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Collins takes on ATF director in Capitol Hill hearing

Collins demands to know why ATF agents were running a gun sting in Atlanta without telling local police.

The Georgia congressman named by National Journal the most conservative member of the Georgia delegation and the 16th most conservative member of Congress pressed B. Todd Jones, the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives about their reckless handling of an operation in Atlanta.

The ATF’s handling of its “ATL Blaze” storefront sting, and specifically, its failure to communicate with local authorities wastes time, money and erodes public safety, said Rep. Douglas A. Collins (R.-Ga.) at an April 2 hearing at the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

The operation had serious repercussions locally in the greater Atlanta and Northeast Georgia area that in the light of the bureau’s Fast and Furious operations cast doubt on Jones’ leadership, he said.

The “ATF Blaze” was a dangerous undercover storefront operations the agency has utilized to target illegal and stolen weapons, Collins said. In multiple cases across the country, these operations resulted in the arming of convicted felons, theft, and greater public concern.

In his questioning of Todd, Collins asked him why ATF agents did not tell local law enforcement that their storefront sting operation in Atlanta recovered weapons that had been stolen from Atlanta area police.

Collins said the agency??s failure to communicate with the Fulton County Police Department resulted in the department wasting time, resources, and public confidence trying to recover weapons already in federal possession.

The ATF needs to figure out how to work with local police, he said. ??If you don??t have a policy, that needs to change. If you do have a policy, I??d have to ask why it??s not been followed in this situation.?

Watch the video of Collins at the hearing here:

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Neil W. McCabe is the editor of HE's "Guns & Patriots" e-letter and was a senior reporter at the Human Events newspaper. McCabe deployed with the Army Reserve to Iraq for 15 months as a combat historian. For many years, he was a reporter and photographer for "The Pilot," Boston's Catholic paper. He was also the editor of the free community papers "The Somerville (Mass.) News and "The Alewife (North Cambridge, Mass.)." Email him: Follow him on Twitter: @neilwmccabe.