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Former Tucson cop gets 6.5 years for trafficking guns to Mexico

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H/T Guns.com.

YGTBSM 6.5 years for gun trafficking he should have gotten a whole lot longer prison term.

Former Tucson cop gets 6.5 years for trafficking guns to Mexico.

Joe Santiago Valles served the Tucson Police Department from 2012 through 2014 when he resigned, according to reports. (Photo: Tucson Police/AP)

A federal judge sentenced a former Tucson police officer to 78 months in prison for a host of charges connected to illegally selling firearms, the Justice Department announced over the weekend.

Joe Santiago Valles, 34, the former Tucson officer, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the U.S., aiding and abetting false statements in firearms transactions, tampering, tampering with a witness and identity theft.

Valles was a business partner with Federal Firearms Licensee Timothy Veninga, doing business as Ballistic Firearms, in Tucson, the Justice Department said. Together, they submitted ATF forms to transfer guns using phony names to conceal the identities of the actual buyers. From October 2015 to April 2016, they transferred 35 firearms, including 24 semi-auto pistols and rifles.

One of the firearms was intercepted by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol on its way into Mexico, and Mexican authorities recovered a second firearm, a .50-caliber rifle, the Justice Department said.

Prosecutors say soldiers with the Mexican military in September 2016 stopped five men in Sinoaloa, Mexico, as they disembarked an airplane carrying long guns. Altogether, authorities seized eight firearms and a stash of Mexican pesos valued at $38,000 USD. One of the weapons was a Barrett .50-caliber rifle Model 82 with an obliterated serial number.

Mexican authorities contacted an ATF attaché to examine the firearm. Agents recovered the serial number and traced it back to Ballistic Firearms. When investigators interviewed Veninga, they noticed a number of .50-caliber rifles and that the one recovered in Mexico was sold to Eduardo Romero, one of the names used to falsify transaction records.

According to court documents, Valles and Veninga would use identities of individuals without their knowing to complete and sign ATF background check forms. As an FFL, Veninga maintained records of the transactions. However, he also destroyed them.

The two men went so far to conceal illegal activity as to stage a robbery. According to court documents, Veninga reported to local authorities that a masked robber bound him and threatened him at gunpoint for his FFL records. However, the incident did not occur.

According to a search of federal court records, Veninga appeared at a status conference in a Tucson federal court on Tuesday.

 

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No charges for disabled veteran who shot intruder

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H/T Guns.com.

It is a sad state of affairs when you are defending yourself against some punk and you have to worry about some overzealous prosecutor charging you with a crime of some sort.

Harvey Lembo believes that because he is disabled and uses a motorized wheelchair to get around, criminals thought he was an easy target. (Photo: Bangor Daily News)

A 69-year-old disabled veteran who shot an intruder in his Rockland, Maine, apartment in 2015 will not face any charges for his actions, the Knox County district attorney determined this week.

“Had this case gone to trial, the evidence would have raised issues related to self-defense and defense of premises,” said District Attorney Jonathan Liberman, the Bangor Daily Newsreported. “The standard of proof in criminal cases is proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and I do not believe that we can meet that burden in this case.”

Attorney David Weyrens said Harvey Lembo, whom he represented, never felt he did anything wrong and was “grateful” for Liberman’s decision.

Lembo made headlines nearly two years ago when he shot Christopher Wildhaber, 47, just hours after purchasing a 7mm Russian-made handgun. Lembo made the purchase after his home had been broken into numerous times.

The Aug. 31, 2015, shooting occurred after Lembo was awakened around midnight by the sound of Wildhaber in his home then saw his shadow move in the darkness. Lembo grabbed his recently-purchased means of protection from under his pillow and confronted Wildhaber, who he found rummaging through his prescription pain medications, which had been stolen in the past.

“I told him to sit down while I called police or I would blow his brains out,” Lembo recalled.

Wildhaber did as instructed and sat on a coffee table as Lembo called the police. However, while Lembo was on the phone with the 911 dispatcher, Wildhaber decided to jump up. Lembo promptly proved he wasn’t bluffing and fired a single shot at Wildhaber, who left a trail of blood as he ran out of the apartment through a back door.

Authorities located Wildhaber in a nearby wooded area a short time later and, after a brief struggle, apprehended him. Wildhaber, who claimed he was simply in the wrong apartment but too intoxicated to notice, was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

But shortly after the break-in and subsequent shooting, Lembo was contacted by the property management company and told he was in violation of the house rules. He was given two options: Give up his gun or get out.

Lembo, however, fought back and filed a lawsuit against the property owner and the management company, citing a violation of his constitutional rights.

