The Admixture Of Military And Law Enforcement

Herschel Smith · 20 Apr 2014 · 9 Comments

My son Daniel did a combat tour of Fallujah in 2007, but his other deployment with the Marine Corps was a MEU to the Gulf of Aden and Persian Gulf (which both he and I think is a horrible way to throw away money if we're never going to use the Marine Corps for anything on these MEUs except for humanitarian missions - but that's another topic). As the pre-deployment workup for this MEU, the Battalion underwent extensive training in evidence collection protocol and procedures.  At the time I…… [read more]

Does De Facto Gun Registration Exist In The U.S.?

BY Herschel Smith
6 months, 2 weeks ago

These observations by Andrew Tuohy have been floating across the gun web for a couple of days.  I have to quote at length, although the entire post is worth reading, as are the comments.

Last year, I was sitting at home when my doorbell rang. Two polite and professional ATF agents informed me that the number of firearms I had purchased from 2007 to 2010 did not match my income. I was disappointed to learn that this fact did not come with some sort of prize or award, but suddenly wondered how they knew what I had purchased. They knew of 5 AR receivers transferred to me on one 4473 (in 2010), for which no background check had been performed. I told them that those receivers, along with most of the firearms I had transferred to me during that time, were provided for free by manufacturers for T&E purposes, and told them about my blog.

When later I asked the FFL about that transaction record, they told me that the ATF had audited their records but didn’t appear to have copied any information – although that is literally the only way they could have known about those five receivers or even the transaction itself. The receivers came from two different manufacturers, and the only time they appeared together was on that 4473, which is supposed to be only retrieved by the ATF if there is a need to trace a specific transaction (and there was no need to trace that transaction). Federal law prohibits their doing so.

A friend was recounting an ATF audit at his gun store, and mentioned that the agents were copying information from 4473s.

I am not the first person to notice this.

I think that ATF Industry Operations agents are using the excuse of auditing the quality of FFL recordkeeping to create a database of firearm owners – or at the very least transferees of certain types of firearms. This is, in essence, a defenestration of the law.

The GAO link states:

Several gun dealers have contacted Gun Owners of America and asked for our advice. Invariably, they say that the ATF is, or has been, at their store — making wholesale copies of their 4473 forms — and they want to know if that’s legal.

We are not going to betray their confidence without permission, but GOA can say that this has occurred enough times to make us believe these are not isolated incidents. (GOA has attached several redacted stories from gun dealers in the Appendix.)

The copying of 4473 forms has happened despite the prohibition in 18 USC 923(g)(1)(D) which specifically prohibits anyone in the Justice Department from “seiz[ing] any records or other documents other than those records or documents constituting material evidence of a violation of law.”

Uncle has the usual quick and insightful summary to offer.  And finally from comments back at Andrew’s blog:

As an FFL who has been through an ATF audit, I can confirm that they are thorough in their investigation, but do NOT scan 4473s (at least not with me). The IOIs, however, are trained to look for patterns of repetition, which IOIs take note of. And, yes, they do appear to be looking for patterns of frequent purchases. Ostensibly, this is to flush out people that are making a business by “flipping” firearms through private sales (which happens, but it’s not rampant).

Now for my assessment.  I have absolutely no problem believing that the ATF has violated the law (and code of federal regulations) at times, and I have no doubt that they will in the future.  I have absolutely no doubt that the ATF wants a comprehensive national gun registry.  Finally, I do not doubt the veracity of any of these anecdotal instances of illegalities.

However, what I do doubt is that the ATF is capable of pulling off a comprehensive national gun registry by audit, and without the assistance of the civilian population.  While they may see form 4473s during audits, and while some ATF employees may make illegal copies of said forms, or write down information that they shouldn’t, I doubt that they could construct a comprehensive database out of said activities that was anything other than laughable and ridiculous.

To be sure, if a national gun registry ever becomes laws, civil war will ensure.  But in the absence of the civil war, the DoJ/ATF would have to rely on FFLs to construct the database for them.

