Posted: December 30, 2015 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Religion, Terrorism | Tags: AK-47, American Civil Liberties Union, Barack Obama, Facebook, Firearm, Firearms and Explosives, Green Climate Fund, United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, United States Environmental Protection Agency
Carol Christian and Leah Binkovitz report: A Houston man has been arrested in connection with a suspected arson at a mosque on Christmas Day, but the motive for the crime remains a mystery, with the suspect maintaining he was a regular at the mosque.
“Moore told investigators at the scene that he has attended the storefront mosque for five years, coming five times.”
A spokeswoman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed that the suspect, 37-year-old Gary Nathaniel Moore of Houston, was arrested early Wednesday. Moore appeared in court at 7 a.m., spokeswoman Nicole Strong said, and bond was set at $100,000.
According to a charging instrument released by the Harris County District Clerk, Moore told investigators at the scene that he has attended the storefront mosque for five years, coming five times per day to pray seven days per week.
Mohammed Suleman, left, and Shezad Chatriwala, talk before prayers at a makeshift location near the damaged Savoy Mosque Saturday, Dec. 26, 2015, in Houston. A two-alarm fire damaged the mosque Christmas day, and authorities are investigating the cause. Photo: Jon Shapley, Houston Chronicle
“Using surveillance video from multiple businesses nearby, investigators were able to identify Moore, according to records.”
Moore said he had been at the mosque earlier on Dec. 25 to pray, and had left at about 2 p.m. to go home, according to authorities and court papers. Moore said he was the last person to leave the mosque and saw no smoke or other signs of fire when he departed, authorities said. He maintained he had returned to the scene after hearing about the fire from a friend.
“A search warrant of his home was conducted, and investigators recovered a backpack and clothing similar to that which was seen in surveillance footage, as well as half of a two-pack of charcoal lighter-fluid bottles that seemed to match another lighter fluid bottle found inside the mosque.”
MJ Khan, president of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston, which operates the mosque, said he was unfamiliar with Moore. “We are just looking into it ourselves,” he said Wednesday morning after learning of the arrest.
“We are really very surprised and saddened by this whole thing,” said Khan.
Using surveillance video from multiple businesses nearby, investigators were able to identify Moore, according to records. A search warrant of his home was conducted, and investigators recovered a backpack and clothing similar to that which was seen in surveillance footage, as well as half of a two-pack of charcoal lighter-fluid bottles that seemed to match another lighter fluid bottle found inside the mosque.
[Read the full story here, at Houston Chronicle]
A team of 30 investigators worked around the clock investigating the cause of the fire, which was found to have multiple points of origin. Moore was even interviewed by investigators at the mosque the day of the fire. He had attended services there earlier that day, according to Ruben Hernandez, chief arson investigator with the city’s fire department. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 5, 2015 Filed under: Guns and Gadgets, Self Defense, Think Tank | Tags: Ammunition, AR-15, ATF, ATF gunwalking scandal, Background check, Congress, Executive (government), Fast & Furious, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Firearms and Explosives, Gun Show, Gun Show Loophole Myth, Gun shows in the United States, Hillary Clinton, National Rifle Association, Sting operation, United States Border Patrol
The only problem with her gun show loophole proposal is that it would accomplish exactly nothing, because current law already covers her proposal.
“There is zero protection enshrined in law for transactions that happen to occur at a gun show or over the Internet. Zip. Zilch. Nada. The so-called ‘gun show loophole’ simply does not exist. Nor does any sort of Internet gun sale loophole.”
Here’s how Slate described Hillary Clinton’s proposal:
What makes Clinton’s plan particularly noteworthy, though, is her suggestion that she’d be able to go it alone on at least one of the proposals if elected president: the gun show loophole.
And just how would she do that? According to her campaign, even if Congress were unwilling to act, Clinton would be able to use her executive authority to tweak the existing rules to reclassify anyone who sells a “significant number of guns” as someone “in the business of selling firearms”—a distinction that would make those high-volume private vendors who sell guns at gun shows
and over the Internet subject to the same rules as larger, licensed brick-and-mortar retailers. Clinton doesn’t appear to have settled on an answer to the question of just how many guns constitutes a “significant” number, but even if her chosen definition didn’t close the loophole completely, it would at least shrink it.
[Read the full text here, at TheFederalist.com]
Such an effort could face legal challenges in the courts and, at the very least, a guaranteed NRA-led political freakout in Washington. And, even if the effort survived both, it wouldn’t come close to ending gun violence in the United States. But for gun safety advocates and like-minded voters who are desperate for action on a problem that can feel politically impossible, Clinton’s outside-the-box plan will be a welcome start.
