was a boy but not since. Grant is your typical 14-year old who is into skateboards, video games, and YouTube. Grant had shot an airsoft gun but never a true firearm. He had been asking his dad if they could go shooting sometime.

After dinner, we trekked over to Top Gun which is one of the nicer indoor ranges and shops that I've ever visited. I brought a Ruger 10/22 and a Ruger Mk II target pistol, hearing protection, and safety glasses.

Grant with the Ruger 10/22

I started Grant out with just one round in the carbine. He was a little worried about the recoil but I assured him that with a .22 it is very light. He later said he was both excited and a little scared. I'd say he handled it very well - his first shot was in the bulls-eye of the target. We progressed from there to multiple rounds and he did just fine. I had sent him a YouTube video with the Four Rules and he had watched it beforehand. He did well on the safety aspect as well.

Scott with the Ruger Mk II pistol

I started out Scott in a similar manner to Grant and he did equally well. One of the best moments from the evening was when Grant turned to his dad and said, "This is fun!" Scott agreed.

Grant shooting the Ruger Mk II

We spent about an hour and a half at the range. Actually they had to shoo us out as they wanted to close up. When we got home, Grant told his 12-year old sister all about it and said she needs to go. Next time I think we'll have two lanes and two more new shooters!

Taking a new shooter out is one of the best things we as gunnies can do. Tom Gresham always talks about it on GunTalk and he is right. When some anti tells them guns are evil and only meant to kill, they will know better. I think if we all commit to taking just one new person shooting a year and making it a fun experience, it will be the best insurance we could have in protecting our Second Amendment freedoms.

Mini-Blogger Meet In St. Louis

Kurt Hofmann, the St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner, and I had our own little "blogger meet" today in southern Illinois. We met for lunch in Edwardsville which is home to Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. It is also the county seat of Madison County which is also famous - or infamous depending on your inclinations - for the number of class-action lawsuits that have been filed in its courts.

It was nice to finally meet Kurt in person as we had corresponded for many months and I have been reading his columns for a while now. He arrived wearing his brand-new Project Gunwalker T-shirt which will make his fellow 82nd Airborne alumnus Sean Sorrentino very happy. Mine is waiting for me at the Post Office.

We talked about a number of things including deer hunting in Illinois versus North Carolina, shooting, politics, families, the prospects for concealed carry in Illinois, etc. And, of course, we discussed the latest House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearings on Operation Fast and Furious (aka Project Gunwalker). I think we were both amazed at how poorly William Newell presented himself in the hearings drawing even exasperated comments from Ranking Minority Member Elijah Cummings.

While discussing the region's indoor shooting ranges, Kurt told me an amusing story of how he took out a target pulley system with his .500 S&W Magnum snubby(damn!). Kurt shoots from a lower position due to being in a wheelchair. The angle this time turned out just right for his bullet to clip the cable and sever it. Ooops! Still, anyone who can handle a .500 S&W Magnum snubby is more than OK in my book.

As long as Kurt is up for it, I think these lunches will be a regular thing when I come out to the St. Louis area. If there are other gun bloggers who would like to join us, please let me know. We may even be able to arrange a blogger shoot on the other side of the river in the free state of Missouri.

CalGuns Sues Merced County Sheriff Over CCW Policies

The CalGuns Foundation is doing a great job in keeping California sheriffs honest when it comes to concealed carry law in that state. They have just filed a suit in Merced County against the county, the sheriffs department, and Sheriff Mark Pazin for the additional requirements that Sheriff Pazin imposes on CCW applicants. CalGuns alleges these additional requirements contravene California state law.

I think it is safe to say that other counties in California may expect such lawsuits if they try to skirt the state law on concealed carry.


San Carlos, CA (July 27, 2011) – As part of its ongoing Carry License Compliance and Sunshine Initiative, the Calguns Foundation has filed a lawsuit in Merced County Superior Court challenging Merced County and its Sheriff’s firearm carry licensing policy for violating state law. Joining CGF are three individual plaintiffs who have been harmed by these policies, Michelle and Seth Rossow and James Clark. The plaintiffs are represented by Jason Davis of Mission Viejo and Donald Kilmer of San Jose.

California firearm carry license laws currently require applicants to have “good cause” and “good moral character.” The Calguns Foundation believes that those requirements are an unconstitutional prior restraint on the people’s right to bear arms, and is challenging those requirements in its Federal lawsuit over Yolo County’s carry licensing scheme in Richards v. Prieto, currently on appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

However, in Merced County, the Sheriff saddles applicants with additional forms, fees, and processes - even for individuals who meet the heightened good cause and moral character requirements - that, CGF alleges, violate state law.

“Sheriff Pazin has had ample time to create a policy that adheres to state law,” said Brandon Combs, a director of CGF and leader of the Initiative. Calguns Foundation first contacted Merced in October of 2010, when it discovered that the Sheriff had established an unlawful moratorium on carry license applications. The Sheriff subsequently lifted the moratorium, but has since refused to modify parts of his policy that CGF identified as unlawful.

“This case is definitely important to all Merced County residents who seek a carry license,” added CGF chairman Gene Hoffman. “What Sheriff Pazin has done is further burden a process that’s already costly and complex with unlawful requirements and fees. We are merely requesting the court mandate that the Sheriff’s policy be consistent with existing law.”

In 1999, California enacted Assembly Bill 2022 to enforce standards upon the carry licensing process. "The Legislature, in AB 2022, sought to address the arbitrary and widely-varying abuses in carry license policies between different cities and counties in California,” said Jason Davis. “They made it clear that application requirements, forms, and fees are to be uniform throughout the state."

“When we found out my wife was about to become a new mom," said plaintiff Seth Rossow, "we knew we needed to take steps to protect our family when we weren’t in our home. We’ve had problems with meth users hiding at our ranch, and we watch the news like everybody else. In this day of budget cuts and reduced law enforcement patrols, it is important for us to be able to easily apply for our carry licenses.”

“The Rossow’s concerns for their safety are not unique," added Don Kilmer. "California created a system that was designed so that applicants could focus on important issues, like training, rather than worry about a local form the Sheriff might or might not want them to fill out that day.”

“Ultimately, this case is about making carry license policies consistent with California law,” said Gene Hoffman. “We believe that we can accomplish this without 58 lawsuits, but if that’s what it requires, that’s what we are prepared to do.”

A downloadable copy of the complaint may be found at CGF’s downloads library. More information on Calguns Foundation’s Carry License Compliance and Sunshine Initiative and other Second Amendment-related litigation and educational efforts can be found at

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Report - Demand Letters On Multi-Rifle Sales To Start August 14th

Alan Korwin, who publishes a number of books on gun laws in the states, is reporting that August 14th is the start date for the demand letters from ATF to Southwestern FFLs. In an email alert sent out on Monday night (July 25th), he reports:
According to four BATFE agents familiar with the planned Fast and Furious
gun-smuggling "fix," the bureau plans to release a "demand letter" by the
end of this week, insisting that gun dealers in the four Mexico-border
states begin reporting multiple rifle sales to the bureau.

All multiple rifle sales made to the same buyer within a five-day period
will have to be reported beginning on August 14, on a form to be announced,
according to the agents.
The order will exclude rifles in .22 caliber, and
rifles without detachable magazines. The agents acknowledged that
congressional action, lawsuits, an injunction or other court orders might
forestall the implementation of the hastily concocted scheme. Such
preventive measures are already underway.

The rumored executive order to require gun dealers in California, Arizona,
New Mexico and Texas to begin reporting multiple rifle sales to BATFE will
not be issued. A previous Page Nine report that referred to the expected EO
now appears incorrect. It is possible that the uproar over the program
caused the administration to change its approach, and put all the heat on
BATFE to "enact" law without Congress. The EO was widely reported and

An exhaustive examination of statutory authority under which BATFE is
required to operate revealed no legitimate power to demand these records,
though the agents claimed they do have authority (two younger ones said
they have no control over the process, and were simply following along).
When questioned if they would consider resigning if asked to implement an
illegally introduced rule, the agents all either declined to answer or said
no, they would not resign.

