Tag Archives: New Mexico

White House Land Grab

One Man’s Thoughts Has Moved To

http://www.patriotthoughts.com

You can read this article at:

http://www.patriotthoughts.com/2010/03/11/white-house-land-grab/

Thank You, Vytautas

Only a Small Fraction of Guns in Mexico Come From U.S.

This is from last year but I just thought the information was good enough to print again.

The Myth of 90 Percent: While 90 percent of the guns traced to the U.S. actually originated in the United States, the percent traced to the U.S. is only about 17 percent of the total number of guns reaching Mexico.

You’ve heard this shocking “fact” before — on TV and radio, in newspapers, on the Internet and from the highest politicians in the land: 90 percent of the weapons used to commit crimes in Mexico come from the United States.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said it to reporters on a flight to Mexico City.

CBS newsman Bob Schieffer referred to it while interviewing Obama.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said at a Senate hearing: “It is unacceptable to have 90 percent of the guns that are picked up in Mexico and used to shoot judges, police officers and mayors … come from the United States.”

William Hoover, assistant director for field operations at the BATFE, testified in the House of Representatives that “there is more than enough evidence to indicate that over 90 percent of the firearms that have either been recovered in, or interdicted in transport to Mexico, originated from various sources within the United States.”

There’s just one problem with the 90 percent “statistic” and it’s a big one:

It’s just not true.

In fact, it’s not even close. The fact is, only 17 percent of guns found at Mexican crime scenes have been traced to the U.S.

What’s true, an BATFE spokeswoman told FOXNews.com, in a clarification of the statistic used by her own agency’s assistant director, “is that over 90 percent of the traced firearms originate from the U.S.”

But a large percentage of the guns recovered in Mexico do not get sent back to the U.S. for tracing, because it is obvious from their markings that they do not come from the U.S.

“Not every weapon seized in Mexico has a serial number on it that would make it traceable, and the U.S. effort to trace weapons really only extends to weapons that have been in the U.S. market,” Matt Allen, special agent of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), told FOX News.

Video:Click here to watch more.

A Look at the Numbers

In 2007-2008, according to BATFE Special Agent William Newell, Mexico submitted 11,000 guns to the BATFE for tracing. Close to 6,000 were successfully traced — and of those, 90 percent — 5,114 to be exact, according to testimony in Congress by William Hoover — were found to have come from the U.S.

But in those same two years, according to the Mexican government, 29,000 guns were recovered at crime scenes.

In other words, 68 percent of the guns that were recovered were never submitted for tracing. And when you weed out the roughly 6,000 guns that could not be traced from the remaining 32 percent, it means 83 percent of the guns found at crime scenes in Mexico could not be traced to the U.S.

So, if not from the U.S., where do they come from? There are a variety of sources:

The Black Market. Mexico is a virtual arms bazaar, with fragmentation grenades from South Korea, AK-47s from China, and shoulder-fired rocket launchers from Spain, Israel and former Soviet bloc manufacturers.

Russian crime organizations. Interpol says Russian Mafia groups such as Poldolskaya and Moscow-based Solntsevskaya are actively trafficking drugs and arms in Mexico.

- South America. During the late 1990s, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) established a clandestine arms smuggling and drug trafficking partnership with the Tijuana cartel, according to the Federal Research Division report from the Library of Congress.

Asia. According to a 2006 Amnesty International Report, China has provided arms to countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Chinese assault weapons and Korean explosives have been recovered in Mexico.

The Mexican Army. More than 150,000 soldiers deserted in the last six years, according to Mexican Congressman Robert Badillo. Many took their weapons with them, including the standard issue M-16 assault rifle made in Belgium.

Guatemala. U.S. intelligence agencies say traffickers move immigrants, stolen cars, guns and drugs, including most of America’s cocaine, along the porous Mexican-Guatemalan border. On March 27, La Hora, a Guatemalan newspaper, reported that police seized 500 grenades and a load of AK-47s on the border. Police say the cache was transported by a Mexican drug cartel operating out of Ixcan, a border town.

‘These Don’t Come From El Paso

Ed Head, a firearms instructor in Arizona who spent 24 years with the U.S. Border Patrol, recently displayed an array of weapons considered “assault rifles” that are similar to those recovered in Mexico, but are unavailable for sale in the U.S.

“These kinds of guns — the auto versions of these guns — they are not coming from El Paso,” he said. “They are coming from other sources. They are brought in from Guatemala. They are brought in from places like China. They are being diverted from the military. But you don’t get these guns from the U.S.

