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Author: admin, 16.06.2014
No other state has produced more guns seized by police in the brutal Mexican drug wars than Texas. Carter, 76, has operated four Carter's Country stores in the Houston metropolitan area over the past half-century.
As an unprecedented number of American guns flows to the murderous drug cartels across the border, the identities of U.S.
A year-long investigation by The Washington Post has cracked that secrecy and uncovered the names of the top 12 U.S.
Drug cartels have aggressively turned to the United States because Mexico severely restricts gun ownership.
What is different now, authorities say, is the number of high-powered rifles heading south - AR-15s, AK-47s, armor-piercing .50-caliber weapons - and the savagery of the violence. All of the stores among the top 12 have had double-digit traces of "crime guns" to their stores from Mexico, a statistic that can be a red flag for investigators.
Many dealers tip off ATF when they suspect "straw purchases," in which a person buys for someone who is prohibited from owning a gun, a common practice in Mexican gunrunning cases. The foundation and the National Rifle Association aggressively challenge statistics that show 80 to 90 percent of the weapons seized in Mexico are first sold in the United States, calling the numbers highly inflated. Cox said guns are coming to Mexico from other Central American countries and from former Mexican soldiers who have U.S. ATF disagreed, saying the biggest factors are the high number of dealers along the border and the convenient location. Guns from the United States "have been feeding the violence and overwhelming firepower being unleashed by drug traffickers," said Arturo Sarukhan, Mexico's ambassador to the United States. The flow of gunsTo examine the gun flow from the United States to Mexico, The Post reviewed hundreds of court documents and federal reports and interviewed Mexican officials and dozens of current and former U.S. ATF in 2006 launched Project Gunrunner - a program that now involves more than 220 agents who make criminal cases against gun traffickers and about 165 inspectors who check gun dealers for compliance with federal regulations.
On the criminal side, a recent Justice Department inspector general's report called the program weak and ineffective, with most of the cases brought against single defendants hired to buy small numbers of firearms. The cornerstone of the $60 million program is gun tracing - tracking weapons to the dealers who originally sold them. But the Justice IG report said that Mexican gun tracing has been "unsuccessful." ATF officials complain that, in the past, most guns seized in Mexico were not traced. A Government Accountability Office report on Project Gunrunner found that ATF has not done "recent systematic analysis and reporting of aggregate data," hampered by congressional restrictions on the tracing information. One investigation showed that 23 traffickers had purchased more than 335 firearms, including 251 rifles, from 10 dealers. About one-third of the weapons were traced to incidents in Mexico involving 63 deaths, including those of 18 law enforcement officers. Fifty of the guns were purchased at three Carter's stores, including 29 at the chain's flagship store in Spring, Tex. There was no indication that the gun stores named in court documents - Carter's Country, Academy Sports and Outdoors, and Collectors Firearms - had done anything wrong. In the rest of the chain's 120 stores, such "assault weapons" are limited to one per customer per visit. Collectors owner Mike Clark said the 60 traces to his Houston store were insignificant given the store's volume, which he would not reveal.
Volume might factor into why many dealers are on the top-12 list, including Carter's Country, which sells thousands of firearms and is the largest independent gun retailer in the region. Greeting a reporter last month in his store in Spring, standing near giant ivory tusks and stuffed grizzly bears and lions, Carter declined to be interviewed. Dogged for years by lawsuits over his business practices, Carter pushed for the 2003 federal secrecy law governing gun traces because trial lawyers had been using the information in lawsuits against gun stores. In one suit, a former employee who filed a wrongful-termination suit said Carter's Country permitted straw purchases. In another case, a man who killed a Houston police officer said he bought the murder weapon, a 9mm Smith & Wesson, "in the name of my wife" at Carter's Country in Pasadena, outside Houston.
The officer's wife, Joslyn Johnson, a Houston police sergeant, alleges that Carter's Country knew the sale was illegal. Carter's Country denies the allegation, saying the gun was purchased legally by the man's wife. They smuggled the guns across the border, an hour south of Tucson, to "Rambo," a member of the Sinaloa drug cartel. All in all, Ramos and nine others bought 112 firearms worth more than $100,000 - 30 from Mad Dawg and the rest from 14 other firearms dealers across Arizona, court records show.
No charges were brought against any of the gun dealers involved, and there was no indication the dealers did anything wrong.
One of the dealers, J&G Sales in Prescott, ranks third on the top-12 list, with about 130 of its guns traced from Mexico over the past two years. The lack of charges against dealers is not unusual, in part because it's difficult to prove a straw purchase took place. Under federal law, a gun dealer who sells two or more handguns to the same person within five business days must report the sales to ATF. Over the years, the gun lobby has successfully opposed such a requirement, arguing it is not needed, because long guns are far less likely to be used in crimes. The biggest case ATF brought against a gun dealer in Project Gunrunner illustrates the obstacles agents face when they try to do something about stores sending guns to Mexico. Corrupt gun stores usually are hard to catch because law enforcement needs evidence that the stores knowingly sold weapons intended for criminals. In late 2007, ATF agents busted suspects who told the agents they had purchased hundreds of weapons from a single dealer: George Iknadosian, who owned a Phoenix gun store called X-Caliber. Agents examined the dealer's traces and found that 86 guns had been recovered by police in the United States and Mexico between 2005 and 2008.