Because a buyer will have to be identified to show that the sales reflect
purchase by one person, the record collections will be a gun registry tied
to gun ownership, which is strictly forbidden under federal law. No
requirement to destroy these records exists, since no authority to collect
the records exists. The BATFE agents said they would not be keeping the
records, because they "lack authority," but could not identify a time frame
in which the registry information would be destroyed, or any audit trail.

When pressed, the senior official identified a statute that supposedly
conveyed authority for the daring plan. The citation is to 18 USC
which states:

"Each licensee shall, when required by letter issued by the Attorney
General, and until notified to the contrary in writing by the Attorney
General, submit on a form specified by the Attorney General, for periods
and at the times specified in such letter, all record information required
to be kept by this chapter or such lesser record information as the
Attorney General in such letter may specify."

This does not confer the needed authority, because "all record information
required to be kept by this chapter" does not include multiple sales of
long guns to the same person in a five-day period. The agent disagreed. In
fact, Congress specifically excluded such information when it enacted, by
due process, a statute requiring similar information for handguns in the
same law, in 18 USC §923(g)(3)(A):

"Each licensee shall prepare a report of multiple sales or other
dispositions whenever the licensee sells or otherwise disposes of, at one
time or during any five consecutive business days, two or more pistols, or
revolvers, or any combination of pistols and revolvers totalling two or
more, to an unlicensed person."

In addition to the creation of this illegal reporting requirement, illegal
gun-owner registry, with unknown details and no public control over the
rule-making process, it amounts to record keeping specifically banned under
the Firearm Owners Protection Act, 18 USC §926(a)(2):

"No such rule or regulation prescribed after the date of the enactment of
the Firearms Owners Protection Act [5/19/86] may require that records
required to be maintained under this chapter or any portion of the contents
of such records, be recorded at or transferred to a facility owned,
managed, or controlled by the United States or any State or any political
subdivision thereof, nor that any system of registration of firearms,
firearms owners, or firearms transactions or disposition be established."

Like so many laws the federal government writes, this one declares that
these acts cannot legally be done, but provides no specific punishment for
perpetrators, such as those running this scheme inside BATFE. Laws could be
written with teeth, to control bureaucrats. Instead of saying, "No one may
collect this information," the law could say, "Anyone who collects this
information shall go to prison and pay a fine." Given the common abuses now
prevalent in government, such laws have been needed for a long time, on a
state and local level as well as federally, some legislators say. Any
legislator unwilling to draft laws that way, allowing "officials" to do
whatever they please without consequence, deserve to be removed from
office, according to leading experts.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

VPC Claims Mini-14 Is "Poor Man's Assault Rifle"

In the wake of revelations that the deranged killer in Norway used a Ruger Mini-14, the Violence Policy Center has released a "report" calling the Mini-14 the "poor man's assault rifle." This term came from "Assault Pistols, Rifles and Submachine Guns" - an old, out-of-date book (published in 1986) - by Duncan Long

The MRSP for the base model of the Ruger Mini-14 is $881. The price for the model they feature in the "report" is $921. Street prices for these rifles are still in the upper $600 range. Those are U.S. prices. I imagine it is much higher priced in Europe.
The Violence Policy Center then goes into exhaustive detail from the deranged killer's 1500 page manifesto about why he went with the Ruger Mini-14. They, of course, call it a "militarized weapon" which can defeat body armor and are easily available in the United States. Mind you, the deranged killer was Norwegian and bought his rifle under the extremely strict Norwegian gun control laws.

Again, it is the implement that the gun prohibitionists blame and not the killer. Nowhere on their site do I see anything about the killer's access to fertilizer with which he constructed a car bomb that killed 7 people.

This "research" is typical of VPC. They use obscure books and articles to condemn the firearm, quote extensively from a deranged man's "manifesto", and, by doing so, give him the publicity he so desparately was seeking.

Newell, White House Staffer Discused Fast And Furious

In an article on today's hearings into Operation Fast and Furious, CBS's Sharyl Attkisson has this update on William Newell's testimony.
Update, 2:40 p.m.: The special agent in charge of the Phoenix ATF office during gunwalking scandal, Bill Newell, testified early this afternoon that he discussed the program with a White House staffer.

Newell said he talked to his friend, Kevin O'Reilly, who is listed the White House's Director for North America at the National Security Council.

This is, to my knowledge, the first direct indication that at least one staffer in the White House was aware of Operation Fast and Furious. There is no way to know currently whether he passed this information to others on the NSC or up the chain to the President's office.

With every revelation in Project Gunwalker, it just keeps getting more and more interesting.

UPDATE: David Codrea examines the significance of the NSC's Director for North America being in the loop about Project Gunwalker here.
What’s evident from today’s exchange is Issa’s committee has some degree of access to past Newell/O’Reilly email correspondence. How much is one question. Where following up on what they have will lead—and how high up—is another, and the most important one of all.

Senator Grassley On Today's Hearing And Investigators' Report

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) appeared on FoxNews this afternoon and was interviewed by Jenna Lee. When asked about the gunwalked firearms still out there, Grassley said, "Remember, you are never going to sweep all those guns out there." He also didn't think much of SAC William Newell's assertion that they never intended for the guns to cross the border.

William Newell Is Full Of It

I just read over the prepared testimony of former ATF SAC of Phoenix Field Division William Newell. To put it bluntly, it is full of self-serving bullshit.

On Brian Terry's death:
The death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry is one I will mourn for the rest of my life, as I do for all those brave heroes who have taken up the badge to serve and protect and then made the ultimate sacrifice. I express my deepest condolences to the Terry family and may our Heavenly Father bless him and the Terry family through these very difficult times.

On the lack of "tools" to combat gun trafficking:
Firearms trafficking investigations are not always easy to conduct for a variety of reasons including the lack of a Federal statute that specifically prohibits firearms trafficking related activity; 1 the fact that firearms unless altered in some way are not, in and of themselves, contraband; the lack of adequate punishment for “straw” purchasers thus impacting our ability to identify the leadership of the criminal organization; and the limited resources at our disposal.

On gunwalking:
One, it was not the purpose of the investigation to permit the transportation of firearms into Mexico and to the best of my knowledge none of the suspects in this case was ever witnessed by our agents crossing the border with firearms.

 On keeping ATF Agents in Mexico informed on Operation Fast and Furious:
From the beginning of this investigation in late 2009 to the first indictments in January of 2011 I made every reasonable effort to keep the Phoenix PGR representative and my ATF colleagues in Mexico briefed on this investigation. I am also aware of numerous discussions throughout this investigation between the agents working this case with their ATF peers in Mexico, dialogue which I encouraged. In addition, and in conjunction with our Mexico Country Office, I extended an invitation for Mexican Federal prosecutors to participate in briefings in order to provide them with essential facts of the case. I was determined that if and when we ever identified the key decision makers of the criminal organization, most likely cartel members in Mexico, that we would be fully supportive of providing this information to our Mexican counterparts in order for them to pursue criminal charges there.

Testimony of former ATF Attache Darren Gil

Darren Gil is delivering this prepared statement currently before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Statement of Darren D. Gil, Former ATF Attaché to Mexico

Hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
July 26, 2011

Thank you, Chairman Issa, Ranking Member Cummings and members of the
Committee for inviting me to participate in this important hearing regarding the serious ATF matter known as “Operation Fast and Furious.”

First, I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the families of Agents Brian
Terry and Jaime Zapata. I am deeply sorry for their loss, and for the grief that this illconceived operation may have caused. Also, I would like to thank ICE special agent Victor Avila for his services and sacrifices in fighting the narco‐violence in Mexico and along the border. I can only imagine the horror of helplessly watching a brother law enforcement officer die in the line of duty.

In addition, as the former head of the ATF contingent in Mexico, I would like to
apologize to my former Mexican law enforcement counterparts and to the Mexican people for Operation Fast and Furious. I hope they understand that this operation was kept secret from most of ATF, including me and my colleagues in Mexico. Unfortunately, as a result of this operation, it is the Mexican people who will continue to suffer the consequences of narco‐related firearms violence. I have no doubt, as recent media reports have indicated, that American citizens will also be exposed to more firearms‐related violence as a result of this operation.