Some guns, he said, “are legitimately shipped to the government of Mexico, by Colt, for example, in the United States. They are approved by the U.S. government for use by the Mexican military service. The guns end up in Mexico that way — the fully auto versions — they are not smuggled in across the river.”

Many of the fully automatic weapons that have been seized in Mexico cannot be found in the U.S., but they are not uncommon in the Third World.

The Mexican government said it has seized 2,239 grenades in the last two years — but those grenades and the rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) are unavailable in U.S. gun shops. The ones used in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey in October and a TV station in January were made in South Korea. Almost 70 similar grenades were seized in February in the bottom of a truck entering Mexico from Guatemala.

“Most of these weapons are being smuggled from Central American countries or by sea, eluding U.S. and Mexican monitors who are focused on the smuggling of semi-automatic and conventional weapons purchased from dealers in the U.S. border states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California,” according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

Boatloads of Weapons

So why would the Mexican drug cartels, which last year grossed between $17 billion and $38 billion, bother buying single-shot rifles, and force thousands of unknown “straw” buyers in the U.S. through a government background check, when they can buy boatloads of fully automatic M-16s and assault rifles from China, Israel or South Africa?

Alberto Islas, a security consultant who advises the Mexican government, says the drug cartels are using the Guatemalan border to move black market weapons. Some are left over from the Central American wars the United States helped fight; others, like the grenades and launchers, are South Korean, Israeli and Spanish. Some were legally supplied to the Mexican government; others were sold by corrupt military officers or officials.

The exaggeration of United States “responsibility” for the lawlessness in Mexico extends even beyond the “90-percent” falsehood — and some Second Amendment activists believe it’s designed to promote more restrictive gun-control laws in the U.S.

In a remarkable claim, Auturo Sarukhan, the Mexican ambassador to the U.S., said Mexico seizes 2,000 guns a day from the United States — 730,000 a year. That’s a far cry from the official statistic from the Mexican attorney general’s office, which says Mexico seized 29,000 weapons in all of 2007 and 2008.

Chris Cox, spokesman for the National Rifle Association, blames the media and anti-gun politicians in the U.S. for misrepresenting where Mexican weapons come from.

“Reporter after politician after news anchor just disregards the truth on this,” Cox said. “The numbers are intentionally used to weaken the Second Amendment.”

“The predominant source of guns in Mexico is Central and South America. You also have Russian, Chinese and Israeli guns. It’s estimated that over 100,000 soldiers deserted the army to work for the drug cartels, and that ignores all the police. How many of them took their weapons with them?”

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/04/02/myth-percent-small-fraction-guns-mexico-come/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%25253A+foxnews%25252Flatest+%28FOXNews.com+-+Latest+Headlines%29

Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition

The Wikipedia page on the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition was repeatedly ripped out by an anti-gun cabal. I seems that Wikipedia has become politicized and manipulated by the Politically Correct.

Below is the content, minus all the references, about Mayor Bloomberg’s coalition. Please go to Mayors Against Illegal Guns Conservapedia page to see it all. http://www.conservapedia.com/Mayors_Against_Illegal_Guns

There are a lot of indictments and felony convictions for members of a “crime fighting” organization!

The Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition is a leftist political coalition of mayors from about 400 United States cities, with a stated agenda of “making the public safer by getting illegal guns off the streets.” The group was formed by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The coalition’s CEO is Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.

The majority of members of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition are Democrats.

Criticism of Methods and Hypocrisy

Bloomberg has been sued for defamation by a Smyrna, Georgia gun dealer represented by former congressman Bob Barr.[1][2]

Indicted, convicted, and scandalized members

A substantial number of member of the coalition have been indicted in recent months, on felony charges. Here in the US, conviction of felony means the immediate loss of both the right to vote and the right to own a gun for the rest of one’s life. This is an organization that espouses doing away with “illegal guns”, yet a surprising number of their members have made choices in their lives that have set themselves on the path to being disenfranchised from ever owning a gun.

Personal character and integrity are prerequisites for anyone entering public office, to serve in an elected position of “special trust and confidence”, such as a mayorship. Abuses of that trust, gross lapses of integrity, and forays into criminal conduct are not tolerated in our society. If anything, elected politicians are held to a higher standard than the general public, and their actions are closely watched. For an elected official to become a criminal, when they themselves are entrusted to protect us from criminals is nearly the most heinous and unforgivable thing imaginable in a democratically-ruled republic. For some of these same individuals to continue to be considered members in good standing of a “crime-fighting” organization–and not even censured by the organization–has been criticized as being hypocritical.

