What Are Ghost Guns, and What Is Biden Trying to Do About Them?
Major cities across the U.S. are dealing with increases in gun violence in the wake of the pandemic, pushing some local leaders to petition the federal government for action. But stricter new gun laws aren’t on the horizon, given Republican opposition in the U.S. Senate, where they can block such bills. New rules announced by President Joe Biden are meant to crack down on so-called ghost guns, but they’re almost certain to be challenged in court.washingtonpost.com
‘We’re seeing an explosion:’ Sheriff Tom Dart, state Sen. Jacqueline Collins take aim at ghost guns, propose legislation to ban the untraceable weapons
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart wants to ban the sale of guns without serial numbers, known as ghost guns or undetectable guns, which are increasingly prevalent and can be built at home out of parts purchased without a background check.chicagotribune.com
Why there are so many vacancies in the Biden administration
Senate-confirmed positions in the federal government have grown by more than 50 percent since 1960, leading to longer confirmation times, more vacancies and a greater willingness by presidents to rely on acting officials in the government.washingtonpost.com
Feds ask for public help to find suspect who set Michigan Asian restaurant on fire
DETROIT – Federal officials are seeking public help to find a suspect responsible for the arson of an Asian restaurant in Michigan. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been working with the Michigan State Police to investigate the incident which occurred at the Koi Nu Asian restaurant in Grosse Pointe in June. Video footage in the restaurant shows an unknown individual enter the restaurant through the northeast window and pour an unknown liquid throughout the main level of the business. “If it wasn’t for the quick response of the officers on duty that night it is likely the damage would have been far worse,” said Grosse Pointe Chief John Alcorn. Tips can also be delivered to the City of Grosse Pointe at 313-417-1190.mlive.com
ATF offers $5,000 reward to help catch Saginaw arsonist
SAGINAW, MI - The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is offering a $5,000 reward for information that helps catch and convict an individual who committed arson in Saginaw over the summer, according to a news release. ATF and Detroit Crime Commission are each putting $2,500 toward the reward, which centers on an incident in the early morning of Monday, July 5, according to the release. A surveillance video shows someone pouring what authorities suspect is an “ignitable liquid” on the side of a home in Saginaw. ATF is working with the Saginaw Fire Department and Saginaw Police Department to solve the crime. Anyone who has information regarding the incident or can identify the suspect should call the Detroit Crime Commission at 800-44-ARSON, according to the release.mlive.com
A deputy mayor in New York had a stash of weapons and fake FBI badges with his name and photo on them, feds say
Airmont Deputy Mayor Brian Downey faces multiple charges involving the illegal possession of firearms, as well as fraudulent badges, identification cards and other insignia strictly authorized for law enforcement personnel, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday in the U.S. Southern District Court in New York.washingtonpost.com
Justice Department Announces First Federal Agents to Use Body-Worn Cameras
Today, the Department of Justice announced the launch of the first phase of its Body-Worn Camera Program that requires department law enforcement personnel use body-worn cameras (BWCs) during pre-planned law enforcement operations. “Law enforcement is at its most effective when there is accountability and trust between law enforcement and the community. “Because there are circumstances where the use of force may occur during planned law enforcement operations, we are committed to the use of body-worn cameras by DOJ law enforcement agents in such circumstances. Since October 2020, ATF, DEA, FBI and USMS have been integrating the use of BWCs on federal task forces around the nation. The department continues to encourage participating task force agencies to contact the sponsoring federal agency for more information about their BWC program.justice.gov
Man faces federal charges after explosion in neighborhood
A 27-year-old man was charged Saturday with illegally transporting tons of explosives he purchased in Nevada — including several that left a trail of destruction and injuries after they blew up in a Los Angeles neighborhood. Seventeen people were hurt Wednesday — including nine Los Angeles police officers and a federal agent — in the blast, which also flipped and damaged cars and smashed windows in homes and a laundromat. Ceja made several trips “made several trips to Nevada in late June to purchase various types of explosives –- including aerial displays and large homemade fireworks containing explosive materials –- that he transported to his residence in rental vans,” the U.S. Attorney’s office said in a statement.news.yahoo.com
Chicago activists call for legislation after 3 US Army soldiers are accused of illegally selling weapons used in city shootings
After three U.S. Army soldiers were accused of conspiring to buy firearms in Tennessee and illegally sell them in Chicago, two local activists are calling for politicians to come up with new legislation to screen people joining the armed services.chicagotribune.com
Critics Of Federal Ban On Firearms Device Win Key Decision
