ATF: GUNS ARE THE PROBLEM

atf-

Written by Bob Adelmann | The New American

Initial hopes were that somehow the bad press that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (still known as ATF) has been receiving had caused the agency to pull back in its prosecution of criminal cases involving guns. But those hopes have faded.

Reports from Syracuse University showed that there were 6,791 such prosecutions recommended by the ATF in President George W. Bush’s last year (2008), while there were just 5,082 gun violation cases under Obama in 2013 — a decline of 25 percent. The all-time high occurred during the Bush administration in 2004, when 8,752 cases were brought by the Justice Department. And so far this year, prosecutions have declined even further, likely to end the year at fewer than 4,400, if the present trend continues.

On the surface this appears to contradict the president, who stated, following the Newtown massacre, “We should get tougher on people who buy guns with the express purpose of turning around and selling them to criminals. And we should severely punish anybody who helps them do this.”

The obvious incongruity between these numbers and public pronouncements by the anti-gun president was reflected by Robert Cottrol, professor at George Washington University: “We have this irony. The Obama administration, which is asking for more in the way of gun regulations … is actually prosecuting less of the gun laws already on the books.”

Many excuses were offered to explain the dichotomy — among them, budget cuts and bad press. This appeared to be reinforced by some ATF agents interviewed anonymously by the Washington Times, who said the agency had been burned by scandals such as Fast and Furious and an extensive report by USA Today on setting up fake stings to entrap potential criminals:

The current climate within ATF is: Let’s take a step back and not go after too many hard-hitting violent crime cases that use informants or undercover agents. We can’t just go it alone anymore….

We need buy-in from everybody: local law enforcement [and] other agencies. Then, and only then, [will we be] able to sell it [and have] the U.S. attorney come on board.

There was sequestration, which a spokesman for the ATF used to explain the apparent decline: “ATF faces key resources challenges in staff attrition …  resources are limited and difficult choices must be made with regard to priorities.”

The press has certainly been bad for the ATF. The “Fast and Furious” gun-running scandal has become common knowledge in the United States, while the USA Today study is causing people to link “false stings” with the ATF as well. Back in June 2013, journalists at the paper invested hundreds of man-hours poring over thousands of pages of court records and agency files, not including hours of undercover recordings of sting operations that transcended the law. According to the paper, here’s how the ATF conjured stings to create arrests and convictions:

The stings work like this: When agents identify someone they suspect is ripping off drug dealers, they send in an undercover operative posing as a disgruntled courier or security guard to pitch the idea of stealing a shipment from his bosses. The potential score is almost always more than 5 kilograms of cocaine — enough drugs to fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars on the street, or to trigger sentences of 10 years or more in prison.

When the target shows up ready to commit the robbery, he and anyone else he brings with him are arrested and charged with a raft of federal crimes, the most serious of which is conspiring to sell the non-existent cocaine.

Upon conviction, the unsuspecting target could spend the next 25 years of his life in jail.

USA Today quoted a former ATF supervisor who asked rhetorically, “Do you want police to solve crimes, or do you want them to go out and prevent crimes that haven’t occurred yet?” Another ATF source defended the practice:

Are we supposed to wait for him to commit a murder before we target him as a bad guy? Are we going to sit back and say, well, this guy doesn’t have a bad record. OK, so you know, throw him back out there, let him kill somebody, then when he gets a bad record, then we’re going to put him in jail?

Judges have increasingly answered that question by calling such stings “disreputable,” “tawdry,” and bordering on entrapment.

A closer look at what the ATF is doing, however, shows a change in direction with undiminished enthusiasm. The focus now is not on the criminal and his crime, either present or future, but instead on the gun — who’s making it, shipping it, or buying it. For that, the ATF is using an obscure section of the 1934 National Firearms Act (NFA) that allows the agency to go after violations perceived in the making, shipping, buying, and selling of firearms. The rules are tricky and often difficult to follow. Here’s a brief snippet:

No person shall make a firearm unless he has (a) filed with the Secretary a written application, in duplicate, to make and register the firearm on the form prescribed by the Secretary; (b) paid any tax payable on the making and such payment is evidenced by the proper stamp affixed to the original application form; (c) identified the firearm to be made in the application form in such manner as the Secretary may by regulations prescribe; (d) identified himself in the application form in such manner as the Secretary may by regulations prescribe, except that, if such person is an individual, the identification must include his fingerprints and his photograph; and (e) obtained the approval of the Secretary to make and register the firearm and the application form shows such approval. Applications shall be denied if the making or possession of the firearm would place the person making the firearm in violation of law.