I am grateful for the opportunity to be here today and would like to provide the
Committee with a brief description of my background. I received a Bachelors degree in Criminology from the University of Maryland, a Masters degree in Criminal Justice from the University Alabama, and am currently completing my dissertation at the University of Southern Mississippi, focusing on international affairs and security studies. I have been in service to our nation since my enlistment in the U.S. Army in 1980. After my tour in the Army, I joined the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, where I served until I received my commission as an ATF Special Agent in 1987. I then served for 23 years in various positions in ATF, including intelligence assignments and as Attaché to Mexico, until I retired in December 2010.

I chose ATF for my career because it was a small organization with a focused
mission that I found appealing: combating the most violent offenders in America. During my first 12 years as a field agent, I participated in, or directed investigations that targeted the worst of the worst. For the remainder of my career, I supervised, managed and led agents who conducted similar investigations. Throughout my career at ATF, not once, never, did firearms “walk” from any investigations I directed or which fell under my command. This includes my service as ATF Attaché in Mexico. Put bluntly, it is inconceivable in my mind, or the mind of any competent ATF Special Agent, to allow firearms to disappear at all. Furthermore, it is even more inconceivable that a competent ATF Special Agent would allow firearms to cross an international border, knowing that they are ultimately destined for the hands of the “worst of the worst” criminals in the Western Hemisphere.

I recall my first days at the ATF academy, where it was drilled into us as new agents that under no circumstances would any firearms, in any investigation, leave the control of ATF. Instructors stressed that even if a weapon was lost “by accident,” the agent was still subject to termination. Even today, if an agent loses their ATF‐issued firearms, they are subject to termination. My point is that ATF agents don’t allow ‐ and ATF as an organization historically has not tolerated ‐ the notion that firearms could simply disappear. Yet, that apparently is what was allowed to happen here.

In early 2011 after retiring from ATF, I started receiving inquires from former ATF
colleagues, including Senior Special Agents Vince Cefalu and Jay Dobyns, as well as from numerous media organizations. They all wanted to know whether I was aware that ATF had allowed firearms to walk into Mexico. I advised my former colleagues that I was not aware, but refused to speak with the media without a complete understanding of the issue. After talking with several ATF agents in the field and at headquarters, I became convinced that firearms might have been walked into Mexico by ATF. Thankfully, Congress and the media continued to investigate the matter and Operation Fast and Furious began to receive greater notoriety. Nonetheless, I remained reluctant to speak out about what I had come to suspect since retiring from ATF, but was never told, about this operation. After discussions with my former staff in Mexico and employees at ATF Headquarters, I learned that ATF executive staff would not make statements exonerating my former staff in Mexico
of any knowledge of the gun walking aspects of this operation. Out of a desire to set the record straight and protect my colleagues in Mexico, it was only then that I decided to speak to the media. My understanding is that my initial interview with Sharyl Atkinson of CBS News did have some calming effect on relations between the Government of Mexico and ATF personnel assigned to Mexico. To this day, I do not understand the failure of the ATF executive staff to provide their own support in this matter to ATF personnel serving in Mexico.

During my dissertation research I came across a study that provided some insight
into how an operation like Fast and Furious could arise and be supported. Interestingly enough, it is titled The Waco, Texas, ATF Raid and Challenger Launch Decision: Management, Judgment and the Knowledge Analytic by Terence Garret (2001). The paper could have substituted “Operation Fast and Furious” for “Waco, Texas, ATF Raid” in the title and the study’s conclusions would have been the same: namely, poor management, poor judgment and poor leadership resulted in disaster. Operation Fast and Furious, as I have come to understand it, is indeed a disaster.

I know the Committee has asked me to testify and to answer questions today, which
I look forward to doing. But, I also have a few questions of my own which I hope this committee may someday be able to answer. For example, who actually presented this operation for implementation? What was the objective? My staff in Mexico was already working with the Government of Mexico in tracing thousands of cartel‐related firearms recovered from crime scenes that had been smuggled into Mexico illegally. Why the need to introduce even more firearms into a country being besieged by narco‐ violence? Also, what supervisor approved this plan? Who thought this was a good idea? Why did the ATF leadership in Washington fail to exercise oversight of this disaster? And, why were ATF personnel in Mexico kept in the dark on this operation, which has now imperiled trust and cooperation between U.S. and Mexican law enforcement at a time when that trust and cooperation is more essential than ever?

During my tenure in Mexico, I observed firsthand the extraordinary changes
occurring in that country. Mexico is indeed working towards improvements in the rule of law, a transition to an adversarial court system, and improvement of their police forces. The heads of the agencies leading these changes for Mexico are some of the bravest people I have ever met. As a result of their leadership and implementation of change, they become marked targets by the Mexican Drug Organizations. I find it grotesquely ironic that as representatives of United States law enforcement in Mexico, my staff and I were asked to expose ourselves and our families to the same sort of risk while speaking to our Mexican counterparts of integrity, rule of law, honor and duty in policing. Meanwhile, members of our own ATF and Department of Justice for whatever reason, appear to have refused to follow the same principles.

As a career ATF Special Agent, I believe in the mission and the people of ATF. ATF is an organization that constantly operates under political and budgetary constraints. Despite these constraints, the men and women of ATF go to work around the world every day with a strong sense of mission and duty. I hope that once all the facts are known about this operation and whatever necessary managerial changes are made in response to it, that ATF will emerge a stronger, more effective organization and that it will continue to focus on its core mission: taking the worst of the worst armed violent offenders off the streets in America.

Again, thank you Mr. Chairman and members of the committee for inviting me to
testify today. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Preview Of Today's Hearing On Fast And Furious

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has released a staff report this morning on the impact of Fast and Furious on Mexico. It gives a preview of the hearings that start at 10am. The key points include the fact that there was little information sharing between ATF in Mexico and Phoenix, that Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer was "in the loop", and that ATF agents in Mexico were furious when they found out the full extent of the gunwalking.
ATF Officials in Mexico Denied Access to Information by U.S. Counterparts about Reckless Strategy that Allowed Guns to Fall Into the Hands of Mexican Drug Cartels

Issa, Grassley release staff report focusing on impact of Operation Fast and Furious on Mexico

WASHINGTON – Findings in a second staff report released by Representative Darrell Issa and Senator Chuck Grassley show that ATF officials based in the United States Embassy in Mexico City were increasingly worried about the alarming rate of guns found in violent crimes in Mexico from a single ATF operation based out of the ATF's Phoenix Field Division. Issa is Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and Grassley is Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"The consequences of arming Mexican drug cartels seem obvious. But even guns turning up at crime scenes in Mexico wasn't enough for Justice Department officials to arrest straw purchasers and shut down their trafficking operations. Tragically, it wasn't until Fast and Furious guns were found at the murder scene of a Border Patrol Agent that Justice officials finally ended this reckless and arrogant effort," said Issa.

"It's incomprehensible that officials at the Justice Department, the ATF and the U.S. attorney's office would keep their counterparts at the U.S. embassy in Mexico City in the dark about Operation Fast and Furious. Keeping key details secret while straw purchasers continued buying weapons for gun traffickers jeopardized our relationship with our southern ally and put lives at risk," Grassley said.

The report released today outlines several important findings, including:

• There was little to no information sharing from the Phoenix Field Division, ATF Headquarters and the Justice Department to their colleagues in Mexico City. Every time Mexico City officials asked about the mysterious investigation, their U.S. based ATF counterparts in Phoenix and Washington, D.C. continued to say they were "working on it" and "everything was under control."

• Lanny Breuer, the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division at the Justice Department, was clearly aware of Operation Fast and Furious and touted the case during a visit to Mexico.

• ATF officials in Mexico City were incredulous that their agency would knowingly allow guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels, and they were incensed when they finally began to learn the full scope of Operation Fast and Furious and the investigative techniques used.

Issa and Grassley are leading a congressional inquiry into the ill-advised strategy known as Operation Fast and Furious.
David Codrea has uploaded the full staff report to Scribd and I have embedded it below. You can also download the PDF here. In his National Gun Rights Examiner column, David notes that the ATF attache called the program a "perfect storm of idiocy." How true.

ATF Mexico Report

Just A Reminder - Project Gunwalker Hearings Begin At 10am EDT Tomorrow

The Full Committee hearing entitled, "Operation Fast and Furious: The Other Side of the Border" will take place at 10:00am on Tuesday, July 26th in room 2154 Rayburn House Office Building.

