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G M
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« Reply #550 on: April 28, 2011, 02:33:24 PM »

There is nothing that would prevent congress from investigating while the ATF's OPR (Internal Affairs) did an investigation, or the DOJ's IG did an investigation at the same time. Time to serve subpeonas and question people under oath.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #551 on: May 02, 2011, 08:57:14 PM »

Breaking News: Holder to appear before House Committee Tomorrow

May 2nd, 2011 5:14 pm ET
David Codrea
Gun Rights Examiner
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WASHINGTON DC (Gun Rights Examiner): "Tomorrow, Attorney General Eric Holder will testify before the House Judiciary Committee," an email sent this afternoon by the Deputy Press Secretary, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform announces:

Congressman Issa will press Attorney General Holder on the role of the ATF’s Phoenix office in 'Operation Fast and Furious', a botched gun tracking project which knowingly allowed guns into the hands of drug cartels leading to the death of  U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

The testimony will occur Tuesday 5/3/2011 at 10:15 a.m. at 2141 Rayburn House Office Building. It will be webcast live at  www.judiciary.house.gov.

Gun Rights Examiner had information about this pending testimony last week from a correspondent in contact with another congressional office, but did not make it public until this announcement at the specific request of the source.

Correction: The initial GRE report stated Holder would appear before Darrell Issa's committee.  He will appear before the House Judiciary Committee.

http://www.examiner.com/gun-rights-in-national/breaking-news-holder-to-appear-before-issa-s-house-committee-tomorrow
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G M
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« Reply #552 on: May 02, 2011, 09:00:24 PM »

Hmmmmmm. Better hope we've got a bead on Zawahiri before the next media cycle....  grin
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #553 on: May 03, 2011, 07:47:09 AM »

Exactly. That came up way too fast after all the previous stonewalling.
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G M
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« Reply #554 on: May 04, 2011, 08:09:03 AM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2011/05/04/holder-grilled-on-project-gunrunner/

Holder Grilled on Project Gunrunner
 

posted at 3:24 am on May 4, 2011 by Patterico

 
It’s the Republicans’ top investigator in the House absolutely raking the AG over the coals, as he probes a failed policy that may have cost American lives. High drama indeed.
 
Attorney General Eric Holder was on the hot seat yesterday, squirming as he dodged tough questions about Project Gunrunner, the controversial ATF policy that may have resulted in the deaths of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and ICE Agent Jaime Zapata.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #555 on: May 11, 2011, 11:41:43 AM »

Thank you for keeping this on our radar screen GM
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #556 on: May 17, 2011, 10:36:02 AM »


http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/05/16/federal-judge-rules-calif-gun-advocates/?test=latestnews

---------------------------------

I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them. -- George Mason, coauthor of the 2nd Amendment.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2011, 01:30:07 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #557 on: May 17, 2011, 10:46:03 PM »

Latest on Project Gunwalker
POSTED BY DAVID HARDY · 16 MAY 2011 11:05 AM
The Sipsey Street Irregulars post the latest analysis of ATF documents, and a link to a pdf of one September 2010 plan.

I found much interesting on pp. 12-13 (of pdf pagination):

"Historically, ATF has placed much emphasis on the roles of the straw purchaser and the Federal firearms licensee in identifying and disrupting firearms trafficking schemes. However, straw purchasers by definition lack serious criminal records and therefore are frequently viewed as undesirable targets for criminal prosecution."

"FFLs remain both an important source of firearms (often unwittingly) to firearms traffickers and an investigative source of information. On occasion, FFLs become targets of criminal investigation and prosecution. When criminal wrongdoing by FFLs is suspected they will be aggressively investigated and recommended for prosecution. Corrupt FFLs constitute high-value targets due to the damage they cause and the special responsibility they hold to ensure that firearms are not illegally diverted from lawful commerce."

"Additionally, we must not overlook the fact that firearms traffickers and other violent criminals also obtain firearms from secondary sources... Analysis of source location trace data for specific market areas, when adjusted for time-to-crime, may not only reveal actionable investigative leads, but also that secondary sources (e.g.,gun shows, thefts and private sales) are a greater source of trafficked crime guns than licensed dealers."

"This strategy will present certain challenges as some of the persons we seek to investigate, indict, and apprehend will reside outside the United States and/or may be priority targets of other U.S. law enforcement agencies. When appropriate, this strategy envisions that ATF will refer information and actionable intelligence to the Government of Mexico and/or other U.S. law enforcement agencies."

Hmmm.... straw man purchasers are uninteresting targets. The cartels themselves are out of our reach. That seems to leave FFLs and gunshows.

And the responsibility for the agency-sponsored gun running seems to go right to the top. P. 18 is devoted to HQ monitoring of operations. "The monitoring and coordinating of Southwest border investigations will be the responsibility of the recently established Firearms Operations Division."

P. 19: "The controlled movement of firearms, ammunition, explosives, explosives devices, and/or components or non-functional “props” of such items across the U.S.-Mexico border from the United States shall be coordinated with and approved in advance by Bureau headquarters and the MCO [Mexico Country Office, of ATF]"

http://armsandthelaw.com/archives/2011/05/latest_on_proje.php
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #558 on: May 18, 2011, 12:50:24 PM »

Major ATF Phoenix shake-up after "Gunwalker"
Posted by Sharyl Attkisson

(Credit: CBS) CBS News has learned that virtually all the top ATF managers in Phoenix involved in the controversial "Fast and Furious" operation have been reassigned and replaced. The shake-up comes in the wake of the gunwalking scandal in which ATF allegedly allowed more than 2500 weapons to hit the streets or "walk."
Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Bill Newell has been replaced by the former Detroit SAC Tom Brandon. Newell was reassigned to ATF headquarters in Washington D.C. shortly after CBS News interviewed an ATF agent-turned-whistleblower about the alleged gunwalking.

Two new Assistant Special Agents in Charge (ASACs) have also moved into the ATF Phoenix office: Joe Anarumo of Miami and Tom Atteberry of Kansas City. Sources say they replace the ASACs who oversaw Fast and Furious in Phoenix: George Gillett, who's being reassigned to Washington D.C. headquarters; and Jim Needles, who's been tasked to the Phoenix U.S. Attorney's office.

"This is unprecedented and welcome," says one insider, who describes the new Phoenix management as "the A-Team" and "respected."

Gunrunning scandal uncovered at the ATF

Another move involves Agent David Voth, who directly supervised the Phoenix ATF "Group VII," that executed Fast and Furious. Sources say he's also been assigned to the U.S. Attorney's office along with Agent Hope McAllister. Sources say McAllister was the agent in charge of Fast and Furious. Replacing Voth as head of Group VII is Steve Barborini from Miami.

None of the managers who've been moved have had any disciplinary action announced against them. The fact of their transfers does not in itself suggest any wrongdoing. There are at least two investigations underway looking into how and why ATF allegedly let assault rifles and other weapons "walk." Sources say at the time, agents believed the guns would likely end up in the hands of Mexican drug cartels. One of the allegedly walked guns was used at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Officials are also looking into a possible link to the murder of Customs Agent Jaime Zapata.

Nobody from the ATF public affairs or from the Justice Department, which oversees ATF, would immediately confirm the personnel shifts. As of this writing, the official ATF web site for Phoenix still listed Newell, Needles and Gillette as their former positions in Phoenix ATF Division Management.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_162-20063716-10391695.html
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #559 on: May 20, 2011, 09:25:39 PM »

Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams Should Be Arrested
Thursday, May 19th, 2011

I wanted to comment a bit more on the Mark Fiorino story that guest blogger Dave Kruger posted earlier this week, because it’s pretty goddamned outrageous.

Fiorino is the guy who was accosted by police officers in Philadelphia for openly carrying a gun in the city, despite the fact that he was perfectly within his legal rights to do so. He was in full compliance with the law. The problem is that the Philadelphia cops who confronted him were ignorant of the law. In the course of the confrontation, the cops repeatedly threatened to kill Fiorino, despite the fact that, again, he had broken no laws. They also illegally detained and arrested him. They then had to release him when they actually checked the law and discovered they were wrong.

When I’ve written about the arrests of citizens who record or photograph cops over the last couple years, I’ve repeatedly pointed out the double standard that exists when it comes to ignorance of the law. Citizens are expected to know every law. Break one, and you suffer the consequences. Ignorance is no defense, even when it comes to vague, obscure, or densely-written laws. But when law enforcement officials—the people we pay to enforce the criminal code—when they prove to be ignorant of the law, when they illegally detain, arrest, and jail someone based on a mistaken understanding of the law, they rarely if ever suffer any consequences.

The Fiorino case is a perfect example of that double standard. But the Fiorino case is even more pernicious. Because he’d had previous episodes with cops who were ignorant of local gun laws, Fiorino was carrying an audio recorder with him in Philadelphia. He recorded his confrontation with the Philly cops, and that audio exposed them for the ignorant, thuggish threats to the public that they are. (Note: I regularly caution against holding individual cops responsible for enforcing bad policy. I don’t use words like “ignorant” and “thuggish” lightly. These cops were both.) The recording Fiorino made of his encounter was also perfectly legal.

So what are we to then make of Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams’ decision to arrest and charge Fiorino after Fiorino posted the recordings on the Internet?

Here’s what I make of it: It’s criminal. Fiorino embarrassed Philadelphia cops, and Williams is punishing him for it. Williams and the police spokesman are claiming Fiorino deliberately provoked the cops. No, he didn’t. He didn’t wave the gun at anyone. He didn’t invite police scrutiny. The cops confronted him upon seeing a weapon he was legally carrying in a perfectly legal manner. And they were wrong. Make no mistake. This is blatant intimidation.

But while their behavior in this story was repugnant, at least the cops had the plausible explanation of ignorance for the initial confrontation, then fear for their safety when an armed man they incorrectly thought was violating the law pushed back (though neither is an excuse, and neither should exclude them from discipline). What Williams has done since is much worse. It is premeditated. Much more than the cops, Williams should know the law. Moreover, even if he didn’t know the law at the time, he has since had plenty of time to research it. By now, Williams  does know the law. (If he doesn’t, he is incompetent.) And he knows that even if Fiorino did deliberately provoke the cops to test their knowledge of Philadelphia’s gun laws, that also is not a crime.

Yet he’s charging Fiorino anyway, with “reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct”—the vague sorts of charges cops and prosecutors often fall back on when they can’t show any actual crime. A spokesperson for Williams said Fiorino was “”belligerent and hostile” to police who were investigating a possible crime. Read the transcript of the audio in the linked article above and tell me who is “belligerent and hostile.” Read it knowing who was breaking the law, who was following it, and while remaining cognizant of which party was threatening to put a bullet in the head of the other.