DETROIT (AP) — A federal judge in Michigan should have blocked a Trump administration ban on bump stocks, a device that allows semiautomatic firearms to fire rapidly, an appeals court said Thursday. The ban came in response to a 2017 shooting in Las Vegas in which a gunman attached bump stocks to assault-style rifles to shoot concertgoers from his hotel room. In 2019, U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney in western Michigan turned down an injunction that would have stopped the bump stock ban. There have been different opinions about the bump stock ban in federal courts across the country, which makes it a strong candidate for review by the U.S. Supreme Court. A year ago, the Supreme Court turned down an appeal, but it was a procedural step in a case that wasn’t fully developed.detroit.cbslocal.com
"The Charleston loophole": Purchases by people barred from buying guns skyrocketed in 2020
Each year, the FBI flags thousands of "Charleston loophole" cases to the ATF, but the true number of cases is not known. Everytown estimates that in 2020, more than 438,000 background checks were purged without being completed, more than doubling 2019's roughly 207,000. Because clearly the 'Charleston loophole' is becoming a massive gateway to dangerous evasion of the background check rules," said the Connecticut Democrat. The "Charleston loophole" nickname is a widely-used reference to the June 17, 2015, massacre of nine Black worshippers by neo-Nazi Dylann Roof inside Charleston, South Carolina's Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. In other words, if the Charleston loophole were not there," Blumenthal said.cbsnews.com
Alleged Leaders of Gangster Disciples Indicted on Federal Racketeering Charges
Seven alleged members of the violent Gangster Disciples gang, including top national and state leaders, are in custody after multiple arrests this morning for their alleged participation in a years-long interstate racketeering conspiracy involving multiple murders, drug trafficking, and other crimes. The violence perpetrated by the Gangster Disciples in this district and nationwide has long been a particular focus of our top law enforcement agencies. “Racketeering, such as the alleged charges today, brazenly facilitates all kinds of illegal dealings that negatively affect the community. The indictment also alleges various acts of drug trafficking by Gangster Disciples members, including an ongoing scheme to smuggle the synthetic drug “K2” into Missouri state prisons. The charges and allegations in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.justice.gov
$5K reward offered after more than 40 guns stolen from Michigan business
ALPENA COUNTY, MI – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the National Shooting Sports Foundation are offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of two suspects after dozens of guns were stolen from an Alpena-area firearms store. The burglary is being investigated by the ATF’s Detroit Field Division in conjunction with Michigan State Police and the Alpena County Sheriff’s Office, according to an ATF news release. A portion of the reward is coming from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, or NSSF, the trade association for the firearms industry. This reward is part of a larger national cooperative initiative between the NSSF and ATF in which NSSF matches ATF rewards in cases involving the theft of firearms from federally licensed retailers. The ATF works closely with the members of the firearms industry to curb the criminal acquisition and misuse of firearms, per the release.mlive.com
49 guns stolen from Michigan gun store, $5,000 reward offered for information
ALPENA, Mich. – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the National Shooting Sports Foundation are offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the individuals responsible for a northern Michigan gun store burglary. According to authorities, the burglary happened at about 4:15 a.m., Nov. 21 at Full Bore Firearms, located on Crittenden Court in Alpena. Police said two unknown people threw a brick through the front glass window of the building and stole 49 firearms. The burglary is being investigated by officers with the ATF, Michigan State Police and Alpena County Sheriff’s Office. Anyone with information is asked to contact the ATF at 1-888-ATF-TIPS (888-283-8477), ATFTips@atf.gov or through the official ATF website here.
ATF agents bust Michigan man allegedly posing as an ATF agent
REDFORD TOWNSHIP, MI – A Michigan man is accused of impersonating an ATF agent in Redford Township. Fox 2 in Detroit reports that the Redford home of Christopher Proe, a convicted felon, was raided by real federal agents on Thursday. He allegedly used the name Chris Conley to pose as an agent working for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. FOX 2 interviewed several of Proe’s neighbors, who said they had witnessed him with a gun before and admitted they thought he was a real ATF agent. He eventually admitted to impersonating an ATF agent, police said.mlive.com
California sues US regulator in bid to deter 'ghost guns'
Becerra said ghost guns were used in mass shootings that each killed five people in Santa Monica in 2013 and Tehama County in 2017. Ghost gun seizures by the state Department of Justice jumped 512% between 2018 and 2019. California is now home to 18 of the 80 known online ghost gun retailers, double the number from six years ago and the most of any state, according to the lawsuit. “The only logical intended result of a ghost gun kit is that it will become a firearm,” Becerra said. ““If you can assemble Ikea furniture, you can definitely build a ghost gun,” said Shearer of the Giffords Law Center.
Detroit man faces charges after making social media posts showing guns, marijuana
DETROIT – A Detroit man is in trouble with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) after agents saw some of his social media posts. ATF was monitoring his Instagram account, which went by various names, including “eastbabyslim.” Agents pulled a variety of screenshots from the account. Some show Massey posing, pointing and sleeping with a gun, and using what appears to be marijuana. His Instagram posts were enough for federal authorities to obtain a search warrant for his Detroit home. He is now facing federal charges in addition to his two other cases.
