Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Former federal agent: 'Fast and Furious' operation will lead to more gun violence

By Jordy Yager

A botched gun-tracking operation will increase the level of gun violence in the U.S., according to a former federal agent.

Darren Gil, a former attaché to Mexico for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Tuesday that the agency’s "Fast and Furious" operation would likely come back to hurt Americans.

“I have no doubt, as recent media reports have indicated, that American citizens will also face more firearms-related violence as a result of this operation,” Gil said.

Gil was testifying about the ATF operation in which U.S. gun dealers in the Southwest were allowed to sell thousands of weapons to known and suspected straw purchasers for Mexican drug cartels in an attempt to dismantle the gun trafficking routes that bring U.S. weapons across the border.

Nearly 600 of the more than 1,000 guns that were sold under the Fast and Furious operation have been recovered, according to ATF testimony.

More than 35,000 people have been killed in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon declared a war on the drug cartels four years ago. U.S. lawmakers have long feared that the violence could spread to the U.S. and affect communities in the Southwest border area.

Gil’s comments about the likelihood of an uptick in U.S. violence from the guns that remain at-large come as Democrats are pushing forward with a bill to heighten reporting requirements for U.S. gun dealers in the Southwest who sell multiple long guns to one person within a five-day period.

The Hill

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