Categories
Cops

Investigators in Alec Baldwin shooting wrap up. Will there be charges? By Tom Knighton

(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
It was just over a year ago when a firearm in the hands of actor and anti-gun activist Alec Baldwin was fired, killing Halyna Hutchins and injuring one other on the set of the movie Rust.

Over that time we’ve learned a lot, and little of it has been good news for the 30 Rock star. For example, we learned that no, there’s no way that particular pistol “just went off.”

He got some more bad news earlier this week, too. It seems investigators are wrapping up their investigation.

The Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office completed its investigation Thursday into the fatal “Rust” shooting that left cinematographer Halyna Hutchins dead — and criminal charges against those involved, including Alec Baldwin, may be imminent.

“Today, District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies received the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s investigative report on the Rust movie set incident,” Heather Brewer, the spokesperson for Santa Fe’s top prosecutor, said in an email.

“The District Attorney and her team of investigators and prosecutors will now begin a thorough review of the information and evidence to make a thoughtful, timely decision about whether to bring charges.”

Brewer said the prosecutor’s focus will be “on upholding the integrity of the process, enforcing the laws of the state of New Mexico, and pursuing justice.”

Brewer could not provide a timeline on when Carmack-Altwies will have her decision ready but said there are no statutory deadlines in New Mexico that dictate how much time she has to press charges, beyond statutes of limitation.

While the announcement is short of details, Carmack-Altwies has been gearing up for a prosecution against someone with deep pockets. If it’s not Baldwin, it’s a mystery who that could be.

However, it also seems that Carmack-Altwies isn’t just focused on the high-profile A-lister. She also looks to potentially charge three others.

Yet no matter who else gets charged, Baldwin is going to be the headliner.

And frankly, it seems unlikely that he won’t be charged. No one disputes that the firearm was in his hands when the shot occurred. Even Baldwin has admitted publicly that it was.

What he’s claimed, though, is that the gun just fired, it went off suddenly and without any action on his part to cause it to do so. Yet an FBI team looking at the firearm in question said that simply couldn’t happen with that particular pistol. It wasn’t faulty or in some other state where it would just “go off” as Baldwin alleges.

So the idea that Baldwin won’t face charges while others do seems a little farfetched.

Yet the question now becomes who else faces charges. While armorer Hannah Guiterrez-Reed is a potential candidate, there’s also evidence that she simply wasn’t allowed to do her job in the first place. The state’s version of OSHA found evidence of that, which one would imagine might well impact any decision at prosecution.

However, as noted above, there’s no timeline for when charges will be formally filed. It seems clear someone’s getting prosecuted, though, which means we’ll get yet another high-profile trial to tear apart soon enough.

Categories
Cops Fieldcraft

Top 10 Most Dangerous Motorcycle Gangs in USA 2019. Top Ten Notorious American Biker Gangs

Categories
All About Guns Cops

Ammoland FBI Under Reports Good Guys With Guns Saving Lives! ~ VIDEO

USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- The media will tell you that good guys with guns hardly ever stop attacks. Boy, are they wrong. According to compiled evidence by the Crime Prevention Research Center, some media outlets are underreporting the number of Defensive Gun Uses (DGU) by law abiding gun owners where attacks are prevented. Some media is reporting only 10% of the actual DGUs in America by citizens.

Could this be because DGUs by law-abiding citizens don’t support the anti-gun narrative, or could it be simply due to faulty information they are given?

A look into the data provided by the FBI shows that discrepancies in DGUs are often caused by the “misclassifying of shootings” and “overlooked incidents.” Research by the Crime Prevention Research Center shows us that in several incidents, the FBI didn’t list attacks that were stopped by armed citizens when police had later apprehended the attackers. According to Crime Prevention Research Center, the FBI also has misidentified armed citizens as security officials resulting in the elimination of them being qualified as “citizen defensive gun uses.” You may remember Jack Wilson, who stopped an attack at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas. The media narrative portrayed Wilson as a security guard when Wilson himself said he was just a parishioner who had volunteered to provide security during worship.

In some cases where armed civilians completely thwart mass public shootings (meaning, not even a shot fired), the FBI simply doesn’t report them. According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, the FBI missed 25 of these incidents that would likely have become mass public shootings had it not been for the good guy or gal with a gun.