The hearing will be streamed live at
There is no word yet on whether CSpan will cover the hearings tomorrow like they did last time. I really hope they will as I want to see William Newell squirm under questioning.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Rep. Trey Gowdy On Felon Straw Purchasers

FoxNews reported today that at least two of the indicted straw purchasers in Operation Fast and Furious were not only straw purchasers but convicted felons. When the FBI conducted the NICS check, they should have been flagged immediately as prohibited purchasers and the sale denied.

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) represents the Spartanburg area of the Upstate of South Carolina. Prior to entering Congress, Gowdy was the local solicitor or district attorney for Spartanburg County. He has also served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney and has experience in prosecuting violations of Federal firearms law. He says "you cannot sanction illegal activity to further an ill-fated, ill-founded, ill-conceived investigation."

Cap'n Crunch Doesn't Like CUTAF

In an interview with CNN reporter Abbie Boudreau in May 2010, ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson was highly critical of the website He objected to ATF critics hiding behind made-up screen names. You know, like Vincent Cefalu and Jay Dobyns. Oh, wait - those are their real names. He does mention "Thor" which was the name of the Norse God of Thunder. Thor, according to Wikipedia, is also charged with the protection of mankind. Given the important role that the members of CUATF have played in exposing Project Gunwalker, I would say Thor is an appropriate screen name.

As one might imagine, the CUATF people who have posted this video are none too thrilled with Mr. Melson. From the webmaster:
Many of us here at used to believe that Kenneth Melson was simply another clueless career bureaucrat, who, although he might not be a bad guy personally, had not the slightest idea what was really happening in the agency he was supposedly responsible for "leading". Although that would make him patently incompetent (which seems to have been rather conclusively established at this point), many of us gave him a certain benefit of the doubt in terms of personal integrity. That misconception has now been irrevocably clarified.

The simple fact is that Kenneth Melson is a bald-faced LIAR.

In the interview shown below, Melson states that he has an "open door" policy. However, on the basis of repeated conduct, such a claim is an unequivocal lie. A significant number of employees have, while using their real names, attempted in good faith to make Melson aware as to just how screwed up ATF is in terms of managerial malfeasance, corruption and unlawful conduct, only to either be retaliated against, or to receive nothing but a big, fat cold shoulder.

"Open-Door" Policy? Our ass.

You might also recall that when confronted about the fact that Whistleblower Special Agent Vince Cefalu had been deliberately relegated to twiddling his thumbs all day (at significant taxpayer expense) by his vicious, retaliatory, corrupt, perjuring managers (who all work directly for Kenny-Boy, Melson told the nation, "Not on my watch". However, Melson then proceeded to do precisely NOTHING about that ridiculous abuse of taxpayer monies (and complete waste of Cefalu's 25 years of top-notch training, experience and accomplishments), and Cefalu remains in the same basket-weaving status to this very day, more than a YEAR after Melson's shameless whoppers.

Once again, there is a word for what Melson did; it's called LYING. You are a professional prevaricator, unmitigated, unadulterated, dyed-in-the-wool fibber. You might manage to somehow save your own ass in this ginormic fiasco you have overseen, but you're still a liar by any reasonable measure.

Also, you'll note that Melson laughably contradicts himself in the most amateurish manner by first pompously stating that he personally blocked (from access through government computers) "because no employee should be exposed to such lies and distortions" (in so many words), but in the same breath, saying that he encourages employees to visit the site(!), as long as it's on their own time. Only the most dronishly jaded lifelong federal bureaucrat could make such an incomprehensibly muddled and logically incompatible statement.

Ken Melson, you are a disgrace and a stain on the honor of decent, hard-working law enforcement agents. You have failed miserably in your duties as Acting Director of ATF, a position for which you were clearly not qualified or competent. We call on you to resign immediately and spare yourself, ATF, DOJ and this nation further embarrassment.
"Pama" is a bit more forgiving of Melson but agrees that he is lying about what he knew and his involvement in Project Gunwalker.
Although Melson was obviously involved in "supervising" and directing Fast and Furious, it equally obviously was not his idea. I personally believe this came directly from Obama, Holder, Breuer and a few other political appointees. I believe the State Department and Homeland Security were involved in planning this deplorable debacle or at the least, were well aware of it and approved of it. I have a secret suspicion that FnF is why Hillary and Mueller are leaving the Regime. Melson was appointed in April or May of 2009. I believe the planning for this operation was already well underway by that time. That being said, he is clearly lying about what he knew and about his involvement. However Holder and Obama are chiefly responsible. Everyone involved needs to be exposed, prosecuted and pilloried.
If this interview were recorded today as opposed to a year ago, I wonder what Melson would be saying about CUATF.

A Gun Care Bleg

The Complementary Spouse and I are spending the week in southern Illinois and Missouri visiting family. One of my self-imposed chores for the week is to clean and oil all of her late father's guns. He was quite the collector  and had a goodly number of shotguns and commemorative Winchester 94s.

Unfortunately, while kept in an air-conditioned house, a few are showing signs of spotty rust. I have heard 0000-size steel wool when used with gun oil will take care of the rust and not harm the blueing. Is this correct? Do you have other suggestions for removing little bits of rust without harming the blueing?

Any suggestions for a gun oil to use for longer term storage short of covering them in cosmoline? I planned to use a light oil like RemOil. Should I go with something heavier like RIG Gun Grease instead?

Thanks for the help.

Magazines For Guns You Don't Own

A Tweet from Cheaper Than Dirt advertising their 30-round magazines for the HK 91/G3 reminded me that I have at least 100 G3 magazines (20-rounders) and don't even own a HK 91/G3/PTR-91! I'm sure I am not alone in owning magazines for firearms that I don't currently own.

I bought most of them a couple of years ago when the great Obama's Gonna Ban Them rumors were going strong. CMMG was planning on launching an AR-10 variant which would use the G3 magazines. They did come out with the lower but you had to shave down the DPMS upper. I wasn't too keen on doing that work myself.

I think if I ever get around to having a rifle that can use these magazines, it will either be a PTR-91 or a semi-custom rifle built by SI Defense out of Kalispell, Montana. SI Defense has a lower that will fit modifed G3 magazines and they will build the whole rifle for you. I did speak with them at the NRA Annual Meeting in Charlotte and that seems the way to go for the higher quality build.

NSSF Rips Jim "Virtual Wholesale Slaughter" Moran A New One

In the debate over stripping funding from the ATF's new multiple rifle sale reporting requirement in the Southwest, Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) said removing the funding from the rule would be akin to "virtual wholesale slaughter." His comments, as reported in The Hill, go on:
“The NRA is so afraid that the people who are really funding the NRA, the gun manufacturers, might lose some sales that we’re willing to sacrifice the lives of these people that are casualties of this gun war,” Moran said during the markup.

“And we’re promoting it. We’re enabling … that slaughter to continue,” Moran said.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation did not take Moran's comments lying down. They responded with a blistering 3-page letter which took him to task over his comments. The full letter is here.

First, NSSF General Counsel Larry Keane points to Moran that ATF was never given the authority by Congress to impose the reporting requirement.
We are filing the lawsuit on behalf of our members challenging ATF's new record keeping and reporting requirement because Congress never gave ATF the legal authority to impose this requirement. In 1986, Congress amended the Gun Control Act to require the multiple sale reporting of handguns. Congress could have, but did not, require reporting of long guns.
Then, the NSSF reminds Moran that it is the NSSF that speaks for the firearms industry.
Please allow me to correct another misunderstanding. The people who are really funding the NRA are its 4 million members. The NRA does not speak for the firearms industry. The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry - we, not the NRA, are the voice of our industry
Next, Keane points out that the new reporting requirement will make it harder for FFL's to spot straw purchasers and proactively report them to ATF.
..the policy is ill-advised as it will actually make it more difficult for firearms retailers to cooperate with law enforcement, as illegal firearms traffickers quickly modify their schemes to circumvent the new reporting requirement. They can simply send a straw purchaser to multiple dealers, recruit more straw purchasers, spread out the purchases beyond five business days, or acquire firearms in non-border states. America's firearms retailers, the very people ATF identifies as their "partners" and the first line of defense, will no longer be able to detect suspicious purchases and alert the proper authorities.
Finally, he discusses the decade-old "Don't Lie For The Other Guy" program that NSSF has funded to the tune of $5 million dollars and then reminds Moran they sought his help for more funding to expand the program.
About a year ago, we visited your office to seek your help as a member of the Appropriations committee in securing grant funding for the Don't Lie program so we could grow and expand the program and deliver its message throughout the country. Unfortunately, you did not provide the bipartisan leadership we had hoped for.
In other words, Jim Moran is not just an ignorant tool of the gun banners but a hypocrite as well. When he had the chance to help expand the Don't Lie program, he took a pass.

