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Tag: Guns

FBI Investigated Man Who Shot 8 People at Fed Ex Facility

Brandon Scott Hole

By Steve Neavling

The FBI interviewed the 19-year-old man who shot and killed eight people at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis after his mother warned law enforcement in March 2020 that he might try to “commit suicide by cop,” the bureau said. 

Brandon Scott Hole, 19, of Indianapolis, opened fire at a Fed Ex facility late Thursday before turning the gun on himself. 

After authorities received the warning about Hole, a former Fed Ex employee, the Indianapolis Metro Police Department placed him “on an immediate detention mental health temporary hold,” Paul Keenan, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis Field Office, said in a statement. 

Keenan said the FBI joined the investigation after police found a shotgun in Hole’s bedroom. 

“Based on items observed in the suspect’s bedroom at that time, he was interviewed by the FBI in April 2020. No Racially Motivated Violent Extremism (RMVE) ideology was identified during the course of the assessment and no criminal violation was found,” Keenan said in the statement. “The shotgun was not returned to the suspect.”

Nevertheless, Hole legally purchased the two assault rifles he used in the attack several months after the FBI investigated him. 

Biden to Nominate Gun Control Advocate As Permanent ATF Director

Former ATF Agent David Chipman, via Twitter.

By Steve Neavling

President Biden is expected to nominate David Chipman, a prominent gun control advocate, to lead the ATF, The New York Times reports.

Biden’s pick, David Chipman, is a gun owner, former ATF agent and senior policy adviser at Giffords, a gun control advocacy group led by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. Chipman has advocated for gun restrictions, including a ban on assault weapons. 

Biden is expected to announce his nomination today. 

Biden has faced pressure by gun control groups to pick someone to head the ATF, which has been without a permanent director since 2015 as the nation continues to grapple with mass shootings. 

As vice president, Biden recommended in 2013 that President Obama pick a Senate-confirmed ATF director. Obama followed through with the confirmation of B. Todd Jones in 2013, but Jones resigned in 2015, and the agency has been without a permanent director since. 

The current acting director, appointed by President Trump, is Regina Lombardo. 

Whether Biden can muster the 51 votes required to confirm a permanent leader is an open question. Republicans have blocked ATF candidates who were far friendlier to the pro-gun base. 

Secret Service Study Finds School Shootings Are Preventable

By Steve Neavling

A Secret Service study concluded that school shootings are preventable if officials pay attention to warning signs. 

The agency’s National Threats Assessment Center analyzed 67 thwarted school attacks in the past 12 years and found that in a vast majority of the cases the plotters gave off warning signs. 

The report concludes that early intervention is the key to saving the lives of students. 

In 75% of the cases, school attacks were “detected” because the would-be shooters spoke publicly about their plans. Others had “histories of school discipline and contact with law enforcement” or exhibited suicidal thoughts, harassing behavior or an interest in past violent attacks. 

In many of the cases, the plots were planned for months. 

“The key findings of the study are clear and consistent: Individuals contemplating violence often exhibit observable behaviors, and when community members report these behaviors, the next tragedy can be averted,” Secret Service Director James M. Murray wrote. “The Secret Service encourages its educational, medical and public safety partners to review the information within, and use it to guide best practices for maintaining a safe and healthy learning environment for all children.” 

Biden Administration Searches for First Permanent ATF Director Since 2015

By Steve Neavling

President Biden may soon pick a nominee to lead the ATF, which has been without a permanent director since 2015 as the nation continues to grapple with mass shootings. 

The New York Times reports that Biden’s administration is interviewing potential candidates, and NBC News says the president has a “shortlist” of final candidates.

“The administration is going to revitalize A.T.F. and ensure that our guns laws are vigorously enforced,” Michael Gwin, a Biden spokesman, told The New York Times.

As vice president, Biden recommended in 2013 that President Obama pick a Senate-confirmed ATF director. Obama followed through with the confirmation of B. Todd Jones in 2013, but Jones resigned in 2015, and the agency has been without a permanent director since. 

The current acting director, appointed by President Trump, is Regina Lombardo. 

Picking a permanent director is among the Biden administration’s priorities, spokesman Michael Gwin told NBC News in a statement. 

“President Biden is committed to reducing gun violence both, through the policies he pursues and the personnel he places in key positions at agencies like ATF,” Gwin said. “The Administration is going to revitalize ATF and ensure that our guns laws are vigorously enforced so we can keep illegal firearms off our streets and save lives.” 

No candidates have been identified. 

MSNBC: ATF Must Be Empowered to Play Bigger Role in Combating Mass Shootings

By Steve Neavling

The mass shooting that left 10 people dead at a Colorado supermarket underscores why the ATF must become a bigger part of the solution, MSNBC columnist Hayes Brown argues.

