Monday, March 23, 2009

Gun Rights News Roundup

Articles, news stories, and op-eds of interest to gun owners:

[D.C.] Pro-gun "blue dog" Democrats oppose new AWB:
WASHINGTON -- Sixty-five House Democrats said Wednesday that they would oppose any attempt by the Obama administration to revive a ban on military-style weapons that President Bill Clinton signed into law in 1994 and President George W. Bush let expire.

The pro-gun Democrats, led by Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark., wrote Attorney General Eric Holder that they would "actively oppose any effort to reinstate the 1994 ban, or to pass any similar law."

They urged the administration to avoid a "long and divisive fight over a gun control issue" at a time when Washington needs to concentrate on the economic crisis.

The House letter came a day after Montana's two Democratic senators, Max Baucus and Jon Tester, wrote a similar letter to Holder saying the Justice Department should enforce existing laws before considering new gun ownership restrictions. "We will strongly oppose any legislation that will infringe upon the rights of individual gun owners," they said.

The letters came after Holder, during a news conference to announce the arrest of Mexican drug dealers, said the drug cartels were obtaining high-powered weapons like the AK-47 from U.S. gun stores and said the Obama administration supported reinstituting the ban on the sale of assault-style weapons.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has said she plans to introduce legislation to bring back the weapons ban. Feinstein was an author of the 1994 bill, which banned 19 types of semiautomatic, military-style guns. The law expired under the Bush administration in 2004. Another long-term goal is requiring that all gun shows conduct background checks before selling firearms. ... [emphasis added]

[D.C.] For those interested in seeing if your Democrat elected servant opposes a new AWB, NRA-ILA has the letter from the pro-gun dems to AG Holder here.

[D.C] Sen. Feinstein wants tougher gun laws to prevent Mexican violence:
Senator Dianne Feinstein wants to toughen U.S. gun laws to prevent violence in Mexico. Tanya Snyder reports.

At a Senate committee hearing Tuesday, Feinstein recounted a recent meeting she had with the Mexican ambassador to the U.S.

"I have never seen deeper concern on an ambassador's face," she said.

At the ambassador's urging, Feinstein sent letters last week to President Obama and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urging them to take action against illegal arms trafficking. More than ninety percent of the weapons seized by law enforcement in Mexico come from the United States. ... [emphasis added]

Comment: The anti-gunners appear to be repeating the false ninety percent figure as often as they can in order to indoctrinate this falsehood in the public's mind.

Howard Nemerov's take on Mexican arms trafficking and the media's stage-setting for a new AWB:
... A previous ABC article implied that grenades are available to U.S. civilians. Here, the LA Times admits this is fiction. But the idea that “ordinary citizens” engage in illicit smuggling of “tons of assault rifles and automatic pistols” is right out of the anti-rights playbook.

First, let’s stop playing the anti-rights game of hardware nomenclature. Assault weapons have been all but banned since 1934. While it’s possible to buy a prohibited firearm, it is a time-consuming process involving law enforcement investigation, something criminals avoid.

Second, Attorney General Holder claims a renewed “assault weapons” ban “will have a positive impact in Mexico, at a minimum.” But the LA Times article proves that civilian firearms fail to meet drug cartel needs, so an “assault weapons” ban will not benefit Mexico. [emphasis in original] ...

[Arizona] Gun dealer accused of supplying weapons to straw purchasers for Mexican drug cartels acquitted:
A judge dismissed criminal charges against a Phoenix gun shop owner accused of supplying firearms to Mexican drug cartels. Judge Robert L. Gottsfield of Maricopa County Superior Court ruled that the prosecution’s evidence against the shop owner, George Iknadosian, was not sufficient to support conviction and that all of the gun purchases had been legal, even if weapons ended up with the cartels. ...

And from the Arizona Republic:
State prosecutors suffered a public setback in efforts to combat border violence Wednesday when a judge dismissed high-profile charges against a Phoenix gun dealer accused of arming Mexican cartels.

The case against George Iknadosian, owner of X-Caliber Guns, had been covered on national TV broadcasts and in stories by the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

But in mid-trial, all 21 counts were dismissed by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Robert Gottsfield, who decided he had found a flaw in the government's case.

