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Rep. Sensenbrenner calls for investigation into Milwaukee ATF store front


WASHINTON D.C. (WTAQ) - Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner asked for an investigation today, to find out why the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives botched a storefront sting operation in Milwaukee.

The Journal Sentinel published a long article this morning about an ATF storefront called “Fearless Distributing” that was supposed to buy illegal drugs and guns from felons.

It ran for 10 months before it was burglarized, and $35,000 in store merchandise was stolen.

When the ATF closed the store, the paper said the agency left behind a sensitive document that exposed information about undercover agents. The building’s owner also says the ATF still owes him $15,000 in utility bills and damage to the building.

Congressman Sensenbrenner – a Republican from Menomonee Falls – said President Obama wants to pass gun laws and give more duties to the ATF. But he says the agency is quote, “inept in enforcing the laws we already have.”

Milwaukee House Democrat Gwen Moore called the operation a failure, and it shows that Congress needs to confirm a nominee to head the ATF.

Thirty people were charged in the sting, but the wrong person was named in three of the cases – including one who was in prison for another ATF violation.

Milwaukee’s U.S. Attorney won’t talk about the operation’s problems but noted it did a good job of seizing 145 illegal weapons.