Brown points out that the NRA has “systematically weakened ATF with the support of congressional Republicans.”

Brown writes:

“The restrictions have all focused on the bureau’s mandated tasks: issuing licenses for federal firearm licensees, which then have to use the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System when making sales; inspecting gun dealers for compliance with the law; and cracking down on illegal gun sales.

Those would be challenging enough, but ATF has to rely on a patchwork of laws to prevent illegal gun trafficking, since there’s no comprehensive federal law against gun trafficking. And as Berlow’s piece explained, over the years Congress has included a number of “riders,” or “bits of permanent law tacked onto an appropriations bill,” to the ATF’s funding.

Some of the most restrictive are the Tiahrt Amendments, which seem perfectly tailored to keep ATF small and ineffective. These riders block ATF from centralizing records it gets from licensed gun dealers, keep ATF from disclosing to anyone the contents of a federal database that tracks guns that authorities recover from crime scenes, make it illegal for ATF to require gun dealers to create a paper trail of how many guns they have in inventory and require the FBI to have a way to destroy any identifying information in a background check within 24 hours of clearing a gun sale.

These provisions can be undone only with an affirmative act of Congress. And don’t think about trying to transfer anything that ATF should be doing to another government body — there are riders blocking any funding for that, too. As things stand, ATF is so weak that it can’t even strip licenses from gun dealers effectively, even after multiple infractions.”

To read more, click here

Secret Service Arrests Texas Man Near Vice President’s Residence on Weapons Charges

By Steve Neavling

A San Antonio man was arrested near Vice President Kamala Harris’ official residence in Washington D.C. on Wednesday and charged with weapons and ammunition charges. 

The Secret Service arrested Paul Murray, 31, after receiving an intelligence bulletin from Texas that indicated Murray was experiencing “paranoid delusions” and believed the government or military wanted to kill him. According to the bulletin, he told his mother via a text message that he was in Washington and would “take care of his problem.”

Murray was charged with carrying a dangerous weapon, carrying a rifle or shotgun outside of a business, possession of unregistered ammunition and possession of a large-capacity ammunition-feeding device.

A rifle and ammunition were found in his car. 

Secret Service Arrests Two People with Weapons And Letter to Biden Near White House

By Steve Neavling

The Secret Service arrested two people near the White House after one of them told agents they were in possession of weapons and a letter to President Biden. 

One of them had a BB gun, and the other was in possession of an unregistered pistol and ammunition, The Hill reports.

“During the course of the encounter and subsequent arrests, the individuals posed no immediate danger to any Secret Service protectee,” the Secret Service said.

The pair voluntarily approached the agents on Friday and said they “were there to meet with the President of the United States and had a letter to deliver to him.”

“On Feb. 13 at approximately 5:24 p.m., two individuals approached U.S. Secret Service Uniformed Division officers near 15th St. NW and Pennsylvania Ave,” a Secret Service spokesperson told The Hill.

“One of the individuals disclosed the possession of a weapon and was immediately detained and the second individual disclosed the location of an additional weapon in a vehicle nearby. Uniformed Division officers located the vehicle and took possession of the weapon. The first individual was arrested for possession of a BB gun and the second individual was arrested for carrying a pistol without a license, possession of an unregistered firearm and possession of unregistered ammunition,” the spokesperson added.

Biden was on the way to Camp David at the time and was not at the White House. 

Oregon Man Accused of Stealing FBI Agent’s Guns, Ammo, Body Armor from Government Car

By Steve Neavling

A convicted felon from Oregon was arrested after authorities say he stole a rifle, pistol, ammunition and body armor from an FBI agent’s government car and then tried to sell the rifle to undercover investigators in exchange for cash and two pistols. 

Michael Stuart Francher, 29, is accused of making multiple trips to steal the items from the agent’s car, which was parked outside the agent’s Lane County home, on Jan. 11, according to court records reviewed by The Oregonian.  

After several weeks, Francher met with undercover investigators in a hotel room in Eugene to swap the rifle for $3,000 and two pistols, the ATF said. During the meeting, he told investigators he had stolen the rifle and that it had belonged to law enforcement, according to the ATF.  

After the swap, Francher was leaving the hotel when he tripped and fell after spotting officers, who then arrested him. 

While searching Francher’s car, police also found about a half-pound of meth and the agent’s ballistic vest and body armor. 

Francher has been charged with theft of government property and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was ordered to remain jailed pending a trial. 

In 2018, Francher was convicted of theft, unlawful use of a motor vehicle, attempting to elude police, possession of meth and criminal trespass. In 2017, he was convicted of burglary and reckless burning.