Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fast and Furious: what it is and what really happened

Are you curious? Have you been avoiding all the articles about it because it looks like more pointless Republican b.s.?

I had been. It turns out that there's actually a very interesting story in it, just not the one House GOPers are trying to write. Fortune Magazine, of all places, has released the findings of its detailed investigation. It's an amazing story, tragic on many levels. The story answers an important question about the connection between the evisceration of state and federal firearm regulation and the frightening bloodbath in Mexico, a question about the macro-level consequences of massive gun deregulation.

It all starts, however, from a much smaller question: how does ATF stop an alleged Sinaloa cartel gun-runner in Arizona, where it's legal to buy guns in infinite amounts, legal to turn around and sell them to whomever you want, illegal to construct a database to track gun sales and buyers, and the penalty even for getting caught selling guns to criminal organizations carries only a minor penalty?

Read to the end: the story has a killer punchline.

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