Note that nothing Fiorino did was on its own illegal. Willliams is attempting a striking, blatantly dishonest bit of legal chicanery. His theory goes like this:  If you undertake a series of actions that are perfectly legal and well within your rights, but that cause government agents to react in irrational ways that jeopardize public safety, you are guilty of endangering the public.

This can’t stand. It’s a blatant abuse of office. Williams is using the state’s awesome power to arrest and incarcerate to intimidate a man who exposed and embarrassed law enforcement officials who, because of their own ignorance, nearly killed him. Exposing that sort of government incompetence cannot be illegal. And it isn’t illegal.

The message Williams is sending is this: Yes, you might technically have the right to carry a gun in Philadelphia. But if you exercise that right, you should be prepared for the possibility that police officers will illegally stop you, detain you, threaten to kill you, and arrest you. And I’m not going to do a damn thing about it.  And yes, you may technically also have First Amendment rights in Philadelphia, but if you dare exercise them to let the larger public know what happened to you for exercising your right to carry a gun, I will try to put you in prison.

I’m not trying to be needlessly provocative, here. This is important. Prosecutors can’t get away with this kind of behavior. Even if the charges are eventually dropped, that isn’t enough. Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams should be arrested. And he should be charged with knowingly, criminally violating Mark Fiorino’s civil rights.

http://www.theagitator.com/2011/05/19/philadelphia-district-attorney-r-seth-williams-should-be-arrested/
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #560 on: May 23, 2011, 08:10:07 AM »

More on "Project Gunwalker"
POSTED BY DAVID HARDY · 22 MAY 2011 10:54 AM
CBS News: DEA and ATF in tug of war after DEA seizes guns "walked" by ATF.

David Codrea has a post on new revelations in the case, with video interview of a a BATF informant (i.e., not an agent) here. He has some interesting insights. Agencies don't need more money, they need less turf fighting and human intel. He was ordered to give info to one agency only, and not to communicate with others. He was informed by contacts in Mexico that full auto guns were coming in with approval of US government agencies. The smugglers had both American and Mexican LEOs paid off. Corruption is on both sides of the border, probably worse here. He also talks of military weapons being smuggled from Mexico into the US. He knows of one agent who gets a down payment, with final payment made after delivery.

Weapons coming in northward include a lot of US made weapons sold to Latin American governments, which now turn them for a profit in Mexico.

When ATF debriefed him... they sought info on where guns were being obtained, who was smuggling them, etc., but the purpose seemed to be to ensure nobody got caught with egg on the face. When he brought up the gun that killed Agent Terry, where he had reported the identity of the killer, he was told to forget about it, someone else was investigating that. He doesn't believe local LEOs are corrupted; they wouldn't have a role in moving guns or drugs, the cartels want to corrupt Federal agents. Local LEOs have no power over a port of entry.

Evidence indicates tunnels are being driven near Douglas AZ, from the Mexican side. Met with a contact involved in the tunnel, he said it would cost $100-200K, but since you can move tons of cocaine thru it, that's pocket change.

Worked with many, many agencies, Federal and State. Pay can be percent of drugs seized, but lately is low. Initial work was driven by concerns about terrorism and bio weapons. Then was in it for the money, now talking in hopes someone will see info and act. Drug war, terror war, claims that they are being fought successfully is a lie. Programs are failures. Drug war ... the amount of drugs coming in, not being interdicted, drug use steadily increasing. Heart of problem is in senior management, dismantling operations that are effective. Disillusioned, because been on ground, saw drugs and guns, reported it, watched cases dropped or dismissed, or agents say can't do it because his boss doesn't want to get involved in a field operation.

Link to the CBS story cited above: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_162-20064443-10391695.html

http://armsandthelaw.com/archives/2011/05/more_on_project_1.php
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G M
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« Reply #561 on: May 23, 2011, 08:18:44 AM »

The more the layers get peeled back, the worse this looks.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #562 on: May 25, 2011, 08:53:04 AM »

Hmm, very telling exploration of Mexican gun trace request data, one that I expect won't see much ink in American papers:

http://wilsoncenter.org/news/docs/Goodman%20Update%20on%20US%20Firearms%20to%20Mexico.pdf

Excerpts, along with an astute comment, via Of Arms & the Law blog:

Guns tracing to Mexico
POSTED BY DAVID HARDY · 24 MAY 2011 05:39 PM
Colby Goodman, of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars has an interesting study. A few excerpts:

"While ATF has some information on firearms recovered in Mexico, a total of 69,808 firearms as of May 2010, ATF agents say they can use only about eight percent of Mexico’s firearm trace requests to initiate investigations, in part because many of the trace requests lack basic identification data and were purchased in the United States more than five years ago. The U.S. government also faces substantial challenges, particularly in identifying firearms traffickers and persuading U.S. Attorneys to accept more criminal cases related to firearms trafficking to Mexico. Perhaps the most worrying from the Mexican government’s point of view, however, is ATF’s Fast and Furious Operation based out of Phoenix, Arizona, which reportedly allowed hundreds of firearms to be sold to potentially known traffickers as a way to build more attractive cases for U.S. Attorneys and ATF did not notify Mexican authorities."

"According to new statistics provided by the U.S. and Mexican governments, Mexico has submitted a total of 78,194 firearm trace requests to the United States from FY 2007 to FY 2010.34 During approximately the same time frame, President Calderon said Mexico had seized about 90,000 arms.35 Looking at these numbers, it may appear Mexico is providing ATF with information on a large number of the firearms it has seized since the start of the Calderon Administration, but ATF now reports that tens of thousands of the trace requests are duplicates.36 In some cases, ATF has received information on the same firearm up to five times as Mexican police, a crime lab, the military, and the Attorney General’s office all write down information on the same firearm, and the individual in the Attorney General’s office in Mexico City submits trace requests on all of them."

"According to a detailed U.S. DOJ Inspector General report released in November 2010, about 26 percent of Mexico’s trace requests to the U.S. government for FY 2009 were untraceable because of serial number errors."

" In addition, according to the same Inspector General’s report, 75 percent of the firearms ATF was able to trace to the first purchaser in the United States were purchased more than five years ago. The report further says that only about 18 percent of the firearms were purchased less than three years ago."

"For example, ATF agents frequently use the act of illegally buying a firearm for someone else, otherwise known as straw purchasing, in seeking to stop firearms trafficking to Mexico, but the overwhelming majority of the defendants convicted of this crime have received less than one year in prison.48 The average prison sentences for two other crimes ATF most often uses to stop firearms trafficking – knowingly making a false statement and willfully engaging in a firearms business without a license – were also just over a one year.49 By comparison, drug conspiracy charges averaged 10 year sentences. As a result, ATF officials have said there is often an unwritten, minimum threshold of 10 to 20 illegal trafficked firearms and one firearm used in a crime before a U.S. Attorney will accept the case, which appears to have led to the problems with ATF’s Fast and Furious Operation.50 U.S. Attorneys also stated that they decided to reject ATF referred cases related to Project Gunrunner because the cases sometimes lacked evidence of criminal intent or had insufficient evidence"

"Lastly, although ATF could increase the penalties firearms traffickers face by engaging in joint investigations with ICE on criminal cases related to smuggling and arms export controls, it has continued to largely avoid working with ICE, which has the most experience on these types of violations.58 For example, the DOJ Inspector General found that charges related to smuggling on average resulted in five year prison sentences, which are much longer than the crimes ATF often pursues.59 However, the Inspector General found that from “FY 2004 through FY 2009, only seven defendants in Project Gunrunner cases were convicted of smuggling.”"

Comments
" In addition, according to the same Inspector General’s report, 75 percent of the firearms ATF was able to trace to the first purchaser in the United States were purchased more than five years ago. The report further says that only about 18 percent of the firearms were purchased less than three years ago."

In other words, the only seriously organized operation to buy guns in the US and smuggle them into Mexico is run by the BATFE.

http://armsandthelaw.com/archives/2011/05/guns_tracing_to.php
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G M
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« Reply #563 on: May 25, 2011, 09:55:13 AM »

In other words, the only seriously organized operation to buy guns in the US and smuggle them into Mexico is run by the BATFE.

Amazing. Glad the USG still has the resources to go after those bunny farmers and the Amish raw milk sellers. Priorities, I guess.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #564 on: May 26, 2011, 09:32:07 AM »

Arizona Department of Safety Officer pulled over a pick-up truck owner for a faulty taillight. When the officer approached the driver, the man
behind the wheel handed the officer his driver’s license, insurance card and
a concealed weapon carry permit.

The officer took all the documents, looked them over and said. "Mr..
Smith, I see you have a CCP. Do you have any weapons with you?"

The driver replied, " Yes sir, I have a 357 handgun in a hip holster, a
..45 in the glove box and a .22 derringer in my boot."

The officer looked at the driver and asked, "Anything else?"

"Yes sir, I have a Mossberg 500 12 gauge and an AR-15 behind the seat."

The officer asked if the man was driving to or from a shooting range
and the man said he wasn't, so the officer bent over and looked into the
driver's face and said "Mr. Smith, you're carrying quite a few guns.
May I ask what you are afraid of?

Mr. Smith locked eyes with the officer and calmly answered,
   "Not a fucking thing!"

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DougMacG
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« Reply #565 on: May 26, 2011, 12:26:27 PM »

I love that joke! From the more liberal jurisdictions I thought the ending would be that he got the ticket for driving a pickup truck.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #566 on: May 29, 2011, 03:04:52 PM »


http://www.daybydaycartoon.com/2011/05/08/
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #567 on: June 03, 2011, 08:29:14 AM »

Win on attorneys' fees in Chicago case
POSTED BY DAVID HARDY · 2 JUNE 2011 03:26 PM
7th Circuit ruling here. After losing in the Supreme Court, and before the case came back down to the trial court so it could enter judgment, the defendant cities changed their handgun bans, and the trial court dismissed the case as moot. It then ruled in the NRA case that there were no "prevailing parties" to recover fees, since the only final judgment was a dismissal.

The Seventh Circuit reverses this. As the court asks, "By the time defendants bowed to the inevitable, plaintiffs had in hand a judgment of the Supreme Court that gave them everything they needed. If a favorable decision of the Supreme Court does not count as “the necessary judicial imprimatur” on the plaintiffs’ position (Buckhannon, 532 U.S. at 605), what would?"

http://armsandthelaw.com/archives/2011/06/win_on_attorney.php
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #568 on: June 06, 2011, 10:13:14 PM »


House Democrats Urge President to End Stonewalling on "Gunrunner"
Friday, June 03, 2011

Today, 31 U.S. House members -- all Democrats -- wrote to President Barack Obama, urging him to end Administration stonewalling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' "Project Gunrunner," and the "Fast and Furious" program under which border state dealers were encouraged to sell thousands of guns to suspicious buyers.