According to the Justice Department, just when prosecutions of criminals using guns has appeared to taper off, prosecutions under this obscure part of the NFA has increased an astounding 243 percent just in the last five years, and is up another 129 percent so far this year.

And then there’s the Hobbs Act, enacted in 1946, prohibiting the interstate shipment of property, including firearms, where there is any perception of illegality in the process. It is on track this year to become the third-most-prosecuted gun statute, compared to just a few years ago, according to the Times.

Robert Sanders, a former ATF assistant director, says the shift from criminals to guns is deliberate. “The agency’s philosophy has shifted to ‘guns are the problem and access to guns is the problem’ rather than the criminal being the direct instigator of crime.”

The ATF is not going away any time soon. It’s just morphing into a more efficient, effective, and frightening version of itself.

FEDERAL JUDGE DECLARES D.C. BAN ON CARRYING HANDGUNS IN PUBLIC UNCONSTITUTIONAL

By Martin Weil, Clarence Williams and Julie Zauzmer | The Washington Post

A federal judge has declared that one of the District’s principal gun control laws is unconstitutional and ordered that its enforcement be halted.

The ruling by Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr., made public Saturday, orders the city to end its prohibition against carrying a pistol in public.

It was not clear what immediate effect the order would have.

The order was addressed to the District of Columbia and Police Chief Cathy Lanier, as well as their employees and officers and others “who receive actual notice” of the ruling. But it could not be determined Sunday who had received notice. Also unclear was whether the city would appeal and what effect that would have on the enforcement ban.

Legal sources said Saturday night that in general all parties to a case must be duly informed of a ruling and given the opportunity to appeal before it takes effect.

Alan Gura, the lawyer who represents the group challenging the ban, said Sunday that he believes the ruling to be in effect immediately. “The decision is in effect, unless and until the court stays its decision,” he said. “This is now a decision that the city is required to follow — the idea that the city can prohibit absolutely the exercise of a constitutional right for all people at all times, that was struck down. That’s just not going to fly.”

Citing studies of the number of registered gun owners who commit crimes, Gura said that he believes allowing citizens to carry handguns on the street for the purpose of self-defense will lead to a decrease in crimes.

“I believe the city is absolutely safer. Make no mistake about it. This is a fantastic improvement in public safety,” Gura said. “Yes, we have a problem in America with gun violence. But no, that problem is not the result of law-abiding people carrying guns.”

Ted Gest, a spokesman for the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, which defended the city’s ban, said the city is studying the opinion and its options, which include appealing the judge’s ruling and asking the judge to stop his ruling from going into effect during any appeal.

A spokeswoman for the police department said Saturday night that she was not aware of the ruling. On Sunday, Delroy Burton, the head of the D.C. police union, said that police officers had not received official instructions about whether to enforce the handgun law in light of the ruling.

The case was heard by Scullin, a senior U.S. District judge who normally sits in New York. In his ruling, Scullin said that, based on recent decisions, “there is no longer any basis” to conclude that the city’s “total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional.”

Scullin said he was stopping enforcement of the law “unless and until” the city adopted a constitutionally valid licensing mechanism.

The suit against the city was filed by four named plaintiffs and the Second Amendment Foundation, which is based in Washington state.

FEDERAL JUDGE RULES DC BAN ON HANDGUNS UNCONSTITUTIONAL

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A federal judge on Saturday overturned Washington D.C.’s ban on carrying handguns outside the home, saying it was unconstitutional.

“There is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny,” Judge Frederick Scullin said in an opinion.

“Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is

unconstitutional,” he added in his 19-page ruling.

The court ordered the city to allow residents to carry handguns outside their homes and to let non-residents carry them as well.

Scullin made the ruling in the PALMER et al v. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA et al case, which has been dragging on for five years.

In 2008, the Supreme Court struck down D.C.’s all-out ban on handguns on the basis that it violated the right to bear arms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment.

An appeals court in 2011 required handguns to be registered.

