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Tag: Guns

FBI Arrests California Man for Threatening to Kill Boston Globe Reporters

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI arrested a California man who repeatedly threatened violence against Boston Globe journalists, calling them “the enemy of the people,” echoing a phrase often used by President Trump.

An FBI SWAT team armed with military-style weapons arrested Robert Darrell Chain, 68, during a dawn raid in his home in Encino, Calif., the Boston Globe reported

Agents found 20 firearms in the home, including a rifle purchased in May.

Authorities said Chain was angry with the newspaper’s editorial campaign denouncing the president’s attacks against the media.

Chain was charged Thursday with threatening to shoot and kill journalists from the Boston Globe. He was released from jail on a $50,000 bond and told reporters outside federal court that “there’s no free press in America.”

Chain faces up to five years in prison and could be charged with additional crimes related to the weapons found at his home.

Ex-DEA Special Agent Pleads Guilty to Selling Guns to Suspected Drug Traffickers

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A former supervisory special agent for the DEA in Nogales, Ariz., faces up to five years in prison for illegally selling firearms, including to suspected drug traffickers.

Joseph Gill pleaded guilty Tuesday to illegally selling firearms, including two rifles to men “he had reason to believe intended to use or dispose of the firearms unlawfully, Tucson News Now reports.

Gill, who sold the guns without a Federal Firearms License, is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 26.

According to the Justice Department, Gill purchased firearms from licensed dealers and sold them online.

Investigators said Gill sold two Colt rifles in June 2016 to suspected drug dealers, according to an ATF investigation. Authorities said one rifle was smuggled into Mexico and another was seized at a port of authority.

Gill resigned from the DEA on June 30.

Tampa Bay Times Editorial: ATF Needs to Get Tougher on Gun Dealers

By Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board

File photo of guns, via ATF

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for policing the legal gun trade routinely goes soft on dealers who violate the law. This is not the only gap in the system but a breach that undermines the foundation of the nation’s gun safety protections.

The New York Times recently reported that even as federal investigators inspecting the nation’s gun stores regularly find violations of the law, higher-ups at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives routinely overrule them. They allow gun dealers who fail inspections to keep their licenses even after they were previously warned on the rules, according to records and interviews with current and former law enforcement officials. Of about 11,000 inspections of federally licensed firearms dealers in 2016-17, more than half were cited for violations, the Times reported — yet less than 1 percent of all inspections resulted in the loss of a license.

Many violations, as the newspaper noted, were minor: Stores made clerical and bookkeeping errors or failed to manage their records appropriately. But there were also many example of serious violations. One store was cited for failing to conduct a criminal background check before selling a gun. Another acknowledged it actively tried to circumvent the gun laws. One seller threatened an ATF officer; another sold a gun to a customer who identified himself as a felon. Felons cannot legally possess a gun. All were previously cited by ATF, and in each case, supervisors overrode the staff recommendations that the stores’ licenses be revoked. Allowing even one gun into the wrong hands could result in a tragedy. “We’re not selling ice cream here,” one retired ATF inspector said. “If you screw up, somebody can be killed.”

To read full editorial click here. 

Legislation Would Require ATF to Create A Computerized, Searchable Data Base

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Here’s a bill that make sense.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida has introduced  legislation to establish a computerized, searchable database of gun records under a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate on Monday.

The Crime Gun Tracing Modernization Act would strike a current federal prohibition on the creation of a searchable database of gun records, reports Homeland Preparedness News reports.  The ATF would be required to establish a database that includes records of the sale, importation, production, and shipment of firearms within three years under the bill.

“The fact that there is a law on the books that forces agents to comb through millions of files by hand is absolutely ridiculous,” Nelson said.

Strikingly Similar Traits Found Among American Mass Killers in Secret Service Study

Devin Kelley killed 26 people in a Baptist church in a rural Texas town.

Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A majority of the assailants in mass attacks in the U.S. last year shared strikingly similar traits, a new Secret Service report found. 

An analysis of 28 mass attacks, which killed 147 people and injured nearly 700 more nationwide, found that all suspects were male and 64% experienced mental health issues before the assaults.

Before the attacks, 79% of them had engaged in threatening or suspicious behavior witnessed by others, according to the National Threat Assessment Center report on Mass Attacks in Public Space.

About 71% of the suspects had a criminal history, and one-third had been charged with domestic violence. Two-thirds had a history of violence, though not all of it was reported or ended in charges.

In the five years before the attacks, more than half experienced financial hardships, and 82% “exhibited behaviors that were indicative of aggressive narcissism,” the Secret Service found.

Nearly half of the suspects were driven by a personal grievance, whether real or perceived. 

Less than two months before the report was released, Nikolas Cruz is accused of killing 17 people at a Florida high school after he passed a background check to buy an AR-15 assault-style rifle.

Cruz exhibited nearly every trait found in a majority of last year’s attackers.

Lawmakers: FBI Lacks Strategy to Handle Tips After Blunder over Fla. School Shooter

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Acting FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich acknowledged to members of Congress on Tuesday that the bureau failed to properly follow up on two warning calls about the former student who gunned down 17 students and teachers at a Florida school on Valentine’s Day.