In the letter, spearheaded by Rep. Jason Altmire, D-Pa., the lawmakers called the investigative tactics "extremely troubling" and found the Justice Department's failure to provide information to congressional investigators "equally troubling." Saying that Americans deserve "prompt and complete answers," the letter concluded with a call for the administration to help "get to the bottom of this serious allegation of federal law enforcement misconduct."

To read the letter, click here [link to http://www.nraila.org/media/PDFs/Pro...S3June2011.pdf ] —and if your representative signed it, please be sure to thank him for taking this stand for strong congressional oversight of this disastrous program. 

===============

CBS News has learned that the recent case of a Mexican military helicopter forced to land after it was fired upon is linked to the ATF Fast and Furious "gunwalker" operation.

Drug cartel suspects on the ground shot at Mexican government helicopters two weeks ago in western Mexico, forcing one chopper to land. Authorities seized more than 70 assault rifles and other weapons from the suspects.
===========


Among the seized weapons are guns sold to suspects as part of the ATF sting operation, sources say. That information came from traces of serial numbers.

"Shooting at an aircraft is a terrorist act," says one U.S. law enforcement source. "What does that say if we're helping Mexican drug cartels engage in acts of terror? That's appalling if we could have stopped those guns."

The Department of Justice provided no information or comment when asked about the incident by CBS News.
===========================
Congress set for first 'gunwalker' hearing



Quote:
The first in a series of Congressional hearings into the so-called "gunwalker" scandal is set for Monday, June 13th. The title:"Obstruction of Justice: Does the Justice Department Have to Respond to a Lawfully Issued and Valid Congressional Subpoena?"

As CBS News reported on April 1, the House Oversight Committee subpoenaed documents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). House investigators say that instead of complying with the subpoena, the Justice Department (which oversees ATF) showed them a "handful of highly redacted documents" and provided additional documents already in the public record.

"They didn't comply with terms of the subpoena," says a House oversight staffer. 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #569 on: June 08, 2011, 08:33:36 PM »



http://www.ca7.uscourts.gov/tmp/8E0PHS5R.pdf
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #570 on: June 15, 2011, 02:41:33 PM »

The Brady Bunch regularly crows over the number of firearm sales disallowed due to background checks, but forgets to mention just about all those denials are made in error:


The Problem with Brady Background Checks: Virtually all of those denied purchasing a gun are false positives

There are several things to understand about how the Brady Law background check process works. At gun stores or other registered dealers, would-be buyers have to fill out a form asking whether there are any criminal convictions or types of mental illness that would prevent them from legally purchasing the weapon. Falsely answering these questions amounts to perjury. If people answer the question by saying that they have a background that prohibits them from buying, a gun dealers stop right there and do not even process those forms. And if people are believed to have knowingly provided false information on the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) form and prosecutors think that they can prove that knowingly false information was provided, the would-be buyer faces prosecution.

Yet, the NICS system accidentally flags many law-abiding people, stopping those who simply have the same name as a prohibited individual from buying a gun.

Some may remember the five times the late Senator Ted Kennedy was placed on a “no fly list.” If someone is flagged by the NICS system, it is because it appears that they didn’t put down something in their background that disqualified them from buying a gun. Yet, an initial denial does not mean that the individual is actually disqualified from owning a gun. Take the numbers for 2009, the latest year with data available. There were 71,010 initial denials. Of those, only 4,681, or 6.6 percent, were referred to the BATF for further investigation. As a report on these denials by the U.S. Department of Justice indicates, “The remaining denials (66,329 – 93%) did not meet referral guidelines or were overturned after review by Brady Operations or after the FBI received additional information.” To put it differently, the initial review didn’t find that these individuals had a record that prevented them from buying a gun.

Still that isn’t the end of the story. Of these 4,681 referrals, over 51 percent, or 2,390 cases, involve “delayed denials,” cases where a check hasn’t even been completed. Of the rest, 2,291 covered cases where initial reviews indicated that the person should have been denied buying a gun. But the government admits that upon further review another 572 of these referrals were found “not [to be] a prohibited person,” leaving about 4,154 cases. That implies an initial false positive rate of roughly 94.2%. And it still doesn’t mean that the government hasn’t made a mistake on the remaining cases. In some cases for example, a person’s criminal record was supposed to be expunged, and it had not been?

Up until this point, no discretion about the merits of the case has entered the picture. If a review of the records indicates that someone is a prohibited individual, they are included. But of these 4,154 cases, only 140 cases involving banned individuals trying to purchase guns being referred to prosecutors, just 60 of which involved providing false information when buying a firearm. Of those 140 cases, prosecutors thought the evidence was strong enough to bring a case only 77 times.

Prosecution may be declined either because further investigation revealed that the person wasn’t prohibited from owning a gun, because false information hadn’t knowingly been provided, or prosecutors didn’t believe that the cases “merited” prosecution. But if someone is indeed prohibited from owning a gun and they left that information off their NICS form, it is relatively easy for authorities to prove they knowingly concealed that information. The most frequently claimed reasons that people failed the background checks are: “restraining orders, domestic violence misdemeanors, non-immigrant aliens, violent felonies, warrants, and indictments.” How hard is it for prosecutors to prove that someone hadn’t accidentally forgotten that they had a conviction for a violent felony or they had a restraining order?

While prosecutors tend to go forward with their strongest cases, those prosecuted are often not found guilty. By the end of 2010, prosecutors had only 32 convictions or pleas agreements, and only 13 of those involved falsified information when buying a gun or illegal possession of a gun, that translates into just 0.018% of the 71,010 initial denials.

So we have two estimates of the false positive rate: 94.2% or 99.98%. The first estimate is obviously too low, it assumes that all the cases identified up to that point are accurate. The second estimate is obviously too high, it only counts as prohibited individuals those who have been proven so beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.  These numbers are just one of the reason that no study by criminologists or economists has found that the Federal Brady Law has reduced national crime rates.

Of course, being falsely labeled as being ineligible to own a gun isn’t the only cost imposed on law-abiding Americans. Even those who aren’t prevented from buying a gun face delays in getting approved. Eight percent of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System checks are “not resolved immediately.” Two-thirds of those checks take up to 3 business days, and the rest take even longer, though these further delays can’t stop one from obtaining a gun at that point.

http://johnrlott.blogspot.com/2011/06/problem-with-brady-background-checks.html
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« Reply #571 on: June 16, 2011, 07:36:26 AM »

Congress irate over ATF guns-to-Mexico program

By Sharyl Attkisson



Congress grilled representatives from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and the Department of Justice Wednesday over a program that intentionally let guns flow over the border into Mexico -- and into the hands of criminals -- in order to track drug cartels.


CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson broke the story on the CBS Evening News in March. Earlier this year, two of the guns may have been used in the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol agent, prompting outrage and investigations, Attkisson reports.


Six months ago today, border patrol agent Brian Terry was gunned down. Today, three senior ATF agents sat beside Terry's mom, cousin and sister -- and said their agency may be to blame.


Two of the guns found at the scene of Terry's murder were part of thousands the ATF allegedly allowed gun traffickers to purchase. The ATF called it letting "guns walk" -- a tactic they hoped would lead to them to drug kingpins. Agents who disagreed with the strategy blew the whistle.


"To walk a single gun is in my opinion an idiotic move," said ATF senior special agent Pete Forcelli. "We weren't giving guns to people who were hunting bear. We were giving guns to people who were killing other humans."


After Terry's murder, ATF quickly rounded up gun trafficking suspects they'd watched for a year. That's when the first reports of gunwalking began to surface. Asked if they were true at the time, ATF Phoenix chief Bill Newell told reporters "hell no" -- surprising those who worked for him.


"I was appalled, because it was a blatant lie," Forcelli said. Newell didn't respond to interview requests.


Also under attack: the Justice Department which oversees the ATF. Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich says the agency is cooperating with Congress, but Rep. Darryl Issa says information is being withheld.


"You should be ashamed of yourself," Issa said at the hearing Wednesday holding up a blacked-out sheet of paper. "The pages go on like this forever. You've given us black paper instead of white paper. How dare you make an opening statement of 'cooperation.'"


Issa pressed Weich on who in Washington authorized the program -- and received no answer.


"There was serious profound disagreement about strategy -- but the common goal was to stop gun trafficking to Mexico," Weich said. "Some of the testimony provided today is of great concern. That is why the attorney general asked the inspector general to look into it."


When Brian Terry was gunned down last December, he'd already mailed Christmas gifts.


"The gifts that Brian had picked out with such thought and care began to arrive in the mail that same week," recalled Terry's cousin Robert Heyer, a Secret Service agent. "With each delivery, we felt the indescribable pain of Brian's death."


Terry's family wants someone to accept responsibility. The Department of Justice inspector general is investigating -- and any gunwalking that was taking place has been halted.
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« Reply #572 on: June 16, 2011, 11:49:55 PM »

BTW Fox's Bret Baier Report, a genuine news show, is beginning to give the ATF Gun Running Story some ongoing coverage.  Looks like they may have been amongst the lurkers here  grin
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« Reply #573 on: June 17, 2011, 07:11:48 AM »

Around the gun blogosphere folks are starting to ask just what the BATFE's end game was. It seems highly unlikely that letting any number of guns slip over the border would impact the arrest and prosecution of narco-terrorists--already got tons of drugs and bodies stacked like cord wood to prosecute--so various pundits are trying to backward engineer just what the goal was. The answer various people are arriving at is that the BATFE's upper management sought to provide their superiors with strong arguments for imposing draconian gun laws by demonstrating a problem flow of weapons, a flow they initiated. It's been funny watching the Dems involved in various hearings this week as they seem to be singing off that exact talking point.

One such example of blogosphere ruminations:

BATFE Report
In the airport, but I did want to comment on the Congressional report on the BATFE Gunwalker scandal. This from the Washington Examiner:

Rep. Darrell Issa, the California Republican who chairs the House committee, the report focuses on the efforts of four BATF agents who brought direct knowledge of the program:

“ATF agents have shared chilling accounts of being ordered to stand down as criminals in Arizona walked away with guns headed for Mexican drug cartels,” Issa said. “With the clinical precision of a lab experiment, the Justice Department kept records of weapons they let walk and the crime scenes where they next appeared. To agents’ shock, preventing loss of life was not the primary concern.”