[Also see – Don’t Play the Shooters’ Game by Kevin D. Williamson]
Slate’s Josh Voorhees characterized Clinton’s plan as “clever,” which leads me to the inescapable conclusion that neither Voorhees nor Hillary Clinton is even remotely familiar with existing federal gun laws.
“Now, if Hillary thinks Congress should pass a law regulating private transactions between private individuals who reside in the same state, that’s her prerogative. But she should at least be honest about what she’s doing and about what authority the president has to do it. The president cannot by fiat eliminate the existing exemption. It can be done only by Congress.”
For starters, the federal government already has the statutory authority to define who does and does not qualify as an individual “in the business of selling firearms.” It derives that authority from 18 U.S. Code § 921. Here’s how the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) specifically defines whether an individual is engaged in the business of selling firearms and should therefore be subject to federal firearms licensee (FFL) requirements:
Dealer in firearms — a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business
with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or
for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms (18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(21)(C));
[Order John R. Lott’s essential book “More Guns, Less Crime” at Amazon]
Here’s the federal statute from which the ATF derives its existing authority to define who is and isn’t engaged in the business of selling guns:
(21) The term “engaged in the business” means—
(A) as applied to a manufacturer of firearms, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to manufacturing firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the
(B) as applied to a manufacturer of ammunition, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to manufacturing ammunition as
a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the ammunition manufactured;
(C) as applied to a dealer in firearms, as defined in section 921(a)(11)(A), a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms;
(D) as applied to a dealer in firearms, as defined in section 921(a)(11)(B), a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to engaging in such activity as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional repairs of firearms, or who occasionally fits special barrels, stocks, or trigger mechanisms to firearms;
(E) as applied to an importer of firearms, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to importing firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the firearms imported;
(F) as applied to an importer of ammunition, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to importing ammunition as a
regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the ammunition imported.
Contra Hillary Clinton’s campaign, “high-volume private vendors” cannot legally exist under current law. Under the ATF’s existing definition, it is impossible to sell high volumes of firearms without triggering the definition of a dealer in firearms. The “repetitive purchase and resale of firearms” makes you a dealer, not a private individual. Anything other than “occasional sales” makes you a dealer, not a private individual. Unlicensed dealing is against the law. Refusing to conduct background checks as a dealer (licensed or not) is against the law.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: August 31, 2015 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Guns and Gadgets, Law & Justice, Self Defense, U.S. News | Tags: AWR Hawkins, breitbart, Charleston SC, Chattanooga, Concealed carry in the United States, Congressional Research Service, Congressional Research Service reports, Firearm, Firearms and Explosives, Gun politics, Gun violence, John Lott, Less Crime, Mass murder, More Guns, National Rifle Association, Violence Policy Center
On August 28, the NRA presented ATF and FBI data showing Americans have purchased “170 million new guns” since 1991, and violent crime has fallen “51 percent.”
[Order Emily Miller’s book “Emily Gets Her Gun” from Amazon]
AWR Hawkins reports: The NRA tweeted, “Since ’91, Americans have acquired over 170 million new firearms and violent crimes have declined by 51%.”
“The overarching message is simple—more guns, less crime. Americans have purchased “170 million new guns” since 1991, and violent crime has decreased as gun ownership has increased.”
This information squares with the findings of a Congressional Research Service (CRS) study covering the slightly shorter period of time from 1994 to 2009.
[Order John R. Lott’s essential book “More Guns, Less Crime” at Amazon]
For those years, CRS found that Americans purchased approximately 118 million firearms, and the 1993 “firearm-related murder and non-negligent homicide” rate of 6.6 per 100,000 fell to 3.6 per 100,000 by the year 2000. It eventually fell all the way to 3.2 per 100,000 in 2011.
That is more than a 50 percent reduction in “firearm-related murder and non-negligent homicide.”
Then, in 2009—the year the CRS study ended…(read more)
[Order Nicholas Johnson’s book “Negroes and the Gun: The Black Tradition of Arms” at Amazon]
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s not like this hasn’t been documented multiple times. Here are just a few examples of our coverage of the gun rights/gun control debate, civil rights, and crime statistics, followed by external links.
More Guns, Less Crime at punditfromanotherplanet.com
Rinse, Repeat: FBI Report Shows Violent Crime Decreased as Gun Sales Increased
Charleston Shooting Prompts Gun-Rights Supporters to Call for More Concealed-Carry at Churches
Want Fewer Guns on California Streets? Open Carry May Be the Answer
Editorial: Americans Seem to Embrace Idea of More Guns, Less Crime
Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons: Guns Do Not Cause Crime
The Helpless, Pro-Death “Gun-Free Zone” Policy in the Spotlight
NYC Stop-and-Frisk Plunges as Crime Climbs
Virginia: Gun Sales Rise, Crime Falls
The list goes on and on….
