SoCal cops buying and selling crime scene guns



Law enforcement officers in Southern California could be breaking federal firearms laws by buying guns recovered at crime scenes and re-selling them without a license.

In a March 31 memo, Eric Harden, the ATF’s special agent in charge in Los Angeles, told police chiefs and sheriffs that some officers have purchased more than 100 “off roster” firearms recovered at crime scenes, and then sold them to non-law enforcement individuals.

“Such transactions potentially constitute violations of federal firearms laws, to include dealing firearms without a FFL, and lying on a federal firearms form when purchasing said firearm — also known as ‘straw purchasing,’” wrote Harden. “When presented with compelling evidence of flagrant violations of federal firearms laws, ATF is obligated to conduct a criminal investigation.”

A FFL, or Federal Firearms License, allows individuals or companies to manufacture, import and sell firearms. Calling it an “emerging problem,” Harden offered an advisory for law enforcement to teach them how to lawfully deal the recovered firearms.

“Per 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(21)(C), a law enforcement official who regularly acquires ‘off roster’ firearms and sells or disposes of them for a profit is engaging in the business as a dealer of firearms and must be licensed,” reads the advisory. “It is unlawful to knowingly misrepresent that you are the transferee-buyer of a firearm when you acquire a firearm with the intent to sell or otherwise dispose of that firearm to someone else, even if the subsequent transfer is processed through a Federal firearms licensee.”

Anyone convicted of unlawfully dealing firearms without a license is subject to up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. False statements on FFL’s could draw up to 10 years in prison. The advisory pointed out those penalties, but in his memo, Harden said his office is concerned with education.

“It is our goal to educate, not investigate, to ensure law enforcement officials comply with federal law in order to avoid unnecessary public embarrassment to themselves and your Department/Agency,” he wrote.

10 East African coutries team up to form regional force


Kenyan soldiers in Kulbiyow, Somalia, on February 6, 2017.



A joint force of 10 Eastern Africa countries is now fully fledged, setting the pace for the creation of a unified continental military force, Kenya Defence Forces chief Samson Mwathethe said yesterday.

The countries have also established a peace fund that so far has nearly Sh100 million, excluding the total amounts pledged by member States.

The money is to be used for military operations and supporting interventions.

“It is the first regional force on standby. A peace fund was also established and operationalized. It now has Sh97,624,100,” he said.

The other four regional forces in Africa are at various stages of becoming fully fledged.

The military forces were established by economic blocs on the continent – Ecowas, Eccas, Sadc and Narc.

The East Africa Standby Force (EASF) is made up of soldiers from Kenya, Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda.

Mr Mwathethe spoke at the farewell ceremony for EASF Director Issimail Chanfi at the International Peace Support Centre in Karen, Nairobi.

Member countries hold the position on a rotational basis and the new director is from Djibouti.

Danish Ambassador to Kenya Mette Knudsens said EASF would help in sustaining peace in the region.

“Denmark is very proud for being engaged with EASF and IPSTC. These institutions are very important players in this region. They are demonstrating that Africa has important tools for peace and security,” she said.

EASF troops are currently serving in Somalia under the African Union Mission in Somalia as well as the United Nations missions in Darfur and South Sudan.

The EASF secretariat is located in Karen, Nairobi, while the logistics headquarters are in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The desire to have a common defence force in Africa was initially mooted in 2002 during the inaugural AU summit in Durban, South Africa.

The continent’s leaders wanted to no longer depend on countries outside Africa in solving problems that threaten security among member States.

Gov. Branstad signs Iowa gun expansions into law


Republican Gov. Terry Branstad signed two proposals on Thursday that bring a wide range of changes to Iowa’s gun laws including instituting “stand your ground” protections.

In all, Branstad signed some 14 pieces of legislation to include HF 517, an omnibus gun rights package, and HF 475, a popular measure expanding the use of straight-walled cartridge rifles to hunt deer.

Of the two, HF 517 was by far the more controversial in its passage and was subject to lengthy debate in the GOP-controlled legislature before passing the Iowa Senate 33-17 and House 57-36 earlier this month.

“Just signed HF517, making Iowa one of the most pro-2nd amendment states in the country,” Branstad posted to social media.

The new law removes the duty to retreat from Iowa’s self-defense statutes on the use of reasonable or deadly force. This so-called stand-your-ground model has been adopted in many conservative states with Florida passing the first of its kind in 2005.

Next, the law puts gun permit holder information out of bounds from public and Freedom of Information Act requests. Previously, anyone could get the name, address and birth date of concealed carry permit holders.

In addition to the use of force and privacy sections, the act includes mandates to loosen regulations on youth handgun possession for target shooting and hunting reasons provided they are given the firearm by a parent, instructor or guardian. Prior to the new law, only youth 14 and over could legally shoot handguns.

Finally, the law strikes gun-free zones at the state capitol, expands Fourth Amendment search and seizure protections for those carrying firearms, scraps the state ban on short barreled rifles and shotguns, and prevents officials from restricting the carry of firearms during a state of emergency.

Gun control organizations pushed hard to derail HF 517 during the legislative process and urged the governor for a veto, arguing the package was a danger to public safety.

“No matter what your position was on this bill, none of us wants to see the kind of homicide rate increase here that other states have seen after enacting Stand Your Ground laws,” Amber Gustafson, with the Iowa chapter of Moms Demand Action said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Second Amendment groups including the National Rifle Association were pleased with the new law. Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s lobbying arm, said, ““It is a great day for freedom. Today, Iowa joined the nationwide movement to expand law-abiding citizens’ constitutional right to self-protection.”

