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The gun thread

If it's news, but not politics, then it goes here.

Re: The gun thread

Postby DCB » Sun Jun 09, 2013 8:32 pm

A jury in Bexar County, Texas just acquitted Ezekiel Gilbert of charges that he murdered a 23-year-old Craigslist escort—agreeing that because he was attempting to retrieve the $150 he'd paid to Lenora Ivie Frago, who wouldn't have sex with him, his actions were justified.

http://gawker.com/texas-says-its-ok-to- ... -511636423

It seems he was ripped off by a prostitute. So he killed her.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby Dangerousman » Sun Jun 09, 2013 11:27 pm

snoqueen wrote:I suppose for me to use the usual journalistic wording would be preferable:

"Van Hollen is alleged to have..." instead of accused, given that in journalism accusation is usually used to refer to a court proceeding.

Fair enough.


No, not fair enough. You're still missing the point entirely. The point being that nothing in that story either "accuses" or "alleges" that AG Van Hollen ever bought a stolen gun -- something that, if done knowingly, would be criminal. Nothing in the story suggests that Van Hollen unknowingly bought a stolen gun either. Nothing in that story says the Smith ever sold anybody a stolen gun. In fact according to this article, Bethards-- the guy has an issue with Smith-- "said he believed the buyers violated no laws." Bethards only alleges that one man, Smith, may have done something wrong:

a) Possessed a stolen M-16 rifle.
b) Manufactured and sold firearms without a federal license.

Those are the only allegations of wrong-doing, and they apply only to Smith. And from what is contained in the article it's way too early to determine whether the facts tend to support the allegations. It is interesting that the guy who brought the allegations IS a federally licensed firearms dealer who, it is suggested, may have felt he was losing out on some business to a guy who sold guns without a license. As the story points out, a lot of guns are sold privately by people who have no license, and it is perfectly legal.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby snoqueen » Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:25 am

You are missing my point.

I have no intention of trying to figure out the insane tangle of laws governing guns. I've said it before: I don't try to argue about aircraft with a pilot, and I don't pretend I know more about guns than a gun guy. The more I read about it the more it looks like a sneaky dirty business, with laws and loopholes innumerable. And this is not unlike plenty of other businesses -- but the law side is not my point at all.

My point was that Van Hollen and this agent apparently have a personal relationship of some sort. This is not wrong -- they're part of the same sector of the government and it's reasonable they might know one another. But no matter what kind of friends they are, we still expect Van Hollen to fully enforce the law, even on his friend if necessary, and even with regard to the guns his possible friend possibly obtains and possibly sells. (Is that journalistic enough?) So we the public will be watching.

That was one of the difficult personal entanglements that made it a human interest story, which was what I called attention to in my original post.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby Dangerousman » Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:48 am

snoqueen wrote: But no matter what kind of friends they are, we still expect Van Hollen to fully enforce the law, even on his friend if necessary, and even with regard to the guns his possible friend possibly obtains and possibly sells.


Come on Sno, the Wisconsin DOJ and AG do not enforce federal laws. They lack the authority to do so. Van Hollen is a lawyer and former federal prosecutor. There's a pretty good chance that he understands that.

The story says that when DOJ was informed of the allegations they reported it the proper federal officials within a day. To me, that sounds like the proper thing to do.

But you apparently have no problem writing:

The most interesting feature so far is AG Van Hollen is among those accused of buying the stolen guns. [emphasis added]


The most interesting thing to you is something that isn't contained in the story?

That's groundless and potentially defamatory statement. You could have said "You're right, I stand corrected." But instead you make excuses about not caring very much about understanding guns or gun laws. If you don't care to understand those things, why do you frequently express opinions about them? Kneejerk liberalism at work? What is it?

Well do you care about fairness and justice? Or do you allow your political agenda to override such trifles? I'd like to be generous to you and chalk it up as a reading comprehension issue, but your followup response makes that difficult to do.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby snoqueen » Mon Jun 10, 2013 2:55 pm

All quotes are from the article linked on the previous page:

He [Bethards] told them Smith was “manufacturing and selling firearms without a Class 07 Federal Manufacturer’s License. This is a felony violation of multiple federal laws.”

Bethards said Smith had told him several times over the past few years that he made .45-caliber handguns and AR-15 rifles and sold them to fellow law enforcement officials. Bethards is also a gun dealer and manufacturer, and co-owns All Weapons One in Brule.