I work with federal employees regularly.  Many of them are stolid and shouldn’t be working in their capacities at all.  Testing should be done before hiring federal employees (assuming that any such position exists after my recommended secession), and any federal applicant who cannot factor a cubic polynomial or solve problems using basic trigonometric functions should be told to hit the road – or go back to school.  Notice that I haven’t raised the bar too high.  I’m not asking them to solve differential equations or Laplace Transforms – just do high school mathematics.

I’m not trying to be insulting, but any database that doesn’t have the input, guidance, formatting and QA to ensure its fidelity from the civilian population doesn’t stand a chance of being anything other than a joke.  That’s why the progressives want it codified into law.  They want the database to be constructed by the very people that it would rule.

In summary, I think Andrew has made a valuable contribution to the state of knowledge of ATF misdeeds, as has the GOA.  I think that the ATF would use any chance to violate the law to press its agenda (Fast and Furious is proof of principle).  I don’t doubt that the ATF has attempted in the past to encroach on the sacred space of form 4473s.  I don’t doubt that they will do it again if given half a chance.  What I do doubt is that the ATF can pull off a national gun registry that has any credibility whatsoever without having us construct it for them.

Has The NRA Changed Its Position On Universal Background Checks?

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 2 months ago

From CNN:

The NRA changed its position on background checks. Tonight, Anderson Cooper got NRA board member Sandy Froman,  to address this during tonight’s town hall.
Transcript of he exchange -

Anderson Cooper: has the NRA changed their position on this? Because Wayne LaPierre is now saying universal background checks don’t work. I saw this testimony he gave in 1999 to the House Judiciary Committee and he said, quote, “We think its reasonable to provide mandatory instant criminal background checks for every sale at gun show. No loopholes for anyone”

Sandy Froman: the answer is yes, the NRA has changed their position. The reason it’s changed their position is because the system doesn’t work. The system is not working now. We have to get that working before we can add any more checks to that system. It’s already overburdened. In Colorado, it takes ten days to do an instant check.

AC: you’re saying if it got working, if the existing laws started to be improved, you might support the imposition?

SF: I don’t know. Let’s get it working. Let’s make sure the 23 states that aren’t reporting the names of people who are mentally ill and have violent tendencies, let’s get them reported into the system.

Has the NRA actually heard us?  I have been harping on this issue, as has David Codrea, Kurt Hofmann and others.  Is this a case of the NRA actually having some backbone?  Are they going to man-up (sorry Sandy) and stick to their guns (and our guns)?

By the way, you have read me say that universal background checks are the way to develop a national gun registry, that a national gun registry (and in fact, all gun control) is the action of a wicked government, and that it is only a pretext for and necessary prerequisite condition for gun confiscations.  Want to see a statist say the same thing? (via Mike).

It’s nice that we’re finally talking about gun control. It’s very sad that it took such a terrible tragedy to talk about it, but I’m glad the conversation is happening. I hear a lot about assault weapon and large magazine bans, and whilst I’m supportive of that, it won’t solve the problem. The vast majority of firearm deaths occur with handguns. Only about 5% of people killed by guns are killed by guns which would be banned in any foreseeable AWB.

Furthermore, there seems to be no talk about high powered rifles. What gun nuts don’t want you to know is many target and hunting rifles are chambered in the same round (.223/5.56mm) that Lanza’s assault weapon was. Even more guns are chambered for more powerful rounds, like the .30-06 or (my personal “favorite”) 7.62x54R. Even a .22, the smallest round manufactured on a large scale, can kill easily. In fact, some say the .22 kills more people than any other round out there.

Again, I like that we’re talking about assault weapons, machine guns, and high capacity clips. But it only takes one bullet out of one gun to kill a person. Remember the beltway sniper back in 2002? The one who killed a dozen odd people? Even though he used a bushmaster assault rifle, he only fired one round at a time before moving. He could have used literally any rifle sold in the US for his attacks.