Due to these reasons for non-reporting, the FBI only showed 6.6% of mass killings being stopped by armed citizens, while the Crime Prevention Research Center shows 49.1% being stopped. In these cases, approximately half of the thwarted attacks occurred in gun-free zones.

As for those locations where citizens were legally allowed to carry a gun publicly, the number of thwarted attacks by armed citizens increased by almost 10% to 58% in 2021. What does this tell us? It tells us that gun-free zones put people in danger, and the media doesn’t want you to know when good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns.

In March of 2013, 380,000 active duty and 70,000 retired law-enforcement officers were surveyed in a PoliceOne survey. 86% believed that casualties from public shootings could be reduced or avoided altogether if citizens were armed at the time of the attack. 77% supported the arming of teachers and/or school Administrators. Wouldn’t it make sense to consider the opinions of Police Officers and those who investigate these types of crimes on a daily basis?

It’s no surprise the media would use underreported data. But they and anti-gun extremists seem all too willing to put people in danger by spreading false information. The idea that gun-free zones are safe, citizens shouldn’t carry in public, and police departments should be defunded could be putting good people in some very dangerous situations without any way of protecting themselves.

The 2nd Amendment is not a privilege. It’s your right.
Dan Wos
Author – Good Gun Bad Guy
Host – The Loaded Mic


About Dan Wos, Author – Good Gun Bad Guy

Dan Wos is available for Press Commentary. For more information contact PR HERE

Dan Wos is a nationally recognized 2nd Amendment advocate, Host of The Loaded Mic and Author of the “GOOD GUN BAD GUY” book series. He speaks at events, is a contributing writer for many publications, and can be found on radio stations across the country. Dan has been a guest on the Sean Hannity Show, Real America’s Voice, and several others. Speaking on behalf of gun-rights, Dan exposes the strategies of the anti-gun crowd and explains their mission to disarm law-abiding American gun-owners.

Categories
Cops Grumpy's hall of Shame Some Sick Puppies!

Marc Lépine, Militarized Misogyny, and the Ecole Polytechnique Massacre by WILL DABBS MD

I personally think girls are the greatest of all God’s many manifestly amazing creations. Sadly, Marc Lépine felt otherwise.

Some may take umbrage with my assertion, but I would propose that the human female is the most complex organism in the known universe. Stealth bombers, robot Mars rovers, and quantum computers don’t even come close. After a literal lifetime of study I can honestly say that I have no idea what makes girls tick. I am deeply thankful for the fairer half of the human population, but I will never consider myself an expert in the field of female relations. My wife would likely rate me a solid marginal. I think I should get an “A” for effort.

Marc Lépine, shown here alongside his younger sister, was dealt a fairly sordid hand in life.

Despite whatever challenges I might have interacting with women, Marc Lépine was far worse. Born in 1964 as Gamil Rodrigue Liass Gharbi in Montreal, Quebec, Marc was the son of an Algerian immigrant named Rachid Liass Gharbi and Canadian nurse Monique Lépine. He had one younger sister named Nadia. For a variety of very good reasons, Marc had daddy issues.

This is Monique Lépine. Her son was a monster.

Monique was a former Catholic nun who rejected all religion after leaving the convent. Rachid was a non-pious Muslim. Mom later described Marc as “a confirmed atheist all his life.” Rachid started running around on Monique while on business trips, and things spiraled from there.

Marc Lépine just never seemed to get a break.

Rachid was a vile, violent, overbearing man who physically abused both his wife and his kids. He and Monique divorced, but things didn’t get much better. Rachid defaulted on his mortgage, and the family lost their home and most of their possessions. When he came of age Gamil Rodrigue Liass Gharbi changed his named to Marc Lépine to spite his reprobate father.

Marc Lépine’s upbringing was hard and chaotic.

In his youth, Marc was described as reserved, quiet, and uncommunicative. His sister Nadia mocked him mercilessly in public over both his acne and his inability to secure a girlfriend. This precipitated a deep-seeded hatred. Marc once dug a faux grave for her in the backyard of the house where they were staying. He was thrilled when she was remanded to a group home for drug abuse and chronic delinquency. Nadia died of a cocaine overdose in 1996 at age 28.

Early on Marc Lépine vented his frustrations on the local pigeon population.

To make things worse, there were rumors that Marc might have been molested as part of a Big Brother after-school program. Along the way he acquired an air rifle and slaughtered pigeons wholesale in the neighborhood where he lived. He developed a fascination with World War 2 and openly praised Adolf Hitler. In 1981 at age 17 Marc applied for a position as an officer cadet in the Canadian military but was rejected. A subsequent statement from the Canadian Army explained that he was “interviewed, assessed, and found to be unsuitable.”

