Feinstein Uses 'Fast and Furious' to Make Case for National Gun Registration

November 1, 2011 - 2:53 PM

(CNSNews.com) – Making a case for national gun registration, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said “perhaps mistakes were made” in the botched gun-walking program known as Fast and Furious, but she said trying to assign blame misses the larger problem.

“This is a deep concern for me. I know others disagree, but we have very lax laws when it comes to guns,” Feinstein, an advocate of gun control,  said during Tuesday's hearing of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism.

“My concern, Mr. Chairman, is that there’s been a lot said about Fast and Furious, and perhaps mistakes were made,” Feinstein said. “But I think this hunt for blame doesn’t really speak about the problem. And the problem is, anybody can walk in and buy anything.”

In Operation Fast and Furious, a Justice Department program that began in September 2009, law enforcement knowingly allowed about 2,000 U.S. guns to flow to Mexican drug cartels, with the intent of tracking the weapons and making arrests. However, law enforcement lost track of most of the weapons. The program was halted in December 2010 after two weapons from the program were found at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, head of the Justice Department’s criminal division, revealed Monday that he knew about Operation Fast and Furious going back to April 2010, but did not inform Attorney General Eric Holder about the matter.

Feinstein asked Breuer about the number of U.S. guns in Mexico.

“From my understanding, 94,000 weapons have been recovered in the last five years in Mexico. Those are just the ones recovered, Senator,” Breuer said. “Of the 94,000 weapons that have been recovered from Mexico, 64,000 of those are traced to the United States. We have to do something to prevent criminals from getting those guns,” Feinstein said.

Then she asked Breuer, “Do you believe that if there were some form of registration when you purchase these firearms that would make a difference?”

“I do, Senator,” Breuer said, adding that “information is the tool we need to challenge the people that are committing this crime.”