Lest it be forgotten, during Operation Fast and Furious, firearms stores in Arizona reported the suspicious sales of firearms, requested that the sales be denied, and were specifically told to go through with the sales by ATF to what were obvious straw purchasers. The guns didn't walk to Mexico because of FFLs; they walked under orders from ATF and DOJ.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Miguel On Tactical Metrosexuals

Having reached the age where I need reading glasses to read this page as well as to see my front sights, I was very amused by Miguel's latest at the Gun Free Zone about the Tactical Metrosexual.
You have seen the type: Dressed in Under Armour Black T-Shirts one size too small so the biceps (with the duty tribal tattoo) and other muscle groups are tightly defined. Oakley wraparound ballistic sunglasses that they never remove unless they are going to bed (But I bet they keep during sex), cargo pants…er… excuse me “tactical” pants in black or khaki and scuffed tan boots that scream “I was there” referring to their time as supply clerks in Iraq. At the range they’ll be carrying every piece of gear they can attach with MOLLE and more guns than a Latin Kings meeting in South Central LA. Their ultimate wet dream is to make the cover of SWAT magazine but they will settle for an insert in Soldier of Fortune.
It was written in reference to this post on another blog. Make sure to read Miguel's full post.

I am solidly in Miguel's camp on this one. I will admit to wearing Woolrich Covert Khakis. I find they are more comfortable than jeans and I'll be damned if I'm going to wear "mom jeans". I'll leave those to the President.

UPDATE: I just saw this post on Tactical Fanboy. I think this is the appropriate camo for the well-dressed Tactical Metrosexual so they don't have to wear old fat white guy BDU Woodland.

Another Win For Crimson Trace

Crimson Trace won a Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence Award for their Lightguard. I have a Laserguard on my Ruger SR9c and like it. It was very easy to install and turns on when you grip the pistol. Now to find a custom holster for it.

Crimson Trace Wins Seventh Consecutive Academy of Excellence Award

(Bowling Green, KY) Crimson Trace’s new Lightguard™ platform garnered the coveted Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence award on Friday, adding one more win to the company’s already impressive track record. In front of around 300 industry peers, Lew Danielson CEO of Crimson Trace accepted the accolade for Best Self Defense Product on behalf of the company he founded 15 years ago.

Academy of Excellence award nominees are selected on the basis of innovation and quality, with individual members of the shooting industry voting for the products they consider to be the best in their field. The Lightguard system of pistol-mounted lights allows the user to positively identify their target in a low-light environment and is sufficiently lightweight and compact to allow for concealed carry. “It’s a great honor to accept this award on behalf of the hard-working folks at Crimson Trace,” said Danielson. “We’ve introduced many new products this year, building on our previous successes, but we still design and manufacture everything right here in the USA.”

The Lightguard platform fits popular models of Glock, Smith & Wesson and Springfield handguns and the company plans to introduce more models in the coming months. With a profile no wider or longer than the pistol’s slide and an impressive 100 lumen output, the Lightguard fits comfortably into a concealment holster and will run for 2 hours on one CR2 battery.
CORRECTION: My discussion was on the Laserguard while Crimson Trace won for the Lightguard. I have made corrections above. I do like my Laserguard.

As to the Lightguard, it seems to be a much smaller and easier activated light than other alternatives.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Ultimate JMB Collector's Item

While I might argue that you can't have too many 1911s (or Browning Hi-Powers), this is a one of a kind collector's item for the ultimate John Moses Browning fan.

The Browning Mansion in Ogden, Utah is now on the market again. The price for the 8 bedroom, 3 bath home which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places is a mere $350,000. It has updated heating and cooling system and new carpeting.

For all we know, the ghost of JMB inhabits the home and will share some of his gun-designing genius with the new owner.

Video Courtesy of

Interesting Connections

A post yesterday from "Noreaster" on the forum pointed out that Acting Director Kenneth Melson may not have been as far out of the loop on Project Gunwalker as he is claiming in his testimony with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Read the post below regarding Mark and Vivian Michalic who are both officials with ATF. Mark Michalic is an ATF Agent seconded to Deputy Attorney General James Cole as his Special Assistant while his wife Vivian is Assistant Deputy Director for Management and the former Chief of Staff to Ken Melson. This points in my opinion to a direct up and down communication link between the highest levels of ATF and the highest levels of the Justice Department. This is definitely something that deserves more attention from the House Oversight Committee.

Interesting talk with a good source at 99 New York the other day made me particularly angry about Melson claiming that he had no idea what was going on in F & F, which most of us think is a lie or cleaver lawyer-speak about what "know" or "learned" means.

1. Did you know ATF has had an ATF agent at DOJ HQ for 2 years working at the Special Assistant to the Deputy Attorney General? I didn't, but his name is Mark Michalic, formerly of the Intel directorate (OSII). My source tells me this was a hook up from Jim McDermond, the former Secret Service guy and head of ATF Intel who got sent to be the assistant director of Public and Government Affairs last year. Michalic (my source said he is a good guy and a Waco vet) has been there so long he has worked for or with most of the people on Issa/Grassley's latest demand memo for DOJ emails.

2. Michalic reports to and talks to Melson, Hoover, Sarnacki and Pelletiere as the official and unofficial link to senior management at DOJ and there are LOTS of emails between them.

3. Michalic's wife is Vivian Michalic, the current assistant director for ATF's Office of Management but also Melson's former chief of staff. That directorate controls all of the money, personnel (until recently) and administrative things inside ATF.

So it looks like acting director Melson, breeder of Portuguese water dogs and Captain Crunch stunt double - a guy more in the weeds than any other director we have ever had wants us to believe that even though he had the IP address of surveillance cameras, demanded briefings for he and Hoover weekly, had an AD and former chief of staff feeding him information from AND TO his connection in the DAG's office, that he didn't know what was going on? I think that is bull s###.

If the tactic is for Melson and Hoover to blame everyone above and below and try to claim they were poor misled executives, I pray Sen. Grassley and Rep. Issa will not be fooled. If you want to use Melson to beat the hell out of DOJ that is your political business, but 5000 employees in ATF deserve better than just that. Act with honor. Act with speed. Act with courage or go down in history as letting 10-15 lousy ATF employees destroy an important government agency and damage ATF's fight against violent crime, a fight we do better than any other agency, even as screwed up as were are right now.

Issa Gives FoxNews A Preview Of Next Week's Gunwalker Hearings

In an interview with FoxNews, Rep. Darrell Issa gives a preview of next week's hearing on Project Gunwalker. Among the things Issa says is that if all the facts had been known, ATF would not have needed to even engage in Operation Fast and Furious. He made that point that there were people in DOJ who did have knowledge of all the various operations and still let ATF blunder along with Operation Fast and Furious.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

She Needs To Call Breda For That Answer

A number of Wisconsin municipalities are debating what restrictions, if any, they will place on concealed carry in city buildings now that concealed carry is the law in that state. The guidance from the League of Wisconsin Municipalities states:
According to a legislative bulletin from the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, the concealed carry law that Gov. Scott Walker signed into law July 8 prohibits carrying firearms into police stations and municipal courtrooms if court is in session.

Local governments also may ban firearms from municipal buildings if a proper sign is posted, but they can not prohibit them from municipal parks and open spaces, according to the League analysis.
In Whitewater, the City Council was presented a proposal from the Parks and Recreation Director to ban firearms in "the municipal building, library, White Building, armory, Starin Park Community Building, Cravath Lake Community Center and Train Depot building."

Some members of the council seem a little bewildered by it all. For example, Marilyn Kienbaum had this to say:
“I can’t imagine why anyone would be carrying a gun into those places to begin with,” Councilwoman Marilyn Kienbaum said.
Perhaps, Councilwoman Kienbaum, pictured below, needs to speak with Breda - gun blogger, reference librarian, and Bersa-toter - for an answer to that question.