Behold the face of evil.

So here we have a kid with some suboptimal raw material raised in some of the most ghastly conditions imaginable. He hated his family and distrusted most everybody else. All the male figures in his life were beastly animals, while the women were abusive and distant. This was the perfect milieu to precipitate Something Truly Horrible.

The Setting

École Polytechnique was the site of an epically horrible mass shooting.

Bless his heart, Marc tried to make something of himself. He attended a variety of technical schools wherein his academic performance ranged from exemplary to absent with everything in between. By the late 1980’s he had set his sights on École Polytechnique, a respected engineering school in Montreal.

For reasons known only to him, images like this just sent Marc Lépine over the edge.

Marc had to complete a couple of classes to qualify for admission, and he pursued these prerequisites in fits and starts. During a 1989 meeting with an admissions officer, Marc complained that women were taking over the job market, displacing men from their more traditional roles. He was particularly bitter about female engineers and police officers. Somewhere along the way, Marc Lépine just snapped.

The Ruger Mini-14 was Lépine’s weapon of choice.

Lépine planned his vengeance over a period of months. In August of 1989 he made formal application for a permit to purchase a Ruger Mini-14 semiautomatic rifle. His application was approved in October of that year. He actually purchased the gun on November 21, 1989, from a local sporting goods store. This should address any lingering doubts you might have had concerning the effectiveness of waiting periods.

The Shootings

Marc Lépine was a self-described anti-feminist. Of all the dark twisted causes around which to wrap one’s dysfunctional life, this one strikes me as stranger than most.

On December 6, 1989, Marc Lépine walked into a second-floor classroom of the École Polytechnique with his Mini-14. He methodically segregated the men from the women and directed the roughly fifty male students to leave. Once he had thusly winnowed the crowd he opened fire, killing six women and wounding the rest. Before leaving the room to continue his rampage he took a moment to scrawl a scatological reference across one of the female student’s project depicting his displeasure with its quality.

Marc Lépine focused his rage on the entire female population. In the sordid aftermath of the attack, several survivors have also taken their own lives. In two cases, their final thoughts attributed their own suicides to survivor’s guilt over this horrible attack.

Lépine then went mobile, wandering the halls, classrooms, and cafeteria shooting mostly women but a few men as well. His 14th and final victim was wounded and cried out for help. In response, Lépine stabbed her to death with his hunting knife before turning the rifle on himself. The entire ghastly attack spanned some twenty minutes. In addition to the fifteen dead, there were another fourteen who were badly injured. Lépine was 25 at the time.

The Suicide Letter

Humans have a weird compulsion to capture their final thoughts on paper prior to self destruction. Those of Marc Lépine were fairly nonsensical.

Lépine left behind a suicide note written in French. Here are a few excerpts drawn from the translation—

Forgive the mistakes, I had 15 minutes to write this. See also Annex.

Please note that if I commit suicide today 89-12-06 it is not for economic reasons (for I have waited until I exhausted all my financial means, even refusing jobs) but for political reasons. Because I have decided to send the feminists, who have always ruined my life, to their Maker…I tried in my youth to enter the Forces as an officer cadet, which would have allowed me possibly to get into the arsenal…They refused me because asocial [sic]. I therefore had to wait until this day to execute my plans. In between, I continued my studies in a haphazard way for they never really interested me, knowing in advance my fate…Even if the Mad Killer epithet will be attributed to me by the media, I consider myself a rational erudite that only the arrival of the Grim Reaper has forced to take extreme acts…Being rather backward-looking by nature (except for science), the feminists have always enraged me. They want to keep the advantages of women (e.g. cheaper insurance, extended maternity leave preceded by a preventative leave, etc.) while seizing for themselves those of men.

Thus it is an obvious truth that if the Olympic Games removed the Men-Women distinction, there would be women only in the graceful events. So the feminists are not fighting to remove that barrier. They are so opportunistic they [do not] neglect to profit from the knowledge accumulated by men through the ages. They always try to misrepresent them every time they can. Thus, the other day, I heard they were honoring the Canadian men and women who fought at the frontline during the world wars. How can you explain [that since] women were not authorized to go to the frontline??? Will we hear of Caesar’s female legions and female galley slaves who of course took up 50% of the ranks of history, though they never existed. A real Casus Belli.