Four current and former members of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition are currently under felony indictments, five others were recently convicted of felonies, one indicted member died of a heart attack before completion of his trial, and one member was recently convicted of a violent misdemeanor. The indicted and convicted members and former members include:

  • Former Mayor Gary Becker[3] of Racine, Wisconsin is under five felony indictments for child pornography, attempted child sexual assault and child enticement.[4] He resigned after pleading not guilty and being released on bond.[5] His location is currently being monitored electronically, as he awaits a trial scheduled to begin in October, 2009.[6]
  • Former Mayor David Della Donna[7], of Guttenberg, New Jersey was indicted under a Federal extortion and mail fraud charges.[8] He was convicted in 2008[9] and sentenced to four years and three months in federal prison.[10]
  • Mayor Sheila Dixon was indicted in 2009 on twelve counts[11], comprising four counts of perjury, two counts of misconduct, three counts of theft, and three counts of fraudulent misappropriations.[12] The felony theft charges stem partly from incidents in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 in which she allegedly misappropriated gift cards intended for the poor and used them for personal purchases.[13][14] Dixon’s trial, originally scheduled for September 8, 2009, was postponed to November 9, 2009.[15]
  • Mayor Jerramiah Healy was convicted for obstruction of justice in 2007[16] and more recently was implicated in the corruption sweep in New Jersey involving the sale of body parts and money laundering. In all, 44 individuals were indicted. (Healy was named as “JC Official 4″ and implicated, but was not indicted, in the probe.)[17][18][19]
  • Former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was indicted, arrested, and convicted. and subsequently jailed for 99 days. Kilpatrick pleaded guilty to two felony obstruction of justice charges stemming from his efforts to cover up an extramarital affair. He also pleaded no contest to charges of assaulting a police officer attempting to serve a subpoena on a Kilpatrick friend in that case.[20] The charges and allegations (not all against Kilpatrick himself) were of marital infidelity, conspiracy, perjury, corruption and murder.[21] Following Kilpatrick’s conviction, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms called on Kilpatrick to resign from the Coalition.[22]
  • Mayor Larry Langford was investigated in 2007 by the SEC on corruption charges. In 2008 a lawsuit was filed against him for illegally accepting $156,000 in cash and benefits. On December 1, 2008, Larry Langford was arrested by the FBI on a 101 count indictment[23] alleging conspiracy, bribery, fraud, money laundering, and filing false tax returns[24] in connection with a long-running bribery scheme.[25][26][27] His trial date was postponed to October 2009, and the trial venue moved to Tuscaloosa, Alabama.[28]
  • Deceased Mayor Frank Melton at the time of his death was under felony indictment on civil rights charges.[29] (He died before a scheduled re-trial, following a mistrial.) In 2006, Melton pled guilty to a firearms charge, stemming from a raid (in which he was armed with a concealed pistol) on a suspected crack house. Melton conducted the extra-official Buford Pusser-style raid without a warrant to “bust up” a duplex apartment, accompanied by a group of youths that were not sworn law enforcement officers. That same event led to Melton’s civil rights indictment. In November 2006, he pleaded no contest to three misdemeanor charges: carrying a gun in a park and in a church, and carrying a concealed weapon.[30]
  • Mayor Eddie Perez was indicted on bribery, fabricating evidence, and conspiracy to fabricate evidence felony charges.[31] Perez turned himself in to state police, stating that he had a lapse in judgment but did nothing illegal, and vowed that he would not step down as Hartford’s mayor.[32] He was arraigned on September 8, 2009.[33] His trial date was postponed to November 2009[34], and then to February, 2010.[35] On September 2, 2009 Perez was again arrested, and additionally charged with first-degree larceny by extortion, stemming from a no-bid parking lot deal, unrelated to the other corruption charges.[36] He again proclaimed that he would stay in office, despite these new felony charges.[37]
  • Former Mayor Samuel Rivera, of Passaic, New Jersey was convicted of corruption, influence peddling, and extortion charges.[38][39] In August 2008 he pled guilty,and was sentenced to 21 months in prison.[40]
  • In 2008, former Mayor Will Wynn was convicted of Class C misdemeanor, for a choking assault on a man who had crashed a party.[41]

