A new report from the Democrats on the House Oversight Committee points to the difficulties that weak gun laws pose for federal agents trying to stop gun trafficking on the Mexican border.Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) is holding a forum on Capitol Hill on Thursday to discuss how low penalties for gun-trafficking violations are hampering the government’s efforts to prevent weapons from flowing across the border.
The report, released Thursday, recommends that Congress increase the penalties for illegal “straw” purchases, enact a separate firearms trafficking statute and allow ATF to implement a requirement for federally licensed firearms dealers to report sales of multiple “long guns” preferred by Mexican drug cartels.
The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms said that the forum was a “political smokescreen designed to shift blame for a botched gun sting operation from the Obama administration to this country’s gun owners, retailers and their firearms civil rights.”
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) — which has come under fire for a culture of retaliation — recently fired a ATF agent who played a role in alerting the media about the controversial “Fast and Furious” program that Congress is investigating.
Vince Cefalu, who started the website CleanUpATF.org, was told he was being let go last week. He’s on paid administrative leave pending his appeal.
Senate Republicans recently worked out a deal to allow three nominees to top positions in the Justice Department to receive an up-or-down vote in exchange for ATF Director Ken Melson’s testimony before Congress.