Attorney General Eric Holder faced tough questions about the “Fast and Furious” gun-trafficking scandal from outraged members of Congress during a Thursday hearing, but he continued to defiantly stonewall while refusing to hand over key documents subpoenaed in the congressional investigation. Republican lawmakers responded by telling the Justice Department boss to resign and saying that if the cover-up continues, he could be charged with contempt of Congress.
When Curry Todd was arrested last October for driving under the influence, he unknowingly set off a string of consequences, some predictable, that continue to resonate today.
Elliot Fineman, CEO of the National Gun Victims Action Council (NGAC) announced last Monday that its members will boycott Starbucks starting on St. Valentine’s Day to protest the company’s resistance to demands that they cease serving customers who may be carrying weapons, open or concealed. Its purpose, according to Fineman, is “to eliminate the risk of guns in public places and ultimately to bring sane gun laws to the U.S.” Fineman claims that his group is “a network of 14 million gun victims” and that his boycott is being supported by the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, the United Church of Christ, the Fellowship of Reconciliation along with other secular groups that also support the anti-gun movement. Fineman said:
A senior official with the U.S. Department of Justice involved in the growing “Fast and Furious” federal gun-trafficking scandal told Congress that he would be invoking his right — protected by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — not to testify because it might incriminate him.
New York Police Commissioner Joe Kelly is considering the latest in technology — Terahertz Imaging Detection (TID) — to be mounted on police cars and allowing them to roam the streets of New York looking for people carrying guns. The NYPD, sometimes referred to as the world’s “seventh largest army” with 35,000 uniformed officers, already does a brisk business frisking potential suspects, with little pushback. In the first quarter of last year, 161,000 New Yorkers were stopped and interrogated, with more than nine out of 10 of them found to be innocent. And there are cameras already in place everywhere: in Manhattan alone there are more than 2,000 surveillance cameras watching for alleged miscreants.
Robert E. Sanders, a former official of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (still known as ATF) for 24 years and now a board member of the National Rifle Association, complained that the ATF’s practice of issuing “private letter rulings” on what constitutes a “weapon” are not only confusing but often arbitrary and even contradictory.
The main reason is that the regulations under which the ATF operates aren’t defined and therefore are subject to interpretation and modification:
It is hard to tell what ATF wants you do to without submitting your product and asking for a letter ruling. You can’t tell what the agency has said in the past to others, because those letter rulings are generally secret. How could somebody know how to comply with the law?
Len Savage, the owner of Historic Arms in Georgia, found out the hard way about the ATF’s capriciousness, and it cost him $500,000. Savage is a firearms designer and manufacturer and was told by the ATF in July 2005 that he could convert machine guns legally owned by collectors into belt-fed weapons. After investing in the tools and machinery to make the conversions, he received another letter from the ATF in April 2006 saying that “upon reconsideration” it was rescinding its previous approval. Savage said the ATF “follows no rhyme or reason” calling it “enforcement by ambush.”
“Put down that sausage, pepperoni, and extra cheese, son, and no one will get hurt.” Words to that effect were spoken to 10-year-old Nicholas Taylor, a student at David Youree Elementary School in Smyrna, Tennessee, when he committed the unpardonable offense of pretending that a half-eaten slice of pizza was a gun and, in the words of school district spokesman James Evans, “threatening” other students with it.
Fortunately, the boy complied rather than mowing down his classmates in a hail of anchovies, and the danger was averted. And for so recklessly endangering the lives of his fellow students, he was punished with six days of eating lunch at the “silent table” and a lecture on pizza — er, gun — safety.
The incident is the latest — and perhaps the most ludicrous, though the competition is fierce — example of public schools’ zero-tolerance policies with regard to firearms. Students have previously been disciplined for such grave infractions as doodling a picture of a gun and possessing a pen with the logo of a gun manufacturer. Now, it seems, the time-honored tradition of playing with one’s food can land a kid in the principal’s office if he imagines that food is a deadly weapon.
While iPods, Kindles, and Angry Bird stuffed animals were some of the hottest items of the 2011 Christmas season, December saw record-breaking numbers for gun sales, as droves of Americans found firearms and ammunition under their Christmas trees. According to FBI statistics, gun dealers requested more than 1.5 million background checks to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System in December, the highest single-month figure since the statistics first began being recorded.
Nearly 500,000 of those took place in the six days before Christmas and an astounding 102,222 background checks were administered on December 23 alone, the second-busiest single day in history. However, the actual total may have been even higher if individual buyers purchased more than one gun each, because exact sales are not recorded or reported. The FBI indicates that there is not a one-to-one correlation between background checks and the total number of guns sold because of "varying state laws and purchase scenarios."
USA Today reported:
On March 30 of this year, President Obama dropped in to greet Sarah Brady, who was meeting with White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. Sarah is the wife of Jim Brady, the former White House Press Secretary under Reagan, who was shot but not killed in an assassination attempt on President Reagan in 1981. The Bradys subsequently became strong supporters of gun control. According to Brady, the President brought up the issue of gun control “to fill us in that it was very much on his agenda. [The President said,] 'I just want you to know that we are working on [additional limits on gun ownership]. We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar.'"
Thanks to the efforts of freedom advocates such as John Lott, Obama’s efforts to stay under the radar are now glistening in the sunlight. Lott reviewed an unsettling and lengthy list of Obama’s “processes,” starting with the President’s intention to ignore at least 20 parts of the 2012 omnibus spending bill that he signed into law last week. Using the controversial and likely unconstitutional “signing statements," Obama said, “I have advised Congress that I will not construe these provisions as preventing me from fulfilling my constitutional responsibility … such measures as I shall judge necessary and expedient.” Buried in the 1,200-page bill was a restriction that bars health officials from using taxpayer funds to lobby for gun control. To rub it in, Obama iterated his position: “Our spending decisions shall not be treated as dependent on the approval of congressional committees.” In plain English, the President just told Congress to go jump — he was going to do what he wanted to do, regardless.
As critics continue to rail against Operation Fast and Furious and other matters relating to the Justice Department, Attorney General Eric Holder has resorted to playing the "race card." In a Sunday interview published in the New York Times, Holder accused his growing ensemble of critics of racist motivations, as they scrutinize his performance as head of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and his involvement in the controversial scandal of gunrunning to Mexican drug cartels.