January 10, 2023 : Renzo Downey – FLORIDA POLITICS
Florida could be the first state to protect gun sale data with the Arms and Ammo Act.
Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson is unveiling his first legislative proposal since taking office, a first-in-the-nation measure to prevent businesses from tracking Floridians’ firearm and ammo purchases.
Simpson, the former Senate President who was sworn in as Agriculture Commissioner last week, announced his proposal for the “Florida Arms and Ammo Act” Tuesday.
The measure comes in response to new international standards for recording payment transactions last year that established a separate identification code for firearm and ammunition sales. With the new merchant category code, it is potentially easier to track people who have purchased guns or ammo.
“We are all blessed to live in the free state of Florida where our Second Amendment rights are valued and protected, but Democrats in Washington continue to try to chip away at these rights — and we must stay vigilant,” Simpson said.
“The ‘Florida Arms and Ammo Act’ draws a line in the sand and tells multi-national progressive financial institutions, and their allies in Washington, that they cannot covertly create a backdoor firearm registry of Floridians — or else.”
AUSTIN, Texas ― Few people are more enthusiastic about carrying handguns than Mike Cargill. The owner of Central Texas Gun Works often carries three ― two concealed, plus one holstered outside his belt.
He’s also enthusiastic about handgun education. Even after the Republican-dominated state legislature passed a “constitutional carry” law, which allows Texans to carry handguns both openly and concealed without getting a license, Cargill kept teaching classes and range qualifications for the now-optional License to Carry Program (LTC). Cargill says a license offers a lot of benefits, not least of which is helping people navigate the state’s complicated gun laws.
And since Texas became one of about half of the states in the country that view carrying a gun as a constitutional right, it looks like people are getting confused by those complicated laws. Several of Cargill’s students over the last year and a half signed up for an LTC class hoping to avoid conviction for unlawfully carrying a weapon ― usually after taking a gun somewhere they shouldn’t have.
When Cargill checked the Texas Department of Public Safety’s website, he found that his experience wasn’t an anomaly. Convictions for unlawfully carrying weapons skyrocketed in the state, from 1,049 in 2020 to nearly 7,000 last year — a spike of 550% and the highest number by far since 2016, the last year of complete data. The state adopted the constitutional carry law in September 2021.
“Yes, it’s your right to carry a gun,” Cargill said. “But you have to know how to carry that gun. If not, that’s a problem.”
No Obvious Explanation
It’s not clear why convictions for unlawfully carrying a weapon have risen so sharply. HuffPost reached out to several local law enforcement agencies asking for an answer. Few responded. Those that did hadn’t noticed the trend, though some agreed with Cargill that confusion might help account for it.
The “apparent rise in unlawful carrying cases across the state is alarming,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg wrote in an email to HuffPost.
“In Harris County, we seem to have filed more than one charge against some suspects which indicates that defendants freed on bond have been charged with the same crime more than once,” Ogg wrote. “Around the rest of the state, they may have the same problem or it could be something else, such as a lack of education about the constitutional carry laws or other laws regarding the possession of firearms.”
Although permitless carry sounds simple, gun laws are complicated. Even under the new law, places like airports, courthouses, hospitals and schools generally don’t allow weapons. Private businesses can also prohibit people from bringing in guns, either by displaying a sign or warning people verbally.
In theory, you can’t bring a gun into a place that earns more than 51% of its revenue from alcohol. But in practice, you can take a gun into a bar if the bar’s liquor license classifies it as a restaurant, which requires checking the Texas Alcohol Beverage Control’s website.
Permitless carry added a new layer of complexity by creating two classes of people allowed to carry handguns ― those with licenses and those relying on the constitution.
The most commonly cited perks of getting a license are that it allows the holder to concealed carry in most other states, and license holders only have to submit federal background checks for application and renewal, instead of every time they buy a gun.
But the law favors LTC holders in many other ways. Carrying a gun with a blood alcohol content of up to 0.08 is legal for license holders. Without one, drinking any alcohol at all while carrying a gun is illegal. An LTC exempts the license holder from the restriction on carrying a gun within 1,000 feet of a school under federal law (though bringing one inside a school building generally remains illegal).
The once-required classes explain all these details. Those carrying a gun because they read a news article saying they can, might not know, for example, unholstering a handgun while inside a car and leaving it in plain view is a crime.
Still, it’s not clear how confusion alone would translate into more gun charges. If someone’s doing a decent job concealing the handgun, they’re not likely to get caught with it.