OK, as I said there are not only disputes among the people in the story (one guy cutting into the business of another guy) but also questions as to whether various actions are legal or not (is guy #2 running a business, or doing occasional hobby work?). Agent Bethards thinks Smith has entered a gray area and asked the feds to investigate. They acted quickly.

He also notified DOJ, which is not responsible for enforcing federal law but is clearly responsible for employing agents who follow federal law particularly with regard to their main area of responsibility.

And DOJ has put him (but not the person he accused) on leave for his troubles, which does not sit well with people who think the DOJ and the feds should in general be on the same side of the law. We don't know the outcome of the investigation but preemptively putting the accuser on leave is strange. Is this for his own protection, or just a routine reaction to whistle-blowing? They don't say.

This sounds like the tip of an iceberg of interpersonal feuding that goes back years, which makes it hard to tell what exactly is going on and why (and what makes it a good story).

Van Hollen is not at arm's length in this tale; he has had a business relationship with one of the principals as depicted in the news report.. Accusations and allegations are not convictions, but the public has been notified and is watching.

“This is my official notification to management within the Department of Justice that I am aware of a law enforcement officer within the Department of Justice that is and has committed felony violations of federal firearms laws,” Bethards said in the email to DCI Administrator Dave Matthews and Mary Casey, head of human resources for DOJ.


In notifying DOJ, Bethards is saying he thinks this is a matter that should be of interest to them. The relationship of AG Van Hollen to the DOJ is obvious. And DOJ knows or ought to know who's dealing in stolen guns, one would think. That's part of what they do -- knowing who is a lawbreaker. They also want agents who are themselves clean and not subject to blackmail or other corruption.

Bethards also alleged Smith may have made illegal “straw purchases” by buying parts for firearms that he intended to manufacture for someone else. He said his concern about Smith’s activities eventually turned to alarm in August when his boss told him he had obtained a fully automatic M16 rifle and wanted Bethards to get parts for him.

“I took this as good news, as it is not illegal to own a machine gun as long as you register it with BATFE,” Bethards told his superiors in the Dec. 19 email, which he provided to the State Journal. “I thought he may have stumbled into a good deal somewhere. I told him he should check to make sure it isn’t stolen, and then if he were to sell it, he could make a great deal of money, as they are worth about $15,000.00

“Jay told me he didn’t need to check to see if it was stolen, he knew it was stolen. I asked him how he knew that. He told me it was stamped, ‘U.S. Government Property.’”


These are not the guns he is alleged to have sold the AG, but would it not look better if the AG wasn't doing business with someone who is alleged to have made statements confirming he was in possession of stolen guns?

Bethards said he believes at least four DOJ officers, including himself and Smith, have been interviewed.
Investigators apparently were waiting on Van Hollen. Bethards showed a text message he received last week from BATFE agent Dave Nygren stating, “We are still waiting to hear from Wisconsin AG J.B. Van Hollen.”


Van Hollen is not irrelevant to the investigation, then. I should not have said he bought a stolen gun (there's your retraction, in print), but rather that he participated in a gun deal with a party who has allegedly said he possesses stolen guns, although not the model of gun Van Hollen supposedly got from him. I am assuming possessing stolen guns is illegal, but in this world maybe even that is an unjustified leap of logic.

While earlier I thought AG Van Hollen simply might have gotten greedy and bought himself a fancy gun of questionable provenance, now that I've taken a second look (at your insistence) I've opened the possibilities his agency is oblivious to who is obtaining and holding stolen guns right under their nose, or else his staff are concealing this from him (if it's true) and putting him in what is at least an embarrassing position and at worst a position where he's dependent upon the silence of those he dealt with -- people in his own agency. I kinda wish I hadn't revisited this thing, because it looks worse the longer I study it.

So we're waiting to find out if this is a case of "where there's smoke, there's fire" or if all these people are as clean as Ivory soap. What is your belief about the case? For instance, is Agent Bethards acting overaggressively to protect himself with regard to some other matter not yet mentioned? We haven't even gone there yet.

I think people on all sides of the political divide, and both gun people and non-gun people, want the state's attorney general and all his staff to be above reproach. We want some assurance the state's agents not only act legally in regard to federal law but also feel safe in reporting violations, even by co-workers, to the feds. These standards do not reference any political agenda, but instead rely upon the bottom line of fairness and justice: the people in charge must not be compromised or corrupt.

The best possible outcome would be for this to be true. Logic, however, makes it hard to find every person in this story to be unimpeachable.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby DCB » Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:39 pm

Another day, another crazy person with an AR-15.
I'm sure he would have been just as deadly with a musket or a revolver.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby Henry Vilas » Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:53 am

Speaking of crazy...

