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Tag: Guns

FBI Study on ‘Lone Offender Terrorism’ Reveals Common Traits Among Attackers

Terrorism exercise in Portland. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A new FBI study examining “lone offender terrorism” found common traits that could help identify future attackers.

Of the 52 examined cases between 1972 and 2015, 83% were carried out by people who had previously exhibited hostility or aggression, according to the 81-page report. In all of the cases, people around the attackers expressed concern over their behavior.

In 96% of the cases, the offender produced a video, blog or letter that was intended to be viewed by others.

“Absent this report and others like it, someone could see something and they’re solely relying on their gut feeling or spider sense to say, ‘That doesn’t look right,’ or ‘That’s concerning,’” Special Agent John Wyman, chief of the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU)’s Behavioral Threat Assessment Center, which conducted the research, said. “I think by putting this information out there, it helps people get over that barrier. It gives you something to fall back on to validate whatever your gut feeling was.”

The study found that half of the cases were motivated by anti-government extremism. Other significant motivators were racial extremism and Islamist violence.

All of the attackers were men, mostly white and a vast majority born in the U.S. Most were single and had free time to focus on the attacks and their grievances.

Justice Department Launches Plan to Crack Down on Gun Violence

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department unveiled a nationwide initiative aimed at reducing gun violence and enforcing federal firearm laws.

Dubbed “Project Guardian,” the five-point plan includes coordinated prosecution, enforcement of firearm laws and background checks, improved information sharing, coordinated response to mental health denials, and crime gun intelligence coordination.

The plan calls for strengthening partnerships among the ATF, federal prosecutors, and state and local law enforcement to enforce existing laws.

The deputy attorney general is tasked with overseeing the implementation of the plan.

“I know you share my grave concern regarding the gun violence that has plagued our communities and that you are committed to preventing gun violence whenever possible,” Attorney General William Barr said in a news release. “By initiating Project Guardian, we take an important step in increasing the safety and security of our communities. I look forward to hearing in the coming months about your implementation of this program, which will help make our country a safer place for all.”

ATF Loses Agents And Resources As Gun Deaths, Mass Shootings Rise

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

As law enforcement struggles with how to handle the proliferation of mass shootings in the U.S., the agency tasked with enforcing gun laws is underfunded and without a permanent leader.

The ATF is expected to lose 300 agents to retirement in 2018 and 2019, and the agency isn’t hiring enough replacements.

The agency has no permanent leader, and its budget continues to be cut.

Kenneth E. Nelson, former acting ATF director, said the agency is being handled like “political football.”

“If they are really concerned, Congress would give ATF the resources to prevent and respond to mass shootings, but ATF is a political football,” Nelson told The Washington Times.

Since 2001, the number of gun deaths have risen 34%, but the number of federal agents – about 2,600 – has not increased.

“The growth of violent gun crime is an external challenge that has strained ATF’s ability to respond to requests for assistance to address the needs of the nation’s cities and citizens most affected by this violence,” ATF wrote, adding that “requests for services and support continue to exceed our ability to respond.”

In 2018, the ATF hired 156 agents but lost 172 to retirement. With about 17% of agents aged 50 or older, the agency is expected to lose a lot more staff.

President Trump has even discussed transferring the ATF’s responsibilities to the Treasury Department.

David Chipman, a former ATF agent, said the gun lobby is to blame.

“We all agree gun violence is a significant public safety threat, so why is the ATF the size that it is?” he said. “That is largely because the gun lobby has been concerned about an effective and aggressive ATF, and their influence over legislators has kept the ATF ineffectual, at least budgetwise.”

Time to Finally Confirm Trump’s Pick to Lead ATF, Say Top Law Enforcement Organizations

Chuck Canterbury

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s pick to lead the ATF has been derailed by Republicans who are uneasy about position on gun control.

Five months ago, Trump nominated of Chuck Canterbury, leader of the national Fraternal Order of Police, to head the ATF, which has been without a permanent leader since 2015. Without someone at the top of the ATF, many officials are worried the agency will lack stability and operational effectiveness.

It’s time for the Senate to confirm Canterbury as head of the ATF, according to a Hill column written by leaders of the Fraternal Order of Police, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers’ Association and the National Sheriffs Association.