Instead, many people are charged with unlawfully carrying a weapon only after police arrest them for something else, according to attorney Shane Phelps ― usually drinking and driving, or possession of marijuana.
The only people Phelps regularly sees with unlawfully carrying a weapon as their only charge are felons caught with guns. But Texas tallies the crime of possessing a gun despite a felony conviction separately from unlawfully carrying a weapon.
“That’s kind of a shocking statistic to me ― I don’t have an explanation for it,” Phelps said, referring to the increase in charges. “It’s really hard right now in Texas to get arrested for just carrying a weapon.”
The introduction of permitless carry may not account for the shift, given that it can take several months to cycle defendants from charging to conviction. The data increase could also be due to a historic and sustained spike in gun sales that started during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Harris County, for example, showed a clear rise in unlawfully carrying a weapon dating back to 2019, with the number of people charged more than doubling in two years to 4,454. Incomplete numbers for this year were on track to slightly exceed last year.
The Biden administration has dialed up its crackdown on so-called “ghost guns” by issuing guidance that basically expands the definition of what “readily converted” means in a new federal rule and making more do-it-yourself pistol parts subject to restrictions.
In an open letter to firearms dealers (pdf) dated Dec. 27, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) told firearm vendors that nearly-complete handgun frames or receivers—basically the pistol grip and firing mechanism—will be treated the same as fully completed firearms
“I’m a gun owner, and, . . . there are reasonable steps we can take that don’t infringe on Second Amendment rights – like expanding background checks and red-flag laws, closing loopholes, requiring background checks for ammunition purchases, banning large capacity magazines . . .”
Tallahassee, Fla. — Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried, an independently-elected member of the Florida Cabinet, issued the following statement in response to the news of a mass shooting in downtown Orlando last night that injured seven people:
“My heart goes out to the Orlando community after last night’s mass shooting. The people of Orlando and of our state have been traumatized by gun violence and mass shootings for far too long. When will Republicans finally stand up and say that enough is enough? Our state needs to pass comprehensive gun safety measures so our communities no longer have to live in fear and terror.
“I’m a gun owner, and I know I’m not the only one who thinks there are reasonable steps we can take that don’t infringe on Second Amendment rights – like expanding background checks and red-flag laws, closing loopholes, requiringbackground checks for ammunition purchases, banning large capacity magazines, and keeping assault weapons off our streets. Taking steps to stop terrorism in our communities should not be controversial.”
“(41) The term ‘large capacity ammunition feeding device’—
“(A) means a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device, including any such device joined or coupled with another in any manner, that has an overall capacity of, or that can be readily restored, changed, or converted to accept, more than 15 rounds of ammunition; and
More than your NRA membership is needed to prevent H.R.1808 – Assault Weapons Ban of 2022 from becoming law.
All semi-automatic weapons, both rifles and handguns, must be banned on a national basis.
Bob Reid – July 27, 2022
It is now more than evident that it is very dangerous for a society to allow for the widespread distribution and ownership of weapons whose sole purpose is to destroy human life.
There is no mention in the Second Amendment about an individual right to own and bear arms. The purpose of the Second Amendment was to placate those former colonies (and soon to be States), who feared the potential of a federal government acting like the King they just overthrew. The bulk of the military that fought the Revolutionary War was state militias (the modern equivalent of which is the National Guard) acting under the command of federal forces.
A coordinated nationwide attack on our 2nd Amendment rights by anti-gun groups is underway.
Our 2nd Amendment Rights Are In Jeopardy Like Never Before!
Wednesday, June 8th, the US House of Representatives passed a massive gun control package “Protecting Our Kids Act“.
The bill now goes to the US Senate that is equally divided 50/50. Should there be any Republican defectors in the Senate that vote in favor of the “Protecting Our Kids Act”, the rights we currently enjoy will become a memory.
If you value your right to keep and bear arms,
If you value your right to purchase and own the firearm of your choice for the defense of your life and the defense of your home,
If you do not want ALL firearms capable of accommodating a greater than 10 round magazine banned, (That GLOCK in your nightstand drawer and that .380 you carry in your pocketbook will be illegal.),
If you do not want that 9mm semi-automatic banned and you becoming a felon,
If you want to continue to be able to purchase ammunition online, cheaper and more readily available than can be found locally at a gun shop,
If you want to continue having the right to privately buy, sell, trade and gift a firearm without having to go through a licensed dealer, paying a government imposed transfer fee and completing ATF paperwork,
If you do not want the confiscation of legally owned firearms by the government, based on an anonymous allegation, to become the law of the land,
If you do not want the State of Florida’s uniform firearm laws (pre-emption) from being dissolved and divided into hodgepodge, local jurisdictional laws and regulations,
. . . it is time to get involved, if not politically active.
