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Is "reform" of BATFE possible, would "reform" prove adequate?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by alan, Oct 22, 2006.

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  1. alan

    alan Member

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    Those who can might look at the 10 Oct. issue of Gun Week, in particular the lower half of page 15, for an interesting/disturbing article.

    If what was printed is correct, it appears to me from reading the piece, that agents of the U.S. Government (BATFE) are guilty of tampering with physical evidence, in a criminal case, there is a large problem at hand, with this case. Albert Kwan is the accused, the charge is possession of an illegal machinegun.

    I'm not an attorney, nor did I ever play one on television, not on radio either, but my understanding of things, perhaps incorrect, is that tampering with evidence, like tampering with jurors is a NO-NO, in the case of evidence, sufficient to, at the very least, cause the evidence to be surpressed. Given such activity by what is sometimes described as a law enforcement agency, is mere reform of the agency remotely possible, or anywhere adequate? I doubt it, but I've been wrong before.

    BTW, re this article, it has not, so far as I can tell, appeared in the on-line version of Gun Week, which can be found at www.gunweek.com.
     
  2. Alex45ACP

    Alex45ACP Member

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    If by "reform" you mean "abolishment", yes, that would be an excellent idea.
     
  3. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

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    They didn't try to reform the Gestapo.

    They didn't try to reform the Kempeitai.

    They fired the rank and file and hanged the top level of management.
     
  4. txgho1911

    txgho1911 Member

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    For this fed agency reform would only be possible by replacing the top 3 or 4 levels of management by real patriotic humans who will think for themselves. Only then would that agency see any possible reform. Everyone displaced would have ready field positions waiting for them from Brownsville to the Pacific.
    There are lotts of Alcoholl and Tobaco to regulate.
     
  5. Euclidean

    Euclidean Member

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    Nowhere in the Constituition does it say "The Congress shall regulate alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives."

    You can't reform that which is fundamentally Unconstituitional. It'd be like reforming a bureau established to insure everyone's a member of a certain religion.

    I'm sure they probably do have a function or two that may be Constituitional, but making them compliant with the law would essentially gut the agency to the point of nonrecognition.
     
  6. River Wraith

    River Wraith Member

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    Reformed? No. Abolished? Yes. It's very existence is a travesty.
     
  7. ConstitutionCowboy

    ConstitutionCowboy member

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    Replace "illegal machine gun" with this more accurate description of the weapon - "machine gun possessed in defiance of unconstitutional law", then it will become clear.

    ...Albert Kwan is the accused, the charge is possession of a machine gun in defiance of unconstitutional law.

    Bottom line? The BATFE exists only because of unconstitutional law - the 1934 NFA. Ergo, the BATFEcees shouldn't exist. If they want to keep it, they'll have to drop the "F" and recreate it under other law - constitutional law. Even then it would be totally unnecessary. The FDA can handle alcohol and tobacco.

    Woody

    The underlying problem concerning the law that "allows" or "requires" us to get a permit is law that makes carrying a gun "unlawful" to begin with. It starts there, then laws are passed that create exceptions to the original law, to allow carry under certain conditions after you jump through a few hoops and pay a fee. It is that original law that is unconstitutional. Eliminate that original law, then there is no opportunity to require permits. B.E.Wood
     
  8. Zedicus

    Zedicus Member

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    Reform the BATFE? ROFL

    Won't work, the Agency needs to be Forcefully "Removed" from our Legal System.

    In 1979 a Congressional Committee found the BATFE to have become a "Rogue Agency" and ordered it's Disbandment, did that happen?

    Reform will only at best force them to find new ways to Twist the meaning of their own rules etc & make things even worse for Gunowners than before.

    The only solution to the BATFE problem is their total removal from our System.:cuss:
     
  9. txgho1911

    txgho1911 Member

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    Remove firearms from the BATFE and roll that group into and under the DEA.
    Consolidate all the prohibitionist targets together.
     
  10. DMF

    DMF Member

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    Really? 1979? Care to provide any proof of that?

    Now if you're referring to the February 1982 Report of the Subcommittee on the Constituion, of the Committe on the Judiciary, US Senate, 97th Congress, then your assertions are laughable.

    I really like that report. I like it for what's NOT in it, not what is in it. There are some things very conspicuously absent from that report.

    Anyone seriously presenting that document as proof of ATF abuses, either hasn't examined it very carefully, or is more concerned about pushing a particular agenda, than presenting the truth.

