ATF

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ATF: San Bernardino Rifles Were Legal—at First

Weapons used by San Bernardino shooters altered for more power after purchase

(Newser) - The weapons used by the San Bernardino shooters may have been legally obtained , but that doesn't mean they remained legal under California law. The two .223-caliber semiautomatic weapons and two 9mm pistols said to have been carried by Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik in Wednesday's attack were... More »

ATF Agents Lured Mentally Disabled as Bait

Sting operations generated crime to arrest criminals: report

(Newser) - Is the ATF out of control? In its sting operations, the agency has used mentally disabled teenagers as bait, opened drug- and gun-buying operations near schools and churches, and opened fake pawn shops that apparently spurred thefts and burglaries—including gun thefts from police cars. A lengthy Milwaukee Journal Sentinel... More »

Meet the ATF's Undercover Hit-Men

These guys agree to kill for pay—then turn around and bust their customers

(Newser) - Looking to hire a hit-man to off that two-timing spouse, jerk boss, or wealthy relative? Of course you aren't, but hypothetically, if you were, you might want to reconsider: Many of those thuggish gents named "Thrash" and "Hammer" who say they can take care of your little... More »

ATF to Whistle-Blower: You Can't Publish a Book

John Dodson wrote account of Operation Fast and Furious

(Newser) - ATF agent John Dodson blew the whistle on Operation Fast and Furious , in which feds accidentally handed Mexican drug cartels 2,000 guns. Now Dodson's bosses say he can't publish a book on the scandal—though he plans to do so anyway, Fox News reports. Dodson gave the... More »

ATF Lost $127M in Cigs in Unapproved Stings

Due to 'serious lack of oversight,' says Justice Department report

(Newser) - Apparently firearms aren't all that go missing over at the ATF: a Justice Department report says feds lost track of some 2.1 million packs of cigarettes, worth $127 million, from at least 20 undercover and unapproved stings between 2005 and 2011, the Washington Post reports. The $162 million... More »

ATF's Favorite New Tool: Iffy Drug Stings

'USA Today' finds that questionable strategy has locked up more than 1K in decade

(Newser) - The good news from a crime-fighting perspective is that the ATF has locked up more than 1,000 criminals—often with sentences spanning more than a decade—who were caught trying to rob drug houses over the past decade. The questionable news? Those drug houses didn't actually exist. All... More »

Jon Stewart: NRA Is Punking Us

'Daily Show' host thinks ad is a Joaquin Phoenix-style hoax

(Newser) - Jon Stewart took one look at yesterday's NRA ad calling President Obama a hypocrite over armed guards at his daughters' school, and thought, "If I didn't know any better, after seeing that ad, I would think the NRA is either an elaborate, avant garde, Joaquin Phoenix-style joke... More »

Gun Background Checks Miss Millions of Mentally Ill

Many states don't share mental-health records with FBI

(Newser) - Millions of mentally ill people could pass a gun background check today, because many states simply don't bother submitting mental-health records to the FBI, according to reports today in both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal . Thanks to a 1997 Supreme Court ruling, states don't have... More »

Nation's Top Gun Regulator Works ... Part Time

ATF's interim chief splits time as US attorney in Minnesota

(Newser) - The movement to tighten gun laws may be gaining steam , but the Washington Post reports that the federal agency charged with enforcing such laws might not be up to the challenge. Some of the problems with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms:
  • It hasn't had a director confirmed
... More »

Megadeth Singer: Obama 'Staged' Mass Shootings

Prez masterminded killings to pass gun ban, Mustaine claims

(Newser) - We could have guessed that Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine wasn't a big fan of Barack Obama—he did kind-of endorse Rick Santorum in February —but his latest diatribe against the president made his feelings crystal clear. At a concert in Singapore, Mustaine accused Obama of "staging" the... More »

ATF Did Not Intentionally Allow Guns Into Mexico

Fortune: That Fast and Furious 'gunwalking' strategy never existed

(Newser) - The shorthand version of the Fast and Furious scandal goes something like this: ATF agents purposely allowed illegal guns to get into Mexico, then lost track of them, leading to horrific results . But a six-month investigation by Katherine Eban of Fortune magazine comes to a surprising conclusion: That so-called "... More »

Talks Fail, House GOP Moves on Holder's Contempt Vote

John Boehner says House will move forward with vote

(Newser) - The White House's last-ditch effort to avoid a contempt of Congress vote against Eric Holder has failed and John Boehner says the House will move forward with the vote, the AP reports. The Obama administration had offered to show congressional investigators some of the documents related to Fast and... More »

Upping the Ante, Issa Says Obama Conspired With DOJ

Congressman's letter escalates Fast & Furious battle

(Newser) - Darrell Issa is upping his attack on President Obama following the president's use of executive privilege in an attempt to bail out Eric Holder. A letter to Obama released today minces no words: "Either you or your most senior advisors were involved in managing Operation Fast & Furious... More »

Drug Lords Targeted by ATF Were Working for FBI

Yet more Fast and Furious bungling revealed

(Newser) - The investigation into the ATF's ill-fated "Fast and Furious" gun-trafficking operation has been going on for months, and it keeps uncovering new layers of screw-ups. Newly released records show that the operation could have been wrapped up much earlier—without leaving hundreds of illegal guns in the hands... More »

Holder: We Didn't Lie About 'Fast and Furious'

He says charges are forthcoming against those who screwed up

(Newser) - Eric Holder angrily denied that the Justice Department was trying to hide anything about the botched "Operation Fast and Furious" program in his testimony before Congress today—and insisted that he'd had no knowledge of the gun-tracking operation. "There's no attempt at any kind of coverup,... More »

40 'Fast & Furious' ATF Guns Found in Cartel Thug's House

ATF weapons circulated further, faster than anticipated

(Newser) - Forty weapons from the ATF's botched "Fast and the Furious" gun-tracking plan ended up in a home of the top enforcer for the Sinaloa drug cartel, reports the Los Angeles Times . In all, 100 guns were transported from Phoenix, site of the failed sting operation, to El Paso,... More »

Accessory to Murder? Holder Cries Foul on GOP Charge

Rhetoric on Fast and Furious program is out of hand, he tells Congress

(Newser) - When a congressman suggested that White House officials could be charged with accessory to murder over the botched Fast and Furious gun-tracking program , he apparently touched a nerve. Attorney General Eric Holder fired off an unusually aggressive five-page letter to Congress complaining about the "base" level of public discourse,... More »

Obama's 'Scandal-Free' Streak Sets Record

Because Solyndra doesn't count ... yet

(Newser) - Yesterday Barack Obama officially broke George W. Bush’s record for the longest scandal-free streak by a president in the post-Watergate era—at least by one political scientist’s criteria. Dartmouth professor Brendan Nyhan ran a study earlier this year on presidential scandals, which he defines as "widespread elite... More »

ATF Chief Who Oversaw Botched Gun Plan Resigns

Kenneth Melson reassigned after 'Fast and Furious' failure

(Newser) - The ATF is getting a new chief today, the fallout from a botched scheme to catch gun smugglers supplying Mexico's drug cartels. Kenneth Melson is returning to lesser duties with the Justice Department, and his role as overseer of Operation Fast and Furious wasn't even mentioned in a... More »

Bungled ATF Sting Lost Track of More Than 1K Firearms

House hearing on Operation Fast and Furious held today

(Newser) - Operation Fast and Furious, the bungled ATF gun-trafficking probe , was even more bungled than originally thought: Federal agents lost track of more than 1,000 firearms purchased by suspected gun smugglers during the Arizona investigation. The information comes from a new congressional report ahead of a House hearing today examining... More »

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