Initially, Lembo’s case was shot down, but the decision was appealed. Soon thereafter, the state passed legislation that would not allow rental property owners who receive government subsidies to ban tenants from possessing firearms, with the exception of owner-occupied properties with less than five units. Once the legislation was passed, the appeal filed on Lembo’s behalf was dropped.

Lembo remains in the apartment he’s called home for several years.

 

Judge tosses Texas professors’ lawsuit over guns on campus

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H/T ABC.

Bravo U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel for making the right call on this bullshit lawsuit.

A federal court has dismissed a lawsuit by three University of Texas professors who argued that a new state law allowing concealed handguns on campus could have a “chilling effect” on classroom debate.

Sociology professor Jennifer Lynn Glass and English professors Lisa Moore and Mia Carter sued last summer, before the law took effect in September. It requires public universities to allow people with concealed-handgun licenses to carry weapons inside school buildings.

The professors said guns in classrooms could lead to self-censorship during discussions about emotional or politically charged topics, such as abortion or gay rights. They said that could disrupt academic discussions and violate constitutional free speech protections.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel dismissed the case Thursday, ruling the professors offered “no concrete evidence to substantiate their fears.”

If We Talked About Cars the Way We Talk About Guns

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H/T JPFO.

By Rob Morse. June 11th, 2017
Article Source

We’ve lived with guns for several centuries. Despite those years of cultural and personal familiarity, some people talk about guns as if they had been invented yesterday. I’m going to try and shift the discussion about guns so we can hear this stale bigotry with fresh ears. More people die each year in car accidents than in gun accidents. How do these anti-gun arguments sound to you when we substitute word for word?

  • Cars are not the answer. Good people leave the driving to the the government.
  • We’re not against car ownership. We simply want you to get proper training before you’re allowed to drive..and we don’t want any driving schools in your state.
  • Only criminals and the police drive fast cars. Why do you need to go that fast? Are you some sort of escaped criminal?
  • You know you’re more likely to have an accident if you have a car at home.
  • Only the police and bus drivers have enough training to drive. That’s why you should leave the driving to them..or walk.
  • Given how dangerous cars are, we think it is inappropriate for teachers to have personal cars at school.
  • Just say no to car and motorcycle violence.
  • vWhy do you need a car? Can’t you wait and take public transportation like everyone else?

  • We need to start training children early, so ban toy cars and toy motorcycles.
  • We’ve evolved past the need for personal transportation.
  • We don’t think you should have a car, but if you do, why would your family need more that one. No one needs a fleet of dangerous cars! (Does that argument sound familiar?)
  • Are you crazy? You know that cars don’t belong on a university campus. Campus is a place for education, not for car racing.
  • Cars don’t belong at church. Cars disturb our spiritual tranquility.
  • You’re so insensitive. You should know that cars don’t belong at a hospital. Some of the people in the hospital are there because of car crashes.
  • You only have a car for an emergency. You haven’t used it, so that is proof no one really needs a car.
  • Only the army or police need a car or truck that holds more than five gallons of fuel. High capacity cars should be outlawed. It is worth it if it saves one life.
  • It is disrespectful of you to have your own car. Don’t you trust the bus company to get you where you need to go?
  • Of course the President of the United States has a motorcade. That is no reason for you to have a car. Just who do you think you are?
  • Car owners are insecure and trying to make up for some personal inadequacy.
  • We’re not against cars. We’re only a car-safety organization and we want a few commonsense car-safety regulations.
  • Other states shouldn’t have to honor your driver’s license. Each state should be able to decide who may and may not drive there.

These sentiments are both shocking and shockingly familiar. This sounds like the sort of things we might have heard a hundred years ago when cars replaced horses. Today, it is the everyday bigotry directed against gun owners.

I don’t believe in voodoo and magical objects. Guns are lumps of metal and plastic. They are neither good nor bad. They don’t have magic powers. We were supposed to get past that mystical view of the world when we were about 16 years old. Most of us have. Clearly, some of us haven’t.

P.S. If you think I want to regulate cars, then your sense of humor is broken.

Seattle gun tax failure? Firearm sales plummet, violence spikes after law passes

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H/T Fox News.

Another liberal feel good law that has failed as always.

When the City of Seattle passed a tax on all sales of guns and ammunition, the measure was hailed as a way to defray the rising costs of gun violence.

But since the tax took effect, those costs have only risen as gun violence in the city has surged. And the tax has apparently brought in much less than city leaders projected it would.