Among the report's highlights, according to an Issa spokesman, are these:

* The supervisor of Operation Fast and Furious was “jovial, if not, not giddy but just delighted about” walked guns showing up at crime scenes in Mexico according to an ATF agent. (p. 37)

* Another ATF agent told the committee about a prediction he made a year ago that “someone was going to die” and that the gunwalking operation would be the subject of a Congressional investigation. (p. 24)

* The shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords created a “state of panic” within the group conducting the operation as they initially feared a “walked” gun might have been used. (p. 38)

* One Operation Fast and Furious Agent: “I cannot see anyone who has one iota of concern for human life being okay with this …” (p. 27)

* An ATF agent predicted to committee investigators that more deaths will occur as a result of Operation Fast and Furious. (p.39)

* Multiple agents told the committee that continued assertions by Department of Justice Officials that guns were not knowingly “walked” and that DOJ tried to stop their transport to Mexico are clearly untruthful. (p. 45-50).

Here's the link to the whole report over at the No Lawyers Only Guns & Money blog.

Here's my quick take...reiterating what I said on the podcast this AM:

1) The ONLY way Fast & Furious makes sense is as a direct attack on the Second Amendment. Otherwise, it makes no sense at all. The idea of "rolling up" a firearms trafficking ring is nonsense. If that had been the intent, it would have been a joint operation with the Mexican government. It wasn't...in fact, ATF went to some length to keep the Mexicans in the dark.

2) The idea of getting a gunrunning indictment against any of the cartel heads is equal nonsense. A gunrunning indictment? Against men that are, in effect, men with standing death warrants on their heads, mass murderers with their own private armies? Wow, they'd be shaking in their boots!

3) Fast & Furious worked exactly as the ATF and the people holding its strings -- the Department of Justice and probably Homeland -- planned for it to work. That is, it put demonstrably made-in-America, sold-in-America guns at Mexican crime scenes, waiting for the largely inept, totally corrupt Mexican law enforcement to find them, submit them to the US for tracing and shout loudly that they had found the literal "smoking gun," that American gun shops/shows were flooding Mexico with arms. That's why supervisors were "jovial, if not giddy" when the first Gunwalker guns began turning up at Mexican crime scenes...it was working!

4) I think ATF believed it had enough regulatory juice to keep the gun stores involved from talking, or if not keeping them from talking demonizing them, and maybe driving them out of business, if they did.

It's hardly a secret that I don't think much of the failed narco-state of Mexico, a country of peasants that has allowed a series of blowhard morons turn their country in something resembling one of the rings of hell. But one thing that strikes me as horrific, and breaks my heart, is how easily, how casually, a group of men in suits, in air conditioned offices in Arizona,, in Texas, and, ultimately, in Washington D.C., sanctioned the inevitable deaths of brown people in another country.

Collateral damage...like Brian Terry.

« Last Edit: June 17, 2011, 07:13:35 AM by Body-by-Guinness » Logged
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« Reply #574 on: June 17, 2011, 07:22:01 AM »

I can't see any legitimate law enforcement purpose to what was done in "Gunwalker". If there was, I'd expect they'd be out front with it rather than circling the wagons and trying to avoid congressional scrutiny.
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« Reply #575 on: June 17, 2011, 09:22:51 AM »

Quote
1) The ONLY way Fast & Furious makes sense is as a direct attack on the Second Amendment. Otherwise, it makes no sense at all. The idea of "rolling up" a firearms trafficking ring is nonsense. If that had been the intent, it would have been a joint operation with the Mexican government. It wasn't...in fact, ATF went to some length to keep the Mexicans in the dark.

2) The idea of getting a gunrunning indictment against any of the cartel heads is equal nonsense. A gunrunning indictment? Against men that are, in effect, men with standing death warrants on their heads, mass murderers with their own private armies? Wow, they'd be shaking in their boots!

3) Fast & Furious worked exactly as the ATF and the people holding its strings -- the Department of Justice and probably Homeland -- planned for it to work. That is, it put demonstrably made-in-America, sold-in-America guns at Mexican crime scenes, waiting for the largely inept, totally corrupt Mexican law enforcement to find them, submit them to the US for tracing and shout loudly that they had found the literal "smoking gun," that American gun shops/shows were flooding Mexico with arms. That's why supervisors were "jovial, if not giddy" when the first Gunwalker guns began turning up at Mexican crime scenes...it was working!

4) I think ATF believed it had enough regulatory juice to keep the gun stores involved from talking, or if not keeping them from talking demonizing them, and maybe driving them out of business, if they did.
EDN QUOTE

Exactly so.  On the other hand, this is claptrap:

"It's hardly a secret that I don't think much of the failed narco-state of Mexico, a country of peasants that has allowed a series of blowhard morons turn their country in something resembling one of the rings of hell."  Given the ongoing destruction of this country, a whole bunch more of humility would be in line.
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« Reply #576 on: June 20, 2011, 08:55:48 AM »


One of the frightening things about the U.S. government's war on drugs is that it is being waged by federal bureaucracies. The legend of Elliot Ness notwithstanding, this implies that it is not only fraught with ineptitude but that before it is all over, there are going to be a lot of avoidable deaths.

Witness "Operation Fast and Furious," a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms plan that allegedly facilitated the flow of high-powered weapons into Mexico in the hope that it might lead to the take-down of a major cartel. It did not. But it may have fueled a spike in the murder rate and led to the death of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

ATF agents are trained to tail buyers of multiple high-powered weapons and find out what they do with them. Fast and Furious broke with this practice, according to a 51-page joint staff report released Wednesday by Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R., Iowa). It cites ATF agents who testified that the plan was to let the buyers disappear, to later recover the weapons at crime scenes, and then to use the serial numbers to identify where they came from. This was supposed to lead to the arrest of not only the Arizona "straw" buyer who had made the purchase for the capos, but to the bust of the big players in drug-trafficking organizations.

The ATF told me that it "can not comment on any of the allegations brought by the Issa-Grassley oversight committee" due to an ongoing investigation, and the Department of Justice did not return a request for comment. But as described in the report, the idea had two major flaws. First, it assumed that it didn't matter who got murdered with those weapons before they were recovered. Second, it was built on the theory that the operation could haul in the big fish. According to the report, the feds were wrong on both counts.

For the local gun merchants who cooperated with the feds and for some of the ATF agents in Arizona, the plan was dubious from the start. An estimated 2,000 of these guns disappeared over the 14-month period of Fast and Furious, and the agents who testified said that this contradicted everything they had learned about never letting a gun "walk"—that is, be taken by a suspicious purchaser without following him and finding out where it went.

View Full Image

Associated Press
Border Patrol Chaplain Mark A. Vander Lee pauses at the memorial service for slain agent Brian Terry on Jan. 21, in Tucson, Ariz.

One agent described his frustration: "Every day being out here watching a guy go into the same gun store buying another 15 or 20 AK-47s or variants or . . . five or tenDraco pistols or FN Five-seveNs . . . guys that don't have a job, and he is walking in here spending $27,000 for three Barrett .50 calibers . . . and you are sitting there every day and you can't do anything." Agents say that their concerns, expressed to supervisors, were rebuffed. There was even a threat of dismissal if they didn't get with the program.

At the same time, violence was spiking in Mexico. In an email dated April 2, 2010, the group's supervisor reported that in the month of March "our subjects" had purchased 359 firearms and that 958 people were killed in Mexico in drug violence. It was the bloodiest month since 2005 and included 11 policemen in the state of Sinaloa. As another agent interviewed for the staff report said: "We were all sick to death when we realized . . . what was going on or when we saw what was going on by the trends. We were all just, yes, we were all distraught."

Well, not all. The agents interviewed say supervisors viewed the bloodshed with chilling indifference—or worse. As the report summarizes, "An increase of crimes and deaths in Mexico caused an increase in the recovery of weapons at crime scenes. When these weapons traced back through the Suspect Gun Database to weapons that were walked under Fast and Furious, supervisors in Phoenix were giddy at the success of their operation."

Agents say that the loss of life and worries that the guns might eventually be used on U.S. personnel were not addressed because supervisors thought their plan was working. The "sentiment" from higher-ups, according to one agent's testimony, was "if you are going to make an omelet, you need to scramble some eggs." It was only when Agent Terry was murdered and two AK-47s that had "walked" were found at the scene, that the operation came under scrutiny. The ATF subsequently arrested a number of straw purchasers but none of those arrests involved "key players of a criminal syndicate," according to the report. For the record, an ATF official in the report says that the bureau never let guns "walk."

By any measure the 40-year-old war on drugs has been a failure. One unintended consequence is the financing that the sale of prohibited substances provides to gangsters who then buy guns. That's bad enough. But when the ATF puts making the big cartel bust above human life, it's a new low.
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« Reply #577 on: June 20, 2011, 11:52:20 AM »

Is it just me, or are echos of the "argument" this pieces starts off with satirically found around here?

A Suicide Pact

Can the U.S. afford the Bill of Rights?

A. Barton Hinkle | June 17, 2011

Earlier this week the Fort Worth Star-Telegram published one of the more astounding documents of our age. It was written by Joaquin "the Hatchet" Zapata—a notorious enforcer for the Zetas drug cartel, which controls much of the cocaine trade across the border of southern Texas.

Resembling nothing so much as an army field manual for mules and midlevel traffickers, the "Instrucciones" on shipping cocaine include a lengthy section on what to do if captured by U.S. authorities. Going into great detail about the legal rights of criminal defendants in America, it advises couriers to clam up, ask for an attorney, claim irregularities in the search (the exclusionary rule won't allow tainted evidence in court), and so on.

Naturally, right-wingers have jumped on the story. "The pendulum has swung too far in the narcoterrorists' favor," intoned GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty. Michele Bachmann demanded that Democrats join Republicans in rolling back any "technicalities" that work in the drug lords' favor.

As usual, Sarah Palin went further than most: "The Constitution of this great country of ours that I love so much is not some kind of suicide deal," she said (misquoting the late Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson), "and that is why I am urging our Congress today to repeal back the Fourth"—i.e., to draw a blue line through the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Palin is right. If drug dealers are exploiting our freedoms, then we no longer can afford them. Right?

Ha! Only kidding. None of that really happened. (Had you there for a second though, right?)

As you may have guessed by now, the foregoing is a rather ham-fisted parable. There are no Instrucciones, and Republicans have not been waving them about as proof that America should repeal the Bill of Rights.