The store had sold 710 guns of the types known to be popular with Mexican drug cartels - more than 500 AK-47s and SKS-style rifles, plus one especially lethal .50-caliber Barrett rifle capable of piercing armored vehicles.

Iknadosian instructed undercover agents posing as straw purchasers about how to sneak weapons across the border, advising them to cross on weekends and Fridays when border agents might be off fishing. Iknadosian was charged with violations of state fraud, forgery, racketeering and money laundering laws. But in March 2009, a state judge, Robert Gottsfield, dismissed the case before it went to the jury. In an interview, Gottsfield defended his decision, which he said was one of the few times in 30 years he had dismissed a case before it went to a jury.
About guns going to Mexico from the United States, the judge said: "It is a terrible problem. Obama's plan covers four major aspects of gun violence prevention -- gun laws, criminal justice, school security, and mental health funding -- and each of these is represented in the top four rated proposals.
The two least-broadly supported proposals, but ones majorities of Americans still favor, are reinstating and strengthening the 1994-2004 ban on assault weapons (60%), and limiting the sale of ammunition magazines to those with 10 rounds or less (54%).
The three other specific policies tested in the new poll that garner somewhat lower -- although still majority -- support are federal funding for 15,000 street police officers (70%), federal funding for helping schools develop emergency response plans (69%), and banning the possession of armor-piercing bullets by civilians (67%). Although Democrats show more support than Republicans for each proposal, majorities of both partisan groups favor seven of the nine proposals. The two proposals favored by majorities of Democrats, but not Republicans, relate to enacting bans on the sale of guns or ammunition.
Now that President Obama has outlined his plan for preventing gun violence, Congress must decide what to take up, and when. Certain types of gun control policies enjoy broad public support, but so do proposals aimed at treating youth with mental health problems before they can become a danger to society, and increasing school security measures. If Congress is looking to public opinion for what to pass first, the poll indicates background checks, stiffer penalties on straw purchasers, bans on armor-piercing bullets, and more funding for police, school security, and mental health programs would face little public resistance.
For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of error is ±4 percentage points. Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Samples are weighted to correct for unequal selection probability, nonresponse, and double coverage of landline and cell users in the two sampling frames. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
Donald Trump's image among Republicans is improving, but remains substantially more negative than previous GOP nominees at this point in their campaigns. Sixty-one percent of Americans say that marriages between same-sex couples should be recognized by the law as valid, consistent with the 58% and 60% recorded in 2015. Less than half of Americans, 44%, say they have a will describing how their money and estate should be handled after their death. Nearly two-thirds of Americans who describe themselves as "pro-life" are unsure whether they agree or disagree with Donald Trump on the abortion issue. Eighteen percent of Americans in May name the economy in general as the most important problem facing the U.S. Asked separately about three possible courses for the future of the Affordable Care Act, more Americans favor replacing it with federally funded health insurance for all Americans than favor either keeping it in place or repealing it.
Americans are split on whether they approve or disapprove of the Affordable Care Act, but overall, they are steadily seeing more benefits to the law since 2012. Every crime in California consists of "elements." These are facts the prosecutor must prove to make a case in court. If you got charged with a crime, check the documents for the code section you are accused of violating. All crimes in Nevada consist of "elements." An element is a fact that the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt for the defendant to be convicted.
If, after reading this article, you would like more information, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.
If you have the legal right possess a gun, there are several ways to exercise your Second Amendment right to bear arms.
In California, firearm permits are authorized under Penal Code 26150 and 26155 PC, permits to carry a concealed firearm.14 These licenses entitle you to carry a "pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon your person". If you receive a permit to carry a concealed firearm, you may legally carry a loaded, concealed gun. Numerous California gun laws prohibit possessing or carrying firearms under certain circumstances.
A firearm is considered loaded when there is an unexpended cartridge or shell attached in any manner to the firearm. But Penal Code 25850 does require that you knew you were carrying a loaded firearm.50 If you didn't know you had a loaded gun on your person or in your car, you are not guilty of this offense. Punishment for carrying a loaded firearm in violation of Penal Code 25850 is the same as for carrying a concealed firearm under Penal Code 25400. Possession of any of the foregoing in a government building is punishable by up to a year in county jail or a $1,000 fine.
The sterile area must, however, be posted with a statement providing reasonable notice that prosecution may result.
In the Lone Star State, no other city has more guns linked to Mexican crime scenes than Houston.
