Friday, March 27, 2015

The Boston Bomber's Handgun

PHOTO: Evidence presented against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the Boston Marathon bombing case included this Ruger 9mm pistol, allegedly used by the Tsarnaev brothers days after the marathon attack.


Three days after the deadly 2013 Boston Marathon explosions, investigators say bombing suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev used a Ruger 9mm semi-automatic handgun to murder MIT police officer Sean Collier, carjack a young businessman, and hours later to fire on police in a vicious gunfight. Now with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on trial, witnesses and court documents have shed new light on the pistol’s curious path through a criminal underground and purportedly into the hands of the brothers who were once the most wanted men in America. 

The gun’s serial number was “obliterated” by the time U.S. law enforcement got to it, but federal investigators were able to forensically “raise” the numbers and trace its purchase to a gun store more than three years ago and 100 miles from Boston.

In November 2011, Los Angeles native Danny Sun Jr. bought the 9mm Ruger P95 at a Cabela’s hunting and fishing store in South Portland, Maine as part of a “multi-gun” purchase, law enforcement officials and a Cabela manager told ABC News. Sun Jr. later told police that at some point over the next year, he gave the weapon to Biniam “Icy” Tsegai. 

When Tsegai, an Eritrean immigrant, received the gun, federal prosecutors in Maine said he and others were the target of a multi-agency federal investigation into crack dealing out of Portland hotel rooms. Tsegai would plead guilty to drug charges in 2014. 

But back in 2012, Tsegai handed the gun off to 21-year-old Merhawi “Howie” Berhe, according to recent testimony from Stephen Silva, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s “best friend.” 

"Sun Jr. later told police that at some point over the next year, he gave the weapon to Biniam “Icy” Tsegai. "

Licensing and registration would have made that illegal. The way things are now, Mr. Sun could simply claim that it was a private transfer and he didn't know that Icy Tsegai was a criminal.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Texas May Ban Doctors From Discussing Guns With Their Patients


Think Progress

Under a proposed bill currently being considered in Texas, doctors wouldn’t be allowed to ask their patients whether there are any firearms in their homes — and could be subject to punishment from the Texas Medical Board if they do initiate any conversations about gun safety in the office.

The lawmaker who’s sponsoring the measure, Rep. Stuart Spitzer (R), is backed by the National Rifle Association and the Texas State Rifle Association. He believes that the federal government is inappropriately reaching into doctors’ offices to figure out who owns guns.

“Pediatricians are asking children away from their parents, ‘Do you have guns in your house?’ and then reporting this on the electronic health records, and then the federal government, frankly, has access to who has guns and who doesn’t,” Spitzer told the Texas Tribune in a recent interview. He added that asking about gun ownership is “not appropriate” in this setting.

But health professionals have long maintained that, as guns threaten to surpass car accidents as the leading cause of deaths among young Americans, it’s important to be able to broach this subject with their patients. About 10,000 kids are killed or injured by guns each year, many in tragic accidents that could have been prevented with more careful storage. Pediatricians want to have the opportunity to talk about how to safely store legal firearms to ensure they’re out of the reach of young children — especially if there are any signs of mental health issues in the home.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

One Florida Gun Rights Bill on Mark; Another Shot Down

Local news

Florida gun rights activists had a victorious day in the Capitol as the Republican-controlled Legislature considered two St. Petersburg lawmakers' bills, passing one through the Senate and shooting down the other.

The Senate endorsed a bill allowing lawful gun owners to carry a weapon while evacuating in an emergency, even if they don't have a concealed carry permit. Later in the day, a House panel voted down a Democrat's proposal to set more limits on shooting a gun on residential property.

Only one Republican, state Rep. Chris Latvala of Clearwater, voted with Democrats in a failed attempt to limit rights to shoot on residential property.

State Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, filed the bill in response to a St. Petersburg man, Joseph Carannante, who angered neighbors and others with plans to set up a gun range in his backyard earlier this year.

Under current law, it's legal to fire a weapon on residential property, unless it's done "recklessly or negligently." Rouson argued this language isn't specific enough and said laws that give the state power to set gun policy make it risky for local officials to prosecute people in cases like Carannante's. After a torrent of negative feedback, he dismantled his range in favor of a membership at a commercial gun range.

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"Collateral" Alleyway Gunfight Breakdown

"In my opinion, probably the single best hand-gun gun fight scene in movie history."

I suppose that includes the final shot. It was a coup de grace, right?

George Zimmerman: Obama Turned Americans Against Me


Huffington Post

George Zimmerman, the man acquitted in the murder of Trayvon Martin, said President Barack Obama turned Americans against him.

In an interview posted online Monday by his lawyer, Zimmerman argues Obama shouldn't have weighed in on his case. He said "Barack Hussein Obama" was who he blamed for what his attorney called "the highest level of unfairness" in the aftermath of Martin's death.

"President Obama held his Rose Garden speech stating, 'If I had a son he would look like Trayvon.' To me that was clearly a dereliction of duty pitting Americans against each other solely based on race," Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman said he felt "prosecuted by the federal government" because of Obama's remarks, and said he thinks someone like Obama should "not interject himself in a local law enforcement matter or a state matter."

"Instead of rushing to judgment, making racially charged comments and pitting American against American, I believe that he should have taken the higher road given his position and said -- been an example, been a leader as the president should be, and say let's not rush to judgment," Zimmerman said. "As I’m sure he would want that same luxury afforded to him if he was accused of something, and asked for calm, ask for peace."

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Rachel Maddow on the Fake NY Gun Store Video

Gun Rights and Gun Control Not Mutually Exclusive - Agree or Disagree?

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki


On March 19 Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America held a rally at the Iowa statehouse to oppose GOP efforts to repeal the current requirement that Iowans obtain a permit before purchasing a handgun.

Republican House members rightly view this permit-to-purchase requirement as an infringement on gun rights. And instead of offering a counter point, Moms Demand Action’s Ellyn Grimm said people need to understand that gun control and the 2nd Amendment are “not mutually exclusive.”

The Des Moines Register reports Grimm’s exact words: “We can protect the Second Amendment and have common sense solutions to reduce gun violence. Those are not mutually exclusive ideas, and I’m tired of our legislature and society treating it like it is.”