Anti-gun organizations have joined forces on both the national and state fronts. Yes, on the state front (Florida) as well as in Washington. A nationwide attack on our 2nd Amendment rights by anti-gun groups is underway.
Nikki Fried, Commissioner, Florida Dept. of Agriculture (responsible for processing and issuing Florida concealed carry licenses) joined anti-gun forces to overturn Florida’s gun pre-emption laws.
The woman’s quick reaction saved lives and may have prevented a mass shooting.
May 30, 2022 – Chaleston, West Virginia
The woman then pulled her legally-owned gun out of her purse and shot and killed him. At a press conference on Thursday, Charleston Chief of Detectives Tony Hazelett praised the woman as a hero. ‘Instead of running from the threat, she engaged with the threat and saved several lives last night,’ he said.
It comes amid a national debate over guns after a school shooting in Texas.
Butler had driven by the area earlier on Wednesday evening when he was warned to slow down because children were playing.
He returned armed with an AR-15-type rifle and opened fire from his vehicle on the birthday-graduation party outside the apartment complex in the city.
The gunman Dennis Butler, a 37-year-old criminal who had already been cautioned for speeding near children when he drove to the graduation party that was being held outside at the Vista View Apartment Complex in Charleston, West Virginia.
Mr Hazelett told a news conference that the woman who fired back did not have any law enforcement background. She has not been identified.
“She’s just a member of the community who was carrying her weapon lawfully,” he said. “And instead of running from the threat she engaged with the threat and saved several lives.”
The woman remained at the scene after the shooting, and is co-operating with investigators.
Charges will not be filed against her, police added.
Butler was found dead at the scene from multiple gunshot wounds, police said.
Mr Hazelett said it is not yet clear how Butler obtained the weapon – which he was not legally allowed to carry as a convicted felon.
EDITORIAL COMMENT: This story has made international news, but has received little attention by the US news media and has not been mentioned by the New York Times, CNN or MSNBC.
The 2nd Amendment Foundation by Lee Williams – May 9, 2022
In the years before the Biden-Harris administration took over the White House, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives usually revoked an average of 40 Federal Firearm Licenses (FFLs) per year. But, in the 11 months since Joe Biden declared war on “rogue gun dealers,” the ATF has revoked 273 FFLs – an increase of more than 500%. However, rather than targeting the true rogues, Biden’s ATF is revoking FFLs for the most minor of paperwork errors, which were never a concern for the ATF until Biden weaponized the agency.
“This has nothing to do with the ATF and everything to do with the DOJ,” said John Clark of FFL Consultants. Clark is a firearm industry expert who said the ATF announced the number of revocations at a recent Firearm Industry Conference.
“The vast majority of the ATF don’t like this any more than the industry does,” he said. “It’s Biden.”
Clark and business partner John Bocker crisscross the country to help gun dealers fight back against Biden’s overreach – a service that is free to all members of the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Their mantra is: “Get it right the first time.”
“Our goal is to prevent an incident from occurring,” Bocker has said. “Our goal is prevention – get it right the first time. We are the proactive and preventative arm of the NSSF.”
Nowadays, they’re extremely busy. “I had three revocation hearings last week,” Clark said.
Key to the massive increase in revocations is Biden’s zero-tolerance for willful violations policy, which Clark said relies upon a new definition of willful. If a dealer makes a simple mistake, they can now lose their license, because the new definition of willful states that the dealer knew the law, but willfully chose to violate it anyway – regardless of whether it was an oversight, an error by an employee or a simple paperwork mistake.
“They have twisted negligence into willful,” Clark said. “These are not uncommon errors that we’re seeing. Things happen.”
On paper, Biden’s new policy seems clear:
Absent extraordinary circumstances that would need to be justified to the Director, ATF will seek to revoke the licenses of dealers the first time that they violate federal law by willfully.
1.) transferring a firearm to a prohibited person 2.) failing to run a required background check 3.) falsifying records, such as a firearms transaction form 4.) failing to respond to an ATF tracing request 5.) refusing to permit ATF to conduct an inspection in violation of the law
However, Clark and Bocker are seeing these rules pushed far beyond the realm of common sense or fairness, and local gun dealers are paying the price.
For example, the transaction number for a NICS background check requires nine digits. If a gun dealer mistakenly omits a number, their license can be revoked for failing to run a background check. Under the Biden-Harris administration, there is no longer any room for human error.
