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Guns and Crime

Ghost guns: “A crisis!”

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Ghost guns A crisis

The Law of the Bureaucrat states that for every perceived problem there is a rule that can solve it. Supposedly having a gun with no serial numbers makes it impossible to solve crimes. After all, the serial number is exactly like the VIN on your car. If you have the number, you can somehow find the owner in a database somewhere. That will lead you to the criminal. Hence, the rule that manufacturers must put serial numbers on guns.

Right.

I got a hunting rifle for my birthday. It has a serial number. If it somehow gets used in a crime (not by me!) there’s no guaranteed way to use that number for anything except to identify when and where it was manufactured. The police might even learn that I bought it. That’s it. The criminal who stole it won’t be identified, for the simple reason that he stole it.

Duh!

There’s no database of serial numbers and owners. But suppose that we start registering every gun sale in a permanent record tomorrow. That won’t do anything for the hundreds of millions of guns that Americans already own. And it’s not going to do anything to help identify the stolen guns used in crime. And almost every gun crime is committed with a stolen gun.

So how do the police solve crimes? They find the weapons used in crime, fire bullets through them, and compare marks on the bullets and shell casings with evidence from the crime. Yes, they do try to discover the original purchaser, but since that person rarely commits the crime, that’s little real help. After all, what good did it do to learn that the Las Vegas shooter bought his weapons over several years? He was a lawful purchaser. And he had already suffered the death penalty.

One could propose a complete ban on guns, but that has been proven useless. Chicago plants a citizen every eighteen hours, and guns are all but illegal in private hands there. Gang-bangers get them anyway. Guns and knives are illegal in prisons, but prisoners figure out how to make them. The criminal mind is always a step ahead of law enforcement.

So what’s the big deal about an AR-15 with no serial number? Have ghost guns been used in lots of crime? The Wall Street Journal lists three crimes in four years. Surely that’s an epidemic in the context of over 12,000 murders a year. Of course we need to go ballistic over three criminals. A total of ten killed in four years is definitely worthy of hyperventilation when Chicago loses that many every week with stolen guns.

Don’t get me wrong. Every wrongful death is a tragedy. But when we are obsessing over less than one tenth of one percent of murders in order to create rules that only law-abiding citizens – who don’t commit crimes! – will obey, we’re barking up the wrong tree. We need to be dealing with the other 99.9% of the murders. When we have saved those lives, then it may be worth our efforts to save the remaining few.

It is immoral to spend scarce resources on even scarcer problems. It is even more reprehensible to spend them on solutions that don’t offer any realistic promise of success. Remember that every gun investigation starts with a gun in hand. If that gun has no serial number, either because it never had one or because it has been filed off by the criminal, the rest of the investigation isn’t materially changed. Fingerprints, DNA, and ballistic data will build the case. Those are far more likely to provide useful information than any serial number.

Serial numbers are applied by manufacturers to allow quality control. They have developed a secondary use in identifying the date of manufacture, either to allow purchase of proper spare parts or to establish value in old and rare models. They were never designed for criminal investigations, and are generally a poor tool in them.

To allow “ghost guns” to be the subject of legislative action is an example of magical thinking. Somehow, the good intentions will make life safer. But reality teaches us that we must take action that actually addresses real problems.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Steve

    January 9, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Stopping people from making guns is impossible. Guns are just relatively simple machines. You might as well try to stop somebody from building a model airplane. There isn’t much difference. If commercial manufacturers can make guns then others can learn to make guns. It’s not magic.

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Foreign Affairs

First charge filed against Russian for interfering with elections

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First charge filed against Russian for interfering with elections

Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova is allegedly part of Project Lakhta, a Russian operation intended to sow political division ahead of the midterm elections as well as other elections around the world. She has been charged by the Justice Department for interfering with the United States political system.

Here is the press release from the DOJ:

Russian National Charged with Interfering in U.S. Political System

https://www.justice.gov/usao-edva/pr/russian-national-charged-interfering-us-political-system“The strategic goal of this alleged conspiracy, which continues to this day, is to sow discord in the U.S. political system and to undermine faith in our democratic institutions,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “This case demonstrates that federal law enforcement authorities will work aggressively to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of unlawful foreign influence activities whenever feasible, and that we will not stand by idly while foreign actors obstruct the lawful functions of our government. I want to thank the agents and prosecutors for their determined work on this case.”

