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Archive for August 26th, 2011

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Kansas City Mob

We Have a Right to Bear Arms; We Also Have a Right to Live

 
 
 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

I’m all for the right to bear arms. The constitution says we can.

That being said, guns and semi-automatic rifles are a dangerous enough commodity — like prescription morphine and oxycodone — that they need to be regulated — particularly when they end up in the hands of the violent Mexican cartels.

I bring this up because the NRA and other gun rights groups like the National Shooting Sports Foundation are up in arms over a newly implemented ATF regulation that requires U.S. gun dealers in U.S. states bordering Mexico to report the sale within five business days of two or more semi-automatic rifles capable of using detachable magazines.

The problem is that many of those guns from those states like Texas and Arizona are flooding into Mexico and into the hands of drug cartels, who are committing mass murder at a staggering rate. The cartels have also spread their tentacles into the U.S.

The new ATF regulation is not magic bullet to stop the flow of illegal guns to Mexico. But every little bit helps. And reporting multiple sales of assault rifles raises a red flag. Sorry. But if you buy 10 assault rifles in two days, the government should have the right to ask WHY?

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has filed a lawsuit to try and block the regulation, which took effect Aug. 14. It says it abhors the violence in Mexico, but says ATF is violating peoples’ rights.

NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane issued a statement this week about the ATF requirement for border states: “This is the proverbial ‘slippery slope.’ Our industry abhors the criminal misuse of firearms, whether on the streets of El Paso or in Juarez, Mexico. Though we can understand ATF’s motive is to try to curtail violence in Mexico, Congress simply has not granted ATF regulatory carte blanche.”

It’s hardly carte blanche.

Maybe Mr. Keane should head to Juarez, Mexico and see what carte blanche really is. Carte blanche down there is what the Mexican cartels have, killing at will, intimidating and murdering police, thanks, at least in part, to the steady flow of our American guns that wind up in Mexico.

That’s carte blanche.

Sure, we as Americans have a right to bear arms. But we as Americans have a right to live — as do our neighbors to the south.

READER  COMMENTS

I wanted to voice concerns about several of the implicit viewpoints expressed in your article. I think if you read what I have to say, and my references, you will likely come to agree with me.

1. Semi-automatic rifles are a danger to society.
FACT: Semi-automatic “assault rifles” are responsible for less than 1% of all gun-related crime in the US, including mass shootings.[1]

2: US-bought guns are “flooding into Mexico” and are in some large part responsible for the violence there.
FACT: One often-misreported statistic is responsible for this claim, that “95% of all guns seized at crime sites in Mexico come from the US.” [2] The number that they are referring to is the percentage of weapons submitted to the ATF for tracing that can be traced back to the US.  However, the fact of the matter is that the Mexican State Police only submit to the ATF for tracing those weapons which they already suspect of coming from America. In other words, the sample is BADLY biased. More recent estimates for the total number of guns used in crimes in Mexico that come from the US are on the order of 30%, and most of the news agencies that previously reported the erroneous numbers on the order of 70, 90, or even 95% have been made to retract those statements.[5]

Gen. Douglass Fraser, head of the US Southern Command, confirms this “Over 50 percent of the military-type weapons that are flowing throughout the region have a large source between Central American stockpiles, if you will, left over from wars and conflicts in the past,”
[3]

And, this ties into our next discussion point, but through Operation Fast and Furious, the ATF was directly responsible for moving as many as 2,500 guns into Mexico. [4]

My main point here, however, is that the majority of the guns used in crimes in Mexico and South America come from South American governments (and in some cases, indirectly from the US government, through BATF operation Fast and Furious, and also via US government military support to countries such as El Salvador, which have a history of government and military corruption that ends up placing many of these weapons (military weapons, much more deadly in many cases than the ones sold in US gun shops) in the hands of criminals after they’re sold or stolen from the government.

3. It is reasonable for the ATF to require US gun dealers in certain states to report on certain “assault rifle” sales.
FACT: Obama is using ATF regulatory actions to enact laws and requirements that would not likely pass through congress. I will not dispute here the fact that perhaps some more gun control is needed, however this type of action should be undertaken by congress, with the consent of the people, not by executive order. When executive order by a single man is sufficient to restrict civil liberties and monitor or prosecute individuals without due process, then we all have cause for concern. Furthermore, the ATF has a long history of botching everything it lays its hands on [7], so I submit to you that the ATF as it stands today is hardly an agency to trust with our civil liberties, including the right to bear arms.

I hope that in the future, you will read up a bit more on the topics which you discuss, and hopefully fix your website so that people like myself can register and submit comments on the articles you write. In the case of this article, you’ve really missed the mark, in my opinion. The bottom line is that more government control over individuals is not the answer. If we want to help with Mexico’s problem, we should stop selling (or giving) arms to South American governments, and we should better secure our border.

Sincerely,
Conlaw Bloganon

References:
[1] Kopel, David. “Rational Basis Analysis of “Assault Weapon” Prohibition,” 1994 Journal of Contemporary Law; Vol. 20:381-417.