Whitewater Councilwoman Marilyn Kienbaum - Janesville Gazette

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The First Chicago Civilian Certified To Teach Chicago Firearm Permit Class

Colleen Lawson, one of the plaintiffs in McDonald et al v. Chicago et al, is now officially the first civilian from Chicago to be state-certified to teach the Chicago Firearm Permit class.

Colleen announced the good news on her Facebook page.

Congratulations to Colleen who is a wonderful person and who is dedicated to advancing gun rights in the face of huge obstacles. It is a designation that took a lot of hard work and dedication to attain.

UPDATE: Colleen emailed with a correction to this story. I had Colleen as the first civilian certified to teach the Chicago Firearm Permit class. She corrects this to be the first civilian living in Chicago - in other words a Chicagoan - to be certified. Colleen notes that ISRA instructors Richard Pearson, Doug Mayhall, and Lee Goharing are all civilians but live outside the City of Chicago.

The Straw Buyers In Fast And Furious

Back in January, the BATFE announced with great fanfare that they had broken up a large straw purchasing and smuggling operation. The U.S. Attorney indicted 20 straw buyers. As William LaJeunesse of FoxNews reports, only one of those charged with straw purchases - a felony which carries a 10-year sentence - is still in prison. The rest were let out on bail within 24 hours of their indictment.

Next Round Of Gunwalker Hearings Announced

The House Oversight Committee has announced that the next round of hearings on Operation Fast and Furious (aka Project Gunwalker) will be held next Tuesday at 10am. The announcement is below.

Looking at the witness list, this one should be very interesting. Darren Gil, former ATF Attache to Mexico, was forced into retirement when he objected to the project. He was interviewed by Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News a few months ago.

It will be very interesting to hear what Bill Newell and William McMahon have to say. Given that Ken Melson has already met with the committee, they have to know that they will need to come clean. As I said a while back, having Newell spilling his guts has got to put fear into the higher ups in ATF and the DOJ.

I do have to wonder what sort of inane nonsense that Ranking Minority Member Elijah Cummings will come up with when questioning these witnesses given his performance last time.
"Operation Fast and Furious: The Other Side of the Border" will examine accounts of agents based in Mexico

Washington DC-- On Tuesday, July 26th, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will convene a hearing as part of the ongoing investigation into the Department of Justice's Operation Fast and Furious, a tragically flawed effort that is connected to deaths on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border.

The Committee's previous hearing, Operation Fast and Furious: Reckless Decisions, Tragic Outcomes, featured ATF agents who testified they were ordered to let guns destined for Mexican drug cartels walk and heartbreaking testimony from the family of a U.S. Border Patrol agent whose murder is linked to guns that law enforcement chose not to interdict.

This Tuesday's hearing, Operation Fast and Furious: The Other Side of the Border, will feature the testimony of U.S. law enforcement officials who witnessed a different side of the controversial operation. These officials saw the steady stream of Operation Fast and Furious guns recovered at crime scenes in Mexico and were given orders from superiors not to alert Mexican authorities. Members of the Committee will also have their first opportunity to question ATF supervisors who have defended Operation Fast and Furious and the Justice Department's decisions to committee investigators.

"The Acting Director of the ATF has told congressional investigators that the Justice Department is attempting to shift blame in Operation Fast and Furious away from its political appointees," said Chairman Darrell Issa. "Examining the accounts of witnesses who did not participate in Operation Fast and Furious, but were nonetheless disturbed as they watched it unfold is critical to understanding the scope of this flawed program. This testimony is especially important in light of the Justice Department's willful efforts to withhold key evidence from investigators about what occurred, who knew and who authorized this reckless operation."

Operation Fast and Furious: The Other Side of the Border
Full Committee, Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif.

10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 26th in 2154 Rayburn House Office Building.


Mr. Carlos Canino – ATF Acting Attaché to Mexico
Mr. Darren Gil – Former ATF Attaché to Mexico
Mr. Jose Wall – ATF Senior Special Agent, Tijuana, Mexico
Mr. Lorren Leadmon – ATF Intelligence Operations Specialist
Mr. William Newell – Former ATF Special Agent in Charge, Phoenix Field Division
Mr. William McMahon – ATF Deputy Assistant Director for Field Operations (West, including Phoenix and Mexico)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Excerpts From Issa Interview

Earlier this evening I posted the full interview that Rep. Darrell Issa did with Cam Edwards and Ginny Simone of NRA News. They have excerpted the really key things Issa said in the three clips below. If you have time, listen to the full interview. If not, the clips below are great.

How To Say Nothing In Five Paragraphs

I got the following email today from Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) regarding efforts in Congress to remove the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency under the Toxic Substances Act to manage lead in ammunition, bullets, and fishing tackle. While I don't actually remember writing her on this subject, I must have done so.

If you read the entire letter, nowhere in it does she say where she stands on the subject at hand. She's happy to hear from me and wants me to continue to share my opinions with her. She says she is moderate and bipartisan. She says she supports the military and has military ties in her family. Blah, blah, blah.

What makes this banal email from her even more frustrating is that she is a co-sponsor of the bill in question. You would think if she got an email or letter asking her to support the bill, she would tout the fact that she not only supports the bill but is a co-sponsor.

This letter should be used in training classes for PR hacks as example of how to use spin on your constituents.

All I can say is that 2014 can't get here soon enough.

July 19, 2011

Dear Friend,

Thank you so much for contacting my office in regards to the Hunting, Fishing, and Recreational Shooting Protection Act (S.838). I greatly appreciate hearing from you, and I hope you continue to share your opinions and ideas with me. I am honored to represent North Carolina in the United States Senate, and it is important to me that my office is open and accessible.

Whenever I am asked to evaluate an issue, I look at all perspectives and interests so I can make the most informed decisions possible. I have always felt that elected officials should do more to work across the aisle to pass legislation that benefits all Americans. I have strived to promote bipartisanship among my colleagues in the Senate, and I pledge to continue working with individuals from all political backgrounds as I champion the interests of North Carolina.

I take great pride in my moderate record, both in the United States Senate and the North Carolina Senate. Throughout my career in public service, I have been particularly dedicated to advocating for middle-class families, making sure our children have access to quality education and promoting fiscal responsibility. North Carolina is the most military-friendly state in the nation, and I will work to continue this tradition. My own family has a strong military background, and I am so proud of our brave men and women serving in the armed forces.

As legislation comes before Congress, please feel free to contact me with your concerns, questions, and ideas. I have always said that constituent service comes first. As I tackle issues in the Senate that are important to our state, I want as much input as possible from the citizens of North Carolina.

Again, thank you for contacting my office. It is truly an honor to represent North Carolina in the United States Senate, and I hope you will not hesitate to contact me in the future should you have any further questions or concerns.



Kay R. Hagan

Rep. Jason Altmire On Self-Defense Carry On Army Corps Of Engineer Land

Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA) proposed an amendment that restricts funding for the Army Corps of Engineers to enforce a ban on firearms on Corps-managed land. They manage over 11 million acres of land throughout the U.S. The Gosar-Gibbs-Altmire Amendment passed last week.

Rep. Altmire is also the co-sponsor along with Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH) of HR 1865 - the Recreational Lands Self-Defense Act of 2011 - which would do away with the ban on firearms on Army Corps of Engineers land. This bill has 73 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle. From the text of HR 1865:
The Secretary of the Army shall not promulgate or enforce any regulation that prohibits an individual from possessing a firearm including an assembled or functional firearm at a water resources development project covered under section 327.0 of title 36, Code of Federal Regulations
So long as an individual was not prohibited from possessing a firearm and as long as possession at the lake or water recreation area was permitted under state law, the Corps would no longer be able to ban possession of a functional firearm on property they manage.

Rep. Darrell Issa On The Demand For Info From The DEA And FBI

Rep. Darrell Issa was a guest on Cam and Co. He was interviewed by both Cam Edwards and Ginny Simone. He discusses the letters sent to the heads of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He revealed that that he and his investigators already know the names of the confidential informants that may have been paid with taxpayer monies.

It is a very informative interview to say the least.

