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Tag: firearms

Millions of Firearms Purchase Records Languish in ATF Facility, Hampering Investigations

gunsBy Steve Neavling

Firearm purchase records are an important resource for law enforcement because the documents can help trace guns used in crimes.

Trouble is, millions of those records are languishing in cardboard boxes at the government’s National Tracing Center because they have not been processed, the USA Today reports. 

The records – as many as 1.6 million documents a month – come from defunct firearm dealers who must hand over their records to an ATF facility.

The USA Today reports:

The avalanche of records is a little-noticed yet critical component of a newly escalating firearms debate that underscores both the strained operations of the federal government’s chief gun enforcement agency and the strength of a powerful gun rights lobby intent on preventing the creation of a national gun registry, law enforcement analysts say.

The dysfunctional document management system exists even as ATF examiners are faced with a steadily increasing demand for tracing guns used in crimes — 364,441 requests last year — and as the agency seeks to assist local law enforcement authorities in a number of U.S. cities, including Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee and Baltimore, where there have been dramatic spikes in gun-related violence.

“It’s really sad,” said Ben Hayes, a former ATF official who for more than a decade oversaw parts of the tracing center’s operations. “It’s pathetic.”

Fears of Stronger Gun Laws Apparently Fueled Record Purchases of Firearms

handgun-photoBy Steve Neavling

Gun sales surged in August following a series of high-profile shootings that spread fear of stronger firearm laws, the National Review reports. 

The 1.7 million background checks conducted by the FBI in August were more than any other August since the checks began in 1998.

Monthly highs also were recorded in June and July, with 1.5 million and 1.6 million, respectively.

Background checks are required of gun buyers at federally-licensed dealers, but they don’t represent all firearm purchases, which means the number is likely higher.

FBI: 95 Law Enforcement Officers Killed in 2014, Most of Them Feloniously

By Steve Neavling

The number of law enforcement officers “feloniously” killed in 2014 jumped 89% over the past year, according to new FBI statistics that come just a week after the fatal shootings of an officer in New York City and two officers in Hattiesburg, Miss., the FBI reported.

The FBI recorded 51 felonious killings, compared to 27 in 2013. The average number of annual felonious killings between  between 1980 and 2014 was 64.

Of the 51 killings, 46 involved firearms.

Police departments lost another 44 officers in the line of duty to accidental causes, such as car accidents and smoke inhalation. In 2o13, 49 officers were killed.

Feds Arrest Naturalized U.S. Citizen After Allgedly Threatening to Kill Returning American Troops

Steve Neavling

A naturalized U.S. citizen from Yemen planned to use firearms to kill returning American troops and Shitte Muslims living in the Rochester area, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports.

The suspect, Mufid Elfgeeh made no secret of his hatred for the U.S. on Twitter.

Announcing his allegiance with al-Qaeda, he tweeted, “”al-Qaeda said it loud and clear; we are fighting the American invasion and their hegemony over the earth and the people.”

Another tweet advocated martyrdom and asked for donations for jihadists.

Elfgeeh, 30, is charged with two counts of illegally receiving and possessing unwarranted firearm silencers.

The investigation continues.

Seattle Times: ATF Needs to Provide More Regulatory Oversight After Gun Shop Blunder

By Seattle Times
Editorial Board

Revelations about the sloppy, arrogant business practices of a nationally known Skagit County retailer with a lethal inventory are stunning.

To know that Kesselring Gun Shop had been arming generations with virtually no regulatory oversight, even after grotesque violations were discovered, made Seattle Times reporter Mike Carter’s story all the more shocking.

Nearly a decade ago, after more than a half-century in business, the gun shop received its first visit by inspectors with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

They discovered that nearly 2,400 assault-style rifles and handguns could not be accounted for. A seemingly incurious ATF did nothing for the next five years.

Incredibly, it took a nasty state workers’ compensation claim inside the family-owned business to provide any transparency about the pumping of thousands of lethal weapons into society.

As Carter pointed out, when the ATF finally made Kesselring a priority, inspectors spent four months compiling evidence of ATF violations “in virtually every aspect of the shop’s operation.”

The gun shop failed to have buyers provide key information on purchase forms. Instant background checks were not documented. Guns were sold to non-Washington residents. Multiple handgun sales to one person were not documented in a half-dozen cases.

The company surrendered its license last October. That leaves Washington with 1,093 firearms dealers.

To read more click here.

Federal Crackdown Leads to Arrests of 55 Suspected Members of Violent Crips Gang

Steve Neavling

The longtime San Diego gang is known for its ruthless violence, from execution-style murders to the shooting of a pregnant woman.

Now U-T San Diego reports that federal authorities nabbed most of the 55 suspected members of the West Coast Crips in pre-dawn raids Thursday, changing them with crimes spanning from murder and armed robberies to prostitution drug dealing.

The suspected mastermind, Randy Alton Graves, was among those arrested.

The crackdown came on the heels of phone surveillance and undercover drug buys, authorities said.

The startling wiretaps reveal that the gangsters “think nothing about murdering rivals in San Diego and they think nothing of executing their own, when their own are even suspected of being disloyal,” U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said at a news conference.

Seized in the raids were 16 guns, more than 4 pounds of meth, 4,400 pounds of pot and $300,000 in counterfeit money.

Second Shooting Spree at Fort Hood Raises Question: Should Military Leaders Carry Guns at Bases?

Ford Hood Darnall HospitalSteve Neavling

After two deadly shooting rampages at Ford Hood in Texas, some congressional members said military leaders should be permitted to carry firearms on the base, the New York Post reports.

Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul called it “a common sense idea.”

“That would be a deterrent, No. 1 — and No. 2, a way to have a quick response to any shooter that comes on these bases,” McCaul said on “Fox News Sunday.”

But both the White House and Pentagon are opposed to changing bans on service members carrying personal firearms on bases.





Democratic Lawmakers Call for More Study to Determine Fallout of ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws

Steve Neavling

A Congresswoman is calling for the Justice Department to study the racial impact of “Stand Your Ground” laws, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Cleveland, and a group of Democratic lawmakers sent a letter Tuesday to AG Eric Holder to plead for more documentation and study of the laws that permit people to use deadly force before retreating. More than two dozens states have laws similar to “Stand Your Ground.”

The letter states that “Stand Your Ground” laws “are contributing to increases in homicides and firearm injuries and are exacerbating racial disparities in the criminal justice system.”