[2] http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2008-12-10-drugwar_N.htm

[3] http://latindispatch.com/2011/04/27/drug-cartels-in-mexico-and-colombia-allegedly-supplied-with-weapons-from-honduran-military/

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Fast_and_Furious

[5] http://www.factcheck.org/2009/04/counting-mexicos-guns/

[6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Firearms_Act

[7] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BATF#Controversy

**************

The bill of rights does not give the citizens anything, Instead it recognizes a basic rights of men. If you are religious a God given right.
The guns going to Mexico were sent there by the ATF, US Government . So it could enact more illegal gun control laws, such as the long gun reporting now being illegally enacted by the ATF. They have no such authority, only Congress can write laws.
I realize that you think that I am a idiot along with all my brothers whom will not submit to the the illegal laws. Molon Labe

************************

It’s a mystery to me how anyone in their right mind could complain about this kind of minimally invasive regulation.  What legitimate gun owner could need multiple assault weapons at one time, and still worry that the government would know in five days about the purchase?  If the guns are legal, does anyone buy the silly argument that regulation means confiscation?  I mean, don’t they wonder why it hasn’t happened yet with all those “burdensome” restrictions that have been around for decades?  They’ve got to stop drinking the Kool Aid!

Attorney James Burdick

DEA Rejects License for Mass. Prof to Grow Pot for Research

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Despite the president’s promise to place science above politics, the DEA issued a final order rejecting a license for a University of Massachusetts, Amherst professor to grow marijuana for federally regulated research.

Just over a decade ago, in June of 2001, Professor Lyle Craker, 70, applied for the license in an effort to “bridge the gap between the 16 states that have legalized medical marijuana through political initiatives and federal policymakers who maintain that there is not enough FDA-regulated research to justify legal access,” according to a press release.

DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner recommended the license would be in the public interest on Feb. 12, 2007.

On Jan. 14, 2009, DEA Administrator Michelle Leonhart rejected the recommendation. Prof. Craker’s lawyers filed a series of objections; the DEA’s recent rejection was a final order denial. Prof. Craker may appeal in the First Court US Court of Appeals.

A press release from the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studiespress, which was funding the professor’s study, stated:

“According to the DEA’s interpretation of the Single Convention, there can be only one legal provider of marijuana for research in the United States, and this role is presently filled by NIDA. ALJ Bittner’s 2007 recommendation, however, concluded that the DEA’s interpretation was flawed. Four other co-signors to the Single Convention—England, Canada, Israel, and the Netherlands—permit the private production of marijuana for research.”

“Underwear Bomber” Says He Should be Let Free

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marshals photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — If you were gambler, you might want to put up  your home, your first born and your savings and checking accounts and bet that a fed judge in Detroit will flatly reject the most recent motion by so called “underwear bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

Abdulmutallab, who is representing himself after firing his lawyers, asked a judge in a handwritten motion submitted Thursday to free him from prison, and argued he should be judged by the Quran, not U.S. law, the Detroit News reported.

He says he is unjustly being held.

The feds don’t see it that way. He was caught red handed trying to blow up an airliner a Northwest Airlines flight over Metro Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009.

In a separate filing, Abdulmutallab claimed that guards used excessive force after he assaulted several of them while observing Ramadan, the News reported.

Different Twist: Mexican Police Gather in U.S. Before Returning to Mexico for Raids

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — In a different twist on the war on drugs, Mexican police on a couple occasions in the past 18 months have first gathered in the U.S. before crossing back into Mexico to stage raids, the New York Times reports.

The boomerang operations are designed to throw off the cartels, the Times reports.

“The cartels don’t expect Mexican police coming from the U.S.,” one senior military official told the Times.

The Times reported that the DEA provides logistical support on the American side of the border, “arranging staging areas and sharing intelligence that helps guide Mexico’s decisions about targets and tactics.”

Authorities said the operations are meant to make it more difficult for the cartels, which closely monitor the movements of security forces inside Mexico.

Secret Service Agents Ask Supreme Court For Immunity from Lawsuit

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The legal battle goes on for two Secret Service agents in a case stemming from a 2006 visit to Colorado by Vice President Dick Cheney.

The Associated Press reports that the two agents are asking the Supreme Court to declare them immune from being sued in a First Amendment lawsuit.

The suit was filed by Steven Howards of Colorado, who was arrested by the agents after he touched Cheney on the arm and told him his Iraq war policies were “disgusting,” according to AP.

No fed charges were ever filed and the state charges were dropped. Howards alleged the arrest by agents Virgil D. “Gus” Reichle Jr. and Dan Doyle were in retaliation for criticizing Cheney.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver upheld Howards right to sue the agents.

Feds Charge “Christian Warrior” With Firebombing Oregon Mosque

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

There’s no shortage of hate. Take Cody Crawford, a self described Christian warrior.

The 24-year-old Oregon man has been charged with a hate crime for a November firebombing of a Mosque in Corvallis, Ore., the Associated Press reports.

Authorities allege that Crawford is a “potential major contributor” of DNA to a blue Maglite agents found near the mosque the morning of the firebombing, according to AP. The indictment out of Eugene, Ore. was announced on Thursday.

Crawford, a self-described Christian warrior, told an officer on his Dec. 14 arrest (for unrelated charges), “You look like Obama. You are a Muslim like him. Jihad goes both ways. Christians can jihad too.”

Authorities say the Agents believe the attack may have been in retaliation to a foiled bomb plot by a Muslim at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland.

Crawford has a history of trouble with the law. The December arrest was related to a ruckus he had caused at a gas station and then a Blockbuster store 40 miles from Corvallis, AP reported.

“Freedom of religion is essential to who we are as Americans,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon Dwight C. Holton, in the FBI press release. “We will not tolerate attacks based on faith.”