(Ken Silva, Headline USA) Fully automatic weapons have been spotted amidst the rioting in Paris, France, raising questions about whether U.S. firearms have been illegally diverted to the city—which would be a repeat of what happened about eight years ago in the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks.
French news site Mediavenir published a video Friday of reported AK-47—which are manufactured both in the U.S. and Russia—fire in the La Duchère district of Lyons.
Russia Today published another article the next day, linking to several Telegram videos of other apparent automatic firearms—including what appears to be a light machine gun. As Russia Today noted, the weapon appeared to have a bipod attached as well as a large-capacity drum magazine.
The reports are causing a stir on Twitter, but the social media company’s “Community Notes” feature is criticizing them as uncorroborated conspiracy theories.
— Sal the Agorist (@SallyMayweather) July 2, 2023
“There is no evidence to back up this claim. One of the websites reporting this is a Russian news source,” Community Notes said. “Another website reporting this story publishes conspiracy theories, and propaganda.”
However, Paris has been ravaged by illegal American weapons in the past, including in the ISIS attacks on the city in 2015—an incident linked to the Obama administration’s Operation Fast and Furious scandal.
Operation Fast and Furious entailed the ATF purposely allowing firearms dealers to sell marked weapons illegally with the goal of tracking them to Mexican drug cartels. The operation turned into a major scandal in 2010, when one of the firearms was used to murder Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
While Fast and Furious was out of the media spotlight by the Paris shooting, Judicial Watch revealed in 2016 that one of the remaining guns was used in that attack.
“A Report of Investigation (ROI) filed by a case agent in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) tracked the gun used in the Paris attacks to a Phoenix gun owner who sold it illegally, ‘off book,’” Judicial Watch said at the time, citing sources within law enforcement.
“Federal agents tracing the firearm also found the Phoenix gun owner to be in possession of an unregistered fully automatic weapon.”
Some eight years after the Paris attack and more than a decade after Fast and Furious emerged as a national scandal, guns from that operation are still being used by criminals.
Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., revealed in April that a Fast and Furious gun was recently used in a crime. Biggs didn’t provide details of this crime, but said the ATF is now questioning the firearms dealer from which the gun emanated.
The U.S. government reportedly lost 2,000 firearms during Operation Fast and Furious, of which only 710 were recovered as of February 2012. Biggs asked ATF Director Dettelbach how many more have been recovered since then, and the ATF boss said he didn’t know.
In @JudiciaryGOP, ATF director Dettelbach attempted to dodge my questions surrounding ATF's botched "Fast and Furious" operation in AZ where agents confiscated legal firearms and handed them over to Mexican cartels.
These firearms are unaccounted for and are involved in crimes. pic.twitter.com/A27hMqQqR4
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) April 26, 2023
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.