Yet we are hearing just that sort of argument—in nature, if not in degree—from progressives right now.
Several days ago Adam Gadahn, an American-born spokesman for Al Qaeda, urged would-be jihadists to buy guns at gun shows: "America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms," he said. "You can go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle, without a background check, and most likely without having to show an identification card. So what are you waiting for?"

Within a couple of femtoseconds, progressive America began quoting Gadahn as proof that the U.S. needs to close the gun-show loophole. "There may never be a better spokesman" for doing so than Gadahn, opined The Washington Post—echoed by ThinkProgress, the New York Daily News, the Brady Campaign, and countless others.

This has to qualify as the Mount Everest of non sequiturs. The "loophole," as it is called, refers to the fact that private citizens who are not licensed gun dealers can sell their guns without conducting background checks—not only at gun shows, but anywhere. There are some sound arguments for closing the gun-show loophole, and there are some sound arguments for not closing it, and anyone who has followed the debate is familiar with most of them.

There are also some stupid arguments on both sides. Contending that the loophole should be closed because it might redound to the benefit of terrorists has to be one of the stupidest. Many of those making it simply cite Gadahn's words alone as sufficient proof—as though it were intuitively obvious that any policy potentially useful to Al Qaeda must be repealed at once.

If so, then Congress will be very busy. Because the so-called loophole is not the only policy potentially useful to Al Qaeda. So are a great many others. Among them: habeas corpus, which the Supreme Court reaffirmed in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld; the Fourth Amendment and its various progeny, such as the unique-to-America exclusionary rule; Miranda guarantees; the FISA court, which (some say) hamstrings counterintelligence efforts; and so on.

Indeed, during the Bush years you heard a lot of talk along just such lines: Many conservatives argued with perfectly straight faces that the blood of a hundred-thousand innocent people would be on the hands of anyone who let constitutional scruples get in the way of hunting terrorists down. Dissenting in Boumediene v. Bush, for example, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia lamented that upholding the habeas rights of alleged enemy combatants "will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed."

Well. After the High Court struck down a Chicago gun-control law last year, The New York Times—which praised recognizing the habeas rights of suspected terrorists—condemned recognizing the Second Amendment rights of American citizens. The arguments in the Chicago ruling, it lamented, "were infuriatingly abstract, but the results will be all too real and bloody."

Constraints upon government meant to protect the innocent sometimes end up protecting the guilty as well. That is one of the prices we pay for our liberties, and in that regard Justice Jackson was wrong. In some ways, the Constitution is a suicide pact: We accept the dangers of liberty in return for not living in a police state.

Or at least that is how it is supposed to work. People tend to want to carve out exceptions, though. So while liberals and conservatives don't agree on much, they do agree on this: American lives are far too precious to squander in defense of any item of the Bill of Rights cherished by the other side.

A. Barton Hinkle is a columnist at the Richmond Times-Dispatch. This article originally appeared at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

http://reason.com/archives/2011/06/17/a-suicide-pact
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« Reply #578 on: June 20, 2011, 11:58:13 AM »

There is no way muslims would buy guys to do violence. Islam is a religion of peace and jihad means an internal spiritual struggle. How un-progressive to suggest otherwise.
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« Reply #579 on: June 20, 2011, 12:06:01 PM »

Rumor has it BATFE director Melson is about to get tossed under the bus:

Issa leaks ATF emails

By Jordy Yager    - 06/15/11 11:58 AM ET
The chairman of the House Oversight Committee released copies of redacted emails on Wednesday that detail the involvement of the head of the nation's firearms law enforcement agency in a controversial gun-tracking program as early as March 2010.

The emails strike a stark contrast to letters the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) have sent to lawmakers in which they denied selling assault weapons to known and suspected straw purchasers for drug cartels and claimed that they made every effort to prevent weapons from ending up in Mexico.

In one of the emails, released by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), with the subject heading “Director’s questions,” the supervisor of the “Fast and Furious” operation wrote to the assistant special agent in charge of Phoenix field operations with an Internet Protocol address for one of the video monitoring units in a gun store which was authorized to sell guns to the suspects.
The emails seem to indicate that ATF acting director Kenneth Melson had asked for this information.

“With this information, acting Director Melson was able to sit at his desk in Washington and – himself – watch a live feed of the straw buyers entering the gun stores to purchase dozens of AK-47 variants,” said a Republican committee statement.

Earlier this year, in response to a letter from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to Melson asking him about his knowledge of the gun-tracking operation, the Justice Department wrote the senator, denying knowingly selling assault weapons to straw purchasers and stating that it made every effort to prevent weapons from ending up in Mexico.
In another email dated March 10, 2010, the assistant special agent in charge of Phoenix field operations wrote to the supervisor of the “Fast and Furious” operation and said, “Not sure if you know, but Mr. Melson and Mr. Hoover are being briefed weekly on this investigation and the recent success with [redacted] so they are both keenly interested in case updates.”

The release of the emails come as Issa was holding a hearing on the gun-tracking program with ATF agents.

http://thehill.com/homenews/news/166575-issa-leaks-atf-emails
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« Reply #580 on: June 20, 2011, 12:27:08 PM »

"Constraints upon government meant to protect the innocent sometimes end up protecting the guilty as well. That is one of the prices we pay for our liberties, and in that regard Justice Jackson was wrong. In some ways, the Constitution is a suicide pact: We accept the dangers of liberty in return for not living in a police state."

Of course there is the matter of balancing individual freedoms with the greater good. We have a military and intelligence agencies to do things we don't want the criminal justice system to do within our borders. No freedom is absolute and there are real threats that require unpleasant policy solutions.
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« Reply #581 on: June 21, 2011, 07:56:25 AM »



http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/gunwalker-from-obamas-inauguration-to-issas-report/?singlepage=true

Gunwalker: From Obama’s Inauguration to Issa’s Report

The terrible gun policy and administration lies that have led to the scandal of scandals.

June 20, 2011 - 12:00 am - by Bob Owens

Major scandals don’t always have the most dramatic beginnings. Andrew Johnson was impeached for replacing the sitting secretary of war; Richard Nixon’s collapse started with a breaking and entering. Bill Clinton’s infamy was guaranteed for quibbling over the definition of a common verb.
 
It now appears that high-ranking officials in the Obama administration may be writing the end of their careers and risking a life behind bars by arguing about the technical definition of “walking” firearms.
 
“Gunwalker” now involves the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF); its parent agency, the Department of Justice (DOJ); the Department of Homeland Security (DHS); and the White House itself. But to understand the depth of the scandal you must return to its roots at the beginning of the Obama adminstration.
 
Within weeks of President Obama’s inauguration in January of 2009, newly installed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder began to craft the meme that Mexican drug cartel violence was rooted in what they view as lax American gun laws. By February 4, we were hearing the infamous “90 percent lie,” the administration’s false accusation that 90 percent of the guns used in cartel crime could be traced to U.S. gun shops.
 
The assertion was not based upon the total percentage of civilian-origin firearms captured from Mexican cartels and traced back to U.S. gun shops, but upon the small percentage of weapons that the Mexican government saw markings on which indicated they could have come from or through the States. Only this much smaller percentage of guns were sent to the ATF for tracing. Unsurprisingly, a large percentage of guns with U.S. markings did come from the U.S., but they were a small fraction of the total number of guns confiscated by Mexican authorities.
 
How large was the discrepancy between the Obama administration’s lie and reality?
 
Mexico has more than 300,000 confiscated weapons locked in vaults. Mexico has asked the U.S. government to trace just a small fraction of those, including just 11,000 in 2007-2008, of which a little more than half — close to 6,000 — were successfully traced. This means roughly 5,000 of the 11,000 submitted could not be traced at all. Of those 6,000 guns that could be traced, 5,114 were traced to the U.S.
 
It is unknown how many of those traced weapons were purchased in U.S. gun shops, how many were stolen, and how many were Mexican military weapons sold to cartels by deserting Mexican soldiers.
 
A few thousand firearms out of more than 300,000 doesn’t make for a good crisis, so the Obama administration lied: again and again they pushed the 90 percent lie in the media, hoping to spur calls for gun control.
 
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder tipped the administration’s hand just a little more than a month into Obama’s term, using cartel violence as an excuse to push for reinstatement of the failed Clinton-era “assault weapons” ban. The ban, part of the 1994 crime bill, outlawed several firearms by name and limited the number of certain other cosmetic features that politicians thought were scary, even though they did not have anything to do with a firearm’s rate of fire or accuracy. Examples of the cosmetic features banned included bayonet lugs, pistol grips, and barrel shrouds. Manufacturers released the exact same firearms, sans the offending cosmetics, the very next day with no reduction in lethality. The result of this pseudo-ban was to make these firearms more attractive to Americans, who purchased these weapons in far greater numbers than they ever had before.
 
The ban also stopped the new manufacture of standard capacity and high capacity magazines, but did nothing to address the ownership or sales of existing magazines. Wholesalers and retailers had millions of magazines in their warehouses, and they were available for retail, catalog, mail-order, and internet purchase throughout the life of the ban.
 
The “law of unintended consequences” also resulted in handgun manufacturers deciding that if they were going to be stuck dealing with an entirely arbitrary magazine capacity limit of ten rounds, then they would make the smallest ten-shot pistols imaginable. Because of the 1994 ban, we have an entirely new class of powerful subcompact centerfire pistols, and entirely new gun companies dedicated to better serving that market.
 
After the Obama administration was firmly rebuffed, they were forced to publicly withdraw their call for a reinstatement of the ban in March, though they still pushed the 90 percent lie.
 
By April, the administration began shifting resources to the border states as part of a “federal blitz,” and announced to great fanfare that they were going to step up efforts to stop gun and drug trafficking across the border — portraying American gun dealers as a key part of the problem. The political messaging being pushed by the White House through the DOJ, the DHS, and the ATF was so overt that by late April, the National Rifle Association warned their members about the scapegoating.
 
In August, Acting ATF Director Ken Melson signed an agreement with the Mexican government to interdict gun smugglers moving weapons from the United States into Mexico. We now know that that feigned agreement was a farce, as a little more than a month later Operation Fast and Furious was forcing U.S. law enforcement agents to deceive Mexican authorities about their interdiction efforts. The administration allowed roughly 2,000 firearms to walk across the border beginning in October of 2009.
 
The eventual — perhaps inevitable — death of a U.S. Border Patrol Agent killed by criminals armed with at least two “walked” AK-pattern semi-automatic rifles finally shut the program down in December of 2010. The shooting death of an American cop was the final straw for the ATF whistleblower who exposed the program, which may also have contributed to an estimated 150 or more Mexican police and soldier shootings, and many of civilians. Had a whistleblower come forward earlier, all might have been alive today.
 