FoxNews On Latest Issa-Grassley Letter To Holder

Monday, July 18, 2011

Bloody Hands

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) introduced HR 2554, Stop Gun Trafficking and Strengthen Law Enforcement Act of 2011, on Friday to great fanfare along with Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY). They say they want to provide law enforcement with more "tools" to stop smuggling of arms along the border of Mexico. This, of course, ignores all the other laws already on the books which makes each and every thing covered under this bill a crime.

What they say and what they really mean are two entirely different things. Their bill and the fanfare with which it was introduced have dual aims: to promote more gun control and to divert attention from Eric Holder and the Obama Administration for its culpability in the death of hundreds of Mexicans along with Brian Terry and Jaime Zapata. By doing so, they are just as complicit in those deaths as those in the Obama Administration who dreamed up Operation Fast and Furious and all the other variants of Project Gunwalker to build support for more gun control.

The co-sponsors of Rep. Maloney's bill are listed below. By signing on as co-sponsors they share in the goal of diverting attention on this scandal away from Eric Holder and Barack Obama. As I said above, complicit.

Rep Ackerman, Gary L. [NY-5]
Rep Chu, Judy [CA-32]
Rep Connolly, Gerald E. "Gerry" [VA-11]
Rep Conyers, John, Jr. [MI-14]
Rep Cummings, Elijah E. [MD-7]
Rep Farr, Sam [CA-17]
Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51]
Rep Lynch, Stephen F. [MA-9]
Rep McCarthy, Carolyn [NY-4]
Rep Moran, James P. [VA-8]
Rep Norton, Eleanor Holmes [DC]
Rep Quigley, Mike [IL-5]
Rep Rangel, Charles B. [NY-15]
Rep Speier, Jackie [CA-12]
Rep Tierney, John F. [MA-6]

Chris Cox On Arms Trade Treaty

Chris Cox, Director of the NRA-ILA, was interviewed by Ginny Simone of NRA News on the UN's Arms Trade Treaty. One very important point that he made was that a treaty doesn't go away at the end of a session of Congress if it isn't ratified. It stays out there forever and a succeeding Senate could ratify it years after it was first submitted. That is what makes the Arms Trade Treaty so dangerous to our gun rights and freedoms.

A Ph.D. In Biochem Doesn't Make You An Expert In Everything

Sean has a story about an opponent of HB 111 which would allow concealed carry - but not alcohol consumption - in North Carolina restaurants and eating establishments that serve alcohol. Dr. Art Kamm has his Ph.D. in biochemistry and had worked in the pharmaceutical industry in the development of drugs to fight cancer for a number of years before he retired.

If Dr. Kamm was opining on the efficacy of a certain cancer drug, I would listen to him. If he were talking about clinical trials and the lengthy regulatory process it takes to bring a drug to market, I'd be interested. If he said something about the inner workings of the FDA, I'd assume he had some first hand knowledge. However, if as Dr. Kamm says, that passing HB 111 will scare the tourists, I'd say stick to your area of expertise. Anecdotal stories about one group of visitors from Australia doesn't make you an expert on tourism or firearms policy.

Art Kamm reminds me of an old crank that lived in Haywood County years ago. Richard Suhre had been a scientist with the Atomic Energy Commission (the predecessor to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission). Suhre was a college educated man from a generation where few people had his level of education. He also thought that made him an expert in everything. He was constantly writing letters to the local paper giving his "learned" opinion on virtually everything. When he was talking about a potential nuclear waste dump in the mountains, he knew what he was talking about. On other things, not so much. So it is with Dr. Kamm.

Go to Sean's site and read the whole thing.

Melson: DOJ Response to Fast and Furious Investigation Intended to Protect Political Appointees

Attorney General Eric Holder is not as politically astute as I previously thought despite having been groomed by the Clintons. If he were more politically astute, he would have known better than to make a career bureaucrat the fall-guy for Operation Fast and Furious because they are exceedingly adept at in-fighting. Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson is currently serving in a slot set aside for a political appointee. However, Melson had been a career employee of the Department of Justice from 1983 until 2009 when he was appointed Acting Director with the understanding he would return to the career service. He didn't get to the Senior Executive Service on talent and good looks alone.

When Melson was made the designated fall-guy, he balked. Moreover, he began to talk to Congressional investigators which led to today's 10-page letter to Holder from Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley asking about "the smoking gun" so to speak.

Chairman Issa and Senator Grassley Press Attorney General Holder with Key Testimony

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley today pressed Attorney General Eric Holder about the Justice Department's unsatisfactory responses and lack of cooperation with an investigation into the highly controversial Operation Fast and Furious. A letter sent by the two lead investigators highlighted testimony indicating internal disputes within the Justice Department and a statement from the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) that the Justice Department is attempting to protect its political appointees.

"It was very frustrating to all of us, and it appears thoroughly to us that the Department is really trying to figure out a way to push the information away from their political appointees at the Department," ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson said of his frustration with the Justice Department's response to the investigation in a transcribed interview.

"The Department should not be withholding what Mr. Melson described as the 'smoking gun' report of investigation or Mr. Melson's emails regarding the wiretap applications," wrote Issa and Grassley. "Mr. Melson said he reviewed the affidavits in support of the wiretap applications for the first time after the controversy became public and immediately contacted the Deputy Attorney General's office to raise concerns about information in them that was inconsistent with the Department's public denials. The Department should also address the serious questions raised by Mr. Melson's testimony regarding potential informants for other agencies."
The full text of that letter can be found here. It is very interesting. The letter and Melson's testimony leads one to believe that an active cover-up is in process at DOJ and that documents have been created after the fact.

Issa And Grassley Press DEA And FBI For Answers

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) are pressing the heads of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for answers to their agencies' involvement in Operation Fast and Furious. This is amid reports that some of the targets of the ATF in Project were actually paid FBI informants.

While Issa and Grassley are pressing for information, I fully expect at the FBI to try and stonewall them.
Grassley, Issa Press for Answers from FBI, DEA in Fast and Furious Investigation

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley and Representative Darrell Issa are pushing for additional information and documents from the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in relation to the two agencies roles in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) reckless strategy known as Operation Fast and Furious. The strategy employed by the ATF allowed firearms to be purchased by known straw buyers and then transferred to third parties where the guns often crossed the border to Mexican drug cartels.

The letters are a follow-up to a recorded, transcribed interview with Acting ATF Director Ken Melson. The Acting Director was interviewed by congressional investigators on July 4 where he corroborated several details that included other agencies involved in Operation Fast and Furious.

In the letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller, Grassley and Issa asked about the “veracity of claims” regarding the possible involvement of paid FBI informants in Operation Fast and Furious and “specifically at least one individual who is allegedly an FBI informant” and “might have been in communication with, and was perhaps even conspiring with, at least one suspect whom ATF was monitoring.”

The letter to DEA Administrator Michelle Leonhart requested a briefing by DEA staff as well as “the number of informants or cooperating informants handled by other agencies identified in the course of any investigations related to Operation Fast and Furious.”

In addition, both letters (to Mueller and Leonhart) asked for communications of several members of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force who were working in coordination with the ATF to conduct Operation Fast and Furious.
The full letter to DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart can be found here.

The full letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller can be found here.

Both letters are detailed in the information sought. The Leonhart letter specifically asks about any communications regarding Fast and Furious by the heads or assistant heads of the DEA offices in Phoenix, Tucson, Nogales, and Yuma. This letter also asks for any information relating to Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta who is the lone person in custody who can be linked to the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

The Mueller letter is broader in scope than the Leonhart letter. It seeks info on confidential informants, the investigation into the murder of ICE Agent Jaime Zapata in Mexico, and any communications between ATF and certain FBI officials including ones in Phoenix, El Paso, and Tucson. They especially are looking to see if ATF and the FBI agent in charge of the Terry murder investigation have had any communications.

If they get the information they request, things could heat up very quickly and even the mainstream media would not be able to ignore it like most of them have been doing these last few months.

SAF's Final Report From The UN Conference On Arms Trade

Julianne Versnel's final report from the UN's Third Preparatory Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty is below. Thank god someone is keeping an eye on this.

