Patterico's Pontifications


Project Gunrunner: How Did the ATF Get Gun Dealers to Agree to Sell Guns to Criminals?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:05 am

We are going to be staying on top of the Project Gunrunner controversy here — as I am convinced that we have not heard the last of it.

Towards that end, a listener passes along this interesting interview with David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh — the two bloggers who really broke the story before CBS took it national. Codrea has published a journalist’s guide to the controversy in two parts, here and here. I recommend you bookmark those links and return to them. Another link to bookmark that is mentioned in the interview:, the original source of much of what has been revealed about the gunwalking program.

One of the most fascinating aspects of all of this is: how did the ATF get gun shop owners — a relatively conservative crowd — to go along with this? Interviewer Jim Bohannan asks his guests: did any of these owners think: sure, there is a sting, but I’m the patsy. In response, speaking of one gun shop in particular, one of the bloggers says:

They did everything that they could to discourage these sales. They called the ATF and they were told to go through with it. But you have to understand that gun dealers, licensed gun dealers who hold federal firearms licenses, are all under the thumb of the ATF regulatory scheme. And they are almost all pathologically conditioned to do what the ATF asks them to do or else. You know, the ATF even has an internal term for what happens to people who get out of line. It’s called an “economic Waco.” They don’t kill you, but they leave you absolutely without economic resources or the ability to make your way in life, because you are absolutely at the mercy of their regulatory decisions.

The bloggers go on to explain how some of these regulatory threats might occur: federal regulators have been known, they say, to start regulatory proceedings against gun dealers because a “yes or no” box on a federal form was filled out with a “Y” or “N” instead of a “yes” or “no.”

I want you to read the above passage again, and I want you to burn it in your brain. Because I have this strange feeling that there are more revelations coming down the pike — and that some of them will relate to what you just read (and hopefully heard). We may find out that the ATF was . . . rather heavy-handed in suggesting what might happen to dealers who didn’t go along with the program.

Wouldn’t that be ironic — threatening regulatory problems if you don’t sell guns to criminals??

P.S. Let’s also remember the question I asked here on March 4 concerning the murder of ICE Agent Jaime Zapata: “Was this murder also the result of guns that the Obama administration deliberately allowed into Mexico?”

I still suspect a cover-up on that. We will see.

56 Responses to “Project Gunrunner: How Did the ATF Get Gun Dealers to Agree to Sell Guns to Criminals?”

  1. The BATFE is an agency that has long been totally out of control. It can not be reformed, it needs to be abolished and all personal terminated from government employment, right down to the secretaries.

    Their actions have cost dozens of lives, bot citizens and federal agents, not to mention the odd kitten they stomp to death.

    evilned (b16fde)

  2. Somewhere there has to be a rational explanation.

    The only one I can come up with is the weapons had some sort of GPS or RFID tracking device that would reveal their location. With “trophy” items like a 50 cal sniper rifle, you might hope it would end up in the hands of a top level cartel honcho.

    But then again, BATF agents aren’t the top of the heap. They are the ones who couldn’t make it into the FBI. Maybe what makes sense to them, doesn’t make sense to us.

    Corky Boyd (d787be)

  3. Ever since its formation the BATF has been marked by an overabundance of True Believers, Cowboys, and Empire Builders. All three types are prone to going overboard, and to imagining that rules don’t apply the THEM. Encouraged by a Gun Control establishment that has little interest in the civil rights of gun owners (or anybody else) the BATF has a propensity for flashy action that has no legal underpinnings.

    The Right absolutely MUST press this HARD. If this idiocy cannot result in the abolition of an agency as consistently out of all control as the BATF, then no agency in Washington can every be abolished no matter how rogue.

    C. S. P. Schofield (8b1968)

  4. Standard regulatory control mechanism – make the target fill out long forms with ambiguous questions, some of which have no right answer, some of which are speculative. Get people to the point where they just put in anything to get the application in, thinking nobody cares what is actually written down – if they cared, they wouldn’t ask such stupid nonsensical questions, would they?

    I was renting a canoe rack at a state park. I had to say when my canoe was manufactured on the permit application. How should I know, I bought it used. They say just fill something in, with no reason why they need that info (and lots of other irrelevant data) other than that the form requires it. It’s set up so they have something over on me – they have forced me to sign something I know is incorrect.

    That way permits can be revoked at any time due to incorrectly filled out forms. The bureaucracy always leaves traps.

