The scheme known as Fast and Furious is, for the moment, out of the headlines. It is to be hoped that this will change, since U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered with one of the thousands of weapons that Attorney General Holder and others conspired to allow Mexican drug cartels to purchase in Arizona in violation of U.S. law.
Since various Administration officials have lengthy records of extremist anti-Second Amendment activism it’s no surprise that, as CBS News revealed, they utilized Fast and Furious to mobilize public opinion in support of harsher gun laws. Some members of the Administration have gone so far as to publicly express their disdain for the Constitution, and their intention to “fundamentally transform” the United States. Depriving Americans of the right to possess firearms would be an important part of such a transformation.
Thus, this conspiracy to let agents of the Mexican cartels buy these guns was just one step in the Long March to that planned fundamental transformation. Accordingly, it must have seemed quite reasonable to Attorney General Holder and his co-conspirators to hatch a plot they had to know would inevitably lead to violence and death. And given Holder’s attitude it is clear that to him Agent Terry’s life was but a small price to pay to promote the agenda.
For those on the Left it is irrelevant whether gun laws reduce crime. Rather, it is part of their vision of a United States whose sovereignty, independence, power and self confidence are sapped. For the rest of us, those of us who care whether gun laws actually prevent criminals from obtaining weapons, the proof that such efforts simply cannot lower crime rates can be found in the archives of the NY Times.
On August 8, 1973, C.L. Sulzberger in a Times op-ed piece, Arms and the Soviet Man,reported that “underground gun factories had been discovered” in several Republics within the Soviet Union. “Machine tools have been stolen from government factories” and used to make guns, “including pistols disguised as fountain pens” and there are “considerable quantities of explosives and firearms” in four Republics.” Noted Sulzberger, “The interesting thing is that Soviet society, with its known predilection for discipline and supervision should be suffering at all from this kind of ailment.”
Other newspapers have echoed these reports. On December 11, 1988 England’s Manchester Guardian reported that “the number of weapons held illegally in Azerbaijan [then a part of the USSR] is clearly formidable.”
The Times has reported several times on the illegal manufacture of firearms in that most brutal and effective of police states, Maoist China. On February 10, 1980 its Peking reporter, Fox Butterfield, described a recent Peking bank robbery and stated that during Mao’s rule “many workers in factories are said to have fashioned knives and guns.” In June of that year Butterfield reported on another Peking bank robbery in which two criminals carried four homemade guns. Other news articles in the Times have described gang wars and other criminal acts in China where such bootleg weapons were used.
In these two highly regimented Communist police states even the ownership of machine tools by private individuals was strictly forbidden, as was their use for private purposes. Yet in both nations, during the height of Communist power and despite omnipresent informers, bootleg guns were made either by stealing the machinery outright for use in underground factories or were used to make guns in state owned factories under the noses of authorities.
The Times archives provide many other examples of the ease with which guns of any sort can be fabricated quickly and in large numbers even in primitive conditions. On May 7, 1987 Times correspondent Seth Mydans reported on Philippine gun bootleggers who manufactured to order “sophisticated copies of European and American handguns complete with nickel or silver plate and counterfeit brand markings.” In the town of Danao “3,000 gun makers provided a livelihood, directly or indirectly, for 60% of the residents.” A portion of their products are “periodically discovered” being smuggled into Japan.
Mydans described a typical gun maker, Benjamin Barriga, who produced these copies “on a hand turned lathe in a pigsty that abuts his thatched home…” And another manufacturer “whose five-man assembly line shares a thatched workshop with wandering pigs and chickens.”
The Times reported on August 18, 1980 on fighting between Muslims and Hindus in the Indian state of Kashmir “where the manufacture of so-called country guns is something of a cottage industry.” On April 27, 1987 the Times reported widespread gun bootlegging in the Indian state of Bihar, where “even an old truck’s steering wheel can be fashioned into a gun barrel at one of dozens of makeshift factories.”
Thus, experience proves that even in the violently repressive police states or under primitive conditions the most sophisticated and varied kinds of weapons can be bootlegged.
In the U.S. there are of course no restrictions on the private ownership of machine tools; anyone with a little cash can buy a lathe and milling machine, and the necessary skills are readily acquired or hired. With millions of available machine tools and millions of garages and basements in which bootleg factories can be established, the number of guns that can be illegally produced is unlimited.
Predictably, the tighter that firearms restrictions would become, the greater would be the rewards for bootlegging. Thus, the only way to enforce such laws would be to emulate, and go much further than, the Communist dictatorships which themselves failed to stamp out gun bootlegging.
It would be laughable to attempt enforcement without first prohibiting the private, individual possession of the machine tools. Those remaining in factories would have to be carefully monitored and controlled. Naturally, few Americans would willingly obey bans on ownership of tools. To enforce those bans the guarantees under the Fourth Amendment against unreasonable search and seizure would have to be abandoned in order to permit random inspection of homes and shops suspected of harboring machinery or machinists.
So let us suppose Holder’s Fast and Furious conspiracy had succeeded in mobilizing public support in such a way as to satisfy to the fullest the gun banning desires of Chicago Democrats. The evidence from Mao’s China, the USSR, the Philippines, et al. via the NY times makes it obvious that the only way to enforce such a ban would be to abandon our long held Constitutional protections of personal freedom, property, and privacy. And that would require a fundamental transformation of American society.
Ah, but of course. That fundamental transformation is exactly what has been declared as the goal. A dead American lawman is a small price to pay for that, and as Holder has said, no apology need be given.