California: "Raids aim to curtail illegal gun ownership"


PDA






cuchulainn
December 24, 2002, 08:03 PM
http://www.sacbee.com/content/politics/story/5697710p-6670909c.html

Raids aim to curtail illegal gun ownership
But an NRA attorney says California authorities are applying the NRA-backed law too broadly.

By Gary Delsohn -- Bee Capitol Bureau
Published 2:15 a.m. PST Tuesday, December 24, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO -- Dressed in riot gear, six special agents from the California Department of Justice met in a Fisherman's Wharf office here the other day -- it's three floors above tourists and Christmas shoppers -- to plot their latest gun raid.

Ignatius Chinn, supervisor for the Sunday-before-Christmas mission, told his men to go easy. They were after firearms they believed a 42-year-old man with a history of violence was keeping illegally.

But they wanted to do it without a fuss.

Keep your guns down, he told the agents. Try not to excite anyone. He's got five daughters living inside there. Knock on his door and let's hope he cooperates.

"If not," Chinn added, "we'll knock it down and we're going in anyway."

It was all part of a new California program -- the nation's first -- wherein state agents try to identify some of the estimated 170,000 firearms registered to owners who later run afoul of the law and are no longer allowed to possess weapons.

Even the National Rifle Association supported the bill when it was debated in the Legislature last year, but a lawyer for the organization now questions whether the law is being enforced too broadly. Among his concerns: Gun owners can lose their weapons if they have temporary restraining orders imposed on them by the courts in domestic violence cases -- even if they're not convicted.

"The biggest problem with these raids," said Chuck Michel, a lawyer for the NRA and spokesman for the California Rifle and Pistol Association, "is that they net as many dogs as they do wolves. You have to make a distinction between the felon and someone involved in a domestic violence dispute who may not even be convicted."

Agents and other Justice Department officials say the program targets only those with bonafide violent pasts and that no law-abiding citizens are losing their guns if they are legal and registered properly.

When gun owners who show up on the so-called "armed and prohibited" list don't hand over their firearms voluntarily, agents get search warrants, seize the weapons anyway and often get local prosecutors to file charges.

On more than one occasion, they've knocked down doors, stormed through houses, confiscated dozens of guns and rifles and made multiple arrests.

The target of this San Francisco raid, a 42-year-old car dealer who'd been accused of beating his wife but found not guilty when she recanted her complaint, wasn't in his tidy green bungalow near Balboa Park when agents showed up with their own shotguns and battering ram.

After talks with his wife and a subsequent call to the man at his job, where the agents showed up unannounced, he agreed to give up at least three assault-style weapons.

Ten days earlier, during a similar encounter in Sacramento, agents confronted a 32-year-old man on probation for a past felony weapons conviction and struck gold.

A spokeswoman for Attorney General Bill Lockyer said agents confiscated two sawed-off shotguns, three unregistered assault pistols, three unregistered assault rifles, 18 other firearms, more than 460 electric matches, large amounts of ammunition, a 37 mm grenade launcher and shells, 20 mm shells and two multiburst trigger devices designed to fire multiple rounds with every trigger pull.

The Sacramento Police Department's bomb squad was called in when agents also found an explosive device among the suspect's weapons cache. Hallye Jordan, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said the man is facing at least 29 weapons-related charges.

"The individuals we're going after have a violent past or they been held for mental problems that make them a threat to themselves or others," said Randy Rossi, head of the Justice Department's firearms division.

"The vast majority of people we're going after have multiple violations that make it illegal for them to possess firearms. We've had some who've been committed against their will for mental health problems as many as eight times."

So far, since starting the new program in July, agents have arrested 24 so-called "armed and prohibited" persons and seized 259 firearms.

Those numbers would likely skyrocket once the Justice Department can find $4 million to fund its new firearms database called for in legislation sponsored last year by Senate Republican Leader Jim Brulte of Rancho Cucamonga and signed into law in October 2001 by Gov. Gray Davis. The bill passed both houses of the Legislature without a single dissenting vote.

Once the law is made fully operational, the program would work like this:

A new database would include names of all registered handgun owners who subsequently were convicted of a felony or misdemeanor spousal abuse. If a restraining order is filed and not removed, a gun owner could also land on the prohibited list. The list also would include people who sought to purchase new guns from registered dealers and were turned down because of something in their criminal background.

