Bloomberg Restraining Order


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mrreynolds
January 25, 2008, 07:39 PM
A federal judge said Friday that Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration did not commit a crime when it sent undercover investigators into gun shops to attempt illegal weapons purchases.

The city, which is suing the gun dealers, said the ruling was good news for its case, but the gun dealers believe it may also help their argument that they didn't do anything wrong either.

The sting operation was conducted two years ago as the basis for a civil lawsuit brought by the city against 27 gun dealers in Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia; Bloomberg targeted shops that the city believes are responsible for selling guns traced back to crimes in New York City.

Fifteen dealers have settled and agreed to let a special master monitor their sales, and a suit against several of the remaining 12 is proceeding in federal court in Brooklyn.

As part of the discovery process for the case, lawyers for some of the gun shops argued that the city had itself violated the law by attempting the illegal purchases.

Gun rights advocates and organizations like the National Rifle Association also have complained that Bloomberg's gun sting was a criminal stunt. And the Justice Department even did its own inquiry as to whether the city was out of bounds.

But U.S. Magistrate Judge Cheryl Pollak said Friday the court had found "that the city's actions do not constitute a crime or fraud."

In the sting operation, private investigators hired by the city wore hidden cameras and attempted "straw purchases," where one person fills out the legal forms and buys the gun for someone else. The scam, prohibited by federal law, is typically employed by people who cannot own firearms, such as convicted felons.

Pollak agreed with the city's argument that the critical factor in a straw purchase is the intent of the buyer. And in the purchases made by the city's investigators, the buyer did not hand over the purchased gun later.

"No 'straw' sale took place because ownership was never transferred," the judge wrote.

Bloomberg's criminal justice coordinator, John Feinblatt, applauded the decision.

"What the court has said today is exactly what we've said _ the only people who broke the law here were dealers who engaged in straw
purchases," he said.

But an attorney for some of the defendants also welcomed the judge's ruling.

"Our side is getting stronger every day," said Carl Pierce. "These people engaging in these sales weren't doing anything illegal."

Bloomberg (http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/newyork/ny-bc-ny--bloomberg-gunstin0125jan25,0,5654657.story)

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Rumble
January 25, 2008, 07:46 PM
"No 'straw' sale took place because ownership was never transferred," the judge wrote.

Bloomberg's criminal justice coordinator, John Feinblatt, applauded the decision.

"What the court has said today is exactly what we've said _ the only people who broke the law here were dealers who engaged in straw
purchases," he said.

Hello, Captain Missed-the-Point Feinblatt: no straw sale took place. So nobody broke the law.

I think this is good news.

zoom6zoom
January 25, 2008, 08:14 PM
And here I was thinking that the attempt to purchase was a crime, regardless of whether the transaction was completed.

RP88
January 25, 2008, 08:28 PM
I dont understand. How does one figure out whether or not the buyer is a straw purchaser? Unless the PIs came in with people next to them, and/or said "yea it's for a friend" or something of that nature, then how do they get accused of straw purchasing?

Old Fuff
January 25, 2008, 09:44 PM
If the P.I.'s that made the purchase were not residents of the state where the sale was made, they must have used "questionable" identification and a phoney address on the #4473 form. Either the dealer was not paying any attention, or the buyer was commiting a federal crime.

If the buyer was a resident of the state where the sale was made, he could have been a legal buyer. But if he answered the question, "Are you buying this gun for yourself?" Yes... then he obviously broke the law. The BATF&E can run such stings, as they are empowered by law to do so. P.I.'s however are not.

But what the heck! Apparently the judge is in New York. Nothing more needs to be said.

Daemon688
January 25, 2008, 11:24 PM
Can anyone explain to us what exactly these undercover agents were doing during the purchase? Its darn near impossible to determine a straw purchase and if they have local addresses, no illegal transaction took place.

Frog48
January 25, 2008, 11:54 PM
A federal judge said Friday that Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration did not commit a crime when it sent undercover investigators into gun shops to attempt illegal weapons purchases.

How do they figure that no crime was committed? Bloomberg and his cronies clearly violated the law by falsifying 4473 forms.

As far as I know, local law enforcement does not have immunity/defense to prosecution for such acts, unless the sting was conducted under the auspices of the BATFE. And that does not appear to be the case... otherwise Bloomberg wouldnt feel it necessary to file civil lawsuits, because the BATFE would be running the show, not him.

Another case of politicians sticking their noses where they dont belong.

Sage of Seattle
January 26, 2008, 09:00 PM
Looks like Ze's thread http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=334422 is a dupe of this one. Maybe a merge, mods?

How do they figure that no crime was committed? Bloomberg and his cronies clearly violated the law by falsifying 4473 forms.

Good point, Grant. Even if the weapons weren't handed over to the other party, a non-law enforcement officer still went into the gunshops and, for all intents and purposes, lied on the forms. So each of those people are guilty of a federal crime, no matter if Bloomberg directed it or not.

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