You can read more about the timeline of what happened after Gunwalker was exposed on several blogs (this is a good rundown), and you will find calls for those responsible for this nightmare to be removed from office. Acting ATF Director Ken Melson will be the first official likely dismissed as a result of Gunwalker, but there are significant indications that more senior administration officials knew about and perhaps have lied about their knowledge of the program.
 
This operation could not have taken place without the cooperation of the Department of Homeland Security — DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano should bear responsibility for her agency’s actions. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has apparently lied to Congress about when he knew of Gunwalker, and considering the scope of the operation it is implausible that he was not involved in its implementation.

It is only reasonable to believe that knowledge of this operation did not stop with cabinet-level officials. If the directors of so many executive branch agencies were involved in this scandal, as it appears they might have been, it is plausible that knowledge of this scheme — perhaps the origination? — came directly from the White House.
 
One might ask what our laws demand of officials complicit in a plot that used the power of U.S. law enforcement agencies to pressure gun shops into selling weapons to narco-terrorists. If this is indeed the case, impeachment and resignations are just the beginning of the process of seeking justice. Those who authorized this operation and facilitated what was essentially a gunrunning operation to achieve what appears to be a political goal may very well be guilty of a number of felonies — and wanted for extradition to face justice in Mexican courts as well.
 
Under Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution, any person who levies war against the United States or adheres to its enemies by giving them aid and comfort is guilty of the act of treason. Gunwalker supplied narco-terrorists on our southern border with thousands of firearms.
 
Less dramatic, but more damning, is the fact that those that authorized this operation betrayed our ally Mexico, and are arguably accessories to more than 150 shootings of Mexican law enforcement officers and soldiers.
 
The Constitution puts no one above the law. If Melson, Napolitano, Holder, Obama and their staffs were complicit in a plot to arm narco-terrorists that led to hundreds dead and wounded, they must face justice.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #582 on: June 22, 2011, 09:33:47 AM »

BATFE has been releasing data with a very slanted, myopic cast through gun-grabber Diane Feinstein. Grassley responds:

http://grassley.senate.gov/judiciary/upload/Guns-06-16-11-signed-letter-to-Melson-incomplete-gun-data.pdf
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #583 on: June 22, 2011, 11:03:28 AM »

Now there's a shocking development!  rolleyes angry

==============================

"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined." --Patrick Henry

Editorial Exegesis
"Acting ATF director Kenneth Melson is apparently ready to take the fall for what may be the most morally repulsive scandal to befall the Obama administration so far. Our neighbor Mexico lies bleeding from a long, vicious war to fight seven major drug cartels at once. Some 38,000 have been left dead since 2006. Amid all this, U.S. ATF agents had orders from on high to supply U.S. weapons to cartel middlemen buying them on U.S. soil for the odd purpose of 'tracing' them. The news that Melson is resigning seems to be a bid by the Obama administration to paint this as simply an example of Keystone Kop-style bungling being corrected. But many things suggest the operation may have been done for political purposes, and not merely stupidity. The idea behind 'Operation Fast and Furious' was to let gun dealers sell weapons to cartel middlemen, who would then ship them to criminal gangs in Mexico, and damn the consequences. ... There was no effort to trace the weapons even after letting them get out. If the weapons weren't traced, why was this operation sanctioned? ... [Barack Obama ... wanted to reinstate an assault-weapon ban in 2008, but said he did not have the political capital to do it. Bob Owens, writing for Pajamas Media, noted that the administration seemed to want to whip up a crisis requiring a crackdown on guns in the U.S. It gets worse. President Obama has long wanted gun-control-oriented ATF agent Andrew Traver to head the agency. Now, with Melson rumored to be ready to quit this week, he may get his way and benefit. There are real questions that must be answered about who knew about this, and when. An American lies murdered for what may be political aims. He has a right to justice -- as high up as it goes." --Investor's Business Daily

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« Reply #584 on: June 24, 2011, 11:25:05 AM »

A Functional Definition of "Racism"


Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards.

"
-- U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
February 18, 2009

CBS is reporting another death directly attributed to "Fast & Furious" guns, this one the brother of a Mexican state Attorney General, who was tortured and killed by cartel terrorists.

The majority view of ATF's "Fast & Furious" -- jolly pirate names for the jolly pirate club -- is now that it was a purely political operation, part of President Barack Obama's "under the radar" gun control effort. As I have said from the beginning of this fiasco, "Fast & Furious" makes no sense any other way. It was not a law enforcement operation, as made clear in testimony before Congress, because the ostensible law enforcement goals, "rolling up" the entire cartel gun smuggling operation or getting warrants against the mass murderers who head the Mexican cartels, was nonsensical even to the brave agents who have stepped forward to testify.

Those hero agents who stepped forward told their bosses the same thing they told s -- that people were going to die as a direct result of "Fast & Furious."

Apparently, the brass at the ATF and their handlers at the Department of Justice, including Attorney General Eric Holder, were okay with that, as long as it was Mexican nationals doing the dying. Let's be clear about this...all the people involved in "Fast & Furious" knew people were going to die. Their own experienced agents told them so. The cartels have routinely slaughtered family members of people opposed to them, and the concept of "innocent bystander" simply doesn't exist south of the U.S. border.Providing the cartel with a new, easy source of guns was guaranteed to have lethal results.

But wouldn't that just play into the meme? ATF leaders were happy, even described as "giddy," when "Fast & Furious" guns began turning up at Mexican crime scenes.

POSTED BY MICHAEL BANE AT 10:02 AM

http://michaelbane.blogspot.com/2011/06/functional-definition-of.html
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« Reply #585 on: June 24, 2011, 03:39:29 PM »


http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/fired-gunrunner-whistleblower-vince-cefalu-speaks-pjm-exclusive/?singlepage=true

‘Gunrunner’ Whistleblower Vince Cefalu Speaks (PJM Exclusive)

Just a day after Rep. Issa warned the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to not touch the whistleblowers, they present termination papers to Agent Cefalu -- a 30-year veteran of the ATF. (PJM will be posting Cefalu's termination papers shortly.)

June 24, 2011 - 12:51 pm - by Patrick Richardson


Earlier this week, Rep. Darrell Issa, (R-CA) sent a letter to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Deputy Director William J. Hoover, insisting on assurances there would be no reprisals against the ATF agents who have chosen to testify about the failed Operation Fast and Furious — the operation Issa has called “felony stupid.”
 
Just a day later,  ATF Special Agent Vince Cefalu received notice ATF wants to terminate his employment after more than 30 years with the agency. Cefalu is one of the founders of CleanUpATF.org, a message board dedicated to addressing abuses within the ATF. He is one of the most vocal critics of the heads of the organization.
 
He said the main reason given in the four-page document for his termination is “lack of candor.”
 
Four years ago, what originally landed Cefalu in trouble was a case called “Road Dog“. In that case, local law enforcement was allegedly using an illegal wiretap — something Cefalu resisted:
 

I threw the locals under the bus … I became the most vocal critic and they got sick of my s***.
 
He’s since spent four years in a do-nothing job, with ATF managers hoping he’d get the message and retire:
 

They put me in a cage, paid me full salary, and hoped it would break me down mentally and I would retire.
 
Since he did a three-part series of interviews about the problems in ATF with CNN’s Anderson Cooper last May, Cefalu says he’s been given only 122 minutes of work:
 

Not GS-13 investigative work either. Changing batteries or filling cars with gas.
 
Cefalu said he’s suffered persecution in several other ways as well:
 

[Acting Director] Ken Melson can’t even respond to a letter from a committee chairman. … I can’t fart in public without being accused of violations. I’ve submitted to seven internal affairs investigations since I blew the whistle. Without an attorney present, I answered every question.
 
I’m representing dozens of agents [in greivance cases]. They take me out of play, they take a bunch of these cases out of play.
 
Cefalu says there should be prosecutions in the failed Operation Fast and Furious case, also known as “Gunwalker.” When asked if ATF had violated the law in this case, he responded:
 

Of course if violates the law! They conspired to traffic firearms, you can’t do that under color of law. … There was no intent to follow the guns, this never had a chance of succeeding. It was a failed plan from the beginning.

 
He also says there is no huge gun-trafficking operation, no “Iron Pipeline” of firearms traveling from the U.S. to Mexico — just lots of buyers who can make a couple thousand dollars selling weapons across the border.
 
In addition, he has some more explosive allegations: he says the Mexican Government was not made aware of the operation, and neither was the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico.
 
And he says people within the Justice Department had to be aware of the operation — contrary to what Attorney General Eric Holder claimed. Cefalu says no one runs a major operation like this without getting approval from their boss.


Despite all of it, Cefalu said he just wants to see the agency he loves cleaned up:
 

It breaks my heart, it’s shameful to me.  … I’m afraid the agency will be abolished because of the actions of a few self-serving individuals.
 
Patrick Richardson is a 12 year veteran of the community newspaper business. He is that rare bird, the conservative journalist. Living his whole life in Kansas, he has come to appreciate the conservative values of hard work, honesty and honor. Patrick blogs at View from Flyover Country .
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #586 on: July 01, 2011, 10:25:01 AM »

http://www.daybydaycartoon.com/2011/06/26/
http://www.daybydaycartoon.com/2011/06/27/
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G M
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« Reply #587 on: July 01, 2011, 06:03:40 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2011/07/01/atf-gunrunning-weapons-turning-up-in-phoenix-crime-investigations/

If Americans think that the ATF’s gunrunning fiasco will only impact Mexico, think again.  The same porous border that allowed the ATF and the Department of Justice to send a flood of illegal weapons south has already allowed for them to flow north as well.  The ABC affiliate in Phoenix uncovers evidence that weapons from Operation Fast and Furious have been found in crime scenes in the Valley of the Sun, a situation that one ATF agent says will continue “for years to come”:

Click on the link and watch the video.
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G M
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« Reply #588 on: July 01, 2011, 06:40:41 PM »

http://www.atf.gov/training/firearms/ffl-learning-theater/swf/toon4.html

Watch and learn.
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JDN
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« Reply #589 on: July 01, 2011, 09:08:29 PM »

Interesting training video, but in today's economy, it seems a bit altruistic.  if I buy the gun, lie and complete Form 4473 and say it's for me,
the store has minimal if any liability.  I'm guessing most stores, with a wink, or for that matter if I don't even bring the other person along,
will be happy to sell me the gun.  I committed the "crime", lying on Form 4473, not the store, (they will deny knowing).
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G M
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« Reply #590 on: July 01, 2011, 09:14:04 PM »