Those people would be contacted and told they now were banned from possessing weapons. If the guns were otherwise legal and they cooperated, no charges would be filed and the weapons would be turned over to Justice Department agents and, in most cases, eventually destroyed.

Those who didn't cooperate or had illegal guns, such as assault weapons, would be searched and charged if firearms were found.

Police and other law enforcement officers could also tap into the database and know within seconds if someone were both a registered owner and legally prohibited from having a firearm.

Because the Legislature didn't add funding when the bill was passed, Justice Department has yet to set up the database. It has been relying primarily on calls from gun shops that deny a sale due to something criminal in a customer's background against a check of permanent state records of all registered owners of handguns.

"Right now we're identifying the worst of the worst," said Jordan, the Justice Department spokeswoman. "We have limited resources. Until we get some money, we're going at this at the best pace we can."

In July 2001, when the Legislature was considering the issue, the NRA included its signature on letters of support that were also signed by California prosecutors, police and sheriff's groups and handgun control advocates.

"Without this critical information," the letters said, "public and officer safety will be jeopardized by allowing these armed and prohibited individuals to possess these handguns."

But in an interview Monday, Michel, the NRA and gun-rights activist, took strong exception to the program.

"What Lockyer's doing is painting it and spinning it as if these are all bad guys they're going after but that's not always the case," said Michel.

For instance, someone who has a temporary restraining order filed against him in a spousal dispute may not be someone who should lose his otherwise legally registered weapon, Michel said.

In the San Francisco case, the target's wife obtained a temporary restraining order after she alleged that he physically abused her, and it was never canceled, agents said, despite the fact the man and woman have reconciled and are living together.

"The first move of every woman in a divorce is to get a TRO," Michel said. "It's a strategic advantage in a divorce proceeding."

Michel said convicted felons should be made to give up their weapons, as state law requires, but non-felons need to be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Rossi, the Justice Department firearms chief, called Michel's statement "one of ignorance."

For one thing, according to the agents involved in the San Francisco raid, their target had "a violent past but no convictions." Plus, he allegedly possessed illegal assault weapons.

"This is a program the NRA supported," Rossi said. "It's their mantra that we should enforce existing gun laws and that's what this program does. How they can say that without having an idea of who we're going after is really too much for me."

If you enjoyed reading about "California: "Raids aim to curtail illegal gun ownership"" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Phil Ca
December 24, 2002, 08:16 PM
Just another reason for JBTs to try to prop up their existance. The TRO is the most insidious ploy in the book. I heard a man in a store telling a friend that his ex filed on him just so he could not see their infant son. When he asked her on the phone why she did it, her reply was, "Because I knew I could do it!" Now he is screwed if he wants to keep or own a firearm.

:mad:

redhead
December 24, 2002, 08:22 PM
This is really disturbing. In spite of the fact that the ex-wife dropped her complaing, and he was not guilty, the JBT's raided his home anyway , unless I'm missing something here. So he had a history of violence - no convictions, but they raided his home anyway ! Most disturbing.

Jeff White
December 24, 2002, 10:40 PM
I don't know why California is claiming to be the first to do this, it's been going on in Illinois for years. Get a restraining order or conviction that takes away RKBA and the ISP will be by to collect your FOID card and guns.

There has been at least one instance that I know of that firearms were removed from the home of someone who no longer could have a FOID, even though other residents of the house did have valid FOIDs. It seems that in Illinois if a member of the household loses RKBA everyone living there also does :mad:

So no California isn't the first..although I sure wish they were.

Jeff

Standing Wolf
December 24, 2002, 11:08 PM
"Right now we're identifying the worst of the worst," said Jordan, the Justice Department spokeswoman. "We have limited resources. Until we get some money, we're going at this at the best pace we can."

My only regret about leaving the People's Republic of California this past summer to return to the United States is that I didn't do it years sooner.

SIC TRANSIT GLORIA MUNDI
December 25, 2002, 12:03 AM
Hope I never get a TRO against me - this would definitely cross my line in the sand. If they were to raid me my response would make front page headlines. Definitely my dying day. MOLON LABE!!!

Skunkabilly
December 25, 2002, 12:07 AM
If someone has a violent past and is prone to violence, they should not be living among us. Just my opinion, but I'm just a banjo picker.