    Amphipolis (b120ce)

  5. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms…

    Yes folks, the ATF – because someone has to make the FBI look competent.

    Scott Jacobs (f587c5)

  6. It’s set up so they have something over on me – they have forced me to sign something I know is incorrect.

    Hardly. It says “true to the best of your knowledge”.

    Hell, for all you know, you guessed right.

    Scott Jacobs (f587c5)

  7. I happened to know from the previous owner when the boat was manufactured. The amazing thing was why they asked at all, why they expected everyone renting a canoe rack to make something up.

    If something is wrong, that’s enough to revoke or deny a permit, even if it is just to the best of my knowledge.

    Amphipolis (b120ce)

  8. Is ATF compromised by the Mexican gangs and their near infinite purchasing power and brutality? The ATF is noted for their own casual brutality. So it seems like a natural fit.


    jdow (bcdcf2)

  9. Remember that at the very moment that the Obama administration was blaming “border gun shops” for gun trafficking they were forcing border gun shops to traffic in guns.

    The ATF – at least in part – manufactured the crimes that they were demanding additional legal authority to “solve”.

    Further, the very people that wanted to cooperate with the ATF to stop strawmen purchases were the ones threatened by ATF.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  10. Remember that the term “jackbooted thugs,” often attributed to Republicans as a slur on government employees, was actually used by Representative John Dingle to refer to the ATF.

    Mike K (8f3f19)

  11. Guns do not kill people.

    People kill people.

    DohBiden (984d23)

  12. “Was this murder also the result of guns that the Obama administration deliberately allowed into Mexico?”

    CBS news reports that the gunrunning program has gone on since 2008, which would mean it began under the Bush administration. So it’s not clear to me that we know that the gun allowed into Mexico was allowed in during the Obama administration.

    Foo Bar (c1726e)

  13. Mike K., indeed and John Dingel was Democratic Senator from Michigan at the time he held hearings about the ATF if memory serves.

    DohBiden, guns don’t kill people. Husbands who come home early kill people.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  14. Thank you Foo Bar… I had remembered that is when the program started and thought it sounded like it could easily span R and D administrations.

    Embedded bureaucracies, the 4th branch of government.

    BfC (ffa9b4)

  15. I do wonder if the program had a different goal in 2008, or was run more effectively. This sounds like a great opportunity for a serial agitator to let a Bush era program run into disaster after Bush is gone, hoping you can avoid blame for it.

    One thing is true: the democrats badly wanted proof that border guns were coming from America, and now the government has fabricated that evidence.

    That’s not a defense of the BATF under Bush. This program was ill advised from the start. The BATF should be dissolved as a warning to other organizations.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  16. foo bar, you left out a key line in the article you cite:

    Sources tell CBS News these ATF operations involved about 450 weapons. Despite the risk, two years later the same strategy was expanded to include thousands of guns.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  17. It’s hard for me to understand what thousands of guns would accomplish that 450 wouldn’t.

    And it’s clear that thousands of guns take the risk to a completely different level. It seems untraceable, almost inviting guns going missing.

    Not to mention, if these gun deals are really a huge problem, gun dealers wouldn’t be freaking out and trying to get the ATF to stop the transactions. They would be accustomed to these deals. Or at least, the ATF would be running their stings through suspect dealers instead of ones who actually advise the ATF on crimes. This deal was apparently very unusual, and a problem that the ATF was fabricating via quasi entrapment schemes.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  18. RABUF, thinks the fact that a stupid policy, started with the previous administration ratifies
    it, with this one, like the DHS report.

    narciso (b545d5)

  19. These communists won’t stop until we are all defenseless and unarmed.

    DohBiden (984d23)

  20. narciso, its the quintessential Obama excuse, “its all Bush’s fault” that my policies fail…

    SPQR (26be8b)

  21. Foo Bar, of COURSE the BATF was a dangerously out of control rogue agency under Bush. It has been a dangerously out of control rogue agency since it became a separate Bureau in 1972 (I suspect its ancestors, which can backtracked back to 1886 were little better).

    C. S. P. Schofield (8b1968)

  22. ATF has a slogan:

    Always Think Forfeiture.