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 30, 2015 Filed under: Politics, Self Defense | Tags: Background check, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, Charleston SC, Democratic Party (United States), Dianne Feinstein, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Firearm, Firearms and Explosives, National Instant Criminal Background Check System, National Shooting Sports Foundation
AWR Hawkins writes:
…According to Suffolk University, in addition to not wanting to hear about gun control in 2016, a majority of Americans do not believe increasing gun control via expanded background checks will curb mass violence. Fifty-six percent of respondents said it would not, while only 40 percent of respondents said it would.
This makes sense, when you consider that Roof allegedly purchased his gun via a background check at a Charleston gun store.
[Order Emily Miller’s book “Emily Gets Her Gun” from Amazon]
This poll comes nearly seven months after a PEW Research Poll showed that American attitudes toward gun control had shifted to a place where the majority of Americans wanted protection of gun rights rather than passage of more gun control. Released on December 10, the PEW Poll showed that 52 percent of Americans were concerned with protecting gun rights while 46 percent were concerned with passing more gun control. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 5, 2015 Filed under: Censorship, Mediasphere, Religion, The Butcher's Notebook, War Room | Tags: Alisyn Camerota, Charles C. W. Cooke, Family Research Council, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Firearms and Explosives, Garland, Geert Wilders, Islamophobia, Muhammad, Pamela Geller, Southern Poverty Law Center, Stop Islamization of America, Texas
In ‘The Self-Fulfilling Prophet Drawing Competition’, David Francis and Elias Grol join the chorus of elite journalists siding with the the gunmen and blaming the victims.
In describing Geert Wilders and Pamela Geller, David Francis and Elias Groll do get one thing right. They accurately describe the look of Geert Wilders’ hair.
“He’s a silver-haired politician who warns about the threat of what he calls totalitarian Islam to Europe.”
David Francis and Elias Groll have apparently paid little attention to the murderous Christian and Jew-hating supremacist ideology that’s flourishing, quite comfortably, under the flag of official Islam, and yes, spoken in prayers every single day, all over the globe.
More loaded adjectives to describe Pamela Geller. (though they neglected to discuss her hair)
“She’s a preening ideologue who thinks Muslims use their daily prayers to curse Jews and Christians.”
FP Writers David Francis and Elias Groll are really upset and offended by the free speech provocations of figures like Geert Wilders and Pamela Geller. That is a very good thing.
Labeling Geert Wilders and Pamela Geller the “odd couple of the global ‘anti-Islam’ movement“:
“They are provocateurs trading in explosive, often racist anti-Muslim rhetoric, and they are now on the front lines of a roiling debate about whether Western notions of free speech ought to take into consideration Muslim sensitivities about images of the Prophet Mohammed.”
“Ought to take into consideration Muslim sensitivities”? Really?
On the popular habit of using the Southern Poverty Law Center as a ‘credible’ source:
“She is also the president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, a group that the Southern Poverty Law Center lists as a ‘hate group.'”
Note: The Southern Poverty Law Center thinks any organization that doesn’t conform to contemporary left-wing orthodoxy is a “hate group”. The Southern Poverty Law Center would label a ham sandwich and a bag of potato chips a “hate group”. Is Foreign Policy magazine a “hate group”? (Sure, why not?)
Geller has the good sense to ignore the
smear merchants “journalists” at Foreign Policy, and accurately reveals the magazine’s ideological bias, calling it a “citadel of leftist power and influence”.
“Geller did not answer a list of questions emailed to her by Foreign Policy. In the past she has referred to FP as a ‘citadel of leftist power and influence’.”
Former State Department counterterrorism director Daniel Benjamin weighs in:
“If you wanted to conduct a science experiment to show you could elicit jihadist violence, this was the perfect setup. Extremists have shown they are eager to avenge any perception of blasphemy.”
And western apologists continue to appease them, and endeavor to not offend them.
Why does Foreign Policy have this peculiar, almost erotic obsession with Geert Wilders hair?
“Unmistakable with his mane of silver hair, Wilders has tried to cloak his intense dislike of Islam behind a veil of advocating on behalf of liberal values.”