Blackcloud6
December 25, 2002, 12:07 AM
>>Even the National Rifle Association supported the bill when it was debated in the Legislature last year, but a lawyer for the organization now questions whether the law is being enforced too broadly. Among his concerns: Gun owners can lose their weapons if they have temporary restraining orders imposed on them by the courts in domestic violence cases -- even if they're not convicted. <<

You know the old saying: "Watch you wish for, you might get it."

The NRA's policy of trying to support some kind of law's as alternatives to gun control is ripe for backfiring. NRA should stay out of this kind of stuff and just fight gun control laws.

SIGarmed
December 25, 2002, 12:52 AM
"The vast majority of people we're going after have multiple violations that make it illegal for them to possess firearms. We've had some who've been committed against their will for mental health problems as many as eight times."

Most but not all? So they have admitted that not all people that they go after have multiple violations.



Rossi, the Justice Department firearms chief, called Michel's statement "one of ignorance."

Ignorance? How about a statement of fact?

For one thing, according to the agents involved in the San Francisco raid, their target had "a violent past but no convictions." Plus, he allegedly possessed illegal assault weapons.

Innocent until proven guilty? Not in California.

So you don't even need a conviction for them to target you and confiscate your property. This is really scary.
Those who approved of this law should have know that giving liberal fascists the green light to start confiscating our guns that it would backfire. Look who is in charge in this state. What did they think would happen?

SIC TRANSIT GLORIA MUNDI
December 25, 2002, 01:11 AM
This situation is really no different than some luckless peasant being ridden down by the King's men.

Hkmp5sd
December 25, 2002, 01:15 AM
Really dumb question. What did they confiscate "more than 460 electric matches"? They haul people BBQ grills to the station for having electric strikers?

Giant
December 25, 2002, 02:21 AM
I have been a man of peace all of my life. Never been arrested, although I did get a traffic ticket for 45 in a 35 back in 1966. I have lived a good life, and have broken no laws. I always treated others fairly, I have been there for the unemployed, sick, dying and homless.

I have said this before, I really do mean it. If for no reason other than a fishing trip the BATF and other police kick in my door, I will kill as many of them as I can, or all of them!!!! I will die in the process, so be it! The police in the PRK need to obey the laws of the land and check their information before trying to roust people, so they can get their name in the paper. If they do it to me everyone involved will be in the morning edition. In the obits!

Giant

3 gun
December 25, 2002, 02:23 AM
I think this is a good case of "be careful what you ask for, you just might get it" and the "slippery slope." Backing laws like this is a main reason the NRA has no support from me.

SIC TRANSIT GLORIA MUNDI
December 25, 2002, 02:47 AM
My sentiments exactly, Giant. They will need to bring more than one body bag with them. This is going too far and it needs to be stopped, one way or another.

Hkmp5sd
December 25, 2002, 03:11 AM
It has been relying primarily on calls from gun shops that deny a sale due to something criminal in a customer's background against a check of permanent state records of all registered owners of handguns.

Does this mean that if you are denied a gun purchase, you can expect a midnight raid to see if you happen to be in possession of an illegal firearm?

m.i.sanders
December 25, 2002, 09:59 AM
Keep your guns down, he told the agents. Try not to excite anyone. He's got five daughters living inside there. Knock on his door and let's hope he cooperates.

"If not," Chinn added, "we'll knock it down and we're going in anyway."


I think that this is a telling statement. They KNOW that the man's daughters are living there, but getting rid of all the evil guns is more important than the people living in the house. After all, he might have an assult pistol.

Tamara
December 25, 2002, 03:41 PM
This is rather chilling, actually.

Wonder what'll happen if they run into someone that says "No, thank you".

2nd Amendment
December 25, 2002, 04:01 PM
Great method of conditioning the public, isn't it? Next on the list...?

Zundfolge
December 26, 2002, 06:15 PM
"Right now we're identifying the worst of the worst," said Jordan

So what happens tomorrow ... who will they decide to target next.

If someone with "a history of violence but no convictions" is the "worst of the worst" then who's next?