    If a dealer goes against their wishes, they will see their guns confiscated. If those dealers try to get the guns back, ATF will start attacking their licenses. The fact that ATF considers it appropriate to liken any tactic to Waco tells you exactly how thuggish they are.

    bskb (3a53fe)

  23. The fact that ATF considers it appropriate to liken any tactic to Waco tells you exactly how thuggish they are.

    Yeah. It’s sick that the ATF would be triumphant over that disaster. Kids died. Law enforcement handled nutcases with a rough hand because they sucked at law enforcement, and now they think it’s a cute idea.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  24. Foo Bar: if you had bothered to read before opening your piehole you would know the gun that killed Zapata was purchased in October 2010. Who was president then? Research that and get back to me.

    Patterico (9e4e32)

  25. OK, my apologies. I will go back to shoving pie in to my piehole now.

    Foo Bar (c1726e)

  26. Another point is that it was the Obama administration that has complained about how its all the fault of US border gunshops that guns get smuggled into Mexico. We heard that specifically from Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton et al. They quoted misrepresented statistics on gun traces in Mexico.

    They made these claims even as the ATF was pushing gun dealers to sell these guns when they did not want to do so.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  27. That’s right, SPQR. The only evidence I’ve seen that makes any political point is that these gun dealers do not want to sell guns to criminals. The administration knew this fact when they said the exact opposite, and it appears to me this operation was the part of the basis for that claim. Hopefully I’m wrong.

    It’s interesting that the Bush ATF handled this operation much better than the Obama ATF. He did what Bush did, only far more sloppily and egregiously. That’s becoming a theme.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  28. Correct on BATF being corrupt for nearly 130 years. If you remember the very old Snuffy Smith comics in the papers decades ago, the “revenoers” he was always chasing were the ATF. Cheers –

    agimarc (324b03)

  29. As an FFL, I have some anonymity here (though not much), and can say without fear of contradiction that “Gunrunner” goes against everything that has been drummed into us on handling “suspicious” sales; and, that one of the more stressful days (or weeks) in the life of an FFL is when a field agent walks through the front door to conduct an audit.
    And, you always dread that someone you’ve rubbed the wrong way will drop a dime on you (whether true or not) and that you’ll have an ATF “tactical team” swarming you and ending your commercial life (best case scenario).
    The ATF is everything that has been said about it:
    It is out of control, and the succession of inside and outside directors has done nothing to avert that – and some would say that many of them have encouraged this behavior through management by omission.
    Noting that the Bureau is the current iteration of the “revenooers” of Voldstedt days should explain a lot.
    We would hope that individuals within the Bureau would be able to clean up the mess, but whistle-blowers within the ATF are severely dealt with by the “culture” that exists there – being terminated is sometimes a best-case scenario.
    It does need to be disbanded. But then, many of the rules and regulations (let alone NFA-34 and GCA-68) should fail SCOTUS scrutiny in light of the Heller/McDonald decisions (or we may hope so).

    AD-RtR/OS! (b8ab92)

  30. Tomorrow is the deadline for congressional investigators to receive all documents, emails, etc., regarding this, and all the while Holder and the President maintain they never authorized this. It will certainly be interesting to see what unfolds. And if there is evidence of a cover-up, being embarrassed will be of least concern of the administration.

    The Justice Department has until Wednesday to deliver to congressional investigators a stack of records and emails naming the individuals responsible for the gun trafficking operation that may have killed dozens, if not hundreds of Mexicans, and is becoming a growing embarrassment for the Obama administration.

    Dana (9f3823)

  31. Do you smell a political expedient rat in this story? I sure the hell do.

    Remember how this administration was putting out the word that 90% of illegal weapons in Mexico were being taken into Mexico across our southern border?

    Dianne Feinstein said: “It is unacceptable to have 90 percent of the guns that are picked up in Mexico and used to shoot judges, police officers and mayors…come from the United States.”

    William Hoover, assistant director for field operations at the ATF, testified in Congress that “there is more than enough evidence to indicate that over 90 percent of the firearms that have either been recovered in, or interdicted in transport to Mexico, originated from various sources within the United States.”

    The only problem with what the mouth pieces for this administration said was that it was NOT true.

    According to the Mexican government, 29,000 guns were recovered from crime scenes. Of those, only 11,000, or 38% of them were submitted to the ATF from tracing. It was the 90% of those traced, 5,114 to be exact, that were traced back to the U.S.

    I also remember a report of a ship that was discovered in California that was loaded with Chinese weapons, all headed for Mexico.

