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Tag: Guns

Bad Few Days in Maryland Suburban County: County Exec and Wife Arrested; 3 Cops Indicted

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON –– As far as image goes, the past few days have not been good ones for Prince George’s County, a Maryland suburb of Washington.

On Friday, the FBI arrested the County Executive Jack Johnson and his wife, Leslie, a county council member, on charges of trying to destroy and hide bribe money from a developer.

And on Monday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced that three Prince George’s County cops had been indicted — two allegedly for involvement in untaxed cigarettes and alcohol, and a third for alleged involvement in a drug and gun conspiracy.

“Police officers are given badges and guns to prevent crimes, but these police officers allegedly used them to commit crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “The indictment charges that they crossed a bright line from catching criminals to conspiring with criminals.”

Authorities indicated the cop bust and the Johnson investigation were linked, but did not elaborate.

IG Report Sharply Criticizes ATF’s Program to Crack Down on Guns to Mexico

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON –– A Justice Department’s Inspector General report released Tuesday sharply criticized ATF’s efforts to crackdown on gun trafficking along the Mexican border, saying the agency is failing to share information within and outside the agency and with Mexico and is focusing far too much on smaller rather than bigger gun traffickers.

The 152-page report, which focused on ATF’s “Project Gunrunner”, which aims to curb gun trafficking to Mexico, found “that ATF does not systematically and consistently exchange intelligence with its Mexican and some U.S. partner agencies.”

“We found weaknesses in how ATF implemented Project Gunrunner as a multi-agency effort,” the report by Inspector General Glenn Fine concluded.

Read more »

Washington Post Editorial: How the Gun Lobby Keeps ATF From Doing its Job

The Washington Post
Editorial Page

WASHINGTON — TAKING AND tracking inventory is a basic component of many businesses. Imagine, for example, a pharmacy that routinely could not account for its drugs. The store would quickly run into trouble with regulators.

Not so gun dealers.

Since 2005, 113,642 guns have been reported missing from the thousands of gun shops and dealers throughout the country.

It is not known whether these guns were lost, stolen, sold on the black market or delivered into the hands of felons or other prohibited users.

Yet the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is barred by law from requiring dealers to conduct inventories — which insulates gun sellers from even minor scrutiny at the possible expense of public safety.

To read more click here.

Read chat with ex-ATF official James Cavanaugh on the gun issue.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Strong Gun Lobby Hurts ATF’s Efforts to Regulate Gun Ownership, Washington Post Reports

atf file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

ATF is operating on a short leash, hamstrung by limited resources to regulate gun ownership, much in part due to the strong gun lobbying efforts, the Washington Post reports.

“Concerns about government regulation of gun ownership have limited the resources available to the ATF, led to strict regulatory restrictions and left the agency without leadership, according to interviews with dozens of former and current ATF officials and examination of thousands of pages of internal documents,” Sari Horwitz  and James Grimaldi of the Washington Post report.

“The ATF is supposed to regulate the gun industry, but many within the bureau say it is the industry that dominates the agency,” the Post reported. “Unlike the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Secret Service or the U.S. Marshals, the ATF must contend with a powerful lobby that watches its every move and fights its attempts to gain resources and regulatory power.”

To read more click here.

Border Patrol Agents Fire Shots into Mexico After Coming Under Attack

Border PatrolBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The latest sign in the U.S. that there’s a drug war in Mexico: U.S. Border Patrol agents fired gunshots into Mexico Saturday after coming under attack in south Texas along the Rio Grande, the Associated Press reports.

Authorities said the incident happened during a half-ton drug bust that involved Border Patrol agents chasing a truck in Mission, Tex., along the Rio Grande on the U.S. side, the AP reported. No agents were hurt.

Authorities said that several Border Patrol agents — some of whom were patrolling in boats — were seizing a half-ton of marijuana when they came under gunfire.

“We’re obviously concerned with what happened, that they would be shooting from the Mexico side to us,” FBI spokesman Jorge Cisneros said, according to the AP.

Washington Post Editorial: U.S. Guns Going to Mexico is “Scandalous”

drug war-gunBy The Washington Post
Editorial Page

WASHINGTON — SECRETARY OF STATE Hillary Rodham Clinton caused a stir last week by suggesting that Mexico’s drug-trafficking gangs were beginning to resemble an insurgency, like that which has plagued Colombia.

She’s right in the sense that the cartels have come to effectively control parts of the country, where they “attempt to replace the state,” as Mexican President Felipe Calderón put it last month. Like most insurgencies, the Mexican drug armies also have an external source of funding and weapons. Shamefully, that is the United States.

A new report details the abundance of U.S. weapons delivered to the cartels — and the inadequacy of U.S. efforts to stop the illegal trafficking.

According to authors Colby Goodman and Michel Marizco, at least 62,800 of the more than 80,000 firearms confiscated by Mexican authorities from December 2006 to February 2010 came from the United States. Guns are being smuggled across the border at a rate of up to 5,000 per year. The top two varieties are assault rifles: Romanian-made AK47s and clones of the Bushmaster AR-15.

To read more click here.

Washington Post Editorial: NRA Pushes to Undermine ATF’s Gun Enforcement Through Bill

atf file photo

atf file photo

By The Washington Post
Editorial Page

WASHINGTON — ONLY ABOUT 10 percent of the nation’s 100,000 licensed gun dealers are audited each year by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

The ATF cannot fine wayward dealers; its only tool at the moment involves revoking a miscreant’s license. And that happens only about 100 times annually.

But even this level of scrutiny rankles the National Rifle Association, which is pushing for legislation that threatens to gut the ATF’s already limited ability to keep illegal guns off the streets.

The bill, formally known as the ATF Reform and Firearms Modernization Act, is making headway in both houses of Congress, with hearings likely to take place in the Senate this month. The bill should be dramatically rewritten or scrapped altogether.

To read more.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Defense Attorney Gets LAPD Cop Off on Exporting Gun Charges; Says Laws Confusing

softair gun from online catalogue

softair gun from online catalogue

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An attorney for a Los Angeles cop who was acquitted last week of illegally exporting guns says the laws are so confusing it’s difficult for people to adhere to them all.

“There is so much confusion when comes to these requirements,” Humbarto Diaz, a federal public defender, said in an interview Friday with the Los Angeles Times. “Several federal agencies have oversight of the shipping of weapons out of the country, and there is still information floating around on their websites that contradicts current requirements.”

An LA federal jury last week acquitted Johnny Augustus Baltazar of illegally shipping  a safe packed with firearms and ammunition to Belize in July 2007, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The paper reported that the federal prosecutor Amanda Bettinelli could not be reached for comment.

At trial, Diaz tried to hammer home that the charges against his client involved technical violations of a complex series of regulations.

To read more click here.