BOSTON POLICE SAY RESIDENTS DO NOT ‘NEED’ TO OWN SHOTGUNS, RIFLES

Boston Police Commissioner William Evans tells Boston Public Radio (WGBH) that residents of Boston do not need shotguns or rifles.

by William Vaughns

Residents of Boston do not need shotguns or rifles, according to Boston Police Commissioner William Evans.

Boston’s top cop made that statement Wednesday on Boston Public Radio in response to Massachusetts state senator Stan Rosenberg’s position that there are already “sufficient controls” on long guns at the federal level, giving no need for new state laws that grant police additional powers to deny ownership to citizens.

According to WGBH, Evans responded:

I don’t agree with that. Having long guns–rifles and shotguns–especially here in the city of Boston. I think we should have, as the local authority, some say in the matter. [And] the federal [government] doesn’t really allow us to have the discretion that we want in these particular cases.

…For the most part, nobody in the city needs a shotgun. Nobody needs a rifle.

Police have been urging lawmakers in Boston to restore a provision to a gun bill allowing them to deny someone a license to own a rifle or shotgun even if the person passes a background check.

The Massachusetts House voted to give police those powers, but the senate later stripped that section out of the bill. Lawmakers are now expected to attend a conference committee, where the dispute could kill the bill altogether.

SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA SPARK AK-47 BUYING FRENZY IN UNITED STATES

Cindy Sparr boxes up an AK-47 style rifle after selling it at Freddie Bear Sports sporting goods store. (AFP Photo / Getty Images / Scott Olson)

Cindy Sparr boxes up an AK-47 style rifle after selling it at Freddie Bear Sports sporting goods store. (AFP Photo / Getty Images / Scott Olson)

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by RT

Russian-made firearms are reportedly flying off the shelves of American gun stores after the United States Treasury Department announced sanctions last week against the maker of the popular AK-47 rifle.

Kalashnikov Concern, the company responsible for the eponymous gas-operated 7.62 caliber assault rifle known largely around the world as the AK-47, is among the latest Russian-owned entities to be blacklisted by the US government following last Wednesday’s announcement that several Russian banks, energy firms and weapons makers were being targeted by new sanctions.

Gun sellers now say the Obama administration’s decision to sanction the company has caused a spike in sale in the week since, with some retailers warning customers that their stocks have been decimated upon the addition of Kalashnikov Concern to the Treasury’s roster of blacklisted businesses.

The latest round of sanctions does not bar the selling of Russian-made AK-47s within the US that have already been paid for in full, meaning long-time owners and the distribution companies not in debt to Kalashnikov Concern can continue to operate and offer the weapons as they did ahead of last week’s announcement. Imports of all of the company’s Russian-made weapons are now indefinitely on hold, however, and reportedly has prompted a peak in demand as a result.

Blaine Bunting, the president of Maryland gun distributor Atlantic Firearms, told the Huffington Post this week that orders for their AK-47-style rifles and shotguns have “tripled, if not quadrupled” since the day sanctions were announced.

We have 15 employees here, and yesterday we started at 7:30 in the morning and didn’t leave until eight at night,” he told HuffPo on Tuesday. In all, the website reported, Atlantic Firearms parted ways with its entire stock of over 400 Russian-made guns, causing the distributors to post a warning to would-be buyers on its official site.

Due to recent import restrictions, we have had a run on our supply of Russian manufactured firearms. We are currently SOLD OUT of the Russian AK47 CAK-132 Wood as of 7/17/14. We are working with our importer to try and acquire what we can but are expecting price increases,” part of the Atlantic Firearms site reads.

Hunter Stuart, a reporter at HuffPo, wrote that similar shops across the US are witnessing the same thing. At Nampa, Idaho’s Armageddon Armory gun shop, for example, the store’s entire inventory of bought 60 Saiga semi-automatic shotguns made by Kalashnikov was bought within days of last week’s announcement.

“We sold out of them instantly,” he said.

Other shops in Oklahoma and North Carolina told Stuart that their stocks were being depleted quickly after the Treasury Department’s announcement.

According to Kalashnikov Concern, however, the latest sanctions are only hurting the US market, not Russia’s.

“The products of Kalashnikov enjoy great demand in the United States,” the company said in a statement after last week’s announcement. “Preorders on civilian products are three times the annual volume of deliveries. Thus, the sanctions taken against Kalashnikov go against the interests of American consumers.”