    You should really examine it closely. That document is heavily footnoted in the beginning, with lots of references to court cases, unfortunately all the court cases referenced have NOTHING to do with abuse by the ATF. Then when it gets to allegations of abuse by ATF, the claims of abuse by the ATF are conspicously LACKING ANY REFERENCE to anything that could be used to substantiate the claims.

    Also, that subcommittee was composed of FIVE members of of the Senate. A subcommittee of 5 members can hardly be considered to speak for the whole Legislature, and can't "order" anything. Also, it was published at a time when the NRA, and a few friendly members of Congress, were aggressively trying to shut down the ATF completely, as part of the wrangling over the bill that would eventually become the FOPA.

    Do you know what happened to that plan? Well, it began to look like the NRA was going to get it's wish, and Congress was seriously considering abolishing the ATF. However, the plan being proposed was to dismantle the ATF, and give jurisdiction over the federal gun laws to the US Secret Service. The NRA realized the USSS was a much harder political target, and actually began lobbying to KEEP the ATF going.

    Regardless, that document was published by FIVE (that's only 5% of the whole Senate) Senators, and the allegations of abuse do not contain any way of verifying their veracity. A document with dozens of references to specific cases, has NONE when it comes to claims of abuse. As I said I like that document for what is conspicuously absent from it.
     
  11. alan

    alan Member

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    woodcdi and Euclidean, in their posts, described the 1934 act as Unconstitutional" or questioned it's constitutionality.

    While I'm no supporter of this legislation, The USSC ruled differently in Miller v. U.S., 1939. Of course, Miller was not represented before The Court, nor it seems was the court told of the historical context of U.S. Military issue and use of short barreled shotguns. Had things gone differently, who knows how the court might have ruled.

    Otherwise, please consider the following. The 1934 Act came into being during FDR's first term as President. I suspect that, had he chosen to so do, he could have blocked it's passage, he certainly could have vetoed it. He did neither. Also, re the 1934 Act, in John Ross's Unintended Consequences, this legislation is described as "welfare for Treasury Agents", who with the repeal of Prohibition, might have faced the possibility of layoffs. Could have been the case, who knows. Can't have government employees being laid off, can we?

    Additionally, and here I rely on what I've read elsewhere, FDR, during the time he was Governor of N.Y. the Sullivan Law was repealed. He could have gone along with the legislature, and the Sullivan Law would have gone away. He vetoed repeal. His veto was not over turned, and Sullivan has not, so far as I know, been seriously threatened since.

    In any event, the foregoing, while perhaps interesting to some, are historical references and or reflections of opinion. Re the article I referenced, if I had a scanner, I would have posted the article in it's entirety. Either way, if the article is correct, re it's reference to "an ATF document", the ATF's firearms technician's report of what he did, and what results were obtained, all to clearly illustrates TAMPERING WITH EVIDENCE. As I mentioned, I thought that such action was a NO-NO, as is "jury tampering". Perhaps I'm wrong though, at least respecting a situation where the feds are doing the tampering.
     
  12. cropcirclewalker

    cropcirclewalker member

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    With more than 40% of the American workforce employed by some form of .gov it is pretty unlikely that we will ever see the corruption cleaned out.

    We get rid of ATF? Next people would want to shut down the HEW. Helium Board? IRS? Who knows, maybe the domino theory.

    Not gonna happen.

    The country is it it's last throes. Enjoy.
     
  13. DMF

    DMF Member

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    Got any proof of that?
     
  14. cropcirclewalker

    cropcirclewalker member

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    Yo, Mr. DMF,

    How does the guy who drives the snowplow get to work?

    They have 3 shifts.

    You work for .gov. I do not. By my reckonning, that's 50 percent. :p
     
  15. DMF

    DMF Member

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    Just the type of irrational comment I'd expect from you, and as expected you have NO proof to post. :rolleyes: If I'm wrong feel free to post your proof of the 40% claim. You will forgive me if I don't hold my breath while I wait.
     
  16. xd9fan

    xd9fan Member

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    hear hear!!

    The fear of ALL Govt employees is to have "the people" realize the jobs they do dont really need to either be done at all or that can be done better and cheaper in the free market.
     
  17. Car Knocker

    Car Knocker Member

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  18. Zedicus

    Zedicus Member

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  19. WeedWhacker

    WeedWhacker Member

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    Zedicus, I do not share DMF's point of view, as I also believe the BATFE is a travesty and a sham and should be abolished post haste.