“This lack of permanent leadership compromises the effectiveness of the ATF’s law enforcement mission,” they wrote. “We need Chuck Canterbury as director of the ATF and we strongly believe he should be expeditiously confirmed.”

The authors say there’s no doubt that Canterbury respects Americans’ Second Amendment rights.

“Canterbury is a proud supporter of the Second Amendment; everyone knows this,” they wrote. “We also know that Chuck is a cop’s cop with a reverence for the rule of law. If confirmed, he will enforce the laws written by Congress because that will be his job. If you know Chuck Canterbury, then you know he gets the job done. We have every confidence in him, and we urge the Senate in the strongest possible terms to confirm this excellent and highly qualified nominee.”

Read the entire column here.

Group of Armed Men Tried to Rob a DEA Agent. It Didn’t Go Well

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A group of armed men chose the wrong person to mug.

An undercover DEA agent was in a residential area of northeast Atlanta investigating drug trafficking Tuesday when the armed men approached the agent and tried to mug him.

Nearby agents responded and exchanged fire with the muggers. One suspect was shot and taken to the hospital, Chad W. Cook, associate special agent in charge of the DEA in Atlanta, said told reporters.

“Other agents on the scene attempted to intervene and shots were exchanged between the assailants and the agents,” Cook said.

Three suspects were arrested, and they are being charged in federal court. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is leading the probe.

No federal agents were injured.

Former ATF Security Guard Gets 14 Years in Prison for Stealing Firearms, Ammunition from Agency

Christopher Lee Yates

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former contract security guard who stole guns, ammunition and firearms parts from the ATF and then sold them was sentenced Monday to 14 years in prison.

Christopher Lee Yates, of Martinsburg, W.V., admitted in court that he stole the items from ATF’s National Firearms and Ammunition Destruction Branch facility near Martinsburg.

An investigation found that Yates stole the guns, ammunition and firearm parts while serving as a security guard from 2016 to 2019.

The theft prompted an investigation that helped the ATF recover 4,625 guns and firearm parts. They included 120 rifles, 60 pistols, four automatic machine guns and three components to make rocket launchers, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

What remains unclear is why the ATF didn’t have safeguards in place to avoid the thefts.

FBI Arrests Truck Driver Over Alleged Mass Shooting Plot at Memphis Church

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI arrested a truck driver accused of threatening to “shoot up” a Memphis, Tenn., church after saying he was haunted by “spiritual snakes and spiders in my bed at night.”

Federal authorities said Thomas Matthew McVicker, 38, “made credible threats to conduct a mass shooting and suicide” at the church, which he told a friend placed the snakes and spiders in his bed, The Associated Press reports.

“I’ve only seen them a couple of times but they take form and I can feel them crawling on me and under me,” McVicker said, according to an affidavit filed Monday.

FBI arrested McVicker in Indiana a week before he planned to be in Memphis to carry out the attack, authorities said in court filings.

McVicker’s friend alerted the FBI to McVicker’s alleged plans.

McVicker’s mother told the FBI her son owned a handgun, occasionally used cocaine and methamphetamine and has been treated with schizophrenia.

FBI: Ohio Teen Who Threatened Federal Agents Had 10,000 Rounds of Ammo in His House

Justin Olsen

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An 18-year-old Ohio man who went by the name “ArmyOfChrist” was arrested by the FBI for allegedly making online threats against federal law enforcement and Planned Parenthood.

Agents found about 10,000 rounds of ammunition, assault-style weapons and shotguns, according to an FBI affidavit.

The FBI began investigating Justin Olsen after discovering his iFunny account. In June, “ArmyOfChrist” posted, “shoot every federal agent on sight.”

The investigation was “based upon the observation by FBI Anchorage into multiple Internet postings in which ArmyOfChrist discussed supporting mass shootings, and assault and/or targeting of Planned Parenthood,” according to the affidavit.

In another post, he allegedly wrote, “Don’t comply with gun laws, stock up on stuff they could ban. In fact, go out of your way to break these laws.”

Olson was charged Monday with one count of threatening to assault a federal law enforcement officer.

Olson insisted during interviews with federal authorities that he had no violent intentions and was being “hyperbolic.”