Also blacklisted by the Treasury in the latest rounds of sanctions are armaments and parts manufactured by Izhmash Research & Production Association of Russia, a centuries-old company known as one of the best-selling firearms manufacturers in the world.

RWC Group LLC, the sole company that exports Concern Kalashnikov to the US, said last week that they were refraining from making any immediate comment regarding the sanctions. The company did not respond right away to RT’s request for comment on Friday this week.

PUSHBACK AGAINST OPERATION CHOKE POINT GAINS MOMENTUM

Written by Bob Adelmann | The New American

The secret initiative that began as Operation Choke Point (OCP) in March 2013 is now beginning to meet not only with massive unfavorable publicity but also congressional pushback. Three hearings by House committees this week are indicative of the mounting outrage OCP has generated.

Just months into his first term, President Obama launched “Operation Broken Trust” under an executive order, creating the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, seeking to “root out and expose” various investment scams that cropped up at the start of the Great Recession. It has now morphed into a gigantic interagency behemoth involving the Department of Justice, the FBI, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Postal Service, the IRS, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the U.S. Secret Service.

“Mission creep” inevitably set in, and the scope of the investigative attention expanded greatly to include at least 30 separate industries, many having little or nothing to do with financial services, such as ammunition sales, firearms sales, fireworks dealers, coin dealers, escort services, online gambling, and travel clubs, to mention only a few.

These were selected by the task force as being “high” in “reputational” risk, and pressure was brought to bear on banks providing services to them to terminate those banking services under threat of subpoena from the Department of Justice.

That pressure has worked. The Financial Services Centers of American commissioned a survey of its members and learned that 14 of the 61 banking relationships reported by its members have been terminated since November.

Just ask T.R. Liberti, the owner of Discount Ammo-N-Guns in Florida, whose bank closed his accounts in March. Or ask the owner of Black Rifle Armory in Henderson, Nevada, whose accounts were closed until the bank determined if any of his company’s transactions were “suspicious.”

Or ask Kelly McMillan of McMillan Group International, a gun manufacturer in Phoenix, Arizona, about the Bank of America abruptly terminating their 12-year relationship. She saw clearly what was going on: “This is an attempt by the federal government to keep people from buying guns and a way for them to combat the Second Amendment rights we have.”

The banks are caught in the middle: wanting to serve their customers while at the same time keeping their regulators happy. It’s an impossible situation as noted by Richard Riese, a senior vice-present at the American Bankers Association:

We’re being threatened with a regulatory regime that attempts to foist on us the obligation to monitor all types of transactions. All of this is predicated on the notion that the banks are a choke point.

The pushback likely began in earnest when Senator Ted Cruz published his list of “76 Lawless Obama Actions” on May 7 which listed, at No. 8:

Government agencies are engaging in “Operation Choke Point” where the government asks banks to “choke off” access to financial services for customers engaging in conduct the Administration doesn’t like, such as “ammunition sales.”

This was followed by a demand letter from Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder which said, in part:

The extraordinary breadth and depth of [your] Department’s dragnet prompts concern that the true goal of Operation Choke Point is not to cut off actual fraudsters’ access … but rather to eliminate [businesses to] which [your] Department objects.

Weeks later Issa’s committee published its report about OPC, accusing the program of illegally choking off financing resources to legitimate businesses and claiming that the Department of Justice “lacks adequate legal authority” for its moves. OPC, Issa’s committee claims, has “effectively transformed the [original] FDIC guidance into an implicit threat of a federal investigation. Suddenly, doing business with a ‘high-risk’ merchant is sufficient to trigger a subpoena by the Department of Justice.”

The report concluded:

The Department’s radical reinterpretation of what constitutes an actionable violation … fundamentally distorts Congress’ intent in enacting the law, and inappropriately demands that bankers act as the moral arbiters and policemen of the commercial world….

It is necessary to disavow and dismantle Operation Choke point.

Hard after that report came a lawsuit filed on June 5 by Community Financial Services Association and Advance America against the FDIC, claiming that it has exceeded its statutory authority, that is actions are “arbitrary and capricious” and “were promulgated without observance of the procedures required by law,” while depriving them “of liberty interests without due process of law.”

