ATF Agent's Testimony Identifies Weak Gun Laws

June 15, 2011 5:03 pm ET — Chris Brown

Today, the House Oversight Committee's hearing on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' (ATF) Fast and Furious investigation heard testimony from three ATF agents that had come forward with criticism of the controversial program. Also testifying was Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), who opened the hearing saying, "At least for today, let's just listen to what these agents and this family has to say. Let's hear their stories."

ATF special agent Peter Forcelli identified a variety of concerns about ATF strategies and the ineffective prosecutions of gun traffickers in addition to problems with current gun laws. Despite committee Chairman Darrell Issa's (R-CA) effort to shut down inconvenient answers, several important issues with our nation's gun laws were discussed. Watch videos of some of the significant exchanges below the fold.

SPECIAL AGENT PETER FORCELLI: The thought that the techniques used in the Fast and Furious investigation would result in taking down a cartel given the toothless nature of the straw purchasing law and the lack of a strong firearms trafficking statute is in my opinion delusional.

REP. GERALD CONNELLY (D-VA): Do you really have the resources you need to do your job?

SPECIAL AGENT PETER FORCELLI: It's amazing, sir, that you ask me that because I just had contact last week with a friend of mine who works in the 46th Precinct where I worked as a New York City police officer. It's one square mile, there are 355 police officers assigned to the 46th Precinct, one square mile. I have less than 100 agents assigned to the entire State of Arizona, that's 114,006 square miles. So do we have the resources, no we don't. We desperately need them. [Forcelli begins to say that's not an excuse, Connolly interrupts in agreement]

REP. TREY GOWDY (R-SC): What are the [sentencing] guidelines in a typical lying and buying case?

SPECIAL AGENT PETER FORCELLI: Generally speaking people with no, well because they don't have criminal history, which is why they can fill out the form. They get probation.