Amb. John Bolton and the Bush State Department told these folks to pound sand. Those times are past and the Obama Administration thinks the ATT is just hunky-dory. Given that the treaty will be ready in the next couple of years, it isn't too soon to start writing your Senators about this treaty. Like all treaties, the Arms Trade Treaty must be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate to go in effect in the United States. Let's make sure that doesn't happen.
FINAL REPORT on the Third Preparatory Committee (Prep Comm) meeting for the Arms Trade Treaty that ended on July 15, 2011.

By Julianne Versnel, Second Amendment Foundation Director of Operations

With the Chairman’s Draft Paper distributed on July 14, 2011, it is apparent that small arms and ammunition will be included in the ATT final draft that will be hammered out at the month-long negotiating conference in July 2012. Small arms and ammunition have been the focus of much of the discussions by the delegates. While this was expected from many less developed states, the vehement and strident comments suggesting the scope of the proposed ATT be broadened by Australia, Sweden, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Ireland and Norway were somewhat surprising.

This meeting had over 375 requests for registrations by NGOs and other interested parties. This was not an open meeting and specific permission had to be received so that registration could even be made. This is an unprecedented number.

A member of the UN staff asked me on the first day of the meeting why there were so many people who wanted to attend this conference. The First and Second Prep Comms meetings had had about 100 and 125 NGOs in attendance respectively. As the week progressed, the answer to the question became obvious. This conference is about firearms and ammunition. Just as this is an emotional issue that elicits strong feelings from Americans, so it is in the rest of the world.

The great majority of those attending were from organizations that deal almost exclusively with small arms. On July 14, 2011, NGOs were allocated one hour to make statements. Control Arms, a Survivors’ Declaration and IANSA spoke and were followed by remarks by the National Rifle Association, World Forum for the Future of Sports Shooting Activities and Defense Small Arms Advisory Committee. There was no presentation that discussed any part of the scope of the treaty beyond firearms and ammunition.

The fourth and final Prep Comm is to take place in mid February 2012. While this has been described as a technical conference, there is little likelihood that there will actually be further discussion for expanding the scope and reach of the ATT to be presented the following July.

The Second Amendment Foundation remains vigilant in covering the progress of the upcoming United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.

A Report From The UN Conference On Arms

Julianne Versnel is the Director of Operations for the Second Amendment Foundation. She, along with Alan Gottlieb, spent all of last week attending the United Nations Third Preparatory Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty. Here is her report on seeing the draft ATT that was released on Thursday, July 14th.
Today, the most recent Chairman’s Draft Paper for the Arms Trade Treaty was distributed. Ambassador Roberto Garcia Moritan authored the outline for the proposed ATT based on consultation, discussion and guidelines decided upon in this and the two previous Preparatory Conference meetings. This document dated 14 July 2011 covers the Scope, Criteria, Implementation and Final Provisions that are expected to be in the ATT presented for discussion in July 2012.

The Preamble under item six, “recognizes the sovereign right of States to determine any regulation of internal transfers of arms and national ownership exclusively within their territory, including through national constitutional protections on private ownership.” This language is a direct response to the serious reservations expressed by the U.S. and other delegations.

Unfortunately after this comes the Scope of the proposed treaty. This includes along with tanks, Artillery Systems, Naval Vessels and Missile Systems--small arms and all ammunition for these small arms.

While acknowledging a constitutional right, the criteria and record keeping requirements proposed in the treaty would necessitate the special marking of all firearms (IV, 1, h) and more critically all ammunition (IV, 1, j). The costs involved in both the physical marketing and recordkeeping are enormous. The proposed document also includes the creation of an Implementation Support Unit (VI, G-1) with yearly reporting and records kept for a minimum of 10 years. (V1, B-1).

Another egregious proposal is the Victim Assistance proposal. (VI, F) This provision is one that has been presented repeatedly at Programme of Action and Conference of Parties meetings. Many African, Southern American, Central American and Caribbean countries have proposed that manufacturers contribute to a fund based on their sales. Alternately they would assess fees on countries based on the value of its arms exports.

As the ATT moves closer to its final form, it is imperative that we realize that the technical requirements and definitions still to be determined are very dangerous. Much of the debate on these will take place in side events that are very often closed to NGOs.

The US already has the most stringent import and export requirements for firearms in the world. While this proposed treaty is supposed to be about conventional weapons, the focus in the discussions is on small arms, the very firearms that our US Constitution guarantees us the right to bear.

The Second Amendment Foundation remains vigilant and will continue monitoring this Arms Trade Treaty. We will not remain silent in our fight to maintain your right to keep and right and bear arms. We cannot trust the very organization that devised and administered the oil for food program in Iraq to respect our Constitutional rights—particularly the right to keep and bear arms.

A Wing Shooting Tip That Makes Sense

The National Shooting Sports Foundation has started to put out a lot of videos with instructional tips. This one with Gil Ash makes a lot of sense about how to "slow down" the speed of the bird or clay pigeon. He uses the analogy of merging on to the highway. If you are standing still and looking at the cars whizzing by, they look like they are moving fast. However, if you are moving at a speed close to the other cars, everything seems to be moving slower.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sick Of Yard Work? Tired Of That Old Mower?

Greg Hickok - Hickok45 - has the solution! Just shoot the damn thing with an AK-47!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Koenig On Grip

Doug Koenig knows a thing or two about pistol shooting. In this video for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Doug talks about what he considers the proper grip for shooting.

Text Of Maloney-Cummings-McCarthy Gun Control Bill

The text of the Stop Gun Trafficking and Strengthen Law Enforcement Act of 2011 is below. This is the newest gambit by certain Democrat members of the House Oversight Committee to use Operation Fast and Furious as a means to push for more - and superflous - gun control laws. As I noted about in my post about their press release, every illegal act that they are trying to cover is already covered by other Federal laws. Having this law in place would not stop the smuggling of arms and certainly wouldn't have prevented the ATF from engaging in gunwalking.

The bill does not yet have an assigned number that I can find in the Library of Congress's Thomas system.

To prohibit firearms trafficking.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Stop Gun Trafficking and Strengthen Law Enforcement Act of 2011’’.

(a) IN GENERAL.—Chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
§ 932. Trafficking in firearms
"(a) IN GENERAL.—It shall be unlawful for any per3on, regardless of whether anything of value is exchanged, to receive, or to transfer or otherwise dispose of to 1 or more individuals, 2 or more firearms that have been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce, knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such conduct will result in the disposing of 1 or more such firearms to an individual—
‘‘(1) whose possession or receipt of the firearm would be unlawful; or
‘‘(2) who intends to or will use, carry, possess, or dispose of the firearm unlawfully.
"(b) ORGANIZER.—It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly direct, promote, or facilitate conduct that violates subsection (a).
‘‘(c) CONSPIRACY.—It shall be unlawful for any person to conspire to violate subsection (a).
‘‘(d) DEFINITIONS.—In subsection (a):
‘‘(1) The term ‘individual whose possession or receipt of the firearm would be unlawful’ means an individual—
‘‘(A) who is under indictment or has a prior conviction for a violent felony or a felony drug offense;
‘‘(B) who at the time of the offense was under a criminal sentence, including on probation, parole, supervised release, or work release, or in escape status;
‘‘(C) whose possession of the firearm violates or would violate section 922(x)(2); or
‘‘(D) whose possession of the firearm violates or would violate paragraph (2), (3), (4), (5), (8), or (9) of section 922(g).
‘‘(2) The term ‘violent felony’ has the meaning given in section 924(e)(2)(B).
‘‘(3) The term ‘felony drug offense’ has the meaning given in section 102(44) of the Controlled Substances Act, and includes a drug trafficking crime (as defined in section 924(c)).’’.

(b) PENALTIES.—Section 924(a) of such title is amended by adding at the end the following:
‘‘(8)(A) Whoever violates subsection (a) or (b) of section 932 shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, subject to subparagraph (B).
‘‘(B) The term of imprisonment imposed on a person who violates section 932 in concert with 5 or more other persons with respect to whom the person occupies a position of organizer, a supervisory position, or any other position of management, shall be not more than 25 years.
‘‘(C) Whoever violates section 932(c) shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.’’.

(c) CLERICAL AMENDMENT.—The table of sections for such chapter is amended by adding at the end the following:
‘‘932. Trafficking in firearms.