Barely a week later, the United States Consumer Coalition announced a $5 million media campaign against OCP, claiming that it “is a program created by the Administration to shut down lawful businesses by ‘choking off’ their access to banking services,” which “fundamentally violate the principles upon which this country was founded.”

A week later Senator Rand Paul filed an amendment to prevent any funds given either to the FDIC or the Department of Justice to enforce OCP, particularly noting that it would prohibit any action by either department to “discourage the provision or the continuation of credit … to a manufacturer, dealer, or importer of firearms or ammunition.”

On top of that came a bill filed on June 26 by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) to end Operation Choke Point altogether, saying, “It is time to stop these backdoor attempts by government bureaucrats to blackmail and threaten businesses simply because they morally object to entire sectors of our economy.”

On Monday William Isaac, the former chairman of the FDIC, expressed his chagrin at the direction his agency had taken under the Obama administration. Writing at The Hill, Issac exclaimed:

Operation Choke Point is one of the most dangerous programs I have experienced in my 45 years of service as a bank regulator, bank attorney and consultant, and board member.

Operating without legal authority and guided by a political agenda, unelected officials at the DOJ are discouraging banks from providing basic banking services … to lawful businesses simply because they don’t like them. Bankers are being cowed into submission by an oppressive regulatory regime.

On Tuesday there will be two hearings on OCP, one by the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee entitled “The Department of Justice’s ‘Operation Choke Point’” and the other by the House Committee on Financial Services, which will examine Luetkemeyer’s bill with the help of six panelists representing the banking industry.

The relentless onslaught against OCP will continue on Thursday when the House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing entitled “Guilty Until Proven Innocent? A Study of the Propriety and Legal Authority for the Justice Department’s Operation Choke Point.”

With all the negative press and exposure OCP has been getting, the more likely it is that the old expression will be found to be true once again: When combating corruption, sunlight is the best disinfectant.

DEMS VOTE AGAINST SPORTSMEN’S BILL OVER GUN CONTROL OBJECTIONS

By Ramsey Cox | The Hill

The Senate voted to move forward on Monday with legislation aimed at preserving federal lands for hunting and fishing, despite objections from Democrats who wanted the measure to include gun control language.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said they voted against cloture on the motion to proceed because they don’t think the Senate should be considering a gun bill that doesn’t include reforms such as background checks on all gun sales.

“I cannot vote for a measure that makes owning, possessing or using guns more readily or easily usable when we have failed to act and we have failed to act on common sense, sensible measures that would stop gun violence,” Blumenthal said ahead of the vote. “First things first, let’s reduce gun violence.”

Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Bob Menendez (N.J.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Jack Reed (R.I.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Ed Markey (Mass.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) and Ben Cardin (Md.) joined Blumenthal and Murphy in opposing the bill. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) also voted no.

The 82-12 vote opened debate on a bipartisan sportsmen’s bill introduced by Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.).

The legislation is meant to help several red-state Democrats in tough reelection races this year. Co-sponsors include four other Dems who, like Hagan, are facing difficult reelection races this year: Sens. Mark Pryor (Ark.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Mary Landrieu (La.) and Mark Udall (Colo.).

“In North Carolina, hunting, fishing and shooting are a way of life,” Hagan said. “Many of these traditions have been handed down through my own family, and I’m proud that our bill protects these activities for future generations while ensuring that outdoor recreation can continue to support jobs and local economies across the country.”

The sportsmen’s bill would also reauthorize wetland and fishing conservation programs and would allow online sales of duck stamps. The Senate is expected to continue debating the legislation this week.

Democrats have used similar legislation before to try to help incumbents fighting for reelection.

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) introduced a similar bill while he was up for reelection in 2012, but Republicans filibustered it.

The Senate also voted 93-0 on Monday to confirm Cheryl Krause to serve as a judge for the 3rd Circuit Court.

GUN CONFISCATION BEGINS IN NEW YORK?

Nassau County man: State Police “just came to my home and took everything”

by Paul Joseph Watson

Second amendment activists are expressing concern that authorities in New York state have begun moving towards mass gun confiscation after a man had all his firearms seized by police over a 15-year-old misdemeanor charge.

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In a post on the nyfirearms.com forum entitled, “NY State Police Just Came to My Home and Took Everything,” a Nassau County man describes how he received a visit from State Police who wanted to inspect the serial number of a semi-automatic rifle he had just purchased.

