President Obama is using his budget to advance an anti-gun agenda just before the election. One particularly sneaky provision buried deep within his submission to Congress Monday would, if enacted, allow the mistakes of the “Fast and Furious” gun-walking scandal to be repeated.
In November, the president signed the Justice Department appropriations bill, which included language from Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, prohibiting federal agencies from facilitating the transfer of an operable firearm to an individual known or suspected to be in a drug cartel, unless they monitor the weapon at all times.
Now Mr. Obama is proposing to remove that provision from the 2013 spending bill, thus making it legal to revive gun-walking operations in the future. The White House justification is merely that the prohibition is “not necessary.”
Mr. Cornyn did not buy this explanation. “I understand the president has ‘complete confidence’ in Attorney General [Eric] Holder to not carry out further gun-walking operations like Fast and Furious, but 99 U.S. senators voted otherwise,” he told The Washington Times on Wednesday, referring to the upper chamber’s unanimous vote in October approving the amendment.
Even Democrats wanted to prevent the Justice Department from scheming to have guns sent over the border to Mexican drug cartels after the botched scheme led to the death of a border agent. Liberal Sen. Barbara Mikulski surprised many with her outspoken support for Mr. Cornyn’s amendment. “Fast and Furious was brought to an end but with terrible problems,” said the Maryland Democrat. “Hundreds of Mexican citizens have died, our own law enforcement people have died, and we have to do something about it.”
Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has been investigating the administration’s role in Fast and Furious. When asked by The Washington Times about the White House attempt to change policy, the California Republican replied, “It’s bewildering that anyone would seek to strip a legal prohibition on federal agents walking guns, considering the well-known tragic consequences.”
Mr. Obama’s budget contains other gun-grabbing surprises. The White House is looking to reclaim authority to destroy surplus M1 Garand rifles and M1 Carbines. For 30 years, the Defense Department has been blocked from scrapping these collectible firearms that served our soldiers well in World War II and the Korean War. The administration also wants to melt down the military’s spent brass casings, thwarting gun owners who have been buying and recycling the surplus materials.
The president’s budget would also restore millions in funding to the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control so they can pump out junk science studies claiming handguns are a public health hazard.
Mr. Obama is becoming more brazen in his disdain for the Second Amendment as his first term winds down, perhaps in an attempt to rally his dispirited liberal base headed into November. For those who believe in the right of the people to keep and bear arms, this ought to serve as an equally loud wake-up call.
Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.