The only way we can truly be safe and prevent further gun violence is to ban civilian ownership of all guns. That means everything. No pistols, no revolvers, no semiautomatic or automatic rifles. No bolt action. No breaking actions or falling blocks. Nothing. This is the only thing that we can possibly do to keep our children safe from both mass murder and common street violence.

Unfortunately, right now we can’t. The political will is there, but the institutions are not. Honestly, this is a good thing. If we passed a law tomorrow banning all firearms, we would have massive noncompliance. What we need to do is establish the regulatory and informational institutions first. This is how we do it.  The very first thing we need is national registry. We need to know where the guns are, and who has them.

Prior:

The ATF Doesn’t Know Who Has Guns

Mixed Signals From NRA On Universal Background Check

Universal Background Check And National Gun Registry

The ATF Doesn’t Know Who Has Guns

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 2 months ago

Standard-Examiner:

In the fictional world of television police dramas, a few quick clicks on a computer lead investigators to the owner of a gun recovered at a bloody crime scene. Before the first commercial, the TV detectives are on the trail of the suspect.

Reality is a world away. There is no national database of guns. Not of who owns them, how many are sold annually or even how many exist.

[ ... ]

When police want to trace a gun, it’s a decidedly low-tech process.

“It’s not CSI and it’s not a sophisticated computer system,” said Charles J. Houser, who runs the ATF’s National Tracing Center in Martinsburg, W. Va.

When police trace a gun, the search starts by sending all the information they have about the gun – including the manufacturer and model – to an office worker in a low-slung brick building just off the Appalachian Trial in rural West Virginia, about 90 miles northwest of Washington.

ATF officials first call the manufacturer, who reveals which wholesaler the company used. That may lead to a call to a second distributor before investigators can pinpoint the retail gun dealer who first sold the weapon. Gun dealers are required to keep a copy of federal forms that detail who buys what gun and a log for guns sold. They are required to share that information with the ATF if a gun turns up at a crime scene and authorities want it traced. Often, gun shops fax the paperwork to the ATF.

That’s where the paper trail ends.

In about 30 percent of cases, one or all of those folks have gone out of business and ATF tracers are left to sort through potentially thousands of out-of-business records forwarded to the ATF and stored at the office building that more closely resembles a remote call center than a law enforcement operation.

The records are stored as digital pictures that can only be searched one image at a time. Two shifts of contractors spend their days taking staples out of papers, sorting through thousands of pages and scanning or taking pictures of the records.

“Those records come in all different shapes and forms. We have to digitally image them, we literally take a picture of it,” Houser said. “We have had rolls of toilet paper or paper towels … because they (dealers) did not like the requirement to keep records.”

The tracing center receives about a million out-of-business records every month and Houser runs the center’s sorting and imaging operations from 6 a.m. to midnight, five days a week. The images are stored on old-school microfilm reels or as digital images. But there’s no way to search the records, other than to scroll through one picture of a page at a time.

“We are … prohibited from amassing the records of active dealers,” Houser said. “It means that if a dealer is in business he maintains his records.”

Good.  This is the way I want it kept.  Any further collating, storing, amassing, categorizing or any other kind of analysis means that the federal government would have a national gun registry.  And that would be unconstitutional … and immoral.

The Bible does contain a few direct references to weapons control. There were many times throughout Israel’s history that it rebelled against God (in fact, it happened all the time). To mock His people back into submission to His Law, the Lord would often use wicked neighbors to punish Israel’s rebellion. Most notable were the Philistines and the Babylonians. 1 Samuel 13:19-22 relates the story: “Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears!” So all Israel went down to the Philistines to have their plowshares, mattocks, axes, and sickles sharpened…So on the day of battle not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan had a sword or spear in this hand; only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.” Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon also removed all of the craftsmen from Israel during the Babylonian captivity (2 Kings 24:14). Both of these administrations were considered exceedingly wicked including their acts of weapons control.

As I said.  Gun control is the action of wicked governments.  A national gun registry grants the government too much power, too much information, and too much control.


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