“How much data do you need?” asked Dave Workman, senior editor of TheGunMag.com and member of the Second Amendment Foundation. “The data says the law has failed to prevent what they promised it would prevent.”

Seattle City Councilman Tim Burgess introduced the tax in 2015. It puts a $25 tax on every firearm sold in the city and up to 5 cents per round of ammunition. The measure easily passed and took effect January 1, 2016. Comparing the first five months of 2017 with the same period before the gun tax went into effect, reports of shots fired are up 13 percent, the number of people injured in shootings climbed 37 percent and gun deaths doubled, according to crime statistics from the Seattle Police Department.

Councilman Burgess never returned calls and emails for comment. Dana Robinson Slote, director of communication for Seattle City Council, said she was “politely declining your invitation for an interview.”

In selling his gun tax to the public, Burgess predicted it would generate between $300,000 and $500,000 annually. The money would be used to study the root causes of gun violence in hopes of reducing the costs to taxpayers

Seattle officials refuse to say how much the tax brought in the first year, only giving the number “under $200,000.” Gun rights groups have sued to get the exact amount.

But Mike Coombs, owner of Outdoor Emporium, the last large gun dealer left in Seattle, said the actual tax revenue is almost certainly just over $100,000, a figure based on information he says the city shared with his lawyers.

Coombs said storewide, sales are down 20 percent while gun sales have plummeted 60 percent.

“I’ve had to lay off employees because of this,” Coombs said. “It’s hurting us, it’s hurting our employees.”

Employees at the Big 5 sporting goods stores in Seattle also report anemic gun sales. But there’s evidence Seattleites are just going outside the city to buy their guns. Coombs also owns a gun shop in the nearby city of Fife. Sales there are described as robust.

Another gun dealer simply left Seattle and moved his shop, Precise Shooter, to nearby Lynnwood. Sergey Solyanik said business has never been better. He said the gun tax has probably worked out to be a net negative for Seattle when factoring lost sales tax revenue.

The money that has been raised by the gun tax is sitting in a holding account during the legal battle. But Seattle has dipped into its general fund to support the gun violence research study at Harborview Medical Center. Seattle paid a total of $550,000 for the study aimed at connecting gunshot victims with social services in hopes of not seeing them in the emergency room again.

“There’s a great deal of recidivism,” said Dr. Fred Rivara, a professor at the University of Washington’s pediatrics department who is directing the research. “These individuals are much more likely to come back with other gunshot wounds, to commit subsequent crimes, violent crime, to be murdered.”

Unfortunately, the researchers have had no shortage of gunshot victims to help and study. Seattle police say the increase in shootings seems to be tied to the drug trade – and revenge. Allison Anderman with the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which supports gun taxes, said calling the gun tax and gun violence study failures is way too premature.

“The causes of gun violence are very complex,” Anderman said. “To say this one study is lacking because it hasn’t solved the problem of gun violence in Seattle is, frankly, laughable.”

Dave Workman doesn’t criticize the study, but he does think the city council should have predicted the results of the gun tax, such as gun dealers leaving with no drop in gun ownership. As for the gun violence, he says that too should not surprise anyone.

“All these gun control laws affect the wrong people,” Workman said. “The gang bangers don’t go in and buy ammunition at retail, at least not around here. It certainly hasn’t stopped them from getting their hands on firearms.

Wife of Hartford, CT Police Officer Destroys Anti-Gun Politician in Scathing Letter

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H/T Bearing Arms.

State Representative Minnie Gonzalez (D-Hartford) is an anti police moron.        

We’ve all heard ridiculous claims about law enforcement, but this one really takes the cake.

State Representative Minnie Gonzalez (D-Hartford) had quite a bit to say about HB 6663, a Police Accountability Bill she is passionately supporting. Discussing the bill in front of the Connecticut Legislature’s General Assembly, Gonzalez said:

 “This bill is to hold accountable and to stop those cowboys that, because they got a bat and a gun, they think they can go shooting especially young kids in our community. This is not the Wild Wild West. And no consequences. Those cowboys doesn’t belong in the police department. This abuse has got to stop.”

While thousands of Connecticutians have spoken out against Gonzalaz’s ignorant and irresponsible remarks, but one response has gone viral. Marissa Cullen, the wife of a Hartford Police Officer, took the anti-gun liberal to task in an epic smackdown.

In an open letter, Cullen wrote:

To State Representative Minnie Gonzalez:

I am the proud wife of a Hartford Police Officer and Air Force Veteran. The men and women of the Hartford Police Department are some of the finest people I know and have more integrity than you could ever wish to have. They serve their communities with pride, dedication, and distinction. These officers put their lives on the line every single day, for little pay, little recognition, and with very little support from elected politicians. These men and women go into their neighborhoods every day truly trying to make a difference, something you know nothing about.

