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Mens rea is Latin for “guilty mind.” In legal theory acting to set up a crime before committing it indicates a guilty mind; or guilty intent.

In the spring of 2009, just a few months before the Obama Administration instructed the Phoenix ATF office to commence Operation Fast and Furious,  Attorney General Eric Holder introduced and secured a curious change to United States gun legislation.


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The tracing of firearm serial numbers provides information about the manufacture of a weapon,  its original retail seller and buyer,  the entire known history of the weapon. For years,  anti-gun rights zealots had procured these trace statistics from the Bureau of Alcohol,  Tobacco and  Firearms  for the purpose of initiating frivolous lawsuits against both gun dealers and manufacturers.

Then,  in 2004,  Kansas Republican Rep. Todd Tiahrt successfully added an amendment to the yearly ATF funding bill.  Known since as the Tiahrt Amendment,  the legislation prohibits the sharing of trace information for any but legitimate law enforcement purposes.  That is,  trace information on firearm serial numbers could only be provided to federal,  state and local law enforcement agencies engaged in specific,  criminal investigations.  Those responsible for left-wing fishing expeditions would no longer have access to trace statistics for the purpose of manufacturing lawsuits.

Then,  although Barack Obama and Eric Holder had promised liberal supporters they would fight to overturn the Tiahrt Amendment,  in the spring of 2009 Holder lobbied Congress for a change to the Amendment,  one which would allow ATF acquired trace data to be provided to  “a foreign law enforcement agency solely in connection with or for use in a criminal investigation or prosecution.”

The Regime was just about to launch the corrupt and murderous Operation Fast and Furious.  And it must be remembered that during the year long course of that despicable gunwalking venture,  no agency or official of the United States government informed the Mexican government of the scheme’s existence,  keeping all particulars concerning the deliberate smuggling across the Mexican border of thousands of firearms quite hidden from Mexican officials and law enforcement.


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So former Congressman Tiahrt asks the obvious question:  “Why sign into law the Tiahrt Trace Data Amendment with clarification language to share trace data with foreign law enforcement agencies at approximately the same time that “Fast and Furious” program illegally allows firearms to cross the border into a foreign country?” 

Certainly this Holder-inspired change to Tiahrt was no coincidence. So, why did Barack Obama and Eric Holder, hardly known for their attention to details of legality,  suddenly consider this detail so important?  How was the Regime to benefit from the new language?  What possibilities for deceit and abuse of power did it secure for an Administration bent upon terminating the God-given right of the American people to keep and bear arms?

It is often easy to forget that the entirety of the Fast and Furious agenda was not played out, the ultimate goal not realized, as ATF whistleblowers and citizen journalists forced a premature close to the Operation.  What would the giving of trace information to a foreign nation—presumably Mexico–have accomplished and why was it so important to the final outcome of the scheme?  It’s very revealing to note that,  even at the zenith of its power, with clear majorities in both the House and Senate,  the Administration apparently could not afford to lose a fight for the overthrow of Tiahrt. It had to settle for a change.

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.


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