Sorry for this too brief letter.

Marc Lépine

It’s Will again now–Wow. That guy was a piece of work.

The Gun

The similarities between the Mini-14 and its larger .30-caliber brother are obvious.

The Ruger Mini-14 was developed by James Sullivan, one of the original designers of the AR15, and Bill Ruger. Introduced in 1973, the Mini-14 was a scaled-down .223 version of the M14 battle rifle. While the two weapons are intentionally similar externally, their operating systems remain quite different.

The Ruger Mini-14 is one of the most highly customized weapons ever built.

The Mini-14 is offered in a variety of configurations in both stainless and blued finishes. This gas-operated rifle feeds from detachable box magazines and could be had from the factory with both fixed and folding stocks. The Mini-14 is one of the most widely accessorized firearms ever produced, and it remains in production today. In the hands of sensible folk it is a reliable utility tool.

The Aftermath

Poverty does a lot of bad things, but it doesn’t automatically make you a psychopath.

Psychiatrists have pored over the details of Lépine’s case, attributing his psychopathy to a broad spectrum of influences ranging from genetic to political. They affixed a variety of psychiatric diagnoses to the man in retrospect. Some of the labels include personality disorders, “extreme narcissistic vulnerability,” and fantasies of power combined with excessive self-criticism. It has been postulated that he had suffered brain damage at some point. Some delusional commentator even claimed that Lépine’s egregious behavior was simply the result of having been raised in poverty. Were that the case you would expect places like Burundi and Niger to be populated solely by serial killers.

Gun control via legislative fiat is a fool’s errand in Information Age America. With some 440 million weapons already in circulation, that ship has sailed.

There are 440 million firearms in America. Marc Lépine invested four months obtaining his gun through legal channels. In modern-day America it is not humanly possible to prevent monsters like this guy from obtaining the tools they want to commit their heinous crimes.

You really don’t have to look very far to find a good reason to pack a gun these days.

I don’t carry a gun every day because I am paranoid or insecure. I carry a gun because my family and I share the planet with homicidal lunatics like Marc Lépine. If you feel differently then good for you. Do whatever you want, just leave me alone to make my own choices. There was exactly one thing that could have stopped Marc Lépine on that horrible day in 1989, and it wasn’t some ill-conceived piece of feel-good legislation. It was a good guy with a gun.

Categories
All About Guns Born again Cynic! Cops

NYC Medical Examiner’s gun crime unit begins work next week By Sharon Crowley

Beginning Monday, the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office is launching its new DNA Gun Crimes Unit.

Meant to help speed up both testing and the criminal justice process, the forensic lab is the first of its kind in the country dedicated exclusively to processing gun crimes.

“As far as gun cases, we handle over six thousand cases,” said Senior Forensic Scientist Gabrielle McKenzie.

That’s six thousand gun cases a year in New York City.  Now, the city Medical Examiner’s Office has a gun crime unit that will be staffed with 24 forensic scientists.

NYC overall crime up, murders down

What makes the lab new is that scientists working there are strictly devoted to processing and analyzing DNA found on guns, rather than fingerprints.

The team will get faster results for the NYPD, prosecutors as well as defense lawyers who represent accused shooters.

 

“We, in building this unit, are going to reduce our turnaround time in gun crimes cases from 60 days to less than 30 days and that’s revolutionary,” said Dr. Jason Graham, the city’s Chief Medical Examiner.

The unit has been created to help deal with the city’s gun crisis and is independently run by scientists.

Providing the criminal justice system with DNA results more quickly helps both the guilty and the innocent.

“That would lead to either a faster more efficient exoneration of someone who’s innocent and a speedier conviction of someone who’s guilty and maybe a threat to New Yorkers on the street,” Dr. Graham said.

“We will help to resolve a lot of crimes, and we will help get justice to people who need it,” said Vanessa Sutherland, one of the new forensic scientists on the team.

The new gun unit will officially begin its work on Monday, October 17.

Categories
All About Guns California Cops You have to be kidding, right!?!

