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Tag: ATF

Man Charged with Planting Explosives Next to Downtown Pittsburgh Building

Matthew Michanowicz

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A 52-year-old man has been charged on allegations he planted explosives next to a building in downtown Pittsburgh.

ATF agents and local police searched the home of Matthew Michanowicz, who has been charged with possessing weapons of mass destruction and possession of explosive or incendiary materials or devices.

Authorities say the man was caught on surveillance footage getting off his bike and planting a backpack next to PNC Plaza.

On Monday, authorities investigated a report of a suspicious package and found multiple explosives inside.

Police say Michanowicz admitted he was downtown but denied planing the backpack. Photos and videos show otherwise, authorities said.

Man Accused of Pointing Handgun at ATF Agent While Walking with a Child

Gun found inside Joseph Hammond’s backpack, via federal court records.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A 33-year-old man with a child is accused of pointing a handgun at the face of an ATF agent in Englewood, Ill., just after midnight Wednesday morning, federal prosecutors said.

Agents approached Joseph Hammond following a 911 call about a man shooting a gun while carrying a baby, The Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Hammond allegedly pointed a handgun with an extended magazine at the agent’s face before saying, “Keep moving.”

Hammond then picked up the child and fled on foot. Agents found him about 45 minutes later while he was carrying the toddler and a backpack.

Agents found an extended magazine and pistol grip inside his backpack, authorities said.

Ex-ATF Official Talks About the Power of Gun Rights Groups and the Agency’s Director Position


David Chipman

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

David Chipman knows a thing or two about guns. The Michigan  native worked as an agent and official at the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in Detroit and elsewhere for 25 years, enforcing the nation’s gun laws.

These days, he works for the Washington-based organization, Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence. The group was founded by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who was shot and wounded in 2011, and her husband Mark Kelly, a former astrounaut, who is running for U.S. Senate in Arizona. The mission is to advocate for sensible gun laws, policies and ways to make communities safer.

Chipman talked to Allan Lengel, editor of ticklethewire and a sister publication, Deadline Detroit, about the influence of guns rights groups like the NRA and what it will take in Washington to make notable inroads against gun violence.

Trump Withdraws Nomination of Chuck Canterbury to Lead ATF Amid GOP Opposition

Kenneth “Chuck” Canterbury via Twitter.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump formally withdrew his nomination of Kenneth “Chuck” Canterbury to lead the ATF on Tuesday amid opposition from Republicans.

Trump nominated Canterbury, the former national president of the National Fraternal Order of Police, in June 2019 to replace Thomas Brandon, who was retiring.

Trump notified Congress that he was withdrawing the nomination, The Hill reports.

The ATF has been without a permanent director since 2015.

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in July, Republicans expressed concerns that Canterbury wasn’t supportive enough of gun rights. A vote to confirm Canterbury in September was postponed.

The latest development is part of a long history of powerful gun rights groups like the NRA blocking confirmation of ATF directors out of fear they’ll be too aggressive about enforcing the nation’s gun laws.

ATF Allows Gun Shops to Sell Firearms by Using Curbside Services

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The ATF is permitting gun retailers to continue selling guns and ammunition by offering curbside services, the agency said in an industry letter.

Homeland Security has already deemed gun sales an “essential service,” which allowed firearms businesses to stay open while “nonessential” businesses were forced to close under social-distancing measures.

Gun sales have skyrocketed earlier this year as the coronavirus began sweeping across the globe.

ATF’s letters says retailers with federal firearms licenses can accept payment and verify customer identity by using “a drive-up or a walk-up window or doorway.” According to the letter, gun retailers also can use a table or booth adjacent to the business as long as it’s in a “location where the licensee has the authority to permit ATF’s entry for inspection purposes.”

Weekend Series on Crime History: Undercover ATF Agent Goes After White Supremacist Gang

5 of 6 Alabama Law Enforcement Officers Fatally Shot in 2019 Were Killed with Stolen Guns, ATF Says

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Five of the six Alabama law enforcement officers fatally shot in 2019 were killed with stolen guns, the ATF said after tracing each weapon.

“Alabama has lost six peace officers already in what has been a heartbreaking 2019. Five officers met their end of watch staring down the barrel of a gun held by someone prohibited by Alabama and federal law from possessing the firearm in the first place,’’ Northern District of Alabama U.S. Attorney Jay Town tells AL.com.

Those killed with stolen weapons were Birmingham Police Sgt. Wytasha Carter, Mobile Police Officer Sean Tuder, Auburn Police Officer William Buechner, Tuscaloosa Police Det. Dornell Cousette, and Huntsville Police Officer Billy Fred Clardy III.

“Crime guns are all too common in Alabama which is why, from the moment I was sworn, I have prioritized prosecutions of felons and drug dealers with guns and we will continue to execute that priority aggressively,” Town says.

Until earlier this year, it was a misdemeanor to be in possession of a stolen weapon worth less than $500. It is now a felony.

In all of the cases of stolen guns, the accused shooters were prohibited from legally possessing a gun

“Thousands and thousands of guns are reported stolen every year in Alabama, not even counting from the gun stores,’’ David Hyche, ATF’s assistant special agent in charge in Alabama, said. “We’ve had as many as 22, or 23, gun stores hit in a year just in Alabama.”

“Guns are absolutely money on the street. Guns are money for dope,’’ he added. “Drug dealers typically will take guns just like money. They’re just liquid assets.”

ATF K-9 Killed During Shootout at El Paso Home

The 5-year-old Belgian Malinois died at the scene.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol K-9 was killed during a shootout that occurred as agents tried to execute a search warrant at a home in El Paso.

The 62-year-old suspect shot at agents from his backyard at 6 a.m. Tuesday, striking the 5-year-old dog, The El Paso Times reports. The Belgian Malinois named Boulder died at the scene.

The suspect was fatally shot with return fire.

The arrest warrant involved illegal firearms.

No one else was injured.