Damn I'm glad I live in America and not the PRK .... although someday that will probably start happening here too :(

Gordon
December 26, 2002, 08:05 PM
Hey guys now lets all sing along: " So ya say ya want a revolution, well ya know" why dont we start a Paul Revere society to TAKE action if they ratchet this up? We can start by calling in lots of tips on rigged houses. We can do intell on raiders hang outs ect.Only if they start really violating the constitution.

Nathaniel Firethorn
December 26, 2002, 08:45 PM
Originally posted by Hkmp5sd
Really dumb question. What did they confiscate "more than 460 electric matches"? They haul people BBQ grills to the station for having electric strikers? I was wondering about this too. An electric match is apparently a little pyro igniter for fireworks. You apply a voltage and it goes pop.

I have no idea why they'd be considered sinister...

- pdmoderator

iso1
December 27, 2002, 12:36 PM
did anyone else notice this part?

A new database would include names of all registered handgun owners who subsequently were convicted of a felony or misdemeanor spousal abuse. If a restraining order is filed and not removed, a gun owner could also land on the prohibited list

Yep. Only those who obey the law and register their guns will end up on that list. Not the criminals....

80fl
December 27, 2002, 01:27 PM
Giant:

I have been a man of peace all of my life. Never been arrested, although I did get a traffic ticket for 45 in a 35 back in 1966. I have lived a good life, and have broken no laws. I always treated others fairly, I have been there for the unemployed, sick, dying and homless.

Unfortunately each year that goes by we all get closer to being an outlaw.

Although I don't set out to break laws, neither do I concern myself with unconstitutional laws that I happen to break.

There will come a time when we all must decide whether to obey or not obey these laws.

The Plainsman
December 27, 2002, 04:35 PM
I'm with you and Sic Transit. The more of these stories I see and hear, the more resolved I become. I think I'm becoming a junior "Patrick Henry" - ....give me liberty or give me death!! The only question in my mind is becoming "how many of these scumbags will I be able to take with me."

Now I think I'll go quietly away for a while. Otherwise, I'm going to break into a real RANT!!!! :(

braindead0
December 27, 2002, 04:52 PM
Plainsman: Rant away.

There's been many cases of home invasions in Ohio.. with people impersonating officers. Any supposed LEO's come to my door, they had better be prepared to wait for me to call my Lawyer and their local agency before stepping one foot in my door.

That's the only warning I'm prepared to give.

Gordon
December 27, 2002, 09:33 PM
Making your home your fortress is NOT a way to win a war. We need to keep informed. When raids get too close for comfort then we have to do intell and take counter measures. Our Armies win by shoot and scoot methods. They observe and destroy the enemy on our terms, our ambushes, our raids on their homes ect.Call for a raid on your rigged home and be waiting couple hundred yards away with friends from all directions ect. I pray it doesnt come to this, but I aint going into any Gulag with out taking thousands of enemy if possible.:mad:

WilderBill
December 28, 2002, 04:39 AM
Gordon,
With enough intel, maybe you could get 'em raiding each others homes!
Or get the ATF to do it.
False compaints work just fine. For some reason it seems like all of LE has to act on any complaint no matter how stupid or untrue.

Gordon
December 28, 2002, 11:34 AM
Oh I like that; "raiding each others homes" , and this is only the beginning of endless possibilities.. Yes I see quite clearly the GUN NAZI's have lost already. :)

cuchulainn
December 28, 2002, 11:58 AM
After awhile there ought to be enough wrongly raided people for a class action lawsuit against, oh, say the maker of the battering ram or the cops' boots for failing to assure that their product would not be used in a way that violates constitutional rights. ;)

More seriously, and while I understand some of the sentiments expressed here, ask yourself before doing anything rash whether you'll really be helping or if you'll just be wasting yourself against the enemy lines and perhaps even giving them propaganda fodder. That's not an attack guys, just food for thought. There are many ways to fight back. Be prudent.

Scott Evans
December 28, 2002, 12:33 PM
Undoubtedly the confiscation of weapons by LE in CA is wrong. However; on such topics limit your discussion to why such is wrong and to what the legal alternatives might be. Certainly go as far as to recruit others to the cause of ending the practice.

Planning of counter assault, resistance with intent to kill or other illegal activities, in general or specifically, have no place on The High Road.

If you enjoyed reading about "California: "Raids aim to curtail illegal gun ownership"" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!