    The problem I have is that nothing this administration does is transparent. Not one damn thing. So while Calderon feels he has the freedom to come to the U.S. and stand in front of our Congress bashing the U.S., he must also think that this administration has his back for Calderon’s abstract failure to prevent the flow of both drugs, and humans, from his nation into ours. While Obama and Calderon munched on arugula and brie sandwiches (snark, there) the story line about the big, bad U.S. not protecting poor little Mexico by allowing guns into Mexico was perfected.

    What better way to draw attention away from the many American victims at the hands of illegal Mexicans in our nation or the invasion by drug cartels, who have shootouts on Interstate 10 in Texas, or the flow of drugs into our nation via Mexico from nations to their south? Make the U.S. the bad guy and what better way to do that than to make it true that 90% of weapons smuggled into Mexico come from the U.S.?

    And what happened to all those guns that we provided to the Mexican military who promptly deserted their posts to join the drug cartels? Anyone want to take a guess at the Mexican Army desertion rate?

    Mexico will whine and cry over the thought of the U.S. building a wall on our southern border, while they build on on their southern border, or how we persecute their citizens who enter our nation illegally while even the U.N. decried how Mexico treats illegals in that nation, or that we might just put troops on our southern border while Mexico sends its Army to its southern border to prevent illegal migration into Mexico.

    Nothing this administration does is without purpose. And if allowing a policy of “Gunwalker” to support a whining, and inept Calderon is what it takes, would any of you be surprised?

    retire05 (63d9af)

  32. “We are going to be staying on top of the Project Gunrunner controversy here”

    Thank you. I hope charges of government sponsored treason result.

    gary gulrud (790d43)

  33. I don’t think this is about supporting Calderon, retire05. That’s a perk. The goal is to subvert the Second Amendment and lay the groundwork for enhanced U.S. gun control, but I hope that won’t happen if this scandal is revealed to the public.

    Plus it’s a really stupid policy.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  34. When evidence was demanded from Ruby Ridge and Waco the inconvenient evidence just disappeared. I think precedent is set now. Rather than people going to jail, some were promoted.

    ATF has always been lurking there for an unscrupulous administration to make use of. The Kenyon Ballew case goes back to 1971 and involved the same conduct of kill or cripple innocents and lie or fake evidence.

    Any LEA has the power to kill but the ATF has an uncommon degree of immunity, and it is immunity that corrupts, not power.

    Machinist (b6f7da)

  35. I think that’s correct about subverting the 2nd amendment as well: A reporter complained, writing that the gun traffic to Mexico was such an unchecked problem and efforts to stop it have been impeded by the gun lobby. The gun rights activists suggest he should be looking at the ATF/Operation Gunrunner instead.

    Or, as drug cartels murder thousands in Mexico, nervous Southwest states might be lobbying the feds for measures to obstruct cartels’ large-scale gun purchases in the United States.—Joel Connelly, Seattle

    There is a good roundup here, especially in looking at who gave this operation approval.

    Dana (9f3823)

  36. By citing the Seattle PI writer, I am using it as an an example that quite possibly the fix is in, at least with some of the press.

    Dana (9f3823)

  37. The guy was under ATF observation and a load of his guns had been stopped by the ATF months prior to his purchasing the gun used in the attack on the ICE agent.

    See today’s nice letter from Senator Grassley to one Kenneth E. Melson.

    Kevin (7a61e2)

  38. Dana,

    Of COURSE the “fix” is in, in at least some of the press. That’s how the media operates, in all times and in all places. Unbiased Media is a pipe dream we were sold by people who wanted the Political Process to be “clean” at the expense of actual debate. Any media will be biased, unless it is run by slumming Seraphim. There was never an era when the Media was NOT biased. There was an era when everybody knew the media was biased and either read the paper that suited their own bias, or (if they were very honest with themselves) read both the “in power’ party’s paper and the opposition paper. And, BTW, as a rule only one of those papers made money. The opposition paper was generally funded by some local with electoral aspirations.

    So, some papers and stations are in the bag for Obama and/or the Gun Control crowd. Pay attention to which ones. Don’t stop reading them, but read others too. It’s high time we got back to the days of honestly biased journalism. If nothing else, it depended far less on weasel-wording, so the writing was better.

    C. S. P. Schofield (8b1968)

  39. Kevin,

    See my latest post, which lays all that out.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  40. How obvious can it be?!