California AG: Maybe New York’s latest gun laws are “overbroad” By Cam Edwards

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
Just a few weeks ago California gunowners dodged a legislative bullet meant to curb their right to bear arms in self-defense in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision tossing out the “may-issue” concealed carry permitting system in New York, which also upended California’s own requirement that applicants demonstrate a “good cause” for carrying a firearm in self-defense. Legislation that would have largely mirrored New York’s post-Bruen carry restrictions failed by a single vote on the last day of California’s legislative session, though Gov. Gavin Newsom and anti-gun lawmakers have vowed to bring the legislation back at the first possible opportunity.

Given the fact that a federal judge has already said that many portions of New York’s ironically named Concealed Carry Improvement Act are likely unconstitutional, are California lawmakers really ready to double down and approve similar restrictions in the Golden State? Unfortunately, the answer is “yes,” though California Attorney General Rob Bonta suggested in an interview this week that the California legislation could be tweaked in response to the New York case. One thing is clear, however: Bonta and other anti-gun Democrats are still intent on restricting the right to carry as much as they possibly can.

Bonta said his sense of urgency remains as acute as ever.

“There will be, and there have been huge spikes in the number of applicants,” he said. “We believe that it’s important to have a constitutional regime that allows for those who should constitutionally have a concealed carry weapon to have (one), but to take the steps to make sure that we are doing everything constitutionally permissible to keep people safe.”

“Keep people safe,” in Bonta’s view, means prohibiting concealed carry holders from actually carrying in most circumstances and ensuring stiff sentences and severe consequences for those concealed carry holders who may stray into one of the many “gun-free zones” Bonta and his anti-gun allies want to put in place. And even if the courts don’t look kindly on New York’s newest infringements on the Second Amendment, California’s AG is intent on putting new laws on the books.

Bonta echoed comments made by the bill’s author, state Sen. Anthony Portantino, a Glendale Democrat, who said that he would like to see the bill, or some version of it, introduced as soon as the next session begins in December.

That plan hit a possible speed bump late last month. Where California’s bill failed, a similar proposal in New York was signed into law, only for a federal judge to rule this month that its long list of “sensitive places” is unconstitutional.

“So we need to look at that, and maybe it is over-broad,” Bonta said, “and we should take that to heart…and respond appropriately with any new (similar) bill.”

Bonta was also asked about California’s new law that, in part, forces plaintiffs challenging any state-level gun control law to pay attorneys fees if they lose any portion of their lawsuit; a law enacted as a response to a Texas law allowing private citizens to sue abortion providers in the state. The California AG seemed to realize just how stupid this culture war fight really is, calling the move a “dangerous game” but claiming that somehow it’s okay when California does it.

Bonta insisted that the law is an earnest effort to “save lives,” but also acknowledged that it was meant to call the high court’s bluff.

“We’re using it in the best way that it can be used, in a way that advances California values,” he said. “But it’s dangerous. It’s a dangerous game. We’re using it responsibly. Now others can use it like Texas, and maybe the Supreme Court will look at the landscape of how this approach is being used and try to correct it. If that happens, that’s fine, too.”

Not exactly a stirring defense of the California law in question, is it? I’m sure the Second Amendment groups that are challenging the law in court will find Bonta’s comments very interesting, especially since it seems like Bonta’s basically asking the Supreme Court to step in and invalidate both the Texas and California statutes.

While Bonta might not be too eager to defend this particular law in court, he’s very much a willing participant in California Democrats’ attempt to chill the Second Amendment rights of Californians. Bonta can chalk that up to “advancing California values,” but to those trying to exercise their right to keep and bear arms Bonta’s efforts look a lot more like treading all over a fundamental right of we the people.

Categories
Cops

I like this guy even if he is French!

Categories
All About Guns Cops Some Scary thoughts

Commentary: More Federal Bureaucrats than U.S. Marines Are Authorized to Pack Heat

by Mark Hemingway

 

When Congress authorized $80 billion this year to beef up Internal Revenue Service enforcement and staffing, Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy invoked the language of war to warn that “Democrats’ new army of 87,000 IRS agents will be coming for you.”

A video quickly went viral racking up millions of views, purporting to show a bunch of clumsy bureaucrats receiving firearms training, prompting alarm that the IRS would be engaged in military-style raids of ordinary taxpayers. The GOP claims were widely attacked as exaggerations – since the video, though from the IRS, didn’t show official agent training – but the criticism has shed light on a growing trend: the rapid arming of the federal government.

