Gunleaders Blog

Archive for November, 2011

ATF gets PWNED

by on Nov.23, 2011, under Uncategorized

The best part is – it’s We the People who did it.

Scroll down to page 58 for the beginning of the fun.

That’s a lot of PWNing.  Where to begin?  Here are the prohibitions on spending any of the tax payers hard earned money on:

in connec- tion with consolidating or centralizing, within the Department of Justice, the records, or any portion thereof, of acquisition and dis- position of firearms maintained by Federal firearms licensees

On the surface that is a pretty broad sweeping prohibition on records centralizing, but does this fully cover the collection of such records?

to implement an amendment or amendments to 27 CFR 478.118 or to change the definition of ‘‘Cu- rios or relics’’ in 27 CFR 478.11 or remove any item from ATF Pub- lication 5300.11 as it existed on January 1, 1994

Keeps the C&R definition from shrinking.

to in- vestigate or act upon applications for relief from Federal firearms disabilities under 18 U.S.C. 925(c): Provided further, That such funds shall be available to investigate and act upon applications filed by corporations for relief from Federal firearms disabilities

This is one of the more perplexing modifications.  I am given to understand that the first part of this is routine, but what exactly are they “enabling” BATFE to do by providing disability relief to corporations?  Corporations run by felons, or some other problem?  And why corporations?

to transfer the functions, missions, or activities of the Bu- reau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to other agencies or Departments

pretty shrewd.  This closes the door on ATF from handing off any ongoing activities mentioned herein to another agency with more money / flexibility to spend.

to disclose part or all of the con- tents of the Firearms Trace System database maintained by the Na- tional Trace Center of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives or any information required to be kept by licensees pur- suant to section 923(g) of title 18, United States Code, or required to be reported pursuant to paragraphs (3) and (7) of such section  (foreign governments are still excluded from this).

923(g) is FFL record keeping, Para 3 is multiple handgun sale reporting, and para 7 is the ubiquitous “AG request for information” contained in FFL records.

no person or entity described in (1), (2) or (3) shall knowingly and publicly disclose such data; and all such data shall be immune from legal process, shall not be subject to subpoena or other discovery, shall be inadmissible in evidence, and shall not be used, relied on, or disclosed in any manner, nor shall testimony or other evidence be permitted based on the data, in a civil action in any State (including the District of Columbia) or Federal court or in an administrative proceeding other than a proceeding com- menced by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to enforce the provisions of chapter 44 of such title, or a review of such an action or proceeding

Prohibits disclosing the data mentioned above, even in court proceedings apparently.

to promulgate or implement any rule requir- ing a physical inventory of any business licensed under section 923 of title 18, United States Code

Prohibits a physical FFL inventory.

to elec- tronically retrieve information gathered pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 923(g)(4) by name or any personal identification code

Prohibits data mining of name or id code of FFL out of business records.

to deny any application for a license under section 923 of title 18, United States Code, or renewal of such a li-cense due to a lack of business activity, provided that the applicant is otherwise eligible to receive such a license, and is eligible to re- port business income or to claim an income tax deduction for busi- ness expenses under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986

This seems to say that BATFE can no longer deny issuance or renewal for a general lack of commerce or activity after getting an FFL.  This was part of the Clinton FFL purge.  It probably does not fully restore the ability to easily procure an FFL but it looks like a small step forward.

Fast forward to around page 89:

SEC. 541. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to pay the salaries or expenses of personnel to deny, or fail to act on, an application for the importation of any model of shotgun if—

(1) all other requirements of law with respect to the pro- posed importation are met; and

(2) no application for the importation of such model of shot- gun, in the same configuration, had been denied by the Attorney General prior to January 1, 2011, on the basis that the shotgun was not particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sport- ing purposes.

 

These are a lot of wins but probably the most significant win is prohibiting the Executive branch from spending money via another agency from doing exactly what BATFE planned to do.  Even so, there is still too much US Code & too many federal regulations governing firearms and keeping BATFE around.  While looking at 27CFR 487.118, I also found 27CFR 471.119

(a) No ammunition feeding device shall be imported or brought into the United States unless the Director has authorized the importation of such de- vice.

(b) For purposes of this section, an ‘‘ammunition feeding device’’ is a mag- azine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device for a firearm that has a capacityof, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition. …

Really?  We’re still putting up with this…WHY?

 

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Oppression 101: How to use the traffic stop to be a bully

by on Nov.22, 2011, under Uncategorized

http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2011/11/chris-fusaro/how-a-cop-deals-handles-a-routine-traffic-stop/

In TTAG lingo, our response might be:  Chris Fusaro is insane… but let’s not get carried away.  He’s offering perspective on traffic stops, a question routinely brought up by noobs & experienced people who carry firearms alike.  We have all too frequently heard the opening line “I support the 2nd Amendment, I’m a life long hunter, shooter, you name it….  BUT…”

Here is Chris’s version:  ”Before I became a law enforcement officer I had a concealed carry permit.”

This is meant to gain sympathy & empathy from the non-law enforcement reader.