    The CLAIM is essentially this:
    (1) Instruct dealers (working as C.I.s) to let straw-buyers (some also C.I.s) buy guns.
    (2) Watch buyers pass guns to smugglers, some of which are also C.I.s, videotaping some transfers.
    (3) Let the guns be smuggled into Mexico, without any tracking or oversight.
    (4) HIDE ALL OF THIS – not just from the, but from all US Agents in Mex as well!
    (5) ????????
    (6) Make some big case against a cartel.

    What is this – the “underpants gnomes”?

    PLEASE tell me: What COULD POSSIBLY happen at (5) to make (6) possible? I’ve asked this for weeks, on numerous sites, and I’ve yet to receive an answer!

    There was no oversight on ANY of these guns – the only way we ever “found” them was when they were found or seized at the scene of someone’s murder!

    Further, when US-ATF folk in Mex tried to run the “Trace” on some of these found guns, they discovered THEY WERE LOCKED OUT of the system. In other words, THE FOLKS ON THE GROUND COULD NOT TRACE A GUN WHEN THEY FOUND IT!!

    It’s really quite simple: All evidence points to the fact that the *REAL* plan here was to flood Mexico with US guns, cause as much violence, mayhem and death as possible, and thus provide “support” for abrogating the 2A rights of US CITIZENS!!

    Put another way, they deliberately conspired to cause the murder of Mexicans (and Americans) to justify further infringement of that which “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.”

    In short: TREASON.

    Anyone who knows anyTHING about bureaucrats also knows that this DID NOT — *COULD* NOT — happen without approval from the highest levels of multiple agencies.

    State Dept? DEFINITELY – a foreign nation was involved. *NOBODY* at State would have been any part of this without Her Filthiness’ (Madam Secretary) signing off on it – PERIOD!

    DOJ? NO QUESTION! First, ATF – eventually – answers to Holder, and none of this happened without his OK – PERIOD!

    DHS? Remember: CBP Agents were told to let it go. Do they take orders from ATF? HELL NO! Those orders came from CBP’s chain of command – which means “Big Sis” – Janet Incompetano – was in on it too! No way this happened without her signoff – PERIOD!

    Now you must ask yourself the REAL big question: What are the odds that DOJ, DHS and State were all in on this without Dear Reader also being part of it and approving it — whether through action (Signoff) or INaction (failure to stop it)! To believe that – at a minimum – they had anything less than his tacit approval is ludicrous!

    This was a conspiracy – involving people at the highest levels of our Government – to limit the rights of American citizens by causing the deaths of Mexicans AND other American citizens as well!

    The proper punishment for these crimes would involve a rope and a short drop. As it is, I expect some low-level agents will be hung out to dry, and perhaps ONE TOKEN “director”-level member of management to “be forced to resign” – which will really mean little more than “early retirement with full pension and benefits.”

    I hope I’m wrong – which is why I continue to beat the drum to make people aware that THIS WAS A DELIBERATE CONSPIRACY.

    A CHILD can see that their “story” is a lie – it fails even the most basic smell-test. It makes no sense whatsoever!

    Dedicated_Dad (73dbf6)

  41. I decree that Dedicated Dad shall be award one (1) Internet for his “underpants gnome” reference.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  42. Good job Paterrico. You are helping this ATFE travesty to get the attention it must have!

    westie (ece8d5)

  43. P.S. Let’s also remember the question I asked here on March 4 concerning the murder of ICE Agent Jaime Zapata: “Was this murder also the result of guns that the Obama administration deliberately allowed into Mexico?”

    And as steve and I answered then, “no”. There is no shortage of guns in Mexico; had the murderer not used this gun he’d have used another one and Zapata would be just as dead.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  44. Milhouse, I initially had the same thought, but we’re talking about an industrial quantity of serious firepower. Just moving that stuff around probably required the use of many additional criminals, and created many potential conflicts with honest law enforcement.

    I don’t think we can say for sure either way if Zapata would be dead without these excellent sniper rifles and other weapons. It’s true the bad guys would have been able to obtain weapons otherwise, but when you shove this many weapons into the situation, some criminals seize the opportunity rather than using them to replace a preexisting plan to arm lots of men.

    Not to mention the fact this scale of operation took lots of people away from actual law enforcement. If every cop in Detroit is playing ping pong on Tuesday, can you blame them for higher crime on Tuesdays?

