MD to use sniper tips to sniff out guns


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homeka45
January 3, 2003, 01:23 AM
Sobering story on the Drudge Report about Maryland Police using the thousands of tips that came in during the sniper brouhaha to crack down on illegal gun possesion in the state of Maryland. Law of unintended consequences seems to apply everywhere.

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Blackhawk
January 3, 2003, 01:34 AM
What makes you think they were unintended...?

nralife
January 3, 2003, 01:38 AM
Sniper tips to aid hunt for firearms
By Arlo Wagner and Matthew Cella
THE WASHINGTON TIMES

http://www.washtimes.com/metro/20030103-95731792.htm



Montgomery County police said yesterday that they will use tens of thousands of tips from the October sniper hunt to track down those who violate Maryland gun laws. Top Stories

"Our goal is to reduce illegal firearm possessions and violent crimes," said Capt. Nancy Demme, spokeswoman for the Montgomery County Police Department. She also said the intensive crackdown would begin in the county in a few weeks.

The mission will be carried out by a task force of county and state police officers, as well as federal agents of the Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Police authorities said many of the nearly 100,000 tips and the names of tipsters and offenders were set aside during the sniper investigation because it was clear they did not pertain to the shooter or shooters, who were using a rifle.

"If, for instance, someone called to say, 'The guy next door has a couple handguns,' that did not apply," explained Michael Bouchard, special agent in charge of the ATF office in Baltimore.

Though police say the tips could help solve cases and get illegal guns off the street, gun groups are uneasy about such a task force using information often submitted by neighbors.

"I just plain don't like it," said Robert Culver, co-chairman of Montgomery Citizens for a Safer Maryland, a Montgomery County-based gun-advocacy group.

Mr. Culver said the task force could go overboard while investigating gun owners, relying on "rumors" or fraudulent or misguided tips.

The sniper hunt ended Oct. 25 at an Interstate 70 rest stop near Myersville, Md., with the arrest of John Allen Muhammad, 42, and John Lee Malvo, 17. They are in Virginia jails awaiting capital-offense trials.

Six of the 10 sniper slayings occurred in Montgomery County. The first took place Oct. 2, with four more occurring in the county the next day, causing thousands of Maryland, Washington and Virginia residents to call a special tip-line telephone number with information about suspects and dubious circumstances.

"We are still getting a lot of tips as a result," Mr. Bouchard said, and those tips are being examined for possible violations of Maryland and D.C. gun laws.

Though the task force will focus on handgun owners convicted of violent felonies, Mr. Bouchard acknowledged that some tips already have led to persons who had no idea they owned guns illegally.

"We are not looking to take away any guns or ammunition that are legally possessed," he said.

Still, advocacy groups remain concerned.

A Web site for Maryland gun owners, www.direct-action.org, stated in an October article that the sniper shootings could lead to a "wanton politicizing of a crisis, leading to apparently unconstrained police activity."

The site offered advice to gun owners interviewed by authorities based on tips.

Gun advocates portray the crackdown as evidence of continuing hostility toward gun owners by county officials.

In 2001, the county failed in an attempt to ban gun shows at the Montgomery County Agricultural Center in Gaithersburg. When Silverado Promotions, the show's promoter, challenged the ban, a federal judge ruled that the Montgomery County Council broke the law when it tried to withhold county money to support the event.

The ruling is being appealed. In the interim, Silverado Promotions is holding a gun show at the Gaithersburg agricultural center this weekend.

Other jurisdictions are also following on tips received during the sniper shootings.

"We have detectives working on tips but we do not have a special task force," Fairfax County Police spokeswoman Cheryl Farrell said.

Prince George's County police are responding similarly. Capt. Andy Ellis, a department spokesman, said investigators are checking tips that might help solve other crimes or reveal new crimes.

Still, Virginia police officials in the commonwealth will work much differently on this issue compared with Montgomery or Prince George's counties because Maryland gun laws are "far more restrictive," said John Ritter, an Arlington County police detective.

PATH
January 3, 2003, 01:53 AM
Orwellian is it not!:uhoh:

chaim
January 3, 2003, 02:33 AM
as well as federal agents of the Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. OK, they are searching for illegal guns so I guess I understand the ATF being there but the Secret Service:confused: . What do illegal guns have to do with protecting government dignataries or maintaining the integrity of the money and banking systems (i.e. chasing down bank fraud and counterfeit bills) which is their jurisdiction.

Police authorities said many of the nearly 100,000 tips and the names of tipsters and offenders were set aside during the sniper investigation because it was clear they did not pertain to the shooter or shooters, who were using a rifle.
Tipsters and offenders:what: . This is what is scary. Right here we see the mindset of the police in this state and why there is a chance of losing all our rights. Not every tip involved an offender. Many of those 100,000 tips involved people who knew a legal gun owner and called the police thinking something was pertinant (such as thinking someone was a gunnut). Heck, I was one of those "offenders" that someone called in a tip about (because I bought "too many" guns in the past year or so). I guess it is good to have the attitude in the open but it is scary that the police carry that attitude. Even worse, the press simply reported that quote without any kind of questioning setting it up for the public as if each one of us tips actually are an offender of some kind (and the paper was the conservative Washington Times :( ). I guess it is a police/anti public relations win.:fire:

sm
January 3, 2003, 02:40 AM
I'm with Blackhawk and PATH

Could always 'Create a need to Know" .