Five current members of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition have been troubled by scandals that involved firearms:

  • As New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg came into office, he inherited a chronic firearms permit favoritism scandal from his predecessors that still remains an unresolved issue. Writing in the New York Sun, attorney David Kopel observed: “The problem is acute in New York City. Celebrities, the ultra-wealthy, and the politically influential get carry permits. But many of the people who need them the most — such as stalking victims, or crime witnesses who have been threatened by the criminal’s friends — often do not.”[42] There are currently only about 36,169 permits to keep firearms in private homes in New York City, with the majority issued to retired police officers. Of these permit holders, only 2,516 are more liberally licensed for concealed carry outside their homes. The issuance of permits is discretionary in New York City, per Penal Law 400[43]. (It is considered a “may issue” locality, unlike the “shall issue” policy used for concealed carry in most other localities.) Despite “tight” restrictions on “demonstrated need or special danger”, a who’s-who list of celebrities, billionaires[44], entertainers[45], professional athletes[46], and politicians[47] has somehow managed to get firearms permits. This list includes New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, publisher Michael Korda, and talk show host Howard Stern.[48] In 2007, The New York Post reported that gun license holders include financier Donald Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr., Queens district attorney Richard A. Brown, Westchester County district attorney, Janet DiFiore, music executive Tommy Mottola, chief executive of Marvel Comics, Isaac Perlmutter, radio show host Don Imus, lawyer Barry Slotnick, lawyer Raoul Felder; publisher Robert Forbes, the cab-driving political activist Fernando Mateo, former new York Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno (recently indicted for fraud), actor Robert De Niro, actor Harvey Keitel, film producer Martin Bregman, cosmetics heir Ronald Lauder, and Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler.[49][50] All of these individuals have retained their gun licenses under Bloomberg’s “tough on guns” administration. The New York Post noted: “Television news anchor John Roland, who let his license lapse in 2006, got his gun permit back in 2007.”[51] A surprisingly high number of celebrities have concealed carry permits, rather than the more common “keep at home” (premise) permits. According to The New York Times, “Mr. Bloomberg asked Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly to look at the issue, and added: ‘If you want a gun permit, you should have to really show that your life is in danger, and that having a gun will protect you, will improve the chances of you surviving.’”[52] But despite Bloomberg’s publicly-stated concern, there have been no announcements of any celebrity gun permits being rescinded, or any reforms to prevent favoritism, cronyism, bribes, or other abuse of discretion in license issuance. With a city population of 8.3 million, the 36,169 gun permit holders represent just .043% of the population and the 2,516 concealed carry permit holders represent a scant .003% of the population.
  • Mayor Richard M. Daley has been criticized for the city of Chicago’s long-standing practice of providing armed bodyguards for a number of city politicians, including city clerk James “Jim” Laski. In the city clerk scandal, Daley was shamed into removing the perk of the armed bodyguards for the clerk. The Chicago Sun-Times reported: “The decision was made almost immediately after Laski became the first elected official to be caught up in the Hired Truck scandal. But Daley insisted that the bribery and extortion charges against Laski were not the trigger. It was the fact that, until this week, Laski had not been showing up for work.”[53] Laski was later convicted of taking $48,000 in bribes and received a two year sentence.[54] Former Mayor Eugene Sawyer, City Treasurer Judy Rice and Alderman Edward M. Burke, chairman of the City Council’s Finance Committee still have armed bodyguards.[55]
  • Mayor Gerald Jennings of Albany, New York was implicated in a scandal regarding the alleged illegal purchase of 52 machine guns.[56] It is unclear whether the weapons were purchased for departmental use or for the use of private individuals. Weapons were delivered to Police Department addresses but apparently paid for with private funds. The Department has not produced a list of weapons, their location, the names of the individuals who purchased them, or their disposition or destruction. At least one later turned up, illegally for sale to the public, in an area gun store. The police officer who sold the gun to the store has testified that he bought it from a Police Union official who was also the Department’s armorer.[57] The current Chief of Police is the fifth appointed by Jennings.[58] The case is still open.[59]
  • Following the illegal seizure of firearms in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Mayor Ray Nagin settled a lawsuit and had a permanent injunction issued prohibiting Nagin or any New Orleans employee from confiscating any lawfully possessed firearm and ordering the return of hundreds of illegally confiscated firearms. (They had been confiscated at Mayor Nagin’s order.).[60] Nagin’s administration has also been troubled by reports of improprieties with the police department evidence rooms, where guns were stolen, guns were allowed to rust, and $200,000 in cash was stolen.[61][62]
  • Mayor Bill White‘s administration has been embarrassed by an ongoing scandal involving guns stolen from the Houston Police Department’s evidence room. In January 2009, the Houston Chronicle reported: “For months, maybe years, people with criminal backgrounds had access to secure areas of the police station, including a property room from which 30 guns disappeared within six months, according to internal police documents. The documents, obtained by the Houston Chronicle, indicated that lax security created an environment ripe for theft. No one has been charged in the gun thefts, although police suspected telephone repairmen who admitted stealing other items, and a temporary employee who had access to the property room while awaiting trial on aggravated robbery charges.”[63][64]

