As hearings continued today in the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform concerning Operation Fast and Furious – an operation where the Justice Department is accused of allowing nearly 2,500 guns to flow illegally into Mexico, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms industry, released the following statement:
NSSF has been closely following the congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious. While we await the final outcome of this investigation, some things have become very clear.
Penalties associated with straw purchasing, up to 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine, should be supplemented with a mandatory minimum sentence. NSSF supports a five (5) year mandatory minimum sentence for anyone convicted of lying to a federally licensed firearms retailer as a means of unlawfully purchasing (straw buying) a firearm. A slap on the wrist should not be given by judges to individuals who knowingly put firearms into the hands of prohibited persons and drug cartels.
Furthermore, NSSF is renewing calls for Congress, the Department of Justice and the Administration to once again fund the Don’t Lie for the Other Guy anti-straw purchasing campaign – a joint firearms industry / law enforcement program that utilizes both public awareness and firearms retailer education to achieve its goal of further reducing illegal firearm purchases.
As these hearing have demonstrated, members of the firearms industry have a longstanding cooperative relationship with federal, state and local law enforcement. Federally licensed firearms retailers serve as a primary source of information for law enforcement combating illegal firearm trafficking and routinely report questionable transactions to authorities, including ATF. Throughout this congressional investigation, it has been suggested that federally licensed retailers were the original source of information that gave rise to Operation Fast and Furious. Also surfacing during the course of this investigation was that firearms retailers allowed ATF special agents to stand behind the counter and install cameras in their stores in order to better observe and record illegal firearm transactions.
By striving to work cooperatively with law enforcement at the federal, state and local levels, America’s firearms industry is continuing to do its part to curb the criminal acquisition of firearms. NSSF continues to respect the dedication of the career professionals at ATF and continues to work closely with all law enforcement agencies.