Hunting expansion

Also signed into law is an expansion of the state’s hunting regs to allow the use of straight-walled handgun cartridges .357 caliber and larger already approved for pistol and revolver hunting in rifles chambered for the same round.

The law directs the Iowa Natural Resource Commission to establish rules allowing the use of the rounds in long guns during the youth and disabled deer hunting seasons and for the first and second shotgun deer hunting seasons by licensed hunters. Possession of a prohibited rifle can result in a $250 fine.

The measure was well-received in the legislature, passing unanimously in both the House in March and the Senate in April while the Iowa Department of Natural Resources was reportedly neutral on the bill.

We asked 86 Burglers how they broke into homes


Do you ever wonder whether your home security system or “Beware of Dog” sign actually keeps burglars away?

We did too. So KGW’s investigative team sent letters to 86 inmates currently serving time for burglary in the Oregon Department of Corrections.  The inmates were asked to respond anonymously to 17 questions detailing how they broke in, when the crime occurred and what they were looking for.

What we learned could help you keep your home safe from burglaries.

California Dems kill ‘shall-issue’ concealed carry bill


Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez feels, “If a citizen passes the background check and completes the necessary safety training requirements, there should be no reason to deny them a CCW.” (Photo: CA Assembly GOP)

The Assembly Public Safety Committee on Tuesday rejected legislation to reform California’s strict “may-issue” concealed carry licensing practices and make permits more obtainable.

The bill,  AB 757, aimed to amend state law to allow a desire for self-defense to be enough required “good cause” to obtain a permit. It failed 2-5 after a party-line vote.

The measure’s sponsor Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, a Republican from Lake Elsinore, argued the legislation was needed to reign in some sheriffs and police chiefs who refuse to grant licenses for personal reasons.

“Today the Democrat majority spat in the face of the Constitution by killing this measure,” said Melendez in a statement. “The Constitution guarantees equal protection under the law, yet the current system we have for issuing CCWs in California is anything but equal. Rest assured, this fight for equality isn’t over.”

Melendez’s proposal would have inserted language into the current law so that those applying for a carry permit from their local sheriff or police chief could use a desire for “self-defense, defending the life of another, or preventing crime in which human life is threatened” as sufficient reason to obtain a licence without having to show further good cause.

California is just one of eight states that still practice may-issue permitting for concealed carry licenses and one of just five that ban open carry. A number of lawsuits including Peruta v. San Diego— now pending at the short-staffed U.S. Supreme Court– are underway fighting for shall-issue reform while other litigation including the NRA’s Flanigan v. Harris/Becerra and Nichols v. Brown are pending with the U.S. 9th Circuit on the subject of open carry.

North Dakota passes bill let lawmakers take guns in buildings


The North Dakota House of Representatives has passed a bill that would allow lawmakers to carry concealed guns into public buildings and gatherings.

Lawmakers in the House passed the bill Tuesday on a 86-5 vote, the Billings Gazette reported. The measure, Senate Bill 2139, now heads back to the Senate for approval of minor changes made by the House.

If passed in the Senate and signed into law, lawmakers and other qualified elected officials would have to obtain an enhanced concealed carry permit and receive the same firearms training as law enforcement officers.

Current North Dakota law allows attorney general staff members, municipal and district court judges, and retired law enforcement officers to carry concealed handguns into public buildings and gatherings.

A public gathering is currently defined as a school or school function, and as an athletic or sporting event.

While Republican Rep. Pat Heinert described the measure as a “good bill,” there were a few lawmakers who voted against the legislation, such as Democrat Rep. Pam Anderson.

“Think of it — I could be walking around with a gun, and that should make everybody nervous,” Anderson said.

Republican Gov. Doug Burgum would not comment on the bill before it reached his desk.

south carolina house passes permitless carry measure


House lawmakers on Thursday forwarded a bill to the Senate that would allow for the lawful carry of handguns in the Palmetto State without a license.

South Carolina is one of just five states that ban open carry and requires a permit for concealed carry, both of which would be a thing of the past under HB 3930 which was approved 64-46 by the House on Wednesday and sent to the Senate the day after.

“Pleased to announce that Constitutional Carry has passed the SC House,” the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Mike Pitts, R-Greenwood, noted on social media. “Now it is on to the Senate.”

The bill would remove the requirement to obtain a concealed weapon permit to carry a handgun in the state. It would also retain the current permitting system for those who want to take advantage of reciprocity agreements with other states.

Currently, permits are issued by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, who had 308,406 active permits in circulation as of the end of last year. The permits cost $50, which is waived for retired law enforcement and some veterans and are valid for five years.

Previous efforts in 2015 and 2012, which concentrated on permitless concealed carry alone, failed to become law.

The legislation this week was the subject of fierce opposition in the House, with some lawmakers citing that it posed potential unanticipated consequences that could amp up interactions with police.

“If I’m an African-American male on the Battery in downtown Charleston and I’m open-carrying at 1 or 2 in the morning, which I’ll legally be able to do, is my very being, the very breath in my body going to give law enforcement probable cause to stop me?” said Rep. Justin Bamberg, D-Bamberg, as reported by the Charleston Post and Courier.

While supported by gun rights groups, the measure drew the ire of gun control advocates who feel allowing people to carry a handgun without a permit or training is a risk to the public.

“Passing legislation that would drastically lower the bar for who can carry a handgun in public in South Carolina defies common sense,” said Jackie Shelley with the South Carolina chapter of Moms Demand Action. “South Carolinians deserve laws that work in favor of our safety and not those that abandon critically important safety standards. We hope that the Senate stands on the side of public safety and common sense and rejects this legislation.”

The measure is currently residing in the Senate but has not been referred. The chamber has had a Republican majority since 2001.



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