As the Gunwalker scandal has continued, defenders of both the BATFE and the Administration have attempted to blame the NRA and Republicans. They point out that BATFE has been without a permanent director for six years and they them contend that if there had been a permanent director this would not have happened.
In doing so, they choose to ignore three important realities:
1) What would be the reaction if an avowed racist were to be nominated to head the US Civil Rights Commission? Would people simply accept this? Would the media accuse those who objected of being opposed to civil rights? The 2nd Amendment has now been confirmed to protect, AS A CIVIL RIGHT, the right of every law abiding American to own firearms. The reason NRA and other gun rights groups have opposed nominees is that every single one of them is opposed to 2nd Amendment rights. Obama’s nominee has been caught lying to the press about “assault weapons”. If someone would nominate a professional who believes in simply enforcing the law, they would be confirmed.
2) As others have pointed out, the opposition to Obama’s nominee is bipartisan – when Democrats held a super majority they did not confirm him.
3) The problems with BATFE are also bipartisan and long standing – going back at least 30 years. Ruby Ridge and Waco both begin as BATFE operations. Now we have “Fast and Furious”. Let me make this very clear: There are many good people at ATF, including the whistle blowers. Indeed, many agents have been victims of ATF abuses. The bottom line is that a new director is not going to fix this agency because the problems are cultural. This agency needs to go away. The important job of firmly and fairly enforcing our current gun laws should be give to a more functional agency, such as the FBI. An alternative would be a completely new agency involving none of the current leadership. BATFE agents can and should be offered transfers, provided they have not been involved in corruption and/or wrongdoing.
Sometimes the only way get something right is to start over - this is one of those times.