Resignations from the coalition

Announced resignations

Twelve mayors that had been members[65] have withdrawn from the organization, claiming either that they were misled about the group’s anti-gun platform, or that they were enrolled in the coalition without their knowledge.[66][67][68] They are:

In her resignation letter, Mayor Patricia Shontz of Madeira Beach, Florida wrote, “I am withdrawing because I believe the MAIG is attempting to erode all gun ownership, not just illegal guns. Additionally, I have learned that the MAIG may be working on issues which conflict with legal gun ownership.” She added, “It appears the MAIG has misrepresented itself to the Mayors of America and its citizens. This is gun control, not crime prevention.”[78]

In his resignation letter to Bloomberg, Mayor Harry Moore stated: “It is simply unconscionable that this coalition, under your leadership, would call for a repeal of the Shelby /Tiahrt amendment that helps to safeguard criminal investigations and the lives of law enforcement officers, witnesses and others by restricting access to firearms trace data solely to law enforcement. How anyone, least of all a public official, could be willing to sacrifice such a law enforcement lifeline in order to gain an edge in suing an industry they have political differences with is repugnant to me. The fact that your campaign against this protective language consisted of overheated rhetoric, deception and falsehoods is disturbing.”[84]

The resignations of Kevin Jackson and Jared Fuhriman left the state of Idaho completely unrepresented in the organization, and Alaska with just one representative mayor. Since Mayor Rocky Anderson of Salt Lake City left office, it has also left Utah unrepresented. Mayor Kathy Taylor of Tulsa, Oklahoma has announced that she will not seek re-election[85], and as of September, 2009, her name has been removed from the coalition’s roster. This also leaves Oklahoma unrepresented. According to the U.S. Conference of Mayors there are 1,201 cities in the US with a population of 30,000 or more that are headed by mayors.[86] Several of the mayors in the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition represent even smaller towns and cities–particularly in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which are disproportionately represented.

Legislative Initiatives

With the stated goal of reducing the number of straw purchase of guns, the coalition has favored new legislation to require mandatory reporting of lost or stolen guns.[87] As of September, 2009, seven states (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Rhode Island) and the District of Columbia have laws criminalizing failure to report lost and stolen guns to law enforcement. Several other states and local governments are working to pass similar laws.[88] Critics counter that straw purchases are already illegal, and hence mandatory theft and loss reporting laws are redundant.[89]

Former prosecuting attorney C.D. Michel analyzed mandatory reporting laws, using one in Ventura County, California as an example: “Ironically, the ordinance cannot be used against the real bad guys. No law can compel lawbreakers to report themselves. So a straw purchaser who legally buys a gun cannot be compelled to report that he resold it illegally. And since it wasn’t actually lost or stolen, he hasn’t violated the ordinance. Similarly, if a felon prohibited from possessing a gun illegally possesses one anyway, and it is lost or stolen, he can be prosecuted for having the gun in the first place, but cannot be prosecuted for failing to incriminate himself by reporting the loss. Enforcement of these ordinances places prosecutors in a precarious legal and ethical position. Say a straw-purchaser’s gun is recovered at a crime scene and traced back to him. If he lies to police claiming his gun was “stolen” when he really sold it on the black market, will we nonetheless prosecute him for something he did not do (fail to report the “stolen” gun — which wasn’t actually stolen) but to which he “confessed”? Ethics and legality aside, securing a misdemeanor conviction for failing to report a theft (that never occurred) likely prohibits prosecuting the straw purchaser for the more serious felony black market sale or for making a false statement to police. Perhaps worse, gun owners who truly are burglary victims must now hesitate to speak with police if their stolen gun is recovered at a crime scene. If the gun owner failed to report the loss at all, or on time, she faces possible criminal prosecution if she cooperates with police investigating the recovered gun. She should remain silent, get a lawyer and seek immunity first. Legal representation may also be appropriate when a gun is first discovered missing. The owner can be prosecuted if the theft is not reported within 48 hours of when the owner “should have known” the gun was missing. Proponents have made clear they believe “responsible” gun owners should know where their gun is at every single moment and “should know” a gun is gone immediately. And the fear of prosecution will encourage those who miss the 48-hour window not to report the loss at all. Effectively, these ordinances place the legitimate gun owner in jeopardy of prosecution for becoming a victim of a crime. In light of these liabilities, gun-rights groups and the criminal-defense bar have begun advising gun owners — who would ordinarily be happy to assist police with their investigation — that they need a lawyer if they are contacted by police.”[90]