    That said, I read the transcript you referred to, but did not see any mention of a conclusion relating to the fate of the BATF. (Curiously enough, the BATF's rebuttal wasn't listed in the transcript, either.) I would *love* to have documentation of such things you mentioned for my own BATFE dossier.

    Car Knocker, I think you neglected to count all those contractors which work for a company which works for one of the many facets of government. On top of that, the "300 million" figure includes people who are not adults or otherwise fit for employment. That said, the 40% figure still seems far too high.
     
  20. DMF

    DMF Member

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    Well as far as I can tell the only person calling the ATF a "rogue agency" was Neal Knox, a representative of the NRA, not a US Congressman. So please point to where in that incomplete transcript of the hearings from a Congressional Subcommittee any US Congressman determined the ATF was a "rogue agency." Having searched the document the only use of the word "rogue" was by Neal Knox of the NRA. Please also point to where a majority of the Senate and US House of Representatives "ordered" the "disbandment" of the ATF. Since most of us know any subcommittee is a small number of Congressmen, and incapable of "ordering" such a thing, I will be very curious to see your answer.

    Just like those who make false claims about the 1982 report, it would appear you are making false claims about the 1979 hearings.
     
  21. Erinyes

    Erinyes Member

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    I came to 22.5% of the population employed by the government.

    144.9 million people employed according to the BLS. Using Car Knockers numbers, plus the 2.6 million in the military gives you 32.6 million government workers.
     
  22. hammer4nc

    hammer4nc Member

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    DNF posted:
    Apparently you missed this quote from Senator McClure?
    and:
    and:
    Forum members are encouraged to spend the time to read the linked report; for several examples of atf abuse. "Rogue agency" is not an innacurate conclusion.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    As per his usual M.O., DNF has chosen to nitpick irrelevent sidelights to the thread, without addressing the question posed by the thread starter. (Stay tuned...his other standard tactic is to post scores of links from the ATF propaganda website, praising ATF's activities, while diverting from the topic at hand.) One gets the impression that DNF's intent is to get these type threads locked?

    Back to the topic under discussion: In this case, it appears ATF is victimizing Mr. Kwan, much as they victimized Mr. Moorhead, Mr. Earl, and others in the 1970's.

    In answer to the central question posed: "Is reform of ATF possible; or would reform be adequate"...reasonable and unbiased observers could conclude that reform is not possible, and would be inadequate in any event, based on ATF's own track record.

    One supposes that DNF would conclude that the question is moot...i.e., reform of ATF is unnecessary because its such a stellar agency.:eek: I won't put words in his mouth, but it would be quite amusing to see if he could address this question in detail wrt the Kwan case at hand, without nitpicking irrelevent issues or dragging in other topics.:)
     
  23. dfaugh

    dfaugh Member

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    Well, OK--since the article in question isn't available to some of us (online or otherwise)...Can someone at least give a brief description of the "evidence tampering" involved?
     
  24. hammer4nc

    hammer4nc Member

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    dfaugh, I'm not a subscriber to gun week, either, (maybe a member/subscriber could cut&paste), but I've been following the Kwan case in WA state, here's a recent news article that hits the high points:

    http://www.komotv.com/news/story_m.asp?ID=46072
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Gun collector once held in prosecutor's death to help grand jury

    October 19, 2006

    By Associated Press

    SEATTLE - A gun collector once jailed as a material witness in the assassination of a federal prosecutor has agreed to take a lie-detector test and will fully cooperate with a grand jury investigating the case, his lawyers said in a court filing Thursday.

    Albert K. Kwan, of suburban Bellevue, was held for three weeks in January 2005 as part of the investigation into the killing of Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Wales. Last month, Kwan was jailed on an unrelated charge of machine-gun possession.

    In a motion challenging his detention Thursday, his lawyers, Joseph Conte and Eric Stahlfeld, wrote that Kwan signed an agreement with an assistant U.S. attorney on Monday, agreeing to take at least one polygraph examination and "to fully cooperate with the grand jury." In several previous appearances before the grand jury, Kwan has invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

    Wales, an 18-year veteran of the U.S. attorney's office in Seattle and the president of the gun-control group Washington CeaseFire, was shot as he worked in the basement of his home in Seattle's Queen Anne Hill neighborhood on Oct. 11, 2001. According to ballistics tests, the murder weapon was a Makarov pistol outfitted with a replacement barrel.

    The FBI launched a nationwide search for the 3,500 replacement Makarov barrels imported into the United States prior to the killing.

