Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Brenda Roberts
(757) 705-4113





On December 4, 1619, 38 British settlers reach Berkeley Hundred on the banks of Virginia's James River, they read a proclamation designating the date as "a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God." From those early days onward, Virginians have always had a deep history of celebrating Thanksgiving. 


I am very much looking forward to seeing my family this Thanksgiving and, of course, scarfing down some pumpkin pie; I have no will power when it comes to that. My weakness for sweets and expanding waistline aside, there are many things that I am blessed and grateful for.


May Thanksgiving be an amazing day for each of you and your families.  I hope we will all take a moment to give thanks for this amazing country in which we live, for those who protect it at home and abroad, and for our own opportunities to make a difference for others and this world. 


I especially want to give thanks to my staff, Brenda and Terrell, who work hard to meet the needs of the residents of the 85th District. Below is a quick note from a content constituent,


"THANK YOU Delegate Scott Taylor (and Mr. Kingwood and the entire staff!) for stepping in to help my family navigate the mental health system. I know that you have avoided a tragedy by assisting my family in helping our son get the treatment that he needs. Your help and support have amazed me and given me faith that the system can really work when the right people are in office. THANK YOU for truly serving the needs of those in your district. I am forever grateful."


Happy Thanksgiving! 











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Del. Scott Taylor was elected as delegate for Virginia's 85th District in 2013. He is an entrepreneur, Iraq War veteran, and former Navy SEAL. Taylor is a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel discussing foreign policy, national security, and military and veterans' issues. He is also a former member of the Virginia War Memorial Board of Trustees, appointed by Gov. Bob McDonnell. 


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Giving Thanks

The Pogge Post

96th District, Virginia House of Delegates      November 26, 2014
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Richmond, VA 23219



Please send all mail to:

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Amanda Johnston
Giving Thanks
Exactly 325 years ago today, Americans celebrated the first national day of Thanksgiving as resolved by Congress and proclaimed by President George Washington. November 26, 1689, memorialized the first official Thanksgiving ceremony that occurred in 1619 at Berkeley Plantation in nearby Charles City County, Virginia.

Although New England is often mistakenly credited as the site where Thanksgiving was founded, those versed in history recognize that the holiday is rooted here in Virginia. To commemorate this milestone, President John F. Kennedy issued a Thanksgiving proclamation in 1963 declaring Berkeley as the site of the first official Thanksgiving.

Perhaps the most sobering and timeless Thanksgiving proclamation, however, was offered by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, halfway through the Civil War:

"We have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us."

Today our country is among the most blessed in the world. The majority of Americans will spend Thanksgiving with friends and family while enjoying an abundance of food. Gone are the nation's early days of desperation when sustenance was scarce and life uncertain. Nowadays, preparing Thanksgiving dinner entails going to a grocery store (or two) and purchasing readily available food. Modern conveniences have made life remarkably safe and comfortable.

As you enjoy Thanksgiving's bounty, I urge you to pause for a minute and consider the blessings we have been granted. In this nation, we truly have much for which to be grateful. Tomorrow, please join me in celebrating Thanksgiving in the spirit of George Washington: with "public thanksgiving and prayer."

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours!

Brenda L. Pogge
Delegate, 96th District
Virginia House of Delegates   

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

[LPVA Announce] ACTION ITEM - Help Make Ballot Access More Fair


Dear LPVA members and friends:

Please help make it easier for Libertarian Party of Virginia candidates to get on the ballot in Virginia!

Under current law, the Commonwealth of Virginia makes it more difficult than almost all other states for a political party to remain on the ballot and be able to place its candidates on the ballot without petitioning.

It takes 10% of the vote for a statewide office (and, there are only five of them: President, US Senate, Governor, Lt. Governor & Attorney General) in either of the last two statewide elections. Only one state, Alabama, has a higher vote percentage retention requirement, at 20%.

We need to find members of the Virginia House of Delegates and Virginia Senate who will agree to be patrons for and to vote for legislation that will reduce this vote percentage ballot retention requirement to something more reasonable.

A few years ago, North Carolina reduced its vote percentage retention requirement from 10% for President or Governor to 2%. Maryland went from 10% to 1% in 1998. In West Virginia, it has always been 1%, and Kentucky has always been 2%.

We should ask for the 10% of the vote ballot access retention requirement to be reduced to 2% in Virginia. The specific change would be to Sec. 24.2-101 of the Code of Virginia, striking 10% and replacing it with 2%.

Please email or call both your Delegate and State Senator and ask if they will support such legislation. Don�t know who your Delegate and State Senator are?

Go to: <>

and type in your home address (no PO boxes!) to see who your Delegate and State Senator are.

The most important Delegates and State Senators are those who are on the House and Senate Privileges & Elections Committees. Those members can be seen here:


and here:


Time is of the essence! While the Virginia General Assembly won�t convene until early January, bills for the upcoming legislative session are being submitted now. Things are going to move fast, particularly given that this is going to be a �short� session in 2015.

If your Delegate or State Senator agrees to support such legislation, please inform me at <> or by calling me at 703-864-2132.

Thanks very much,

Bill Redpath
LPVA Chairman

Have an announcement you'd like to post? SCC members & many
committee heads are all authorized to post; or you may send
your announcements to the List Master: <>
Unsubscribe: Send an email to with no subject
and "Unsubscribe Announce" as the text.
Libertarian Party of Virginia
Phone: 703-715-6230
Want to see past messages? Check the Archive:

Saturday, November 22, 2014

VA-ALERT: VCDL Update 11/22/14

Not yet a VCDL member? Join VCDL at:
VCDL's meeting schedule:
Abbreviations used in VA-ALERT:

Thanks to Matt Cuddy and EM Brandy Polanowski for compiling this Update.

