Sep 29, 2009
Before we were largely speculating. Now we actually have some facts in the case. It seems Colosimo entered into a plea deal with prosecutors. We also have this:
The government’s plea memorandum said that on Aug. 4, 2004, a straw purchaser identified only as “Person #1″ received money from “H.B.” and a male known as “Shiz” to purchase four firearms on their behalf at Colosimo’s.
H.B. accompanied Person #1 into Colosimo’s and provided money to Person #1 in the presence of a store employee, who recorded that the purchase had been made by Person #1.
None of the four firearms has been recovered. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tomika Stevens told Savage that prosecutors did not know if the firearms had been used in any crimes.
After that purchase, ATF agents set up controlled buys using informants for the purchases of six firearms between Dec. 8, 2005, and April 18, 2007, the plea memo said.
Those guns were turned over to ATF agents immediately after the purchases, which were set up and monitored by the ATF, court documents said.
On one occasion a cooperating witness, A.P., identified himself as the buyer, but Person #2, the straw purchaser, filled out the paperwork, identifying himself as the buyer. A Colosimo’s employee recorded the transaction in the straw purchaser’s name.
On another occasion, a government informant and Person #3 entered Colosimo’s together. Court papers said that the informant had told a Colosimo’s employee that Person #3, the straw purchaser, was buying a handgun for the informant because the informant could not buy a gun. The Colosimo’s employee recorded the purchase in Person #3′s name, court papers said.
Now those are better facts, but they raise some questions:
- The person who recorded the straw transaction committed a federal crime. Was he or she prosecuted?
- If ATF was conducting these stings since 2005, why was Colosimo’s allowed to remain operating for four more years, despite ATF having evidence that his employees were allowing straw buys?
What’s described here is most definitely a crime committed on the part of the dealer’s agent. At best, he’s not training his employees correctly, and at worst not being careful about hiring scrupulous employees. I’m sorry I ever stood up for this guy. This looks like strong evidence, and I suspect the prosecution is actually going rather easy on the defendant in this case.
Sep 28, 2009
It’s come time to replace my carry ammo. I’ve become lax about it. Normally I try to do this every six months, but it’s been more like a year. Faced with about a sixty dollar bill to do the replacement, it’s gotten me wondering about making my own loads. But conventional wisdom says this is a bad idea, because a prosecutor could try to argue in court that you custom made an extra lethal load, and your hand loads won’t be as reliable as factory ammo.
That’s always sounded far fetched to me, but decent ammo was cheap enough I didn’t care to really question this too much. Now that I have some experience with hand loading, I don’t really notice any reliability problems with my loads. What do you folks think? Is hand loading your carry load really a bad idea? What are some tips for doing so if you don’t think it’s a bad idea?
Sep 28, 2009
Just got word that Kim and Connie du Toit will be back on the internet and trying their hand at internet radio. The Premier Show is October 3rd. Kim was one of the first gun bloggers, until but he retired last year.
UPDATE: I guess I should say “but he retired last year.” since even in retirement he’s still one of the first gun bloggers.
Sep 28, 2009
In the latest Monica Yant Kinney column, we get some idea of what gun shop Heeding God’s Call might be going after next:
Emboldened by the victory, the curbside crusade continues. Heads up, Shooter Shop in Kensington: You’re next.
You don’t get the option of not standing up to these people.
UPDATE: Here’s Shooter Shop’s web site, and it looks like they even have a commercial. I don’t know, that deer head just screams “criminal hangout” to me! Seriously, what’s their beef? Other than this is a family business that has the audacity to try to run a legitimate gun business in Philadelphia? Let’s hope it’s a family that will stand up to these hateful people.
Sep 28, 2009
Over the past decade, we’ve seen a lot of lame and mostly lame attempts by gun control advocates to try to repackage their failed agenda into a form that would advance in an public opinion environment that’s not been in any mood for more gun control. We’ve seen the Million Mom March come and go. We’ve seen Andrew McKelvey’s Americans for Gun Safety pop onto the scene, and effectively disappear. American Hunters and Shooters Association, started by gun control advocates, tried and failed to attempt to capitalize on a divide that they felt existed within our community, and could be exploited. We’ve seen a lot of these organizations come and go.
I don’t think Mayors Against Illegal Guns is in the same category, and is already a more active threat than any of these other groups managed to make themselves. This is especially true if you live in Pennsylvania, where MAIG has paid staff dedicated to recruiting and keeping mayors, and has been very successful in doing so. Let me outline why MAIG ought to be taken seriously.
