Jacob Wayne Chambers and Sean Christopher Stewart, both from Phoenix, Arizona, are convicted felons. Their criminal records include burglary, dealing in stolen goods, resisting arrest, and drug charges.
Convicted felons are barred from purchasing firearms under federal law… and yet these two bought over 360 guns between them, acting as straw purchases for violent drug cartels. The FBI didn’t stop them. Agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sat and watched them buy their guns via closed-circuit TV.
Yes, it’s “Operation Fast and Furious” again. Fox News had a look at the paltry handful of twenty defendants indicted by this massive operation, and spotted the radioactive rap sheets of Chambers and Stewart. The FBI does not wish to comment, but it seems hard to escape the conclusion that federal gun laws were knowingly abrogated so that “Fast and Furious” could move forward.
An angry Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) of the House Oversight committee declared, “You cannot sanction the violation of federal law by enabling or co-enabling prohibited persons, which includes felony convictions, from purchasing firearms. It is unconscionable and goes beyond just being a terribly ill-conceived investigation to bordering, if not crossing, into criminal activity.”
The FBI will need to come up with a better answer than “no comment,” because Gowdy’s committee, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), resumes hearings on the Gun Walker scandal this week.
Besides raising the question of why we should entertain heated liberal demands for more gun control laws, when the laws already on the books aren’t being enforced properly, this twist in the Gun Walker scandal is further evidence that it reaches far beyond the ATF and its Temporary Acting Director, Ken Melson. As Fox News says, the FBI clearly played a role:
Congressional and law-enforcement sources say the situation suggests the FBI, which operates the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, knowingly allowed the purchases to go forward after consulting with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which initiated Operation Fast and Furious. Under the failed anti-gun trafficking program, straw buyers — those who legally purchase guns and illegally sell them to a third party — were allowed to buy guns, many of which were sold to Mexican drug cartel members.
Note to Fox reporters William La Jeunesse and Laura Prabucki: I wouldn’t be so quick to describe Gun Walker as a “failed anti-gun trafficking program.” Let’s wait and see if we get saddled with any new gun-control laws first. You can’t really call the program a “failure” if it accomplishes is political objectives.
Last Friday, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), the Senate Judiciary partner in the Gun Walker investigation, publicly declared his theory about the true purpose of the operation. “My suspicion is they don’t like the Second Amendment the way it is, and they are going to do everything to hurt guns and restrict guns. So they could have been building a case for that. But I can’t prove that.”
The future of this scandal rests largely upon exactly who Grassley means when he says “they,” and whether he wants us to assume an unspoken “yet” at the end of his quote.
The hunt for a suitable fall guy at the J. Edgar Hoover building is doubtless already in progress. Hopefully the unlucky official tapped for this duty will prove as cooperative with Issa and Grassley as the last designated chump, Ken Melson. Melson came forward and offered testimony, despite the best efforts of the Justice Department to keep him muzzled. There’s still a chance for FBI whistle-blowers to do the same thing, but Issa’s next round of hearings starts tomorrow, so the time for voluntary candor is running short.