In the past two years, more than 115 guns from his stores have been seized by the police and military in Mexico. In Texas, two of the four Houston area Carter's Country stores are on the list, along with four gun retailers in the Rio Grande Valley at the southern tip of the state. Following gunrunning paths that have been in place for 50 years, firearms cross the border and end up in the hands of criminals as well as ordinary citizens seeking protection.
Many of the dealers "view themselves as the first line of defense," said Lawrence Keane, general counsel and vice president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a firearms industry trade group.
The agency has conducted about 1,000 inspections in the border region, leading to the seizure of more than 400 firearms.

An official in the Mexican attorney general's office called tracing "some kind of bad joke," the Justice inspector general's report said. ATF officials said that they do analyze the data and that tracing information has led to some major cases.
Some of the guns ended up being seized at the site of the "Acapulco Police Massacre," where drug gangsters disguised as soldiers invaded two offices of the state attorney general and killed three investigators, one prosecutor and two secretaries. When one of the traffickers purchased eight Bushmaster .223-caliber sniper rifles for nearly $9,000 on May 12, 2007, an employee of the store contacted ATF. Another Academy store in McAllen, about 10 miles from the border, has had about 95 traces in two years.
An illegal immigrant who had been convicted of a felony sex offense, he was prohibited from buying a gun. Ramos, one of the ringleaders, was sentenced this summer by a federal judge in Tucson to four years and two months in prison. The agency has identified such sales as a red flag, or "significant indicator," of trafficking.
But the percentage of long guns recovered in Mexican crimes has been steadily increasing, from 20 percent in 2004 to 48 percent in 2009, reports show.
In this case, the agents had tons of evidence: surveillance, recorded phone calls, confidential informants and undercover agents posing as straw buyers. Attorney's Office in Phoenix declined to take the case, because it started out with low-level straw-purchaser charges and was going to require a lot of time and resources to develop further. Americans are most likely to be in favor of requiring background checks for all gun sales (91%), increasing funding for mental health programs aimed at youth (82%), increasing funding for programs to train law enforcement and schools in responding to active armed attacks (79%), and increasing criminal penalties for people who buy guns for others -- so-called straw purchasers (75%). That includes nearly universal support among Republicans and Democrats for requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales. There is a good chance his proposals will be considered separately, rather than as a package, raising the question of what Americans would prioritize. Gallup asked Americans in a separate question whether, in order to prevent future school shootings, the president and Congress should focus more on gun control or more on school security and mental health. On the other hand, other gun control measures, such as bans on so-called assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, might not only be difficult to get through Congress, but hard to sell to Republicans and independents. 19-20, 2013, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 1,013 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cell phone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by region.
Police officer mistakes, faulty breathalyzers and crime lab errors may get your charges reduced or dismissed. But California law offers many avenues of relief to clear your record and build a fresh start. Police misconduct, defective breathalyzers and crime lab mistakes may be enough to get your charges lessened or dismissed. Therefore our Nevada criminal defense lawyers have devoted this section of the website to explain how the process works. San Diego County--that the "good cause" requirement for concealed carry permits in California is unconstitutional. Or it may be punished by both jail AND a fine if the area is posted with a statement providing reasonable notice that prosecution may result from possession of such items. And in the Texas oil town, no single independent dealer stands out more for selling guns traced from south of the border than Bill Carter. Mexican President Felipe Calderon came to Washington in May and urged Congress and President Obama to stop the flow of guns south. One gun sold at Carter's Country was recovered 65 days later by police investigating the kidnapping and murder of a businessman. After the Hernandez case, Academy stopped selling all military-style tactical weapons, including AK-47s and AR-15s, at its eight stores near the border. Over the next three months, the two men and several of their associates returned to Mad Dawg repeatedly to buy rifles.
But multiple sales of "long guns," which include shotguns and rifles such as AK-47s, do not have to be reported to ATF.
So ATF took the case to the Arizona attorney general, who worked on it for more than a year with the Phoenix Police Department. A majority of Republicans also favor a ban on armor-piercing bullets and increasing penalties for straw purchasers, as well as the various school security, police funding, and mental health funding proposals tested. All of this, it must be said, is colored by last month's horrific mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. At the very least, Congress needs to make sure that any action taken on guns is seen as supplemental to meaningful school security and mental health policy reforms, not a substitute for it.
Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2012 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. Gallup's Economic Confidence Index registered -14 last week, similar to where it has been since early April.
Then we discuss the best ways to fight the charge, and the penalties that stem from a conviction. Then we explain effective ways to defend against the charge, and what penalties a conviction may carry. On May 17, 2008, he headed to a gun show in Arizona, where he bought an Olympic Arms .223-caliber rifle from a Tucson firearms business, Mad Dawg Global. But if it is allowed to stand, then California law on concealed weapons permits could change drastically in the near future. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

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