According to a minute entry, Gottsfield concluded that evidence against Iknadosian was not sufficient to support conviction based on a technical legal issue. Because the gun buyers all were eligible to acquire firearms, he said, their deception did not amount to a "material falsification." Consequently, Gottsfield ruled, the evidence did not show felonious conduct by Iknadosian.

Gottsfield issued a directed verdict of not guilty for Iknadosian, 47, who was charged with fraud, money-laundering and other offenses. ...

Comment: Notice the tone of the Arizona Republic's article: the FFL was acquitted on a "technical legal issue", which, it turns out, was apparently the government's inability to prove the gun dealer broke the law. I guess that's pretty technical for a mainstream news reporter.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation has some background info on straw purchases:
... What is a "straw purchase?"

A straw purchase is when a buyer uses an intermediary (the "straw man") to purchase a firearm(s) from a licensed firearms dealer. The purpose is to hide the true identity of the actual purchaser of the firearm(s). Straw purchases are a felony violation of the Gun Control Act of 1968 for both the straw purchaser (who can be charged with lying on Federal Form 4473) and the actual possessor. Frequently, the actual purchaser is a prohibited person under federal law.

If a straw purchase has occurred, does that indicate illegality on the part of the dealer?

No. While firearms dealers are trained by ATF to detect suspicious behavior that may indicate a possible straw purchase, it is often difficult for the dealer to know if the person standing before him at the retail counter is a legitimate purchaser or acting as a straw purchaser (willing to lie on the Form 4473 in order to obtain the firearm). It is possible for a straw purchaser to lie on the Form 4473, pass the mandatory background NICS check and obtain the firearm without any knowledge or complicity on the part of the licensed dealer. While the purchase may have been a criminal act, it does not mean the sale by the dealer was also illegal or that the dealer is corrupt.

Complicating matters, it is perfectly legal for one person to purchase a firearm as a gift for another person. For example, a grandfather for his grandson or a husband for his wife. ...

[Arizona] The New York Times bemoans the dismissal of charges against gun dealer:
HOUSTON — Prosecutors in Arizona scrambled on Thursday to figure out how to appeal a state judge’s decision to dismiss charges against a gun dealer who had been accused of arming a Mexican drug cartel.

“We believe it was an error, and we are going to do everything we can in the system to correct that error,” the state’s attorney general, Terry Goddard, said in an interview Thursday. “It’s not over by any means.”

The judge’s decision underscores how difficult it is in the United States to convict a gun dealer of wrongdoing in connection with the illegal flow of weapons to Mexico. [emphasis added]

With its lenient gun laws and large number of dealers, Arizona is one of the biggest sources of weapons for the drug cartels, which killed 6,000 people in Mexico last year. More than 500 guns recovered by the police in Mexico in 2008 were traced to sellers in the state. ...

Comment: Actually, all the government has to do "to convict a gun dealer of wrongdoing in connection with the illegal flow of weapons to Mexico[]" is prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the dealer broke the law. Evidently, a tough concept for news "reporters" to grasp.

U.S., Mexican security chiefs to meet on gun trade:
WASHINGTON -- U.S. and Mexican security officials will strategize next month on fighting the arms trade fueling Mexico's bloody drug war, but a U.S. ban on assault rifles favored by the traffickers will not be on the agenda.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano announced plans this week to meet their Mexican counterparts - Attorney General Eduardo Medina and Interior Minister Fernando Francisco Gomez Mont - at an arms trafficking conference in Cuernavaca, Mexico in early April.

Napolitano told reporters on Thursday the officials will discuss ways of fighting the huge flow of weapons from the United States into Mexico, where they are used by drug gangs in turf battles that killed 6,000 people last year.

To Mexico's great unease, the widely available U.S. guns are often the merchandise carried back along smuggling routes for illegal drugs coming into the United States. ... [emphasis added]

Comment: The anti-gun crowd, with the full support, cooperation, and active assistance of the anti-gun mainstream media, is laying the groundwork for a new and "improved" AWB. The question is when, not if, they try to get this through the Congress, into the waiting arms of their beloved Anti-Gunner-in-Chief for his signature.

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