PUMC_TomG
January 3, 2003, 02:48 AM
How would this stand up in court? Where is the probable cause for a search? In a good court this wouldn't hold water I'd hope.

dave
January 3, 2003, 03:53 AM
"In a good court this wouldn't hold water" by PUMC_TomG


I wouldn't bet on it. :cuss:

Kamicosmos
January 3, 2003, 06:15 AM
It's reports like this that make me want to buy a couple hundred acres of land up north somewhere and just plain disappear.

Who cares about registration fears when your neighbor will turn you in on a whim anyways???


Kamicosmos

MuzzleBlast
January 3, 2003, 08:52 AM
It's reports like this that make me want to buy a couple hundred acres of land up north somewhere and just plain disappear. Just drive a couple of hours south, KC guy! Our governor attends NRA rallies!

2nd Amendment
January 3, 2003, 10:17 AM
Who needs a Conspiracy? All the little self-serving power mongers are taking us down the road to hell just fine without it. Rather like ants and other insect group behavior. You don't need intelligence or planned cooperation to achieve an end.

Shawn Dodson
January 3, 2003, 11:42 AM
Oh, how I despised Maryland government when I lived there in the late '80s. As a former law enforcement officer I thought the mindset of Maryland state troopers was almost Nazi like. The "us vs. them" attitude infected local police agencies too, especially Maryland counties in the Washington D.C. area. I couldn't wait to leave. Three years under Maryland totalitarian rule was too much.

Acolyte
January 3, 2003, 11:48 AM
The scariest part of that entire article?

someone called to say, 'The guy next door has a couple handguns,'

chaim
January 3, 2003, 11:58 AM
Acolyte, unfortunately there is no surprise there. This is MD. Even many "pro-gun" people around here are surprised when they find out that no license is needed to own or buy a gun:banghead: . Many people think that it is and should be virtually illegal. Everyone around here seems to see it as a given that buying a gun should be as hard as possible (why it isn't yet and is only very difficult, I'm not quite sure).

Shawn Dodson, don't worry I'm sure someone somewhere has noted your attitude. :scrutiny:

Seriously, I think most LEOs from elsewhere if they came here and saw the highly "us" v. "them" attitude and rather unprofessional bearing and general harassment levied at the unwashed would be ashamed of most (not all) of their MD LEO brothers. However, since they aren't familiar with the way things are here (at least the state police and agencies Howard County and south plus Baltimore City, I've found Baltimore County and the rural areas aren't too bad) they tend to see such statements as yours as anti-LEO. That's why I don't bother anymore, I don't trust most local LE though I'm not anti-LEO and I don't want people that don't get the local situation to think that I am.

treeprof
January 3, 2003, 12:09 PM
So these are follow-ups on tips that were "set aside" because they did not pertain to the sniper shootings? Set aside for what? Gov'ts don't need registration program, just nosey neighbors and a willingness to hold onto info that they might find useful later.

geegee
January 3, 2003, 12:40 PM
In a perverse way, there's a part of me that's almost glad to see this card being played. While most of have believed this could or would happen, too many of the anti's have always laughed at the prospect of this happening, and labeled us as "paranoid" for even suggesting it. Uh huh. :mad: geegee

chaim
January 3, 2003, 12:53 PM
Just noticed this:
Though the task force will focus on handgun owners convicted of violent felonies, Mr. Bouchard acknowledged that some tips already have led to persons who had no idea they owned guns illegally. In other words, "we are officially going after violent felons..." (to keep the sheeple in line, man first time I felt the need to use that word :( ) "...but we are also going after otherwise law-abiding people on such small technicalities that they didn't even know they were breaking the law or even that there was such a law.":fire:

I don't understand why people can't see the problem here :banghead: . Even my strongly anti father who thinks handguns shouldn't be in private hands is uncomfortable with this. Then again, maybe if even he is "uncomfortable" then maybe those who are more moderate than he may come around (or am I just being a dreamer). Maybe this will be another step towards moving the population of this state towards saner views on guns (now I know I'm dreaming).

Poodleshooter
January 3, 2003, 03:11 PM
"If, for instance, someone called to say, 'The guy next door has a couple handguns,' that did not apply," explained Michael Bouchard, special agent in charge of the ATF office in Baltimore.
Wow, too bad we don't have a nice system for publicizing the names of idiots who feel the need to turn in their neighbors for any perceived slight or "unapproved" activity. Whatever happened to the right to know your accuser?

geegee
January 3, 2003, 05:19 PM
Poodleshooter:Wow, too bad we don't have a nice system for publicizing the names of idiots who feel the need to turn in their neighbors for any perceived slight or "unapproved" activity. Whatever happened to the right to know your accuser?
That's a great point, and you have to wonder what will happen if just one of these people accused by a neighbor will have the temerity to get a pro-2nd A. lawyer and challenge it in court. If this turn of events doesn't get the attention of the NRA (and it's leagle beagles) then it isn't worth squat. geegee

Kharn
January 3, 2003, 05:36 PM
In Maryland, you cannot own a gun if you were convicted of any crime punishable by more than a year in jail. Some old MD laws didnt have punishments specifically attached (that was changed a few years back, I believe), so, for example, a judge could have sentanced someone to three years in jail for stealing a candy bar. Having been convicted of one of those crimes before the sentancing rules were changed disqualifies you from owning a gun in MD.


Kharn

Blackcloud6
January 3, 2003, 10:39 PM
Well next time there is a massive manhunt for bad guys and they want cooperation from gunowners, post this news article so we a ll remember the aftermath. Then we can say "You want me to help in the investigation by showing you my guns? Call my lawyer."

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