"A gun rights advocacy group has sued Wisconsin's attorney general over recently adopted rules related to concealed carry permits. The suit, filed in Waukesha County Circuit Court, claims that J.B. Van Hollen's Department of Justice has overreached in establishing the rules for administering the concealed carry permitting process, and seeks an injunction barring their enforcement. Nik Clark, chairman of Wisconsin Carry Inc., said the permanent rules that took effect June 1 fly in the face of Act 35, the law that made concealed carry of weapons legal in the state. Clark said the law specifically said the DOJ, which administers the permit process, shouldn't 'go crazy' with rules."
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Re: The gun thread

Postby Dangerousman » Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:03 am

You're right. The DOJ thinking it can blatantly overstep its authority and violate state law is pretty crazy. Good thing they'll be put back into their place.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby Henry Vilas » Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:08 am

I guess you and I have different definitions of what constitutes being crazy.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby Stebben84 » Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:29 am

They are suing over ONE thing. Student to teacher ratio in classes. Really? Can't they at least sue over having more guns in schools or nursing homes or something. Sheesh.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:28 am

Dangerousman wrote:You're right. The DOJ thinking it can blatantly overstep its authority and violate state law is pretty crazy. Good thing they'll be put back into their place.


This has nothing to do with a violation of state law, and everything to do with one CC trainer wanting to maximize his profit to effort ratio. Tell me D-man, what's the largest number of students you have ever had in a class?
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Re: The gun thread

Postby Dangerousman » Tue Jun 18, 2013 4:24 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:I guess you and I have different definitions of what constitutes being crazy.


Do you consider it crazy to want a state agency to comply with state law and to stay within the limits of its lawful authority? In my world it's not crazy. Maybe it is in your strange little world.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby Dangerousman » Tue Jun 18, 2013 4:30 pm

Stebben84 wrote:They are suing over ONE thing. Student to teacher ratio in classes. Really? Can't they at least sue over having more guns in schools or nursing homes or something. Sheesh.


Well you wouldn't sue the DOJ over that stuff. And there's no restrictions on guns in nursing homes. Sheesh!
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Re: The gun thread

Postby Henry Vilas » Tue Jun 18, 2013 4:42 pm

Some people even think that a permit requirement for concealed carry is crazy.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby Dangerousman » Tue Jun 18, 2013 5:00 pm

Francis Di Domizio wrote:
Dangerousman wrote:You're right. The DOJ thinking it can blatantly overstep its authority and violate state law is pretty crazy. Good thing they'll be put back into their place.


This has nothing to do with a violation of state law, and everything to do with one CC trainer wanting to maximize his profit to effort ratio. Tell me D-man, what's the largest number of students you have ever had in a class?


How wrong is it possible for someone to be in a single post? In your case, 100% wrong.

The lawsuit was not brought by "one CC trainer wanting to maximize his profit to effort ratio." It was brought by a non-profit organization that provides free concealed carry training to the public.

And yes, it has everything to do with state law. State law requires that administrative rules be consistent with the statutes and that a state agency that writes administrative rules stay within the limits of it's rule-making authority as expressed by the statutes:

[Chapter 227.11(2)(a)(3) A statutory provision containing a specific standard, requirement, or threshold does not confer on the agency the authority to promulgate, enforce, or administer a rule that contains a standard, requirement, or threshold that is more restrictive than the standard, requirement, or threshold contained in the statutory provision.]


And DOJ's authority to make administrative rules regarding concealed carry are not unrestricted:

Chapter 175.60(2)(b) The department may not impose conditions, limitations, or requirements that are not expressly provided for in this section on the issuance, scope, effect, or content of a license.


The largest number of students I've had in classes I teach? I'd have to check, but probably under 25. And I almost always teach jointly with another instructor. The venues I use wouldn't accommodate 50 people to begin with, and I teach 6-8 hour courses, which is quite a bit of speaking to do, further reducing any inclination to teach alone.

There are some other things in the code that are not part of that lawsuit, but certainly could also become subject of a suit. The DOJ's new rules add some specific topics that must be included. Wisconsin Carry didn't include that in the suit because those topics are already included in their free course. But the new rules do now exclude other firearms courses that had been acceptable prior to adoption of the permanent rules. For example, the NRA Basic Pistol course would no longer meet DOJ's criteria, even though there is far more relevance to concealed carry in the Basic Pistol course than there is in, say, hunters safety training, which is still acceptable training. At least the Basic Pistol course covers the operation of handguns-- something not even mentioned in the hunters safety course.
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