“I brought him to my safe, opened it and the 2nd officer went in and took out my cx4, Remington 70 sps and Remington 870 shotgun. Then he says that I had a misdemeanor possession charge 15 years ago and all the guns will be taken,” the man wrote, adding that he was put through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System when he purchased the guns with no issues.

The post elicited a huge response from other forum members who encouraged the man to get a lawyer while advising them that he shouldn’t have allowed cops to enter his home without a warrant. Others said the case highlighted how “registration leads to confiscation.”

The man now faces having to get permission from a judge in order to have his firearms returned.

After the passage of the the NY Safe Act back in April, which was described by Governor Andrew Cuomo as the “toughest” gun control law in the United States, less than 10 per cent of residents obeyed by registering their assault-style weapons.

Some Sheriffs publicly stated that they would not order their deputies to enforce the law, while Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb derided the Safe Act as “the worst piece of legislation I have seen in my 14 years as a member of the Assembly.”

Protesters against the measure marked the deadline by shredding their registration cards during a demonstration in upstate New York, arguing that the law merely creates a new class of criminals out of responsible gun owners.

The backlash against the NY Safe Act mirrors what happened in Connecticut, where residents were required by law to register high capacity magazines and assault rifles manufactured after 1994, yet just 13% of gun owners complied.

HOW FAST AND FURIOUS CREATED ‘REFUGEES’ OUT OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS

by Susanne Posel ,Chief Editor Occupy Corporatism | The US Independent

Unnamed officials for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced that Central Americans crossing the border into the US illegally should be considered refugees “displaced by armed conflict”.

The anonymous officials said they “hope to see movement toward a regional agreement on that status” so that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the US Department of the Interior (DoI) would accept illegal immigrants into the US under the condition that the US is “obligated” to aid refugees.

The UN defines refugee as “someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Most likely, they cannot return home or are afraid to do so. War and ethnic, tribal and religious violence are leading causes of refugees fleeing their countries.”

Two years ago, the Obama administration’s Fast & Furious (F&F) operation may have paved the way for the recent influx of illegal immigrants from Central America into the US and obvious public outcry over the issue.

F&F was the scheme of the Obama administration, the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to move automatic and semi-automatic weapons through the US into the hands of members of Mexican drug cartels.

In 2012, Attorney General Eric Holder was found to be in contempt of Congress for failing to cooperate with the House Oversight Committee (HOC) congressional inquiry into F&F.

In the background Holder and President Obama were discussing how to handle the F&F scandal.

Ultimately Holder chose to hide under the cover of the president’s right to executive privilege has only stood to fuel questions about Obama’s participation, knowledge and role in the operation.

In a letter to Obama, Holder advised the President to use executive privilege to protect internal documents on F&F that would “have significant, damaging consequences.”

Holder went on to explain that handing over the documents to Congress “would inhibit candor of such Executive Branch deliberations in the future and significantly impair the Executive Branch’s ability to respond independently and effectively to congressional oversight.”

The F&F was an attempt by the US government to create a problem by arming Mexican drug cartels which can later be used to justify the confiscation of American arms in the name of national security.

Issa explains to Fox News that “very clearly . . . they made a crisis and they’re using this crisis to somehow take away or limit people’s 2nd Amendment rights.”

At the time of the scandal’s revelation in the media, the family of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who was killed by member of a Mexican drug cartel with guns that the DoJ provided them through F&F, came forth to respond to Obama’s use of executive privilege.

Their statement reads that “President Obama’s assertion of executive privilege serves to compound this tragedy. It denies the Terry family and the American people the truth.”

The Terry family were requesting for over a year and a half for the US government to hold those responsible within the government to “justice and accountability”.

They recognize that it is very “disappointing that [the Terry family] are now faced with an administration that seems more concerned with protecting themselves rather than revealing the truth behind Operation Fast and Furious.”

In response to recent immigrants coming across the US border, armed militias organized by Jim Robinson, founder of Free Republic (FR), were deployed to “defend” the US border.