    Zapata’s real killer wasn’t the ATF, but the Obama administration’s screw ups are sufficient to leave them as possibly to blame.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  45. No, Milhouse is not wrong. However, it is the administration’s own propaganda that blames small numbers of illegally smuggled guns into Mexico from border states for the violence there when there are far larger sources of far more powerful weapons.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  46. Guns will kill us all.

    Just like the chernobyl power plant diaster in 1986 althought it killed 65 people.


    DohBiden (984d23)

  47. SPQR, I think the sheer scale changes that.

    If I leave ten thousands heroin doses in a back alley in Detroit, I caused some junkie to use it.

    Sure, junkies generally would have found it on their own. Similarly, blaming a small number of guns for the rampant crime in Mexico is stupid. But it’s very hard for me to believe that giving Mexican criminal organizations such a large amount of firepower didn’t increase their success or level of violence.

    I don’t think it’s fair to blame the ATF for any specific crime that resulted from these weapons, and yet I do think it’s fair to say their actions created more violence generally.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  48. I understand your point, Dustin, but do you realize how many M-16’s and H&K G3’s have wandered out of Mexican Army armories?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  49. SPQR, ok… that’s a good point. The scale of the problem in Mexico, omitting this ATF crap and all other American sources, is just so bad that it’s hard to make it worse.

    You and milhouse have the better argument.

    I guess that may be part of what the ATF’s logic was when they engaged in this reckless action. Maybe throwing a lit torch into a brushfire made it worse, and maybe it didn’t. It just seems like the guy in the brushfire who was hit in the head with the torch has a valid beef with both problems.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  50. Dustin, ATF’s “logic” was their usual – trying to create a huge PR coup with some spectacular mass arrest. But it went like all their huge operations, into the shitter.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  51. milhouse:

    And as steve and I answered then, “no”. There is no shortage of guns in Mexico; had the murderer not used this gun he’d have used another one and Zapata would be just as dead.

    First, you don’t “know” that to a certainty.

    Second, your position is the equivalent of saying Patterico’s Deport the Criminals First campaign is fruitless because there are so many illegal alien criminals here already, one more won’t make a difference — and someone else would have hurt/murdered the innocent victims chronicled in his posts.

    Third, if you want to argue that the volume of guns in Mexico is so large that even a few thousand more won’t matter, then do so. But don’t excuse an ATF program that deliberately put powerful guns in the hands of drug cartel members. Maybe some Mexican guns end up in the hands of citizens trying to protect themselves, but by definition none of the Operation Gunrunner guns could. Perhaps that alone tipped the balance in some communities.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  52. Like I said, I think it’s reasonable to assert that the ATF’s action increased the violence and success of some criminals. You can’t hand over that much weaponry to thugs and not have helped them.

    The last thing I want to do is ghoulishly exploit Zapata’s death for political points against Obama or the ATF (and to be clear, DRJ and others are obviously also not interested in doing that). But as bad as Mexico is, the US Government made it worse, and SPQR’s right that they did this to score some PR.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  53. DRJ, deporting violent criminals makes sense just on its own; why would we keep them here if we have grounds to deport them and make them someone else’s problem? Such a policy would probably have a negligible effect on our crime rate, but so what? It still makes sense in its own terms.

    And I’m not sure what you mean by “because there are so many illegal alien criminals here already”. How many is that? There may be 12 million illegal aliens here, but the vast majority of them are deceent people who are working hard and contributing to our GNP, and we have no real reason to want to deport them. The criminal subgroup within them is a very different story.

    The ATF “sting” might have made sense if it had been competently handled. But of course it wasn’t, and Patterico is right to make an issue of this. It was grossly irresponsible to deliberately sell weapons to known criminals, and not keep tight track of them. But the real issue here isn’t what happened to the weapons, or to what use they were put, but the cynical attempt to blame innocent dealers for crime in Mexico. The “90%” claim was false when it was made, but now we know that the true percentage of guns used in Mexican crimes that are US-sourced — after excluding guns the US government deliberately introduced into that country — is far lower than even we thought it was.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  54. Milhouse,

    Actually, I’m all for violent criminals never to be deported and to remain in custody or in exile for the remainder of their lives.

    This is for stabbings, beatings with mechanical instruments, shootings, rape etc

    not for barroom brawls lessor assault

    EricPWJonson (e8f48c)

  55. Sorry violent criminals who are here illegally should be deported. Sorry if that makes your bleeding heart ache.

    DohBiden (984d23)

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