“Very clearly, they've made a crisis and they’re using this crisis to somehow take away or limit people’s Second Amendment rights,” Issa said Thursday on Fox News’s “Hannity.”
Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is the second Republican lawmaker to make the connection this week.
In an interview with the National Rifle Association (NRA) on Wednesday, Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) went even further, saying Fast and Furious was originally conceived by the administration as a plot to limit Second Amendment rights.
“This was the most anti-gun administration in our country’s history, and there are a number of us that believe the whole genesis of this Fast and Furious was to further their gun-control aims right here in the United States,” Walsh told NRA reporter Ginny Simone.
Neither lawmaker elaborated on how the operation could be used by the administration to further that purpose, but on Thursday, CBS News reported that it obtained internal emails from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in which agency officials discussed using the operation as an argument for new rules about gun sales.
According to the report, Fast and Furious could be used to further a controversial regulation called “Demand Letter 3,” which would require gun shops to report the sale of multiple rifles, or so-called “long guns.”
“Can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same [licensed gun dealer] and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales,” one of the ATF emails read.
“[I]n light of our request for Demand letter 3, this case could be a strong supporting factor if we can determine how many multiple sales of long guns occurred during the course of this case,” another email read.
The ATF has argued that it needs to track such sales because they include high-caliber semi-automatic machine guns used by Mexican drug cartels.
Second Amendment advocates say the reporting is burdensome and unconstitutional.
In a July letter to Holder, Issa and Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyThe 17 Republicans who voted to advance the Senate infrastructure bill Senate votes to take up infrastructure deal Capitol insurrection hearing exposes Trumpworld delusions MORE (R-Iowa) asked the attorney general if “Fast and Furious could be used to justify additional regulatory authorities.”
According to Issa, the administration has not responded.