Interesting training video, but in today's economy, it seems a bit altruistic.  if I buy the gun, lie and complete Form 4473 and say it's for me,
the store has minimal if any liability.  I'm guessing most stores, with a wink, or for that matter if I don't even bring the other person along,
will be happy to sell me the gun.  I committed the "crime", lying on Form 4473, not the store, (they will deny knowing).
U.S. Department of Justice

United States Attorney
Southern District of Indiana


Southern District of Indiana


www.justice.gov/usao/ins

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Joseph H. Hogsett, United States Attorney

Contact: Mary Bippus
(317) 229-2403
mary.bippus@usdoj.gov


Gun Shop Owner Arrested, Thousands of Firearms Seized Following Federal Investigation

INDIANAPOLIS – Joseph H. Hogsett, United States Attorney, announced today that Charles F. Ludington, 61, Parker City, Ind., was charged with violating numerous federal firearms laws following a thorough three month investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

According to the allegations in the criminal complaint, Charles F. “Fred” Ludington (Ludington) is the sole owner of Ludco Gun Shop, a federally licensed firearms dealer located in Parker City. Between August and November of 2010, Ludington’s firearms dealership underwent a routine, periodic audit conducted by agents of the ATF. During the course of that audit, ATF Inspectors discovered that Ludington had acquired but could not account for 997 firearms that were recorded in his inventory. Ninety-three (93) firearms were located in the physical inventory that had not been logged into the A & D record. In twenty-five (25) instances, a firearm was found in physical inventory but the A & D books reflected the firearm has been sold. Additionally, inspectors uncovered documents suggesting that, on at least seven (7) occasions, Ludco sold firearms to persons who were prohibited by federal law from possessing them. Ludington was also cited with selling a handgun to an out of state resident in violation of federal law, and numerous other regulatory and record keeping violations. At the conclusion of the audit, the inspectors issued Ludington a warning not to engage in such unlawful conduct in the future.

As a result of this audit, an investigation was initiated in January of 2011. On five (5) separate occasions between January and March 2011, undercover Indiana State Police detectives, ATF agents, and a confidential informant went to Ludco posing as customers. On each of those occasions, Ludington sold firearms despite the fact that someone other than the actual purchaser of the firearms was filling out the mandatory paperwork. This practice is commonly referred to as a “straw purchase.” In three (3) of those instances, an informant (who is also a convicted felon) informed Ludington that he wanted to purchase a firearm. Ludington knew the purchaser was a convicted felon, yet sold the firearm anyway. Ludington assisted an undercover ATF agent, acting as a straw purchaser, in filling out the required paperwork for the firearms the convicted felon wanted to buy. Ludington allowed the felon to purchase two 9mm pistols, two 7.62x39mm assault rifles, a 9mm assault rifle, and a .45 caliber revolver capable of firing a 410 shotgun shell. While the undercover ATF agent was filling out the required paperwork, Ludington asked the convicted felon whether he needed any ammunition. The convicted felon handed Ludington the money to complete the purchase of the firearms.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew J. Rinka, who is prosecuting the case for the government, ATF and ISP also executed search warrants today at Ludco Gun Shop, Ludington’s residence, and at a storage facility owned by Ludington, seizing the more than 3,000 firearms in Ludington’s inventory and as well as records related to Ludco’s business operation. The government is seeking forfeiture of all the firearms on grounds that Ludington’s business is permeated with an active scheme to defraud federal regulators and violate federal law, and that proceeds of unlawful firearms sales were used to maintain Ludco's extensive inventory of firearms.

If convicted of the charges, Ludington faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. An initial hearing will be scheduled for a later date in Indianapolis before a U.S. Magistrate Judge.

A criminal complaint is only an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
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JDN
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« Reply #591 on: July 01, 2011, 09:23:29 PM »

What does this have to do with the Video?

"someone other than the actual purchaser of the firearms was filling out the mandatory paperwork."

Of course he should go to jail.

However, the Video, and my point was different....

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G M
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« Reply #592 on: July 01, 2011, 10:13:39 PM »

Badguys talk, which can result in the investigation of a FFL dealer, so can spot checks or a pattern of guns seized from felons or found to be involved in crimes can result in scrutiny of those FFL holders that the firearms originated from.

If someone stands next to the buyer of the firearm, giving directions as seen in the video, that's a straw purchase and allowing it is a crime.

http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/18C44.txt

It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise
    dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or
    having reasonable cause to believe that such person -
        (1) is under indictment for, or has been convicted in any court
      of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one
      year;
        (2) is a fugitive from justice;
        (3) is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled
      substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances
      Act (21 U.S.C. 802));
        (4) has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been
      committed to any mental institution;
        (5) who, being an alien -
          (A) is illegally or unlawfully in the United States; or
          (B) except as provided in subsection (y)(2), has been
        admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa (as
        that term is defined in section 101(a)(26) of the Immigration
        and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(26)));

        (6) who (!2) has been discharged from the Armed Forces under
      dishonorable conditions;

        (7) who, having been a citizen of the United States, has
      renounced his citizenship;
        (Cool is subject to a court order that restrains such person from
      harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner of such
      person or child of such intimate partner or person, or engaging
      in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in
      reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child, except
      that this paragraph shall only apply to a court order that -
          (A) was issued after a hearing of which such person received
        actual notice, and at which such person had the opportunity to
        participate; and
          (B)(i) includes a finding that such person represents a
        credible threat to the physical safety of such intimate partner
        or child; or
          (ii) by its terms explicitly prohibits the use, attempted
        use, or threatened use of physical force against such intimate
        partner or child that would reasonably be expected to cause
        bodily injury; or

        (9) has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of
      domestic violence.

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JDN
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« Reply #593 on: July 01, 2011, 10:46:36 PM »

to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe....."

"I'll take the black one right there". 

ANY decent attorney who graduated from Podunk U could simply say that what was said was, "I'ld take the black one there."
Further, my friend might have said, "I'll take the black one there" and I could say, I agree, I'll I buy the black one there. 
I'm buying the gun. I'm completely the paperwork.

While I agree if it is obvious, it is and should be crime to sell, but if I come in alone, or my "friend" merely
points out a gun he/she likes, and/or keeps their mouth shut, the SALE is to me, a valid buyer.    The Dealer has no liability.
Further, your previous post gave totally different and incriminating circumstances.  That guy deserves what he gets.  It was a bad example to prove your point.

My point is while I am in favor of regulating gun sales as you outlined, unlike your extreme example, it is really difficult (see video)
for the dealer to know.  This point is also exacerbated with his desire as an owner/salesman to make the sale. It's tough for the Store.

But the bad apples deserve to be punished.

However, "I didn't know" and I sold it to the older Mr. X who completed the Form 4473 in this video would probably be OK.
"I had no reasonable cause to believe that such person is ....."
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #594 on: July 01, 2011, 11:00:31 PM »

I'd say GM's example is relevant because it is of a gun store owner getting in trouble, which is contrary to your apparent suggestion that for practical purposes the statute is useless.

I will give you another example.  "Operation Fast and Furious" started with gun dealers approaching the BATF about what they saw as illegal purchases.   It was the BATF that told the dealers to proceed.  This struck the dealers as so odd that some (or all? not sure) of them said "You better give me that in writing!"

Net result?  Some 2,000 to 2,500 guns were deliberately sold in violation of US Federal Law to narco gangs in Mexico.  By way of reference, and I believe I have my data correct here, at the request of the Mexican government the US has traced 5,100 guns as coming from the US.  In other words, some 40-50% of the guns traced back to the US were the result of Operation Fast and Furious.  Let us also note that the Zetas were Mexican Special Forces trained by the US Army at Fort Bragg-- until they went rogue.  Feel free to research the point further, but it is quite clear that a goodly portion of narco armament is of the sort not available to US civilians under any conditions-- but it is of the sort that our government has sold to the Mexican military, or other Latin militaries.  In other words, the US government is responsible for quite a bit more than the 40-50% of guns traced as originating in the US.
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« Reply #595 on: July 01, 2011, 11:07:03 PM »

http://www.atf.gov/publications/download/ycgii/1999/ycgii-report-1999-enforcement.pdf

Trafficking in New and Secondhand Firearms
by Corrupt Federal Firearms Licensee.

St. Louis, Missouri. ATF analyses of firearms
trace data revealed that hundreds of crime guns
were traced to Marshal’s Gun Shop, a Federal
firearms licensee. From January 1988 though
March 1999, approximately 611 crime guns
were traced back to Marshal’s. Although some
were secondhand guns, most were new. They
included Mossberg 12 gauge shotguns, Davis
Industries .380 and 9mm caliber semiautomatic
pistols, Lorcin Engineering .380 caliber semiautomatic
pistols, Smith & Wesson .38 caliber
revolvers, Ruger 9mm caliber semiautomatic
pistols, Glock G.m.b.H. .40 and .45 caliber
semiautomatic pistols, Maverick Arms l2 gauge
shotguns, and North China Industries
7.62x39mm caliber rifles.
Many of these guns were recovered from youth
under the age of 24 and in different States.
Over 200 were sold through straw purchases to
convicted felons, gang members, youth, and
juveniles. Several of the trafficked firearms
were subsequently recovered in a variety of
crimes, including drug violations, unlawful use
of a weapon, homicides, robberies, and assaults.
On August 5, 1999, the 69-year-old owner of the
gun store pled guilty to violations of 18 U.S.C.
Sec. 922 (m), knowingly making false entries in
required records, and was sentenced to 6
months’ imprisonment and 3 years’ supervised
release. The two employees pled guilty to
violations of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 922 (m) in Spring
1999 and were sentenced to 3 years’ supervised
release.
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JDN
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« Reply #596 on: July 01, 2011, 11:32:57 PM »

You are missing my point, and/or you are making a different point. 
Maybe we are both bored on a Friday night?   smiley

"On August 5, 1999, the 69-year-old owner of the
gun store pled guilty to violations of 18 U.S.C.
Sec. 922 (m), knowingly making false entries in
required records
, and was sentenced to 6
months’ imprisonment and 3 years’ supervised
release..... "

The key words are  KNOWINGLY.  And FALSE entries.  Those have to be proved
beyond a reasonable doubt.  The Video example, albeit cute, doesn't cut it.

That said, I absolutely agree, arrest the dealers who sell arms to bad
and/or illegal guys.  It gives a bad name to honest dealers and buyers and in
the end, hurts all legitimate gun owners.  But it's tough...

611 guns?  Good grief.  This guy should have been
locked up for longer than 6 months. And the employees got probation???
Probably a plea bargain; that just shows you how tough it is to get a true conviction in these matters.