Robinson wrote in the FR forum: “We have independent units from the Bolinas Border Patrol and the Central Valley Citizens militia joining forces with independent citizens militia units of Texas to defend our southern border in Texas, to protest Obama’s lawless open borders policies and to rally support for Governor Perry to officially call out Guard units and Texas militia units at his disposal to defend the border!! Lawsuits will not cut it. The invasion is happening now. Action must be taken NOW!!”

TARGET’S GUN BAN BACKFIRES: HERE COME THE ROBBERS

By Leo Hohmann | World Net Daily

Within three days of a new policy asking customers not to bring their guns to Target stores, reports have surfaced of armed attacks on customers.

Two Target shoppers at two different stores in Georgia have been robbed by armed thugs since the discount retailer announced on July 2, in a letter from its CEO, that it would “respectfully request” that customers leave their guns at home when they visit Target. Spokeswoman Molly Snyder said it was not a ban on guns, just a “request” that the Minneapolis-based retailer hoped its customers would honor. She said no signs would be posted banning guns, nor would any customer legally carrying a gun in Target stores be asked to leave.

On the very same day that CEO John Mulligan issued his public statement, a man was robbed at gunpoint in the parking lot of a Target in Gainesville, Georgia.

Three days later, on July 5, a woman in the Edgewood area of Atlanta had just parked her Mercedes Benz in a Target parking garage and exited her vehicle when she was approached by a black man who punched her in the head, knocking her to the ground. He took her purse and car keys, then warned her to “stay on the ground or I will f—ing kill you,” according to police reports. He then put her car in reverse and would have run her over if she hadn’t rolled out of the way, she told police. She said she obeyed his commands, according to Decaturish.com.

Just days earlier, the Gainesville Police Department arrested three men on charges of robbing a man of his cash at gunpoint in the parking lot of the Target on Shallowford Road in the city about 50 miles northeast of Atlanta.

Officers were able to get a vehicle and suspect description, according to police spokesman Cpl. Kevin Holbrook. The alleged robbers were arrested later that same day. The victim, Kyle Bledsoe, reportedly had more than $500 cash on him. Officers confiscated one handgun when they made the arrest, Holbrook said.

Jerry Henry, executive director of GeorgiaCarry.org, said he thought Target made a poor decision.

“That’s what happens in gun-free zones,” he told WND. “They actually should be called victim-enrichment zones because that’s what they are. If anyone wants to commit a crime with impunity, take your gun where there are no guns. You can do what you want, get in and get out and there’s nobody to stop you.

“If you notice where most of the so-called mass shootings are happening, they’re in gun-free zones,” Henry continued. “You don’t see them at gun shows or at gun stores. You don’t see people walk in there and start shooting. They’re not going to do it because they know everybody in there is armed.”

Mulligan’s message to Target customers asking them to keep their firearms at home appeared July 2 in the retailer’s online magazine which, as irony would have it, is named “A Bullseye View.”

The alleged gunpoint robbery in Gainesville occurred about 6 p.m. on July 2, followed by the Atlanta robbery on July 5.

Mulligan said in his letter that the company had “studied the nuances” of the gun-rights issue from both sides and decided that it didn’t want its customers to carry weapons into its stores, “even in communities where it is permitted by law.” Georgia is one of those states where carrying a gun at a retail store is legal for those possessing a concealed-carry permit.

Mulligan said this was a complicated issue, but the company’s decision came down to its belief that carrying firearms at Target “creates an environment that is at odds with the family friendly shopping and work experience.”

Read the Target CEO’s complete letter asking its customers not to carry.

The carefully worded statement stopped short of banning guns.

“As you’ve likely seen in the media, there has been a debate about whether guests in communities that permit ‘open carry’ should be allowed to bring firearms into Target stores. Our approach has always been to follow local laws, and of course, we will continue to do so. But starting today we will also respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target – even in communities where it is permitted by law.”

Henry, the GeorgiaCarry.org director, said he believes Target issued the “no guns” request in an effort to assuage Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a group backed by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg that is pushing for stricter gun-control measures in both the public and private sectors.

“Moms Demand Action was bombarding them with calls and letters telling them that they needed to change or they were going to leave and go elsewhere (to shop),” Henry said. “They were getting a lot of pressure from Bloomberg’s group, and now they’re going to be pressuring somebody else to make the same kind of statement. This will go on until his money runs out.”

Snyder told WND she could not disclose who the company may have consulted with prior to making its decision.