California school shooting shines light on murky 'ghost gun' world
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Ghost guns like the one a 16-year-old boy used to kill two classmates and injure three others at a California high school last week are self-assembled, virtually untraceable - and completely legal. FILE PHOTO: Police and emergency vehicles on the scene of a shooting at Saugus high school in Santa Clarita, California, U.S., November 14, 2019 in this screenshot taken from video footage courtesy of NBCLA. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives did not immediately reply to questions about whether it tracks how many such untraceable weapons it recovers. MORE UNKNOWNMore is unknown about ghost guns than known, said Nick Suplina, managing director for law and policy at gun safety advocacy group Everytown. In recent years, federal courts convicted several people for manufacturing untraceable weapons without a license.feeds.reuters.com
Attorney General William P. Barr Announces Launch of Project Guardian A Nationwide Strategic Plan to Reduce Gun Violence
Today, Attorney General William P. Barr announced the launch of Project Guardian, a new initiative designed to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws across the country. Reducing gun violence and enforcing federal firearms laws have always been among the Departments highest priorities. In addition, the initiative emphasizes the importance of using all modern technologies available to law enforcement to promote gun crime intelligence. Federal law enforcement represents only about 15 percent of all law enforcement resources nationwide. Therefore, partnerships with state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the communities they serve are critical to addressing gun crime.justice.gov
Department Of Justice Announces Pilot Program for Use of Body-Worn Cameras by Federally Deputized Task Force Officers
Today, the Department of Justice has announced a pilot program that will allow for the first time federally deputized task force officers to use body-worn cameras while serving arrest warrants, or other planned arrest operations, and during the execution of search warrants. The Department of Justice, through its law enforcement agencies, partners with state, local and tribal law enforcement on hundreds of federal task forces throughout the nation. These are some of the most dangerous jobs in law enforcement, and I am grateful for the sacrifice of those who serve. We value the continued support of our task force officers as our close collaboration is a vital part of that mission. Marshals Service has long-standing and extremely successful partnerships with state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the country.justice.gov
4 people killed and 5 others wounded in shooting at Kansas City bar
Kansas City, Kansas Police were searching Sunday for two men who opened fire at a bar in Kansas City, Kansas, killing four people and wounding five others. Police Officer Thomas Tomasic said authorities believe the shooting around 1:30 a.m. Sunday at Tequila KC Bar stemmed from an earlier altercation. Kansas City Police believe the two suspects entered through the back of the bar and started shooting, which witnesses have corroborated. Police investigate the scene of a deadly early-morning shooting at a bar in Kansas City, Kansas, on Sunday, October 6, 2019. Juan Ramirez, of Kansas City, Kansas, told The Kansas City Star that his 29-year-old nephew was among those killed.cbsnews.com
ATF still looking to determine what caused deadly dive boat fire
The ATF's national response team has "deactivated" from the Navy base where the Conception, a 75-foot dive boat, was taken after it sank on Labor Day following a fire. The Conception was pulled from the water two weeks ago and taken to Naval Base Ventura County in Port Hueneme. The National Transportation Safety Board is also looking into the fire and its investigation is still in the fact-finding phase, spokesman Eric Weiss told CNN. Douglas Schwartz, an attorney for Conception owner Glen Fritzler, told CNN: "As we await the official findings, the preliminary insight is unfortunate. The boat had burned down to the water line, Santa Barbara County fire spokesman Mike Eliason said in the days after the tragedy.
APNewsBreak: Cause of deadly boat fire still a mystery
The boat, named Conception, was anchored just off Santa Cruz Island when it caught fire and sank early on Sept. 2. That means an inability to determine the fire's exact cause may not affect the criminal case. Failing to determine what sparked the blaze could make it difficult to prove if a boat owner was negligent. "If the best experts in the world can't determine the cause or origin of the fire, then how's the owner supposed to know?" Truth Aquatics preemptively filed a federal lawsuit under a pre-Civil War maritime law that shields boat owners from monetary damages in a disaster at sea.chicagotribune.com
Authorities seeking man who stole guns, silencers from Michigan store in 2013
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is looking for this man in connection with a May 18, 2013, theft in Jackson, Mich. (WDIV)JACKSON, Mich. - The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is looking for a man who stole guns and silencers from a Jackson store in 2013. According to the ATF, the man went inside Schupbach's Sporting Goods store at 141. When the store closed, he stole two firearms and 15 silencers. The man is described as white with a stocky build and brown collar-length hair that covered his ears. He was wearing a long, dark-colored shirt, dark-colored cargo pants, a dark-colored watch on his left wrist and light-colored shoes or boots.
Newport Creek: Not your average backyard fireworks
NEWPORT Its not uncommon for families to light-off some of their favorite fireworks during Fourth of July barbecues and other celebrations. But in the Newport Creek subdivision, its not your average backyard firework show. It took about five hours to set up the elaborate fireworks display, he said, in preparation for the 10 p.m. show. Ken organized his supplies into four categories: two five-minute warning fireworks, an opener, the mid-show and the grand finale. Kens show lasted about an hour, far exceeding several other community fireworks displays.monroenews.com
Police release photos of suspects wanted in Kansas City bar shooting that killed 4 people
Kansas City, Kansas Police were searching Sunday for two men who opened fire at a bar in Kansas City, Kansas, killing four people and wounding five others. Kansas City Police believe the two suspects entered through the back of the bar and started shooting, which witnesses have corroborated. Police investigate the scene of a deadly early-morning shooting at a bar in Kansas City, Kansas, on Sunday, October 6, 2019. Juan Ramirez, of Kansas City, Kansas, told The Kansas City Star that his 29-year-old nephew was among those killed. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Kansas City Police Department hotline at (816) 474-TIPS (8477).cbsnews.com