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G M
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« Reply #597 on: July 01, 2011, 11:54:34 PM »

Were I to guess, the light sentences in that case resulted from pleas in exchange for testimony. The FFL licensee and employees were the small fry in this case.
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« Reply #598 on: July 02, 2011, 12:04:41 AM »

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, APPELLEE,
v.
THEODORE "TED" HERN, JR., APPELLANT

 Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. Honorable Elsijane Roy, Judge.

 COUNSEL

 Counsel who represented the appellant was Gene Worsham of Little Rock, Arkansas.

 Counsel who represented the appellee was Lesa Jackson, AUSA, of Little Rock, Arkansas.

 John R. Gibson, Circuit Judge, Henley, Senior Circuit Judge, and Patrick A. Conmy,*fn* Chief District Judge.

 Author: Henley

 HENLEY, Senior Circuit Judge

 Theodore Hern, Jr. appeals from a judgment of the district court*fn1 entered upon a jury verdict finding him guilty of failing to record the receipt of firearms in violation of 18 U.S.C. ? 923(g)(1) (Count I), failing to record the sale of firearms in violation of 18 U.S.C. ? 922(b)(5) (Count II), conspiracy to sell firearms to nonresidents in violation of 18 U.S.C. ?? 371 and 922(b)(3) (Count III), and recording false statements in violation of 18 U.S.C. ? 922(m). We affirm.

 Hern was a federally-licensed firearms dealer doing business as Ted's Gun and Pawn Shop in Russellville, Arkansas. On January 8, 1987 undercover police officer Kelly Watkins went to the gun shop and informed Hern that he was interested in purchasing a gun, but that he was a convicted felon and needed to purchase a gun without any "paperwork."*fn2 Watkins testified that Hern reviewed his record books and advised him that a Jennings .22 caliber firearm was available, which Watkins purchased without paperwork. On March 24, 1987 undercover police officer Kimberly Powell also advised Hern that she wanted to purchase a gun, but did not want to complete any paperwork. Hern complied and sold her a Bersa Lusber pistol. The officers reported the undercover sales to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).

 On November 2 and 3, 1987 ATF agent Paul Bishop conducted a compliance inspection of Hern's business. Bishop reviewed Hern's acquisition and disposition books and discovered that the Jennings weapon Hern had sold to Watkins had been recorded as having been sold in December, 1986 to Roy Alford and that the Bersa weapon sold to Powell had been recorded as having been sold in March, 1987 to Robert Jackson. Alford testified he had returned the gun to Hern because it was defective and Hern explained that the gun would have to be returned to the factory for repair. Jackson testified that he also returned the Bersa to Hern, but Hern did not remember Jackson returning the gun.

 During the course of his inspection, Bishop also discovered a large number of transactions in which Hern recorded guns as having been sold the same day they were recorded as having been received in inventory. Bishop thought these transactions were unusual because inventory generally did not turn over so quickly. Hern explained to him that the transactions resulted from sales at gun shows. Lyle Grunland, a federally licensed firearms dealer doing business in Kansas, attended several gun shows in Arkansas. Grunland testified that he knew federal law prohibited him from selling weapons at the shows directly to Arkansas residents,*fn3 but was informed by a gun show promoter that for a fee Hern would act as a "middleman" and complete the necessary paperwork and record the sale of the firearms in his record books. Grunland testified that he believed that Hern conducted at least one hundred transactions for him. Although Grunland stated he did not intend to violate the law, he acknowledged that use of a "middleman" was a "way of circumventing the law, which is a kind of sneaky way of saying it's not legal," and that in other states he would enter into partnerships with resident licensed dealers. Robert Longinotti, Michael Griffin and Derrel Smith testified that they purchased firearms at gun shows from one of Grunland's businesses, and not Hern, and produced cancelled checks or receipts in support.

 On appeal Hern argues that the district court erred in denying his motion for acquittal on the ground of insufficient evidence. "A district court has very limited latitude in ruling on a motion for judgment of acquittal." United States v. Jewell, 893 F.2d 193, 194 (8th Cir. 1990). "'A motion for judgment of acquittal should be granted only where the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the government, is such that a reasonably minded jury must have a reasonable doubt as to the existence of any of the essential elements of the crime charged.'" Id. (quoting United States v. Mundt, 846 F.2d 1157, 1158 (8th Cir. 1988)).

 Before reviewing Hern's allegations concerning the sufficiency of the evidence, we address the penalty provisions of the Firearms Owners' Protection Act (FOPA) set forth in 18 U.S.C. ? 924(a).*fn4 "Normally, the mens rea for a crime is set out as part of the substantive offense, not as part of a penalties provision, as in section 924(a)." United States v. Sherbondy, 865 F.2d 996, 1001 (9th Cir. 1988). In Sherbondy, the court explained that "the earliest versions of FOPA required that all offenses be 'willful,'" but that the "Treasury Department, along with various witnesses and members of Congress, objected that, with respect to certain serious offenses, . . . the government should not be required to prove intent to violate the law." Id. at 1002. "In response to this objection, Congress reduced the mens rea requirement for the most serious offenses from 'willfully' to 'knowingly.'" Id. In Sherbondy, the court held that a "knowing" violation did not require proof of knowledge of the law, noting there are "few exceptions to the rule that ignorance of the law is no excuse."*fn5 Id. The court, however, did not decide what would constitute a "willful" violation. Id. at 1003 n.9. In this appeal, Hern assumes, and the government does not dispute, that "willful" means an intentional violation of a known legal duty.*fn6 Hern asserts, and the government appears to agree, that Counts I, II and III required proof of willful violations. Hern argues there was insufficient evidence of willfulness.

 Hern first argues there was insufficient evidence to establish that he willfully failed to record the receipt of the Jennings and Bersa weapons,*fn7 noting there was no direct evidence of his intent. We disagree. Willfulness and intent need not be proven by direct evidence, but "may also be proven by circumstantial evidence and frequently cannot be proven in any other way." United States v. Lanier, 838 F.2d 281, 283 (8th Cir. 1988) (per curiam). In this case, we believe a jury could have reasonably found that Hern willfully failed to record the receipt of the Jennings and Bersa weapons, especially in light of the subsequent unrecorded sales of the weapons to officers Powell and Watkins.

 Hern also argues that there was insufficient evidence to establish that he willfully failed to record the sales to Powell and Watkins. He attacks the officers' credibility and notes that his father testified that on March 24, 1987 he sold the Bersa to a man who left the shop with the gun before completing the paperwork. However, "it is the function of the jury, not an appellate court, to resolve conflict in the testimony or judge the credibility of witnesses." Smalley v. United States, 798 F.2d 1182, 1188 (8th Cir. 1986) (quotation omitted).

 


We also reject Hern's assertion that there was insufficient evidence to sustain his conviction for conspiracy to violate 18 U.S.C. ? 922(b), which prohibited Grunland from selling guns to Arkansas residents. Hern asserts there can be no conspiracy because Grunland testified it was not his intent to violate the law. However, this court has held that "the government need not prove the specific intent or knowledge of the alleged coconspirators . . . ." United States v. Austin, 823 F.2d 257, 259 (8th Cir. 1987), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 1044, 98 L. Ed. 2d 864, 108 S. Ct. 778 (1988). "It need only show that defendant entered into an agreement with at least one other person, the objective of which was unlawful, and that one of those in agreement committed an overt act in furtherance of the objective." Id. Hern also argues that there was no evidence to establish that he intended to violate ? 922, noting that he recorded the receipt and sales of the weapons in his books. We disagree. Although the use of a "middleman" may be common practice at gun shows, ? 922(b) "is violated by a sham sale made to a resident when the transaction is really with a nonresident, and it is for the jury to decide, on all the relevant evidence . . . whether such a charade occurred or whether there was a bona fide sale to a resident." United States v. Brooks, 611 F.2d 614, 619 (5th Cir. 1980) (subsequent history omitted); see also United States v. Lawrence, 680 F.2d 1126, 1128 (6th Cir. 1982) (toleration of sham sales would in effect be "tantamount" to repeal of gun control legislation). We agree with the government that there was sufficient evidence from which the jury could find that Hern knew the transactions were sham. We note that Grunland paid Hern a fee for his services and admitted it was the "consensus" at gun shows that "middleman" services were designed to circumvent the prohibition on sales to nonresidents. We also reject Hern's assertion that the recording of a sham transaction is not a false statement within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. ? 922(m).*fn8 See United States v. Brooks, 611 F.2d at 616. See also Smalley v. United States, 798 F.2d at 1183 (court upholds conviction for conspiracy to violate ? 922 where records falsely reflected sales of firearms).
 Last, Hern challenges his pre-Sentencing Guidelines sentence. Because we find that Hern's violations of the statutory sections were willful, we reject his assertions that the penalty provisions of 18 U.S.C. ? 924 were inapplicable. We also reject his assertion that his sentence was excessive or that the district court abused its discretion in imposing imprisonment instead of probation.*fn9 While the totality of the sentence may seem harsh, in sentencing questions this court ordinarily will not substitute its judgment for that of the district court. See United States v. Rosandich, 729 F.2d 1512, 1512 (8th Cir. 1984).

 Accordingly, the judgment of the district court is affirmed.

 Disposition

 Affirmed.
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« Reply #599 on: July 02, 2011, 12:13:00 AM »

http://www.atf.gov/publications/download/p/atf-p-5300-15.pdf

Prohibited Transfers

You MAY NOT sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition to any person you know or have reasonable cause to believe is prohibited from possessing or receiving a firearm. Do not sell or otherwise transfer a firearm and do not contact NICS if you have reason to believe that a person seeking to obtain a firearm is prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm.
Note: If a person answers “No” to Item 11.a or 12 of Form 4473, or answers “Yes” to one or more questions in Items 11.b through 11.l of Form 4473, that person has given you reason to believe he or she is prohibited and the transaction must be stopped.
You MAY NOT sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition to any of the following prohibited persons or in the following circumstances:
1. Straw Purchaser: A “straw purchaser” is a person who is not the “actual buyer” of the firearm; that is, a person who obtains a firearm for another person. Straw purchases are a primary source of firearms used in crime. If you suspect that a transaction is a straw purchase or there are suspicious circum- stances surrounding the potential sale—such as one person picking out the firearm, handling the firearm, and providing the payment for the firearm while another person completes the Form 4473—you should not sell the firearm. Similarly, if one person attempts to purchase a firearm, NICS denies or delays the attempted purchase, and another person with him or her attempts to buy the same firearm, you must not complete this sale.
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