- They are the first gun control group to embrace a post-Heller mentality. They’ve wisely jettisoned much of the baggage of previous gun control efforts, particularly in advocating for gun bans. They’ve readily embraced the post-Heller realities. This doesn’t mean they like the result in Heller, but their mission and messaging are all in line with pushing a gun control agenda in a post-Heller world. In contrast, I think, with the Brady Campaign and other groups that are having a difficult time coming to terms with what doors Heller closes to them, making it hard for them to continue forward.
- Their messaging is slick. The trick in getting the public to accept a more radical agenda is to wrap it up in something that’s non-controversial. That illegal guns, what the public thinks of as guns in the hands of criminals, are bad isn’t something there’s much disagreement on. On the surface, they package largely the same agenda as the Brady Campaign, as a policy package to combat guns in criminal hands. Anyone willing to look at the specifics can clearly see it as hogwash, but most people don’t bother to look at specifics.
- Their strategy is novel. In recruiting Mayors, they are essentially borrowing the credibility that mayors have within their own communities in order to provide cover for their agenda. This also represents a novel attack on NRA. NRA is very adept at working state houses and Congress, but NRA hasn’t had to do much work at this local a level. It’s not clear NRA is weak here, but it’s an unknown. No one ever thought to attack us this way until MAIG. It is a novel strategy, and if I may say so, a brilliant strategy. I’m not sure whether it will work or not, but they deserve credit for trying something truly new. MAIG is probing what could be a weakness.
- They understand the traditional strengths of the gun control movement, and are adept at playing to those strengths. Once NRA counter-attacked MAIG, they opened up with a broad and intensive media blitz in order to give the mayors political cover for their continuing membership. The media is traditionally very fertile ground for anti-gun groups, and not very good ground for NRA. In the past week MAIG has demonstrated they have as much of a command of this as Brady does, and have very adeptly been working the media.
- They’ve shown they understand the politics of the issue. Whether it’s true or not, MAIG takes credit for defeating federal reciprocity for the bearing of arms. They understood the position Specter was in and knew how to exploit it. They’ve shown they know how to play the game in Congress, and managed to come up with enough votes for the amendment to fail.
- They are realistic about where they fight. A lot of people regard Pennsylvania as a pro-gun state, and for the most part, it is. But it’s not as pro-gun as a lot of people think it is. We are, essentially, a pro-gun state under siege. The vast majority of our state is bordered by states who’s laws demonstrate little or no respect for the Second Amendment. Gun control activists in those states have long wanted to turn this state to their side, and have been willing to put a lot of work into changing the political landscape in their favor. MAIG, so far, is the most successful anti-gun group I’ve seen in that regard. Every single illegal “Lost and Stolen” ordinance or resolution that’s been passed in Pennsylvania has happened in a city or town with a MAIG mayor. MAIG didn’t choose to go after preemption in its entirety, but chose to try to change the landscape so they could take one little piece, and weaken it just a little, and presumably open the door to a wider discussion about preemption.
I could probably come up with more reasons why I think MAIG is a lot more dangerous than anything we’ve seen in the past decade, and why gun owners shouldn’t brush them off as just another joke of a group funded by Joyce, not to be taken seriously, or to be mocked. It might be a while before MAIG tries pushing a major piece of legislation through a state house or through Congress, but in terms of laying the groundwork for a more ambitious future agenda, they’ve been very successful. Dangerously successful. The only thing that’s going to stop threat in its infancy is coordinated grassroots action against the Mayors who are lending their credibility to Bloomberg. NRA has sounded the bugle call, but will the troops muster? I hope so, but we must be relentless in going after MAIG if we’re going to stop Bloomberg before it’s too late.
Sep 28, 2009
James Colosimo admits in federal court that illegal activity went on in his shop. His FFL has been revoked, and he is selling his inventory to other dealers. His shop will close.
Good riddance, I say. If the charges were true, we don’t need dealers who break the law. If the charges were false, we don’t need dealers who won’t stand up for what’s right.
Sep 28, 2009
Because heavens forbid we take the Bill of Rights seriously, and all. In this case they are complaining because pressure got Mayor Tautznik to leave the organization, on the premise that it’s not really a local issue, and not something he really wanted to focus on. He couldn’t be more right. How would Masslive feel if we were to redo this issue in a First Amendment context rather than a Second Amendment context?