A report issued last year by the watchdog group Open The Books, “The Militarization of The U.S. Executive Agencies,” found that more than 200,000 federal bureaucrats now have been granted the authority to carry guns and make arrests – more than the 186,000 Americans serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. “One hundred three executive agencies outside of the Department of Defense spent $2.7 billion on guns, ammunition, and military-style equipment between fiscal years 2006 and 2019 (inflation adjusted),” notes the report. “Nearly $1 billion ($944.9 million) was spent between fiscal years 2015 and 2019 alone.”

The watchdog reports that the Department of Health and Human Services has 1,300 guns including one shotgun, five submachine guns, and 189 automatic firearms. NASA has its own fully outfitted SWAT team, with all the attendant weaponry, including armored vehicles, submachine guns, and breeching shotguns. The Environmental Protection Agency has purchased drones, GPS trackers, radar equipment, and night vision goggles, in addition to stockpiling firearms.

2018 Government Accountability Office report noted that the IRS had 4,487 guns and 5,062,006 rounds of ammunition in inventory at the end of 2017  – before the enforcement funding boost this year. The IRS did not respond to requests for information, though the IRS’ Criminal Investigation division does put out an annual report detailing basic information such as how many warrants the agency is executing in a given year.

Yet more than a hundred executive agencies have armed investigators, and there doesn’t appear to be any independent authority actively monitoring or tracking the use of force across the federal government.

When asked about the need for such lethal materiel, agency officials typically speak only in general terms about security concerns. Agencies contacted by RealClearInvestigations from HHS to EPA declined to provide, or said they did not have, comprehensive statistics on how often their firearms are used, or details on how they conduct armed operations.

“I would be amazed if that data exists in any way,” said Trevor Burrus, a research fellow in constitutional and criminal law at the libertarian CATO Institute. “Over the years of working on this, it’s quite shocking how much they try to not have their stuff tracked on any level.”

Abigail Blanco, an economics professor at the University of Tampa, and the co-author of “Tyranny Comes Home: The Domestic Fate of U.S. Militarism,” told  RCI that the militarization of the federal government appears to track closely with the increased militarization of local police.

Blanco cites data in her book from criminologist Peter Kraska, who found that about 20% of small-town police departments had SWAT-style teams in the mid-1980s, deployed about 3,000 times annually. After the creation of a federal program in 1997 to arm local police with surplus military equipment, about 90% of small-town police departments had SWAT teams by the early 2000s and those units were being deployed 45,000 times annually. Current estimates suggest those SWAT teams are deployed as many as 80,000 times a year.

By and large, the arming of the federal bureaucracy is a relatively recent phenomenon: Some 74,500 federal agents had firearm authority in 1996, a number that has nearly tripled since then. Some of the increase is due to agencies taking responsibility for the security of their own buildings. The Department of Veterans Affairs, for example, did not have a police force in 1995, but by 2018 it had nearly 4,000 armed officers, mostly dedicated to guarding the agency’s hospitals and other medical sites.

“We can all understand the dangerous world out there,” said Adam Andrzejewski, the  CEO of Open The Books – and thus, he said, the need for some heavy weaponry in the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice. “But some of these other agencies, like Health and Human Services, they’ve got machine guns?”

Andrzejewski said that when he asked HHS about its arsenal, the agency spoke only in general terms about the dangers employees faced. It did not detail an increase in threats or provide specific examples of cases where such weapons would be required.

“Our investigations often involve undercover work, surveillance, as well as arrest and search warrants,” the agency said in a statement to Open The Books. “Our special agents have confiscated hundreds of firearms and arrested individuals who had direct access to firearms and other weapons. In order to keep our agents safe and allow them to do their jobs effectively, we use typical law enforcement equipment, including firearms and ballistic vests.”

All that weaponry raises questions about whether the 200,000 armed federal agents are getting adequate weapons and safety training. HHS did not respond to a request to comment on the $14 million in guns, ammunition, and military equipment it purchased between 2015 and 2019 or its new National Training Operations Center within the Washington, D.C. Beltway. There’s also another government agency – Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers – with locations in six states. That agency also declined to speak with RCI for this article.

According to Burrus of the Cato Institute, recent history helps explain the militarization of the federal government. “This is 20 years of the war on terror, with the production of an excessive amount of access to weaponry,” he says.

The Homeland Security Act of 2002 extended law enforcement authority to special agents of 24 Offices of Inspectors General in agencies throughout the government, with additional provisions to enable other OIGs to qualify for law enforcement authority. Though OIG offices are often thought of as being responsible for policing internal corruption at executive agencies, they are also tasked with conducting external criminal and civil investigations regarding the use of agency resources.

