Attorney General Eric Holder, whose Department of Justice orchestrated the Fast and Furious gunwalking scheme to supply Mexican drug cartels with illegal firearms, released a statement on Wednesday decrying the fact that too many people who are not legally permitted to own guns have access to them.
The AG’s remarks followed the release of a report from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund that showed a 13 percent increase in the number of Federal, State and local officers who died in the line of duty, from 153 in 2010 to 173 in 2011.
“This is a devastating and unacceptable trend. Each of these deaths is a tragic reminder of the threats that law enforcement officers face each day — and the fact that too many guns have fallen into the hands of those who are not legally permitted to possess them,” said Holder. “Departments across the country have mourned the loss of too many dedicated colleagues and friends, but my colleagues and I at the Justice Department are determined to turn back this rising tide. I want to assure the family members and loved ones who have mourned the loss of these heroes that we are responding to this year’s increased violence with renewed vigilance and will do everything within our power — and use every tool at our disposal — to keep our police officers safe.”
Guns provided via Fast and Furious are known to have been used in the killings of at least one law enforcement officer in 2010, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, and another in 2011, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata.
Holder’s statement came with the announcement of a number of new officer-protection initiatives to be headed by the Justice Department.