“We typically don’t discuss interactions with specific groups or individuals,” she said. “However, what I would say is that we received feedback from our guests who have shared their varied perspectives on this topic.”

Henry said his group held a “We beat Bloomberg” party when Georgia’s HB 60 law went into effect July 1 and he told Georgia Carry members, “Now we’re going to celebrate with a big sugary drink,” since “he [Bloomberg] wants to ban those, too!”

The former New York mayor infamously led a campaign to restrict the sales of soft drinks there to 16-ounce sizes and smaller. It recently was thrown out by the courts.

Target’s new policy follows that of Starbucks and other major retailers that have issued similar policies. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz used the same language in a September 2013 letter to customers in which he made a “respectful request” that they not carry guns in his stores.

“Most of them, especially the large companies, say ‘we follow the state law, if you’re allowed to carry you can do so,’” Henry said. “Starbucks started off the policy that Target just adopted, saying we’re not going to ban guns but we request you don’t bring them. Bloomberg’s ladies, the Moms Demand Action, call it a ban. ‘Oh yay, we won, we got bans approved for the stores.’ That’s what they say. But it’s not a ban. They got the companies to issue a letter saying we don’t want you to bring them in here. Target even followed up with a statement saying, ‘This is not a ban, but we just ask you not to bring your guns in here.’”

Henry said he believes at least two groups are operating in Georgia with financial backing from Bloomberg.

“He’s paying a couple of groups down here. One is Moms Demand Action and the other is Mayors Against Illegal Guns,” he said.

Henry said he refers to the latter group as “Illegal Mayors Against Guns” because its members are far more likely to commit a felony than any licensed gun holder in states like Georgia or Texas.

“Somebody did the math, and if you are a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns then you are 82 times more likely to commit a felony than a licensed gun holder in Texas,” he said. “If you Google ‘gun owners against illegal mayors’ you’ll see all those mayors who have been convicted of or arrested (on charges of) felonies.”

Target’s no-guns “request” sparked more than 4,800 customer comments on Target’s website. The back-and-forth debate between Second Amendment advocates and gun-control progressives reached a fevered pitch.

“Thank you, Target for displaying #gunsense and promoting public safety as a civic duty,” wrote S.K. Boss of Arkansas.

“Public safety is removing my ability to defend myself? Are you on drugs?” responded another customer, Bob Jones.

Boss then struck back with the comment that only police should be allowed to carry guns in a “civilized” society.

“Civilized societies hire police for this purpose (of protecting the public) and don’t rely on random individuals among us,” Boss wrote. “If you are a cop, thanks for taking on that task. We all appreciate the work you do.”

Georgia’s new law, known as House Bill 60, went into effect July 1, allowing permit holders to carry in shopping malls, stores, restaurants and government buildings where there is not a security checkpoint.

“The timing of our announcement was in no way tied to the new law in Georgia. As our interim CEO John Mulligan noted, this was something the leadership team had been monitoring for some time,” said Snyder.

Henry likes to remind skeptics that very few businesses, even those owned by gun-control advocates, will post a sign advertising that guns aren’t allowed.

Taco Mac, an Atlanta-based Mexican eatery, did that several years ago and it backfired.

“They’d been in business for 29 years and never had a robbery,” Henry said. “After we passed our update to the Georgia carry laws in 2008 allowing us to carry in restaurants that served alcohol, as long as we didn’t consume alcohol, Taco Mac posted a sign, and within nine months they had their first robbery.”

It didn’t take that long when Jack in the Box restaurants made a similar demand.

In fact, there have been four robbery reports in the few weeks after the change was announced.

One incident was in Liberty, Texas. Only a few weeks earlier, a Jack in the Box in northwest Houston was hit. The second in the series also was in Houston, but the first one after company officials announced their changed policy, only about a month ago, was in Tennessee, where a man was shot in the restaurant’s parking lot.

The incidents began shortly after an anti-gun group, Moms Demand Action, put pressure on the company to ban guns.

Jack in the Box announced the new policy with an explanation: “Creating a warm and inviting environment for all of our guests and employees is a top priority for Jack in the Box. The presence of guns inside a restaurant could create an uncomfortable situation for our guests and employees and lead to unintended consequences. While we respect the rights of all our guests, we would prefer that guests not bring their guns inside our restaurants.”

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