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Archive for January 6th, 2016

FBI Tries to Fill in 18-Minute Gap Between San Bernardino Shooting And Police Pursuit

San Bernardino couple who opened fire at a holiday party.

San Bernardino couple who opened fire at a holiday party.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is trying to figure out what the San Bernardino couple did in the 18 months after killing 14 people at a holiday party.

The Boston Herald reports that the FBI is seeking the public’s help in filling in the gap, which could be critical to understanding whether the couple was in contact with anyone else after the massacre.

So far, the FBI has found no evidence that the husband-and-wife terrorist team intended to strike another target.

Federal investigators also want to now whether Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 29, contacted anyone or stopped anywhere between the attack and the police pursuit.

“It’s possible that they stopped, whether it be a storage area, a residence, a business. It’s possible there was a contact made. We just don’t know,” David Bowdich, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, said. “It very well may not be an important fact, but until we close that gap we just don’t know for sure.”

Armed Protester Occupying Federal Refuge Would Rather Be Killed Than Arrested

burn oregonBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

At least one of the armed protesters occupying a federal refuge in Oregon said he is prepared to die before being arrested, NBC News reports. 

Today is the fifth day of the standoff at the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

The FBI is trying to resolve the impasse without violence.

But one occupier, LaVoy Finicum, said he “absolutely” would rather be killed than arrested.

“I have no intention of spending any of my days in a concrete box,” he said.

“There are things more important than your life and freedom is one of them,” he said. “I’m prepared to defend freedom.”

But Finicium, a Mormon rancher from Arizona with 11 children, suggested Tuesday that he hopes the standoff ends soon because “I need to get home.”

“I got cows that are scattered and lost.”

Ex-FBI Agent Charged with Murder in Brutal Beating of Daughter’s Husband

Daughter and wife Molly Corbett.

Daughter and wife Molly Corbett.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former FBI agent and his North Carolina daughter have been charged with murder in the death of the woman’s husband, Fox News reports. 

Molly Martens Corbett, 31, and her father, retired FBI agent Thomas Michael Martens were charged in August with second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter, according to grand jury indictments unsealed Monday.

“It was an extremely thorough investigation,” Davidson County Sheriff David Grice told The-Dispatch newspaper Monday. “We are pleased with the decision of the grand jury.”

The husband, 39-year-of Jason Paul Corbett, of Ireland, was found dead with fatal head injuries after he was assaulted at his North Carolina home sometime over the night of Aug. 2.

Martens, 65, said he struck his son-in-law with a baseball bat following an argument.

President Obama Plans to Hire More FBI, ATF Staff to Expedite Background Checks for Firearms

President Obama Executive Order ImmigrationBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Obama administration wants to expedite mandatory background checks on gun buyers and needs hundreds more federal law enforcement personnel to help, Govexec.com reports. 

The plan calls for hiring more than 230 extra analysts and other support staff for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which saw a record number of gun sales.

The idea is to more quickly process background checks, which helps the FBI provide notice to local authorities about potential unlawful firearm purchases.

The White House said the new hiring “will begin immediately and increase the existing workforce by 50 percent,” according to a fact sheet on the executive actions. “This will reduce the strain on the NICS system and improve its ability to identify dangerous people who are prohibited from buying a gun before the transfer of a firearm is completed.”

The hiring will take place over the next two years.

Washington Post: President Obama’s Actions on Gun Control Have No Teeth

atf-gunsBy Jonathan H. Adler
Washington Post

Today the White House announced a series of executive branch actions(not executive orders) that are supposed to reduce the threat of gun violence. Chief among these measures is a new guidance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) concerning when those who sell guns are required to obtain a federal license and perform background checks of prospective gun purchasers. The ATF is also finalizing a regulation that would prevent prospective gun purchasers from avoiding background checks by acquiring guns through a trust or corporation, but this is a separate measure.

According to the White House, the new ATF guidance is intended “to ensure that anyone who is ‘engaged in the business’ of selling firearms is licensed and conducts background checks on their customers.” The ATF is achieving this not by issuing new regulations (re)defining what it means to be “engaged in the business” of selling guns under federal law. Instead, the ATF issued a guidance document that simply explicates what this legal requirement means, providing examples of the sorts of things that would indicate that a given individual is in the gun business, rather than conducting the occasional personal sale as a hobbyist or as part of an estate liquidation, or something of that sort. According to both the White House release and the ATF guidance, the various indicia identified in the guidance are, in turn, based upon what federal courts have found in relevant cases. (The relevant court decisions are not cited or otherwise identified in the document, and I have asked both ATF and the White House for more information on this point.)

Taken at face value, the new ATF guidance is thus nothing more than a restatement of existing legal requirements. Put another way, it merely identifies those who are already subject to the relevant federal requirements and does not in any way expand the universe of those gun sellers who are required to obtain a license and perform background checks. In other words, it is — as the document says — a guidance, and not a substantive rule. It has no legal effect.

If the ATF guidelines are nothing more than a guidance — an indication of the sorts of things that might trigger a federal investigation or prosecution, but not a tightening of the relevant legal standard — why would the administration do this? There are several potential answers. First, guidance documents are often useful insofar as they explicate relevant legal standards and (as the name implies) provide guidance to the regulated community. Such documents can help people know when they are subject to specific legal requirements. Further, if there are a significant number of people who should have federal gun licenses but have neglected to obtain them, the guidance document might encourage greater compliance with federal law.

For more information click here.

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