Lawmakers left the private briefing feeling frustrated and disappointed, saying the bureau’s response offered little to no new information, and the FBI still has no strategy or plan to correct future mistakes.

Nikolas Cruz via instagram

The meeting “raised more questions than it answered,” U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., tweeted after the closed-door briefing in Washington. “We should have more answers 20 days after the shooting. This was clearly a major failure and Americans deserve swift accountability and reform.”

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., said the lack 0f new information makes it difficult for lawmakers to understand what went wrong and how the bureau could avoid similar blunders.

“A very specific lead was given to the FBI, and they just botched it,” Krishnamoorthi said upon leaving the meeting, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. “Right now we have to find out why that happened. Most important for me is: How do we prevent this from happening again, and how do we actively figure out who is on the verge of committing a similar school shooting or any other act of terror like this?”

The first tip came in September from a Mississippi man, who alerted the FBI to a YouTube user named “nikolas cruz” – the same name as the school shooter. The tipster boasted, “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.”

In early January, a caller who said he was close to Cruz warned that “He’s going to explode” and appeared on the verge of violence.

The FBI never forwarded the information to the FBI’s Miami field office, so the tip was never investigated.

Some Republicans are calling for the resignation of FBI Director Christopher Wray, while some Democrats say such a move would be premature.

Trump Directs Justice Department to Propose Regulations to Ban Bump Stocks

File photo of guns, via ATF

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump, in a significant departure from his uncompromising, pro-NRA stance on guns, is directing the Justice Department to propose regulations to “ban all devices” such as the bump stocks used in the Las Vegas mass shooting.

Under intense pressure to address the alarming proliferation of mass shooters using assault-style rifles, Trump has indicated it’s time to move swiftly on guns designed to kill a lot of people.

“We must move past clichés and tired debates and focus on evidence based solutions and security measures that actually work,” Trump said during a White House ceremony.

The Florida school shooting that left 17 people dead at Majority Stoneman Douglas High School has placed on pressure on NRA-supporting Republicans to finally get tough on assault-style guns. They failed to act on a ban bump stocks last year.

Even the predominately conservative Florida state legislature, after many years of reluctance, is drafting legislation to reduce access to semiautomatic rifles.

“The Parkland shooting seems to be a change moment in terms of the way Republicans view gun control measures,” said Mac Stipanovich, a longtime Florida Republican lobbyist and operative.

On legislation drafted by state Senate President Bill Galvano, Stipanovich said, “None of these are necessarily earth-shaking, but all of them, at least in recent times, are unprecedented in the Florida Legislature.”

Protests broke out across the country over Republicans’ failure to address gun control.

FBI Faces Mounting Pressure over Failure to Act on Tip about School Shooter

FBI Director Christopher Wray speaking at a previous congressional committee hearing.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s admission that it failed to properly follow up on a tip about the Florida school shooter has drawn mounting criticism, including calls for the bureau’s boss to step down.

Among those demanding the resignation of FBI Director Christopher Wray is Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who on Monday also called on the bureau to release “all details” on why it never acted on an anonymous caller’s tip on Jan. 5 that Nikolas Cruz “had a desire to kill people” and had “the potential” of “conducting a school shooting.”

“Last week, our state and nation was shocked to learn of the FBI’s inexcusable inaction after receiving a tip informing them of Cruz’s desire to carry out a school shooting,” Scott said in a statement. “The FBI’s failure to initiate an investigation raises many questions, and the victims’ families deserve answers now.”

Scott last week called for Wray to step down after acknowledging that FBI “protocols were not followed” following the tip.

“Under established protocols, the information provided by the caller should have been assessed as a potential threat to life,” the FBI said in a statement Friday.

The bureau also is facing heat from some prominent Republicans in the U.S. House.

Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., sent a letter Friday to Wray indicating the FBI failed to act on “warning signs that (Cruz) was capable of such monstrous actions,” Homeland Security Today wrote

“The Committees are seeking to understand these protocols and why they were not followed in this case,” Gowdy and Goodlatte wrote. “Accordingly, the Committees request the FBI brief the Committees on the tip, protocols, and FBI’s actions before and after the incident as soon as possible, but no later than March 2.”

President Trump, who has waged a campaign to undermine confidence in the FBI amid the special counsel investigation into Russian interference, suggested over the weekend that the bureau missed “many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter” because of the resources spent on the Robert Mueller probe.

“This is not acceptable,” Trump tweeted Saturday. “They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!”

Trump’s response drew heavy criticism, including from current and former FBI officials who pointed out that the bureau employs more than 30,000 people and is capable of conducting numerous investigations at one time.

Some prominent Democrats, including Rep. Adam Schiff, said Scott should not be forced to resign.

“I don’t think the director should resign, no, but there clearly is a serious problem here when you have threat information of that detail and it didn’t get triggered in terms of an investigation and action,” Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“There are only so many cases where you do have good input where people see something and say something, and to not follow up is inexcusable,” Schiff continued. “There needs to be a full internal investigation by the Justice Department and t