Mayor Against Illegal Speech support the First Amendment rights of Americans, and is only against illegal speech, like libel,child pornography and and spam. To that end, they propose modest restrictions on the number of e-mails people may send in any given month, in order to combat spam. Background checks on allowing people to buy computers and digital camera equipment at public shows to ensure they don’t fall into the hands of peddlers in child porn. Naturally, we need a code of conduct for vendors who sell internet service, to ensure that they keep records on what their customers are downloading.
What we also need is for the government to keep a secret list of people suspected of being child abusers. Those people should not be able to buy internet service or computers. Too bad for the folks who happen to share a first name with someone who’s suspected to be a child abuser, or got himself on the list for hanging around public parks too much looking “creepy.”
MAIS also supports identifying information being placed in every packet of data transmitted on the internet, so that government agents can easily track information back to the source. MAIS is also very much against laws that make it easy to transport computer equipment across state lines, and sensibly rejects laws that override local laws on obscene materials.
Does the media still want to argue that we need to “lighten up?” Does it seem clearer now how an issue no one supports, in our case criminals getting guns, and in the First Amendment analogy, spammers and child pornographers, can be used to sell a sinister agenda for weakening an important constitutional right? If First Amendment advocates were combating our fictional MAIS group, would they need to be told to “lighten up?”
Sep 28, 2009
Richard Ward, the Mayor of Hurst, Texas, wants everyone to know that he’s an NRA member, and a proud member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. In it, we see familiar language:
Unfortunately, the NRA has spent the past month attempting to bully mayors, including me, to drop out of this effort to have a consensus discussion about guns. They have sent hundreds of thousands of misleading postcards stating this coalition is “anti-gun” and is seeking to “regulate gun shows out of existence,” along with several other untruths and misleading statements.
Where have we heard that before? Unfortunately, not all these mayors are going to see the light and bow out gracefully. Many of them will need to be forced to leave MAIG by forcing them to leave office. I wouldn’t worry too much about getting a pro-gun activist mayor to replace your MIAG loving incumbent — really all we need is someone who agrees to leave the issue alone. Because of preemption in most states, guns are not generally a local issue. In fact, I would consider using that against the mayor. Find local issues people care about, and question why the mayor is spending time and energy on an issue that’s more of a state and federal issue, rather than what’s important to your town. Back to Mayor Ward:
I fully support the rights of law-abiding citizens under the Second Amendment. What I don’t support is criminals getting their hands on guns. The coalition is for enforcing existing gun laws, increasing penalties for gun criminals and closing gaps in the gun background check system.
No one supports criminals getting guns. We have a system of laws in place that make criminals obtaining guns unlawful already. MAIG isn’t just recommending closing gaps in the background check system, they are supporting a bill that will effectively shut down gun shows. Have you read it, Mayor Ward? Are you aware MAIG supports rationing guns to law abiding citizens? Is that the kind of measure Texans will support? Are you aware that ATF and the Fraternal Order of Police are against the measure MAIG supports to open up trace data? Are you aware that Mayor Bloomberg has interfered in the prosecution of actual criminal gun traffickers because it served his political purposes.
Mayor Ward includes an e-mail address at the bottom of the article. Perhaps some of my Texan readers can respectfully ask him whether he’s really thought about this issue.
Sep 27, 2009
Because Nintendo slashed the price of the Wii, Bitter and I decided it was time to get one. Who knew you could blog on it? It’s tedious but doable. Now to play.
UPDATE: I’m a fan of the Wii Play tank game. Bitter and I were also having fun with the boxing game, which gives opportunity to say “I’m going to beat you like I don’t want guns anymore!” Nintendo Wii, making domestic abuse a fun game since 2006!
Sep 27, 2009
This is a PDF of an e-mail that was circulated by CeaseFire PA earlier in the week. It comes from a source I know to be reliable. It’s titled “Standing Up and Fighting Back Against the NRA.” Let’s take a look:
There’s only one way to confront a bully – stand up to him and speak the truth. That’s what CeaseFirePA and its allies are doing across Pennsylvania in response to a smear and misinformation campaign engineered by the NRA.
So here we have Joe Grace, Executive Director of the gun control group, CeaseFire PA, admitting to MAIG as an ally. Yet we’re constantly told by the media and the Mayors themselves that MAIG is not a gun control group!
I think it’s abundantly clear by this point that the emperor has no clothes. Now we’ve established a relationship between not one, but two gun control groups operating in Pennsylvania in conjunction with Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Do Pennsylvania MAIG Mayors want to continue arguing that they are not standing along side a group promoting gun control? Is this what defending the Second Amendment and the Pennsylvania Constitution is in their book?