According to allegations in the criminal complaint, Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova, 44, of St. Petersburg, Russia, served as the chief accountant of “Project Lakhta,” a Russian umbrella effort funded by Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin and two companies he controls, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, and Concord Catering. Project Lakhta includes multiple components, some involving domestic audiences within the Russian Federation and others targeting foreign audiences in the United States, members of the European Union, and Ukraine, among others.

My Take

This story will be spun from its surface assertion of Russian interference helping President Trump and other Republicans win in 2016. That assertion is inaccurate as the DOJ release indicates, but it won’t stop mainstream and leftist media from calling this the smoking gun against Trump’s presidency.

What this project allegedly did was push forth divisive messaging that was intended to affect people on both sides of the political aisle. This is important to understand because it wasn’t intended to drive one candidate or another. It was designed to take whatever political position any given person has and amplify their anger towards the opposing side.

Russia knows if they push the far right further to the right and the far left further to the left, our own anger will fuel the division. They are taken advantage of our freedom.

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Guns and Crime

Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards charged for leaking financial data on Robert Mueller’s targets

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Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards charged for leaking financial data on Robert Muellers targets

Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty of leaking financial documents to BuzzFeed. These documents contained information about some of Robert Mueller’s targets in his probe of Russian election meddling, including Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Maria Butina, and the Russian Embassy.

Natalie Edwards: Treasury FinCEN official charged with leaking financial records in Russia probe

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/natalie-edwards-treasury-fincen-employee-charged-with-leaking-financial-records-in-russia-probe/U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement that Edwards “betrayed her position of trust by repeatedly disclosing highly sensitive information.”

“SARs, which are filed confidentially by banks and other financial institutions to alert law enforcement to potentially illegal transactions, are not public documents, and it is an independent federal crime to disclose them outside of one’s official duties,” Berman said.

My Take

There has never been a presidency that had so many government employees attempting to derail it. For a senior Treasury Department employee to be willing to go to jail to help a leftist media outlet post some stories exemplifies how unhinged President Trump’s opponents can be.

Trust of public employees is extremely important and, anecdotally, at an all-time low. It isn’t just people in the White House. There are clearly an large number of unhinged activists working for the federal government.

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Conspiracy Theory

If Keith Ellison wins his election, #MeToo has officially jumped the shark

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If Keith Ellison wins his election MeToo has officially jumped the shark

Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) should be a prime target for the #MeToo movement. He’s a powerful man who allegedly abused his ex-girlfriend. She has corroboration and evidence to back her claims. She’s a fellow Democrat, so she’s not a political plant by his opposition. She’s a woman with a story of abuse that, by #MeToo movement standards, should be believed.

The problem is Ellison is a powerful Democrat, a Muslim, a minority, and is in the middle of a tight election. Therefore, he’s protected from the people who would have sunk Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation despite no evidence or corroboration.

The hypocrisy of it all is stunning. The message being sent by the #MeToo movement based on their unwillingness to confront Ellison and call for his removal from offices, current and future, is that women are to be believed if they’re accusing the right people. Keith Ellison isn’t the right person. He’s an ally to the #MeToo movement because he’s a Democrat, a Muslim, a minority, and someone who’s in the middle of an important election in Minnesota.

Despite the #MeToo movement looking away, it seems that voters in Minnesota are starting to look closer.

Domestic abuse charges diminishing Ellison’s lead

https://onenewsnow.com/politics-govt/2018/10/16/domestic-abuse-charges-diminishing-ellisons-leadRep. Keith Ellison’s (D-Minn.) lead in the polls – to become Minnesota’s newest attorney general in the midterm elections – has continued to vanish after his ex-girlfriend’s domestic abuse allegations.

Before the Karen Monahan’s charges were made public, the Democratic Muslim candidate was believed to be a shoe-in in the contest to become the deep-blue state’s top cop, but since then, polls show that his once long-shot Republican competitor, Doug Wardlow, has closed in on him – big time.

Misogyny and abuse of power are real problems in America. This is why the initial iteration of the #MeToo movement was so powerful. It worked. That cannot be denied. But what it has become is a shadow of its original self.

The highest ranking law enforcement official n the state of Minnesota may be a many accused by his ex-girlfriend of physical and mental abuse. Unfortunately, #MeToo doesn’t believe her.

#MeToo will only go after people like Keith Ellison if there’s incontrovertible evidence against them. They’ll go after Brett Kavanaugh no matter what. #MeToo is not the women’s empowerment movement they claim to be. It’s a political activist front.

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