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August 17, 2010

New Congressional Funding to Enhance Department of Justice Southwest Border Strategy


Congress has passed the Border Security Appropriations Bill providing $196 million for the Department of Justice to surge federal law enforcement efforts in high crime areas along the Southwest Border. As part of the $196 million, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) will be allocated funds for the establishment of seven Project Gunrunner Impact teams (GRIT). These teams are comprised of special agents and industry operations investigators targeting firearms trafficking along the Southwest Border.

Through ATF’s Project Gunrunner, agents gather intelligence from federal firearms licensee records, ballistics and other laboratory analysis and trace data as well as use traditional methods of intelligence gathering to deny the tools of the trade to the firearms trafficking infrastructure of criminal organizations operating in Mexico and throughout the United States.

ATF has significantly expanded its efforts by deploying GRIT teams to target areas along the border. As a result of the first GRIT deployment to Houston, more than 1100 firearms retailers were inspected by ATF. Of these 1100 inspections only one retailer license was revoked.

For the last decade, NSSF has partnered with the ATF in a national program to make the public aware that it is a serious crime to illegally straw purchase a firearm. Called Don’t Lie for the Other Guy, the program also helps ATF to educate firearms retailers to be better able to detect and prevent illegal straw purchases. Last year, funded exclusively by members of the firearms industry, NSSF launched a successful Don’t Lie campaign across the Southwest border. Though funding for Don’t Lie was not a part of this bill, it is our hope that these efforts, financial and otherwise, will be complemented by continued Department of Justice grant funding. This will allow NSSF to bring the Don’t Lie message, “Buy a gun for someone who can’t and buy yourself 10 years in jail,” to even more people.