The authors promote a fiction that there’s a “line” between free speech and “hate speech” that must be observed, and “balanced”. It’s a false distinction, often used by those who misunderstand (or want to “raise questions” about) the first amendment. The constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech recognizes no such distinction. In fact, the only kind of speech that the the first amendment was designed to protect is offensive, hateful speech. What protection does inoffensive speech need?
When somebody tells you there’s a “line” that “must be balanced”, they are lying. They are advocating censorship.
The ‘Social Value’ Argument
“Benjamin, the former State Department official who is now a scholar at Dartmouth, said the United States must now balance the right to free speech with speech like the kind used by Wilders and Geller in their advocacy against Islam.”
If Daniel Benjamin is advocating self-restraint, then this is a legitimate expression of concern, aimed preserving nonviolence in a pluralistic society. If, however, he is advocating limiting free expression in order to achieve that goal, he should drop the ambiguous diplomatic double-talk and say what he means. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: March 27, 2015 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Law & Justice | Tags: Barack Obama, Bureau of Alcohol, Cartagena, Colombia, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Firearms and Explosives, Group sex, Inspector General, United States Department of Justice, United States Marshals Service
Susan Crabtree reports: Drug Enforcement Administration agents in Colombia who allegedly engaged in “sex parties” with prostitutes hired by local drug cartels also arranged for paid sex for at least two Secret Service agents traveling to the country to protect President Obama in 2012.
The Justice Department inspector general uncovered the DEA’s sex parties after allegations arose about misconduct by the Secret Service and DEA agents in the 2012 prostitution scandal in Colombia. The IG on Thursday released a 97-page report detailing the allegations, including an explosive charge that local drug cartels funded the “sex parties.”
“Many of the contacts deleted had telephone numbers that the OIG was able to link to sexual services websites in Colombia.”
While the allegations about the DEA facilitating paid sex for Secret Service agents in Colombia is not new, the Washington Examiner obtained detailed information through a Freedom of Information Act request last fall about how three DEA agents stationed in Cartagena allegedly made the arrangements.
According to a DOJ Office of Inspector General report of the investigation, on the night of April 13, 2012, three DEA agents stationed in Cartagena, Colombia, had dinner with at least two Secret Service agents at a local restaurant and invited them back to one of the agent’s government-furnished apartments for drinks afterward.
“The pair retreated to a spare bedroom where the woman performed oral sex during the massage, according to the report. The OIG determined that after the encounter took place, one of the DEA agents provided the woman a ‘wad’ of pesos in exchange for $50 in U.S. currency, which one of the agents provided the woman for her services.”
The OIG report is redacted to exclude the names of the DEA and Secret Service agents involved.
During the dinner, at least one agent was on his cell phone texting or emailing women, and two women joined the group after the meal.
Back at the apartment, one of the women offered an agent a massage, and one DEA agent interceded and negotiated a price of 150,000 Colombian pesos or $75 U.S. dollars for the massage.
According to one Secret Service agent‘s account in the report, before the pair retreated to a spare bedroom, one of the DEA agents allegedly offered the Secret Service agent two condoms “in case you need them.”
The DEA agent who rented the apartment denied providing the condoms.
“When confronted with that information, the two Secret Service agents admitted to paying for and receiving ‘erotic massages’ that included oral sex.”
The Secret Service agent in question denied being interested in sex at first and said he shoved the condoms into his pocket because he didn’t want to refuse them.
The pair retreated to a spare bedroom where the woman performed oral sex during the massage, according to the report. The OIG determined that after the encounter took place, one of the DEA agents provided the woman a “wad” of pesos in exchange for $50 in U.S. currency, which one of the agents provided the woman for her services. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: March 26, 2015 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Law & Justice, Mediasphere | Tags: Drug cartel, Drug Enforcement Administration, drugs, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Firearms and Explosives, Group sex, Inspector General, media, news, Prostitution, Special agent, Twitter, United States Department of Justice, United States Marshals Service
DEA agents allegedly participated in “sex parties” funded by drug cartels, report finds. Read more…
Posted: March 11, 2015 Filed under: Guns and Gadgets, Politics, Self Defense, U.S. News, White House | Tags: 5.56×45mm NATO, Ammunition, AR-15, Armor-piercing shot and shell, ATF, Barack Obama, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, Firearms and Explosives, Shooting sport, tobacco, United States
Philip Bump reports: On Monday afternoon, while the attention of the political media world was focused on events at the United Nations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives announced that it was dropping plans to reclassify a particular form of ammunition. It was a rare success for a letter-signed-by-most-Republican-senatorsthis week, after Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) got most of his colleagues to sign on to a missive that captured an already-bubbling sentiment among conservatives. (That opponents of gun control measures won a victory, of course, is anything but a rare success.)
