Among other things, he discusses a form of "sting" which has become very popular, and given rise to the concept of "sentencing entrapment." It goes like this: Federal agents recruit an informant and send him out. He tells others that he knows where there is a drug stash house, and he wants to form a gang to rip it off. The house and drugs actually exist only in his imagination. Others agree to join him. He specifies that one or more of them must bring a gun.
Then they charge everyone except the informant with conspiracy -- not to rob, but to possess the drugs for sale (since in any noteworthy quantity, possession for sale carries higher penalties than armed robbery). Since a gun was involved, the charges tack on penalties for that -- 5-10 years consecutive, without probation. The Federal Sentencing Guidelines for drug offenses go up steeply with the quantities involved, and since the drug stash house exists only in the informant's imagination, he is free to invent any amount supposedly to be found that, and thus increase the sentences as far as he desires.
One judge (I think it was Posner) has pointed out that the effect of these stings is to protect drug stash houses, which seems a bit paradoxical.
"While we had originally planned to use the Tennessee facility for new equipment and for production of new product lines only, we have decided that it is more prudent from the point of view of our future welfare to move the Maryland production lines in their entirety to the new Tennessee facility."
I hope there will be a lot more such relocations, considering that the center of American gun manufacturing was historically Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Joshua Prince announces that a class action brought by himself and two other attorneys has settled. It challenged Philadelphia's disclosure of private carry permit information. Philadelphia disclosed information regarding appeals from initial denials or revocations online, despite a State law provision making it confidential.
The settlement terms include the city paying $1.45 million, agreeing never to disclose again, scrapping information requirements that exceed those embodied in statute, and instituting a lot of other reforms.
Right here. Not that I know much about apps -- I'm happy with a smartphone that will take calls, check email, and once in a great while call up a browser. I'd settle for the first two.
Rep. Robin Kelly (bought, or at least leased, by Mayor Bloomberg) proposes a ban on firearm advertising directly at children or their parents, such as prohibitions on brand name t-shirts and caps "marketed for children," and a ban on firearms in colors appealing to young shooters.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney calls for Capitol Hill Police to investigate Larry Pratt of GOA, since he dared to say that the Second Amendment is aimed at preventing tyrannical government. ( here's Larry's reply).
I guess if they can't get at the Second Amendment, they have to try to strike at the First.
Background: of course felons are generally forbidden to possess firearms. But if put in reasonable fear of death or great bodily injury, they have the same right to self defense as has anyone else.
Then there comes the rare case where a convicted felon is not in possession of a firearm at the outset, someone puts (or allegedly puts) him in reasonable fear of death, the felon manages to obtain a firearm that he did not previously possess, and defends himself. Did he become a "felon in possession" in that instant? The cases of this are rare, I can recall 2-3 at the Federal level, with splits resulting.
In looking at this issue we must also bear in mind that (1) defendants may argue it when it is bunkum and (2) prosecutors anxious to win may respond in kind and push the envelope of reason.
Florida has a "no retreat" law, which provides that a person put in reasonable fear of death need not retreat before responding with deadly force. There are exceptions, one of which is that the defender was "engaged in unlawful activity" at the time. Some imaginative Florida prosecutors have taken to arguing that, in the case of a felon who argues self-defense, this does not apply, since by taking possession of a firearm he "engaged in unlawful activity" and is outside the statute. (I believe Florida was "no retreat" even before the statute, so I'm not sure this makes a lot of difference anyway). The lower Florida courts have split on whether this argument flies, and its Supreme Court has accepted the question in order to resolve this split.
Jersey City, NJ. Man wanted for murder ambushes and murders officer. His wife responds with ""He should've taken more [officers] with him," and ""Sorry for the officer's family. That's, you know, whatever."
They even built a memorial for the killer, complete with empty liquor bottles and a "thugs in peace" message. They should add an epitaph, with the words of Lord Byron
"In all of antiquity you'll ne'er survey
A site more dignified than this
Here lie the bones of Castlereigh;
Stop, traveller, and p__s."
Video here. California already had, if I recall correctly, handgun registration (in effect), State as well as Federal background checks, a 15-day waiting period, one gun a month rationing, no carry (open or concealed) without a "may issue" permit, and an "assault weapon ban." Not to mention expensive "safety tests" that have nothing to do with safety (witness the fact that police and prosecutors' guns are exempt from them).
But the low-info people interviewed want "stricter" controls without apparently having any idea what those might be. Presumably, the fact that crime continues proves that the gun laws aren't strict enough.
The legislature responds by making the "safety" requirements applicable to single-shot handguns, claiming that people are buying single shots and making them into repeaters.
I don't know what to file this under -- an example of where the other side wants to go, or an example of how newspaper stories are written by cut and paste of slogans that have been used and re-used for decades.
Massachusetts of course is about as restrictive as can be, but the legislature felt the need to "respond" to something by enacting something more. So it passed a bill with sundry additional restrictions, but declined one: rifle and shotgun possession requires a permit, but it's a "shall issue" one, and the legislature declined to make that "may issue."
So the cut and paste story is headlined "Massachusetts Senate approves sweeping gun bill, but strips key measure."