There’s the ‘traffic stops are dangerous (to us)’ meme:

“For a cop, every traffic stop is a dangerous situation. While most traffic stops are routine encounters with law abiding citizens, they can also become deadly situations for all parties involved, with little or no warning at all.”

For a cop, driving is more dangerous , traffic stop danger is blown way out of proportion for political & PR games, and the traffic stop is way more dangerous to someone being stopped – particularly those of Chris’s mindset than any actual danger to law enforcement.  Most traffic stops are “gateway encounters” for revenue generation or fishing for bigger, jucier charges to bring, particularly if they’re drug related.

This is particularly enlightening -

“As they approach the occupant(s), the officer’s eyes should be on the driver‘s side mirror; watching the driver watch them approach. Their hand should be [instinctively] placed on the handle of their gun.

Some drivers view this as a threat or insult. Officers are trained to have their firearm at hand to limit the thought process of what they have to do if they’re confronted with a lethal threat. If the officer’s trainer is worth his or her salt, the officer learns to perform this hand placement so that the driver never knows it’s occurring.”

Where I come from that’s called “brandishing”.  In fact, thinking back into the half a dozen or so encounters of this sort I have had with the modern day revenuers, I’ve never observed any LEO doing this to me.  It’s not an “insult”, it’s a crime.  You can plead “training” and danger all you want, but reverse the situation Chris – Do you want your brothers & sisters in blue bringing lethal force to a traffic stop involving your MOM?  Your SISTER?  Your DAUGHTER?

[edit to add / clarify]  Our position here is not iron clad, or etched in stone.  There are certainly going to be some cases in which this level of preparation is prudent, but very, very few and it should not be the “default” posture.

Regardless, if you see an officer hand on their gun coming at you do you feel safe?  Do you feel threatened?  Context is important here, obviously if a cop is just “milling about smartly” and resting his hands while talking to someone or a group of people, probably no issue there.  On the other hand if the officer, deputy or other LEO is approaching you, eyes on you, hand on their gun and you have done no crime what is your thought pattern?

If you’re legally obliged or want to inform the police about your CCW permit, simply hand your permit to the police with your driver’s license and insurance certificate (where appropriate). It’s best to keep your permit next to your license to avoid an uncomfortable (for both of you) delay.

If the police officer asks you to surrender your weapon, do NOT immediately reach for it. In most cases, the officer will tell you how he or she would like you to transfer your gun. They will tell you to exit the vehicle, ask the location of the firearm and remove it themselves.

Chris makes a point that he is squarely in the “take the weapon from the citizen” camp.

Be aware: if you do disclose, many police officers, including myself, will ask to hold the gun for safe keeping during the stop…

This is good discussion for a criminal defense attorney knowledgeable in firearms law in your respective state.  Regardless of the local & state law and the custom, this IS INSANE.  This practice ensures additional risk of injury or death.  Every reputable source on safe gun handling makes the point that handling the gun unnecessarily is bad.  This is no exception.  This custom, practice or whatever term you want to give it to take a weapon from an otherwise law abiding citizen at a traffic stop – absent any articulable threat is irresponsible and stupid.  If there are passengers in the vehicle this danger is increased.

Here is possibly the most outlandish part:

Let’s say your weapon is seized at a traffic stop and during the seizure the officer takes your cocked and locked 1911 from your holster but is unfamiliar with it’s manual of operations or basic gun safety.  He/she negligently discharges a round into your infant daughter in the back seat, killing her.

The officer is generally immune from prosecution and civil liability in that ( intentionally inflammatory example ) homicide under the “qualified immunity” doctrine.  Although that example is extreme, there have been reports of exactly this happening.  A similar discharge by an officer happened in this case but it was his own gun that “just went off” (when he pulled the trigger), which led to tragic results.

On the driver’s side of the equation, it’s best to switch on your hazard lights as soon as you know you’re being pulled. Decelerate slowly and drive smoothly to a safe place to stop: someplace well-lit and removed from traffic. [Note: this is especially true for women drivers who are alone.] If this takes a while, it takes a while; your hazard lights indicate your willingness to stop.

A note on the hazard lights, particularly if you’re on a multi-lane highway.  If you need to cross more than one lane of traffic the hazards override your turn signals on some cars; meaning if you hit the turn signal lever after turning on the hazard flashers it does nothing.  Both front and rear lights flash, rather than one indicating your intended direction change.  People might know you have a problem, but have no idea what your “intention” is on changing lanes.  However, the important part of this advice above is telling.  Why do you need to be concerned about being in a well lit place, especially women drivers if you’re being pulled over by a police officer?   If they need to be worried about these concerns, they probably shouldn’t be turning a firearm over to anyone.

Changing this attitude is a difficult task but one that must be undertaken.  Start with a formal complaint about the officer endangering your safety and that of your passengers needlessly.  If you have a local paper, offer to write an op ed or letter to the editor about the officer’s reckless and dangerous conduct.  Start the discussion and keep the discussion going.  If you have a pro right to keep and bear arms group or groups local to you, ask them for help.  Lots of these groups have officers as members, on their boards, in their voting societies and they may be able to get the training updated to a more modern and respectful standard.  Respect is something you earn and when you treat everyone you encounter professionally as a felon or potential felon, you can expect to be treated in an equal and opposite disrespectful manner.