The comments made by you on June 5, 2017, in defense of Bill HB6663 were appalling, ignorant, and unnecessary. While you stated that you support the HPD and its officers, your statements were a direct contradiction to that. Let me address them one by one.

You stated that the officers were cowboys with guns and bats. I’m not sure I have ever seen them wear cowboy hats or boots to work. I have seen officers on horseback, however, they were not herding cattle. I have seen my husband come home with blood on his boots and tears in his eyes as he has faced some of the most horrific acts humans can do to one another. I’ve watched him on phone calls with other officers, consoling them as they attempted to come to terms with the suicide call, or child abuse case, or the senseless murders that occur all too frequently.

You stated that there are good and bad cops, you are correct. There are far more good ones than bad, which is more than I can say for politicians. The vast majority of police officers joined the force to do good, to make a change, and to be positive influences in their communities.

You stated that HPD officers have good pay, good benefits, and a good pension. What you fail to mention is that their good pay comes from countless hours of overtime, or road jobs (which are not paid for by the city, and the city actually makes money off of), you fail to mention the missed birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, and special occasions they have missed in order to protect your ignorance. From my understanding, you get paid a hefty stipend for being an elected official, receive benefits, and will receive a pension.

You stated that “you” pay for the officers’ lunch and dinner. I’m not sure how you determined that, as I send my husband with his meals daily, while he works his 16-hour shifts. He frequently comes home with his meals still in his bag, as they do not get a lunch break, and is often lucky if he can even get a bite in between calls.

You stated that these “cowboys” are killing young kids in our community with no consequences, and this abuse needs to stop. Since 2005 there have been 20 Officer Involved Shootings according to HPD data. That’s one shooting every 219 days by an officer. Considering the amount of public interaction, and the calls for service, this equates to a less than 1% chance of being shot by a police officer in Hartford. The last time a person was killed by a police officer in Hartford was in 2013, a whole 4 years ago, and it was entirely justified. Again, your ignorance is glaring, and your abuse of police officers needs to be stopped.

You stated that you pass laws frequently to protect and train police officers. The training is mandated by the State of CT, and you have done nothing to indemnify or protect officers of your community. In fact, based on your history, I am not even sure how you can remain in office. Your family has been called a “crime syndicate.” You have been found guilty of elections violations, you have the “Minnie Gonzalez Little League,” which receives over $75,000 a year in taxpayer money, and is managed by your husband. In fact, it seems as if you have a significant conflict of interest in presenting or debating any type of law enforcement bill, as taking power away from the police directly benefits you and your family.

It is very easy to sit in your safe office and make ignorant, untrue statements towards our officers. They need your support, not your condemnation. You lack integrity, honesty, and decency. You should take a ride along with a Hartford Police Officer on a Saturday night during the summer, and see what they are exposed to. Have you ever taken simulation training?  I’m sure you would not make accurate split-second decisions that you expect from our officers. You truly should be ashamed of your statements against HPD and in fact, should issue a very public apology for condemning them in the way you did.

Sincerely,

Marissa Cullen
The Wife Of A Hartford Police Officer

P.S.: Here is the link to your inaccurate, cowardly statements, to refresh your memory:

   

Florida sheriff who urged citizens to arm themselves stands behind message

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H/T Fox News.

Why is telling people to arm themselves controversial?

When seconds count the police are minutes away.

A Florida sheriff who posted a controversial message on social media urging citizens to arm themselves in self-defense said Monday the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Less than one percent of the people on Facebook disliked it,” Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey told Fox & Friends. “Everybody else loved it and the comments were overwhelmingly positive.”

Ivey posted the video on Facebook Wednesday two days after a deadly workplace shooting in nearby Orlando killed five people.

“Folks, now more than ever is the time for our citizens to be prepared to serve as the first line of defense, not only for them, but for their families,” Ivey said in the video.

“The video was about preparedness,” Ivey said on Fox & Friends. “We want our citizens to understand that there’s no way to prepare where the next attack is coming from, even the next active shooter.”

OPINION: AMERICA’S POLICE OPERATING IN DANGEROUS TIMES

The sheriff said the best law enforcement agencies in the country have response times in the minutes but a violent criminal “can take you in a second.”

“So we need our citizens to be well prepared, to have already though out their emergency plan,” Ivey said. “If they’re concealed carry holders, carry their gun with them. It’s not doing any good at the house or in the car.”

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