http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATF_gunwalking_scandalThe Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) ran a series of "gunwalking" sting operations between 2006 and 2011. These operations were done under the umbrella of Project Gunrunner, a project intended to stem the flow of firearms into Mexico by interdicting straw purchasers and gun traffickers within the United States. "Gun walking" or "letting guns walk" was a tactic whereby the ATF "purposely allowed licensed firearms dealers to sell weapons to illegal straw buyers, hoping to track the guns to Mexican drug cartel leaders."
The stated goal of allowing these purchases was to continue to track the firearms as they were transferred to higher-level traffickers and key figures in Mexican cartels, with the expectation that this would lead to their arrests and the dismantling of the cartels. The tactic was questioned during the operations by a number of people, including ATF field agents and cooperating licensed gun dealers. During Operation Fast and Furious, by far the largest "gunwalking" probe, the ATF monitored the sale of over 2,000 firearms, of which only 700 were recovered as of October 20, 2011
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