 

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VA AG Attempts To Defend His Defense Of Anti-Gun University…And Fails

by on Nov.18, 2011, under Uncategorized

On Nov. 17 Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli appeared before gun owners at the monthly meeting of the Virginia Citizens Defense League and tried to defend his defense of George Mason University in a case before the Virginia Supreme Court.  This came three years after he had told the same group that if GMU came to him seeking a ban he would, as AG, tell them to go elsewhere.

During the meeting Cuccinelli said that three years ago he’d gotten it wrong and had made a “legal mistake”.  He further stated that “…all governing agencies, the governor and legislators are my clients”.  The AG is correct that the governor and legislators are his clients, however, he is under no obligation to take their cases particularly if there is a conflict of interest or if his client is breaking the law.  His main duty and concern is to the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia NOT to an agency.  An agency, such as a university, is an inanimate object and the safety of those people who travel and inhabit that university trump any possible claim to representation that the agency may have.

In a further slap in the face to gun owners Cuccinelli issued an opinion that a University of Virginia policy banning carrying a handgun on campus by those who have been issued a concealed handgun permit would not stand a legal challenge, but the University could still ban them if they were to enact a regulation.  Could he have shouted “here’s how to do it” from the roof tops any more plainly?

When AG Cuccinelli took his oath of office part of that oath was to “defend and preserve the Constitution of the United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia”.  Article 1, Section 1 of the Constitution of Virginia reads:  “That all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their post erity, namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety”  (emphasis added).

Exactly how did your ruling preserve the safety of students on GMU Mr. Attorney General?  How did you serve the safety of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia who elected you to, primarily, ensure the well being of themselves in their travels throughout the Commonwealth with this ruling?

It’s very easy for AG Cuccinelli to now proclaim that the University is “nuts” and doesn’t make students safe with its policies.  Where were you when it really counted?  Where was Ken Cuccinelli when a student was raped on campus?  How did his ruling protect her?

Ken Cuccinelli took the easy way out by siding with an agency, to wit a university, instead of flesh and blood human beings.  The Constitution of Virginia, moral law and the inherent rights of citizens demanded he stand up for them.  In that respect he failed miserably and so have all who supported him.

When election time rolls around Virginia voters need to remember this and send Ken Cuccinelli home.

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Only “Trusted Gun Owners” list

by on Nov.09, 2011, under Uncategorized

Yesterday’s federal register contained an interesting NICS check item called the Voluntary Appeal File or VAF.  At first, it seemed benign enough but then I realized that this thing is run and administered by the government…

Here’s a snippet:

Brief Abstract: Under 28 CFR,
§ 25.9(b)(1), (2), and (3), the NICS must destroy all identifying information on allowed transactions within 24 hours of the Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) being notified of the transaction’s proceed status. If a potential purchaser is delayed or denied a firearm then successfully appeals the decision, the NICS Section cannot retain a record of the overturned appeal or the supporting documentation. If the record cannot be updated, the purchaser continues to be delayed or denied, and if that individual appeals the decision, the documentation must be resubmitted for every subsequent purchase. As such, the Voluntary Appeal File (VAF) was mandated to be created and maintained by the NICS Section for the purpose of preventing future lengthy delays or erroneous denials of a firearm transfer. An individual wishing to request entry into the VAF may obtain a VAF brochure from the NICS Section, an FFL, or the NICS Section Web site: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/ nics.

So it goes like this.  The Government sets up NICS to make sure only certain people can have access to guns.  In the process of weeding out the people the government doesn’t want to have guns they ensnare some innocent citizens; delaying and in some cases denying access to the right to keep and bear arms unconstitutionally.   In this case they proclaim that they must destroy NICS records and subject the innocent citizens to this infringement repeatedly.  BUT, like  Sal Tessio be very wary of the one who “comes to you with the deal” is the one who sold you out & wants to take your lunch (among other things).

So aggrieved gun owners can opt in to this VAF to avoid delays and denials purchasing firearms.

This architecture is perfectly set up for abuse.  All they need to do is to drive more and more people on to the VAF list – it’s voluntary, but only to the extent that people use it to not be needlessly delayed or denied a firearms purchase.  If you think this is tin-foil hat territory, look at a very close analog

NFA transfers.

Here the government set up a manual ‘form’ system for transfers of NFA controlled firearms and assigned a few people in DC to process ALL NFA transfers.  There were people waiting literally years for a transfer, non-responsive, and anti-gun form reviewers.  It was comically bad.  With some lobbying & work NFA transfers were moved to West Virginia for processing and form processing times dropped dramatically.  However, transfers continued to increase, funding for NFA transfers wasn’t increased and the same thing happened all over again.  Long wait times, little or no idea what is happening with the transfers, etc.

NICS delays, denials and the voluntary appeals file may or may not be a problem right now but at some point in the future it will be.

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