http://www.conservapedia.com/Mayors_Against_Illegal_Guns

Federal Judge Rules Police Cannot Detain People For Openly Carrying Guns

On September 8, 2009, United States District Judge Bruce D. Black of the United States District Court for New Mexico entered summary judgment in a civil case for damages against Alamogordo, NM police officers.  The Judge’s straight shootin’ message to police:  Leave open carriers alone unless you have “reason to believe that a crime [is] afoot.”

The facts of the case are pretty simple.  Matthew St. John entered an Alamogordo movie theater as a paying customer and sat down to enjoy the movie.  He was openly carrying a holstered handgun, conduct which is legal in 42 states, and requires no license in New Mexico and twenty-five other states.  Learn more here.

In response to a call from theater manager Robert Zigmond, the police entered the movie theater, physically seized Mr. St. John from his seat, took him outside, disarmed him, searched him, obtained personally identifiable information from his wallet, and only allowed him to re-enter the theater after St. John agreed to secure his gun in his vehicle.  Mr. St. John was never suspected of any crime nor issued a summons for violating any law.

Importantly, no theater employee ever ordered Mr. St. John to leave.  The police apparently simply decided to act as agents of the movie theater to enforce a private rule of conduct and not to enforce any rule of law.

On these facts, Judge Black concluded as a matter of law that the police violated Matthew St. John’s constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment because they seized and disarmed him even though there was not “any reason to believe that a crime was afoot.”  Judge Black’s opinion is consistent with numerous high state and federal appellate courts, e.g., the United States Supreme Court in Florida v. J.L. (2000) (detaining man on mere report that he has a gun violates the Fourth Amendment) and the Washington Appeals Court in State v. Casad (2004) (detaining man observed by police as openly carrying rifles on a public street violates the Fourth Amendment).

Mr. St. John’s attorney, Miguel Garcia, of Alamogordo, NM was pleased with the ruling and look forward to the next phase of the litigation which is a jury trial to establish the amount of damages, and possibly punitive damages.  Garcia said that

“[i]t was great to see the Court carefully consider the issues presented by both sides and conclude that the U.S. Constitution prohibits the government from detaining and searching individuals solely for exercising their rights to possess a firearm as guaranteed by our state and federal constitutions.”

Notably, Judge Black denied the police officers’ requested “qualified immunity,” a judicially created doctrine allowing government officials acting in good faith to avoid liability for violating the law where the law was not “clearly established.”  In this case, Judge Black concluded that

“[r]elying on well-defined Supreme Court precedent, the Tenth Circuit and its sister courts have consistently held that officers may not seize or search an individual without a specific, legitimate reason. . . . The applicable law was equally clear in this case. Nothing in New Mexico law prohibited Mr. St. John from openly carrying a firearm in the Theater.  Accordingly, Mr. St. John’s motion for summary judgment is granted with regard to his Fourth Amendment and New Mexico constitutional claims. Defendants’ motion for summary judgment is denied with regard to the same and with regard to qualified immunity.”

Judge Black’s opinion and order is welcome news for the growing number of open carriers across the United States.  Though police harassment of open carriers is rare, it’s not yet as rare as it should be – over the last several years open carriers detained without cause by police have sued and obtained cash settlements in Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Virginia (see additional settlement here), and Georgia.  More cases are still pending in Ohio, WisconsinMichigan, and Pennsylvania.

Judge Black’s opinion and order can be read here.

http://www.examiner.com/x-2782-DC-Gun-Rights-Examiner~y2009m9d9-Federal-judge-rules-police-cannot-detain-people-for-openly-carrying-guns?cid=exrss-DC-Gun-Rights-Examiner