Similarly, the ATF has started contracting out its trace requests, Clark said. He and Bocker have talked to a dealer whom the ATF accused of not complying with a trace request. They fault, they found, actually belonged to the ATF, which hadn’t updated its records from the contractors. Until this was clarified, the dealer was at risk of losing everything.
Their firm offers a free webinar for gun dealers, which addresses Biden’s policy.
ATF breaking federal law
Biden first announced his zero-tolerance policy for “rogue gun dealers” in June of last year. He claimed these dealers were responsible for skyrocketing violent crime rates in major cities historically controlled by Democrats.
The violence wasn’t caused by weak prosecutors who refuse to hold criminals accountable, or gangs or underfunded police departments or by any combination thereof, he said. It was all the fault of “rogue gun dealers,” who Biden claimed willfully transfer firearms to prohibited persons, and/or refuse to cooperate with a tracing request from the ATF.
To vet Biden’s rogue gun dealer theory, the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project immediately sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the ATF, seeking the following:
Copies of documents that show the number of Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) and their state of residence, who have been prosecuted for willfully transferring a firearm to a prohibited person over the past three years (from June 23, 2018 to June 23, 2021.)
We’re still waiting for a response.
In the 11 months since the FOIA request was filed, the ATF has not complied with the law. The ATF is in a trick-bag of sorts. They can comply with federal law and provide the documents, which will likely reveal that Biden’s rogue gun dealer policy is just a ruse, or they can continue to deny and delay the FOIA request even though their actions violate federal law.
If there is a dealer who transfers firearms to prohibited persons, fails to conduct background checks and ignores requests from the ATF to help trace firearms used in a crime, they should lose their FFL. I don’t know anyone who disagrees with that. However, these are not the type of dealers the ATF is targeting at Biden’s behest. The Biden-Harris administration has ordered the ATF to revoke FFLs for even the most minor of paperwork errors, solely to support its rogue-dealer myth.
There is no doubt Biden will soon hold a press conference touting the effectiveness of his zero-tolerance policy and the hundreds of “rogue gun dealers” whose licenses were revoked as a result. What he won’t mention is that none of the dealers who lost their livelihoods contributed to the skyrocketing violent crime rates of major metros. They were simply law-abiding men and women who made a minor paperwork error, which Biden has now criminalized as part of his ongoing war on our guns.
Mother, 2 children injured in Marshall shooting Apr 11, 2022 – MARSHALL, Texas (KETK) — A mother and her two children were injured in a shooting that occurred Sunday evening in Marshall.
3-year-old dies after shooting, Dallas police say March 28, 2022 – Monday night, police said the child’s mother reported that the shooting was related to a road rage incident involving another sedan near a park at Whitehurst and Arbor Park.
Feb. 18, 2022 – A 4-year-old child was shot in the leg in the courtyard in front of his apartment around 4:30 p.m., according to Houston police. The shooting happened in the 600 block of Nottingham Oaks Trail.
Jan. 30, 2022 – HPD: 7-year-old boy shot inside SW Houston apartment: A 7-year-old boy is in stable condition after being shot in the leg inside a southwest Houston apartment, Houston police said. Officers were called to assist firefighters in the 10500 block of Fondren Road near Willowbend Boulevard at around 12:10 a.m
Jan. 17, 2022 – 3 injured, including brothers ages 1 and 6, in shooting in SE Houston, HPD says: Two children and a man were injured during a shooting in southeast Houston in the 5900 block of Selinsky Road around 7 p.m. Police said they were flagged down by a vehicle with several people inside. Police said they found three people shot, one man and two siblings – a 1-year-old boy and a 6-year-old boy. The 1-year-old was shot in the arm and the 6-year-old was shot in the stomach. The man was shot in the hand at a separate location that police described as being “chaotic.”.
Oct. 31, 2021 – Father, young child injured in road rage shooting in north Houston, police say: A man and his 1-year-old child were injured in a road rage shooting in north Houston, Houston police said. The man was driving south on I-45 near Loop 610 around 7:30 p.m. when he got into “some type of road rage altercation” with another driver, police said. At some point during the incident, the driver pulled up next to the victim and fired multiple rounds into his vehicle.
Oct. 11, 2021 – 7-year-old shot in head at apartment complex in southeast Houston, HPD says: Houston police are investigating after a 7-year-old boy was found shot in the head at an apartment complex in southeast Houston. Houston police responded to reports of a shooting at an apartment complex located at 11810 Algonquin Drive. Police said they found the 7-year-old boy with a gunshot wound to the head. He was transported to the hospital in stable condition.