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GUNS Magazine June 2011 Digial Edition - Page 66
VNR RIGHTS WATCH law enforcement [F]ederal “ sources have confirmed that two guns, part of a series of Has “Project Gunrunner” Become “Project Gunwalker”? purchases that were being monitored by authorities, were found at the scene of the firefight that killed a US Border Patrol agent in southern Arizona,” a story from The Los Angeles Times began. “The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms—the agency tasked with keeping US guns from being smuggled to Mexico—has come under fire for allegedly allowing firearms to cross the border into Mexico,” echoed Fox News. “ATF gunrunning probe strategy scrutinized after death of Border Patrol agent,” The Washington Post reported. Similar headlines were offered by the Associated Press and USA Today. I’m pleased to report I had a hand in making this happen, along with Mike Vanderboegh at his Sipsey Street Irregulars blog. We’d both been monitoring CleanUpATF.org for some time, a website run by “members of the ATF community to promote restoration of integrity, accountability and responsibility to ATF’s leadership and regain the trust of the American taxpayer.” And we’d seen some pretty astounding charges there, including: ATF management allowed potentially hundreds of semi-automatic firearms to be “walked” across the Mexican border in order to pad statistics used to further budget and power objectives. (I dubbed this “Project Gunwalker,” an ironic reference to ATF’s “Project Gunrunner” program designed to stop arms from going across 66 the border.) Mexican authorities were kept in the dark, and protests that they should be informed were overridden, ultimately by higherups in Washington, DC; guns used in this operation were involved in a December 2010 incident in which a Border Patrol agent was killed. Because of our public advocacy for oversight hearings into prior allegations, Vanderboegh and I were contacted by whistleblowing insiders wanting to attract Congressional and media attention but fearful of management reprisals. Thus began a labor of daily activity that included developing contacts, consulting with trusted advisors, communicating with our sources, trying to interest reporters and no small amount of banging pots and pans on our websites to attract attention and pressure Senate staffers into arranging protection while they assessed the documentation our sources claimed would prove their allegations. It paid off, resulting in a letter from Sen. Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, to Kenneth Melson, Acting Director of ATF, expressing “serious concerns” about Project Gunrunner, and noting allegations about the slaying of the Border Patrol Agent “were accompanied by detailed documentation which appears to lend credibility to the claims.” A follow-up letter copied Attorney General Eric Holder, and cautioned that ATF management must respect whistleblower protections, and that “obstructing a Congressional investigation is a crime.” That broke the dam. Suddenly reporters who were holding us at arm’s length were claiming the story as their own, which was needed to keep it from being buried and ignored. Where things go from here will depend on what is learned under oath, and we’re pushing for that to happen. To quote Churchill, “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” Due to the importance of this column, GUNS will begin posting “Rights Watch” at www.gunsmagazine. com on the 1st of each month—long before it appears here.—Editor Visit David Codrea’s online journal “The War on Guns” at waronguns.blogspot.com or visit DavidCodrea.com to read his Examiner column. GUNS Website heck out our newly redesigned C website www.gunsmagazine.com! It’s faster and easier than ever to use. When you visit your favorite features and columns, you can now leave feedback in the comments section. Take the survey, and enter the Gun of the Month drawing, download an issue from 50 years ago as a PDF file and look through the current and archived digital editions. Click on the website links in the digital edition and go directly to the advertiser’s website or use the product index feature to find gun, holster, ammo or any product advertised in our family of magazines. he latest firearms and ammunition T excise tax collection report released by the Department of the Treasury indicates firearm and ammunition manufacturers reported tax liabilities of $104.3 million in the 3rd calendar quarter of 2010, down 9.93 percent over the same period in 2009. The report, which covers the time period of July 1 through September 30 shows $25.7 million was due in taxes for pistols and revolvers, $33.94 million for firearms (other)/long guns and $44.68 million for ammunition (shells and cartridges). Compared to the same period in 2009, tax obligations were down 13.91 percent for pistols and revolvers, down 8.48 percent for firearms (other)/long guns and down 8.61 percent for ammunition (shells and cartridges).—Courtesy NSSF 3Q Excise Tax Figures neWS Repealing Reporting Requirement n his State of the Union address, I President Obama signaled he would support a repeal of the 1099 reporting requirement. “If you have ideas about how to improve this law by making care better or more affordable, I am eager to work with you. We can start right now by correcting a flaw WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • JUNE 2011