As a result, even obscure agencies such as the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board’s Office of Inspector General now have armed federal agents. This summer, before the expansion of the IRS was approved by Congress, Republican congressman Matt Gaetz specifically singled out the RRB as an example of the excesses of an armed bureaucracy when he introduced a bill to stop federal agencies from stockpiling ammunition.

The Railroad Retirement Board was the only federal agency to respond to RCI’s requests for comment for this article. Jill F. Roellig, a manager and program analyst at the RRB in Chicago, countered that the agency distributes $13 billion in retirement and health benefits each year. “As you know, with government payments, there’s fraud associated with it, and our job is to investigate those types of fraud cases,” she said. “[RRB agents] execute search warrants, do surveillance, they interview targets, they make arrests, they do all types of things that law enforcement agencies do in order to do oversight and fight fraud in the RRB’s programs. It’s a national program, as well.”

While fraud investigations might be an important part of RRB’s mission, the agency has had police powers for only 20 of the agency’s 87 years of existence. When asked, Roellig said she didn’t know how the agency conducted fraud investigations prior to 2002, but did note that the RRB’s investigators regularly worked with the FBI and law enforcement agencies.

Still, federal agencies doing their own criminal investigations raises important constitutional and civil rights questions that have never really been addressed. Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency raided a number of small auto shops across the country for allegedly selling equipment that helped car owners circumvent emissions regulations. The auto shop owners say that the emissions equipment they were installing was part of the process of turning street legal cars into vehicles that are solely dedicated to being used on racetracks – an activity that’s not necessarily illegal.

“It was 12 armed federal agents, and they had little EPA badges on and everything,” John Lund, the owner of Lund Racing in West Chester, Pennsylvania, told the Washington Examiner. “They had a search warrant for conspiracy to sell defeat devices. They basically went around the building, and they did forensics — physical forensics, digital forensics on the laptops, and we were compliant.”

The EPA’s aggressive enforcement of emissions standards for race cars, resulting in at most civil fines, prompted Republican Rep. Patrick Henry of North Carolina to introduce the RPM Act (short for Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act) to clarify the legality of emissions rules on race cars. The bill attracted 133 co-sponsors – including 30 Democrats.

The bill was first introduced in 2016, when a House oversight committee held a hearing titled “Racing to Regulate: EPA’s Latest Overreach on Amateur Drivers.” Six years later, the RPM Act is still languishing in Congress – prompting a visit from racing legend Richard Petty in July to lobby for the bill.

The EPA did not respond a request for comment, but last year the agency issued a brief statement defending the raids on the auto shops: “Our agents are necessarily armed when they investigate persons alleged to have knowingly violated the law, and our investigations are often conducted in the company of local/state law enforcement and pursuant to judicially approved subpoenas.”

While it’s hardly a new complaint that federal bureaucracies are overstepping their rulemaking authority and usurping congress’ legislative powers, the idea that executive agencies are broadly empowered to effectively create their own laws and go out and enforce them with armed federal agents is another matter.

“So many of the regulations that can be enforced at the point of a gun have almost nothing to do with what people would normally call dangerous crime, that would be the kind of thing where you might want armed agents there,” said Burrus. “And especially coming from agencies such as the EPA and other agencies that are more quality-of-life agencies dealing with regulatory infractions, rather than involved in solving real crimes.”

Critics say allowing federal agencies to perform their own law enforcement removes an important layer of accountability that existed when unarmed federal investigators were forced to cooperate with local authorities.

“If there’s a dispute the EPA has with a rancher where they want to come in with armed agents, you’re much better off coming in with a local sheriff who is probably familiar with the person in the situation,” says Peter Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute. “With the sheriff you have an independent person if something goes wrong. Otherwise, you’re taking the word of this government agency, where the law enforcement mechanism is the same as the bureaucracy that’s alleging the violations. It’s a real opportunity for damaging people’s rights in a major way.”

– – –

Mark Hemingway reports on the key institutions shaping public life, from lobbying groups to federal agencies to elections, for RealClearInvestigations. His writing has appeared in USA Today, Wall Street Journal, MTV.com, and The Weekly Standard.

Categories
Cops Some Sick Puppies!

Flamethrower vs SWAT Team (Popo Breakdown)

Categories
Cops Well I thought it was funny!

Real Safe Word(s)