    Kwan was first contacted by the FBI in August 2003, when an agent met with him and asked if the FBI could test-fire his Makarov pistols. Kwan initially refused because his guns were collector's items that had never been fired; once investigators obtained a subpoena for them, he turned them over, his lawyers wrote.

    His lawyers also insisted that agents were less than diligent in trying to serve Kwan with a subpoena to appear before the grand jury in December 2004 and January 2005. The agents made just one attempt: According to an FBI affidavit supporting a search warrant, when Kwan didn't answer his door, agents asked a neighbor where he was. Kwan called the neighbor and said he couldn't come to the door because he was washing his hair - a message the neighbor relayed. A section of the affidavit was cited in the motion.

    After that, the FBI kept him under surveillance and eventually arrested him as a material witness, the lawyers wrote. According to the motion, agents insist that sales records from a Minnesota company, Federal Arms Corp., show Kwan purchased two Makarov replacement barrels in the mid-1990s, but Kwan only turned over one barrel and insists he never purchased a second one.

    Kwan legally owns more than 100 pristine and historical machine guns. But during a search of Kwan's home in January 2005, agents found one - an M-14 - that they said was illegal.

    Kwan's attorneys argue that the M-14 in question required substantial modification by federal agents - including use of a rotary tool with a cutting wheel and the installation of new parts - before it could be fired automatically. Therefore it didn't meet the legal definition of a machine gun, they argued.

    Nevertheless, last month - long after the January 2005 search - Kwan was indicted on one count of machine gun possession. His attorneys suggested that the reason for the charge might be to improve his memory about the supposed second Makarov barrel; asked Thursday night whether he believed the federal government was trying to squeeze his client, Conte said, "Absolutely."


    Through spokeswoman Emily Langlie, the U.S. attorney's office declined to respond. Previously, the prosecutor handling the case said the indictment was brought as soon as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms provided information about the crime.

    "All of Mr. Kwan's problems with the grand jury and this indictment stem from his refusal to let the government take his pistols without a subpoena and his assertion of his legal rights from that time forward," the lawyers wrote. "... At a minimum the United States somehow believes that Mr. Kwan either killed AUSA Thomas Wales or provided the gun, or the barrel to the gun, to the person who did kill Mr. Wales."

    Conte said his client was not involved in Wales' death.

    U.S. Magistrate Judge Monica Benton refused to release Kwan pending trial. She said that given his history of legal scuffles with federal authorities, including the revocation of his federal firearms licenses, which he has appealed; his weapons collection; and his frequent travel to China to study the language, he posed a flight risk and a danger to the community. She also said it was "difficult to ignore" his behavior regarding the Wales investigation.

    In asking U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly to review the detention order, Conte and Stahlfeld argued that Kwan's exercise of his constitutional rights did not constitute grounds for detention. They said he is a native of Hong Kong who has lived in the Seattle area for 20 years, has no previous convictions and is a sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve.

    "He is a person who scrupulously guards his privacy and his constitutional rights," Stahlfeld and Conte wrote. "None of these makes him a risk of flight or a danger to the community."

    Only one person has been identified publicly as a suspect in the Wales case: an airline pilot who recently moved from Bellevue to Snohomish, and who was once prosecuted by Wales in a fraud case. That man's lawyer has insisted he is innocent.
     
  25. cropcirclewalker

    cropcirclewalker member

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    [thread drift]

    Back in '92 I was watching as Perot did his flip chart thing. At that time he claimed that 45 percent of workers worked for some form of .gov.

    Before some brain dead republican apologist wanders off on the "That's how we got Clinton" harrangue, it doesn't matter.

    I am remembering his concern in '92. That's 14 years ago.

    That was before DHS and TSA (God Forbid)

    The largest employer in my county is the school system. (.gov workers)

    The NSA claims that they (the NSA) don't even exist.

    Blackburn or Blackthorn or Blackstar or Death Star or whoever it is that is the .gov contractor over in Iraq doing the work that is too expensive for our military works for .gov.

    The Chaney division of Halliburton and their no-bid contracts?

    CIA with their black ops and front companies that tinker with overthrowing foreign govts are not required to give out that information.

    There is no way that we will ever know how much of our money (or the imaginary printed money) that is getting spent to employ our servants, those who work for .gov.

    Until you can include all those workers..........don't quote me no statistics.

    We are looking at the tip of the iceberg.

    [/thread drift]
     
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