Gun control advocate Representative Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) made a strong case for 2nd Amendment rights on Tuesday; it was, in fact, the same case that gun rights activists have been making for years.
According to The Hill, Hoyer unleashed the following diatribe on Capitol Hill reporters while discussing the death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, the man killed in 2010 by members of a Mexican drug cartel armed with weapons that “walked” into Mexico as part of the failed Fast and Furious initiative:
“The premise is that somehow letting these guns go across the border resulted in this tragic death,” Hoyer told reporters in the Capitol. “[But] people kill people, not guns, I’m told on a regular basis.
“And controlling guns — whether it’s assault weapons or others — would not solve the problem, I am told by some,” he added, referring to gun-reform critics. “So such legislation is not necessary because it is people who kill people. I hope you see the contradiction in the positions being taken.
“The fact of the matter is this life was tragically lost because there are some criminals on both sides of the border who facilitate violent criminal behavior,” Hoyer said.
In Hoyer’s view, Congressional Republicans’ focus on the guns that were used to kill Terry and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata is misplaced and the focus should be on the criminals that killed him. The Representative is right in noting that the men were killed by criminals.
Unfortunately for Hoyer, his careless remarks in trying to spin the Border Patrol agent’s death as a rebuttal to gun control critics come off as ill-informed at best and, at worst, downright insidious.
Perhaps Hoyer could have borrowed another familiar refrain that is used by 2nd Amendment advocates each time stricter and unConstitutional gun control laws are proposed: In many places, already existing gun regulations that keep firearms out of the hands of criminals without infringing on the rights of law-abiding gun advocates already exist.
And when guns do get into the hands of criminals, law enforcement authorities often come down hard on the people who run legitimate gun businesses.
- In 2008, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City sued 27 gun shops in Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia in Federal court, claiming that the gun sellers had provided weapons to straw purchasers that were later used to commit crimes in New York.
- In Randolph County, Ind., agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives raided the Federally licensed gun shop of Charles “Fred” Ludington in April of last year, because they believed he had committed record-keeping offenses. This April, Ludington was sentenced to serve four years in Federal prison for selling firearms to a convicted felon and an out-of-State resident. A judge also ordered him to forfeit the 4,276 firearms, nearly 600,000 rounds of ammunition and more than $159,000 in cash seized by ATF from his shop in April of 2011.
- Paul Copeland, a Vietnam Veteran and Texas-based gun seller, was sentenced to prison time and two years of probation by a Federal court in 2010 for selling a gun to an undocumented alien, Hipolito Aviles, at the Texas Gun Show in Austin. The alien was not charged in the case.
- A New Mexico family of gun sellers was arrested in August of last year, on charges of knowingly selling guns to Mexican smugglers and various other related charges. Rick Reese and his two sons Ryin and Remington have been in jail for nearly a year, denied bond because a judge found that they may be a flight risk or attempt to barricade themselves on their property, which has a well for water and solar power, in a Ruby Ridge-style standoff. Their charges involve about 30 guns. Find out more about the bizarre case against them here.
All of these individuals have been deemed criminals by the Federal government, and a simple Google search yields hundreds more stories just like these.
So if gun control advocates like Hoyer want people to focus less on the guns and more on the criminals in the case of Fast and Furious, Congressional Republicans on the House oversight committee should take note of the policies adopted by the likes of Bloomberg and the ATF. These policies have made criminals of people who have simply sold guns, often unwittingly, to individuals who wanted them for criminal purposes.
Evidence suggests that the Justice Department assisted in the illegal sales of more than 2,000 firearms, some of which were used in deadly crimes. Unfortunately, there has been no serious talk about holding the people who were responsible for this crime accountable in court, and the President is complicit in covering up damning evidence.
A thorough investigation holding the gun pushers within the Justice Department to the same standard as the above mentioned gun sellers, however, would likely result in arrests leading all the way to the Oval Office.