PHOENIX - Arizona lawmakers are forming a special committee to investigate ATF's controversial Fast and Furious case and the impact it has had on the state.
The committee, which is developing this week, will focus on two main issues affecting Arizona, according to Rep. David Burnell Smith:
1 - Were any Arizona laws violated during the course of the case?
2 – Are new laws necessary to prevent a future Fast and Furious situation?
THE CASE HISTORY
Fast and Furious is the case in which Phoenix ATF agents admitted to knowingly allowing weapons to slip into the hands of straw buyers, who would then distribute the weapons to known criminals.
The strategy was designed to lead ATF officials to key drug players in Mexico, but some agents admitted they never fully tracked the weapons after suspicious buyers purchased them.
As a result, several hundred weapons went missing and are believed to be on the streets in the United States and Mexico.
Two of the weapons turned up at the murder scene of border patrol agent, Brian Terry.
LOCAL LEGISLATURE REACTS
"Let's be serious folks, crimes happened here," said Speaker Andy Tobin. "We have a law enforcement agent who was killed here. This was done on Arizona soil with an Arizona scam that occurred," he said.
"It's responsible for the Arizona legislature to start having some hearings so we can do some fact finding and see where it's all going to come out," he said, explaining the mission is bi-partisan.
"This is all about transparency in this process, and I think it's time that Arizona stood on Arizona soil and started to talk about this issue that affected our state – that affected our people," he said.
PLANS TO OBTAIN INFORMATION
The ABC15 Investigators asked Tobin and Smith how they planned to obtain information about the case, since US Congressmen, Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley, have expressed major concerns about the lack of information that has been distributed by the Department of Justice during their investigations into the case.
"We might invite them to come here and speak if they want to come and give us some information," Smith said of the two Congressmen. "But we're concerned with primarily the gun (store) owners who were forced to enter into this Fast and Furious situation. They were forced to sell guns when they didn't want to and threatened to have their licenses taken away from them. We're going to start there," he said.