Here's a quote, emphasis added:
""Gun safety advocates said the change guts the bill.
John Rosenthal of the group Stop Handgun Violence, said giving police chiefs added discretion over the issuing of FID cards was the single most important aspect of the bill.
"Without it, it's not worth the paper it's written on," Rosenthal said. "Shame on the Massachusetts Senate. Sadly they voted against police chiefs and against public safety and for the special interest gun lobby and people will die as a result.""
Here's an interesting article on its brief, filed by John Frazer of Virginia.
"Our brief in the ACLU matter argued that the government's broad interpretation of its authority to collect information from private entities could effectively override legislative protections for privacy, such as provisions intended to block gun registration. Our lawyer, John Frazer of Virginia, also referred to potential abuse of data mining. Aggregating forms of data to perform inference analysis about individuals and portray their connections and networks could allow the easy identification of our members and other gun owners for unlawful purposes."
Shaneen Allen, a 27 year old mother of two, carried a pistol and a PA permit in her car -- but she wound up being stopped in NJ. Now she's looking at three years mandatory, no probation or parole.
US v. Indelicato, 97 F.3d 627 (1st Cr. 1996). The Gun Control Act technically doesn't forbid felons to possess guns; it forbids those convicted of a crime punishable by more than a year's imprisonment, or of one expressly denominated a misdemeanor, and not punishable by more than two years' imprisonment, to do so. It also provides that a conviction does not count if the person has received a restoration of civil rights. In most States, a crime punishable by more than a year's imprisonment is a felony, so the difference is zero.
At issue in Indelicato was defendant's status when he had been convicted of a Massachusetts misdemeanor that was punishable by up to 2.5 years' imprisonment. Since that's more than two years, it brought him with the Federal ban. But since it was a misdemeanor, which loses no civil rights, there was no way for him to have obtained a restoration of civil rights.
The court decided to treat the matter as if Indelicato had had his rights restored, in the sense that he never lost them in the first place. It acknowledges that several other rulings have gone the other way: since the defendant never lost his rights, he cannot get them "restored" and is forever barred. I think it's a good approach (why would Congress have meant a misdemeanant to have a lifetime bar, when a felon would not), although it's not in accord with the language of the statute. This is one of the cases where statutory "interpretation" actually involves, not figuring out the legislative intent, but figuring out what would have been the legislative intent if the legislature had foreseen an obscure situation, which it didn't know existed.
It's good for some amusement. The only good points are ones that have been used for decades... never let a good crisis, or victim, go to waste, and exploit them quickly. The rest shows a profound misunderstanding of the gun rights movement. NRA (by which they mean the gun rights movement) is only big "inside the beltway," so organize local groups. The gun rights movement went there years ago: CalGuns, United Sportsmen of Florida, etc., etc.. The gun rights movement has money, now Bloomberg will match it. Buying TV ads -- that is SO twentieth century! It isn't millions of dollars, but millions of committed supporters that make the difference, especially today, when thanks to the internet the mass media no longer have a choke hold on communicating with supporters.
Check out the 700+ comments: looks like Rolling Stone can't even convince its own audience. "I hope you got paid quite a bit for selling out, because this is disgusting." "stick with your laughable "100 Greatest Guitarists" lists. You don't even know music." Dude....seriously, voting will do. Signed, A Liberal Democrat that supports all rights, including gun rights" "Hunter S. Thompson would be SO ashamed of what has become of the Rolling Stone."
Captain's Journal has the story.
From Dick Morris' book Power Plays:
"In the spring of 1967 [presidential candidate] Nixon asked her [Anna Chennault, widow of General Chennault] to be his advisor on Southeast Asian affairs. As Herbert Parmet writes, 'cables intercepted by the National Security Agency from the South Vietnamese ambassador in Washington revealed that the 'Nixon entourage', working through Anna Chennault, was pressuring [South Vietnamese President] Thieu to resist the peace talks....'
Realizing what Nixon was up to, President Johnson ordered a wiretap on Chennault's phone. Yet whatever evidence the tap turned up went unreleased, since it would put the Democrats in an embarrassing position to admit that they had been using wiretaps to defeat Nixon."
The proposal is being floated by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.). I assume it's focusing upon the enforcement operations, presently in Justice. There may be a good case for transferring the industry operations to Commerce, as I heard proposed in the 1980s. BATF started out in Treasury only because the NFA was passed as nominally a tax measure. Commerce has historically dealt with regulated industries, and isn't famous for causing them problems.
With a proposal like this, I'd expect most of the agents to be transferred, but much of the management would be laid off, as redundant with that in the receiving agency -- which might benefit everyone.
Not that transferring functions to the FBI would eliminate all problems, but it might reduce them.
Former New Orleans mayor (and former poster child for Mayors Against Illegal Guns) just got ten years in prison on his corruption conviction.
The judge "departed downward" from the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which would have called for a 15-20 year sentence. A judge can do that, although the government (in this case) can appeal.
The prosecutor "compared Nagin's crimes with those of other public officials who drew stiff sentences, including former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (28 years), former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich (14 years) and former Birmingham, Alab., mayor Larry Langford (15 years)." Kilpatrick and Langford were members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and Blagojevich was about as antigun as is imaginable.