If you want the full back story, it’s here. But what we want to focus on is the phenomenon that has frequently resulted when the administration has either threatened new gun control measures or when the public has been worried that it might, as it did in the wake of the ATF’s recent announcement: Firearm sales skyrocket.
As soon as Barack Obama won the 2008 election, gun sales spiked. The number of background checks (a point of data linked to gun sales numbers) increased by 50 percent over the rest of that year in November and December. (December figures are often higher, we’ll note, due to the popularity of giving weapons as Christmas presents.) The Aiken Standard in Aiken, S.C., wrote about spiking sales that December, quoting an employee at a local gun store: “There’s been a definite increase. It’s because a Democrat is in office, in my opinion.” Not quite in office, but you get the point.
To measure how big the Obama Gun Boom has been, we turned to the National Shooting Sports Foundation. It uses data on excise taxes collected by the government on weapon and ammunition sales to estimate the total market for those products. It provided its estimates from 1982 through the third quarter of last year to the Post.
Overall, the estimates look like this. We’ve shaded in the Obama Era as encompassing 2008 through 2014, due to the spike at the end of 2008. (That plays into our projections later, so bear that in mind.) Notice the spike in 1993, as well, the last time a Democrat assumed the presidency. And, of course, backed the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which is precisely the sort of thing gun advocates fear. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: March 5, 2015 Filed under: Breaking News, Guns and Gadgets, Politics, Self Defense | Tags: Administrative Procedure Act, AR-15, Barack Obama, Bob Goodlatte, Bureau of Alcohol, Cabela's, Civil Rights, Firearms and Explosives, Gun control, Jim Sensenbrenner, National Rifle Association, United States House Committee on the Judiciary
Cristina Marcos reports: Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) has reintroduced legislation to do away with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
“The ATF is a scandal-ridden, largely duplicative agency that lacks a clear mission. Its ‘Framework’ is an affront to the Second Amendment and yet another reason why Congress should pass the ATF Elimination Act.”
— Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, House Judiciary Committee
Sensenbrenner, a senior Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said the policies under ATF’s jurisdiction could be easily incorporated into other agencies. Moreover, he argued, the ATF has become embroiled in too many controversies in recent years, like the botched “Fast and Furious” gun-tracking operation.
“The ATF is a scandal-ridden, largely duplicative agency that lacks a clear mission. Its ‘Framework’ is an affront to the Second Amendment and yet another reason why Congress should pass the ATF Elimination Act,” Sensenbrenner said in a statement.
The ATF has drawn the ire of Republican lawmakers for its proposed ban on an armor-piercing bullet used in AR-15 rifles. Republicans say that hunters frequently use the bullets. The bureau says it initiated the regulation to help protect law enforcement officers from bullets that can pierce armored vests. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 8, 2014 Filed under: Breaking News, Crime & Corruption, Mediasphere, U.S. News | Tags: California, Capt. Rick Godinez, Federal Firearms License, Firearms and Explosives, J. B. Van Hollen, Oakland, United States Department of Justice
The cause of the blaze was not yet known, but the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was on scene as well as an accelerant-sniffing dog to help arson investigators determine whether it was intentionally set.
The fire early today in downtown Los Angeles engulfed an area the size of a city block, closed freeways and roads, burst windows of nearby buildings and melted freeway signs.
“When they came out of the quarters they could see it was fully engulfed. It was a building under construction in the framing phase. Almost 1 million square feet and a city block.”
“It looked like a bomb had just exploded,” said L.A. fire Capt. Rick Godinez.
Flames could be seen for miles from the fire that broke out in the DaVinci apartment complex at about 1:20 a.m. The blaze closed roads and freeways, including the 110 North, which won’t open until at least 10 a.m., officials said.
The blaze damaged nearby buildings, including one that houses city agencies.
“There are windows blown out all the way up the side of our building,” said Building and Safety spokesman Luke Zamperini.
More than 250 firefighters battled the blaze at the apartment tower under construction in the 900 block of Fremont Avenue, Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman David Ortiz said. The building had 1.3 million square feet of floor space, and officials said two-thirds of it was consumed by flames.
“First is shut down and Temple is shut down. Downtown is basically shut down.”
The bulk of the fire was put out in 90 minutes, but firefighters were continuing to deal with hot spots well into the morning, according to LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas.
There were no injuries reported. The cause of the blaze was not yet known, but the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was on scene as well as an accelerant-sniffing dog to help arson investigators determine whether it was intentionally set, said Fire Department spokeswoman Katherine Main. Read the rest of this entry »