1. Member comments on alert from Oct. 14 Item 11
2. A reminder on the laws of self-defense
3. Another example why teachers, faculty, staff, and visitors with CHPs should be allowed to carry on school property
5. A reminder to be careful where you carry
6. Supreme Court to hear UVA Law Clinic case involving gun, property rights
7. Another Fast and Furious gun recovered at a crime scene
8. Obama asserts Fast and Furious Executive Privilege claim for Holder's wife
9. The unsavory history of gun control
10. Holder: Gun control among biggest failures
11. NY Times author uses Ebola situation to call for more gun control
12. Lead poisoning is a major threat at America's shooting ranges
13. [TX] Why I Carry: Five men beat man and sexually assault his girlfriend
14. [TX] CHP holder stops potentially deadly Walmart attack
16. [OH] Armed robber victimizes customer in Kroger bathroom; Bloomberg Moms silent
17. [PA] Army vet stops knife-wielding attacker
18. [MO] Possibly drunk anti-gun Missouri Senator arrested with loaded 9mm

1. Member comments on alert from Oct. 14 Item 11

Member Sam Houchins II emailed me this:

If I may bust a faulty myth buster of myth #11:

Myth #1: You have to have a license to operate a car. Why shouldn't you have to have one to own a gun?

"Owning a car is not a right; it's a privilege... There is no enumerated right to own or drive a car. A license generally isn't required to own a car, or to operate it on private land."

Owning a car IS a right. Driving IS a right. It need not have been enumerated to be one of the innumerable reserved rights of the people.

Registering vehicles and licenses for driving are tolerated burdens pressed upon us by the states, but are arguably unnecessary and are also infringements.

There are many dissimilarities that lull us into tolerating the registration and licensing of cars/driving, but justify resisting such infringements for firearms.

Cars/driving aren't immediately, moment by moment necessary for self-defense against sudden personal criminal lethal threats, nor for societal defense against foreign and domestic governments and military threats.

Governments have not been historically predisposed to targeting registered vehicle owners and licensed drivers, nor successfully victimized people because they were made vehicle-less.

Driving a vehicle with all of its complexities of actually frequently USING the vehicle at x mph on y miles of roads with the numerous rules, and signs, and road markings to facilitate cooperative safe interactions with tons of moving steel, plastic, and rubber, is different than if once purchased it only just sat in the garage, and was occasionally started to back it out into the driveway, just to immediately park it right back into the garage. (compared to moving a firearm from holster to safe to holster again)

Driving is also MUCH more complicated, and statistically much more dangerous, than just CARRYING - as opposed to frequently firing in public - a holstered firearm which is otherwise inert while holstered, and only requires 4 EXTREMELY simple rules to be followed whenever it rarely is in hand (and even rarer to be in hand in public).

Neither car registration nor driving licenses succeed in preventing cars from being involved in their thousands upon thousands of accidents and crimes every year.

There are no concerted efforts to ban cars and driving in the US, as there are against firearms.

There are no concerted efforts to reduce general availability to cars and driving in the US, as there are against firearms.

It is not so much the registration or licensing themselves of the firearms or gun owners that is inherently or immediately anathema - it is the unique propensity for the systemic abuse of the information to the point of taxation, restriction, confiscation, prosecution, and even death of licensed owners of registered firearms that necessitates the resistance to such provocations to the functional purposes of prolific and free access to arms in American society as a whole and to its individuals.

2. A reminder on the laws of self-defense

Remember that a gun can only be used in self-defense lawfully in Virginia if:

1. You are not part of the problem (in which case you must first retreat as far as you can and indicate you've given up)

2. You are in imminent danger of being killed or grievously hurt

Chasing after criminals can put you in a situation where you are now "part of the problem." However, if you are doing so to save another innocent whose life is is under imminent threat of death or grievous bodily injury, that would most likely be viewed differently.

If you and your family are safe and secure from a violent criminal, stay that way and call the police.


Dominique Clark convicted of involuntary manslaughter in teen's shooting
by Marshall Norton
October 23, 2014

A jury Thursday evening convicted Dominique Clark of involuntary manslaughter in connection to the shooting of a teen in February.

Indicted for manslaughter in April, the jury found Clark guilty of the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter and recommended a fine of $2,500.

Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Michael Hollomon said he was pleased with the conviction, and the attention the jury gave to the case. "It was not an easy case, and the decision-making process required a great deal of thought about the law of self-defense and how it applied to the facts of this case," he said. "The jury's verdict on involuntary manslaughter indicates they were convinced this was not self-defense, but rather, negligence or carelessness so culpable to show a callous disregard of human life."

In trial, testimony revealed Clark came out out of his house, left the safety of his home, walked to where he thought suspects were and yelled, "Freeze." Clark testified he heard someone say, "Shoot him, bro," and then he fired his gun. Clark said in trial he was aiming to make a defensive suppression shot, not a head shot.

"I emphasized to the jury that ownership and use of a deadly weapon in any situation carries with it an awesome responsibility," Hollomon said."Failure to live up to that responsibility will result in a person being held criminally responsible."

Clark is scheduled to be sentenced January 23.

3. Another example why teachers, faculty, staff, and visitors with CHPs should be allowed to carry on school property

What is it with hatchets being used as weapons lately?

Member Jason Ward emailed me this:


Man found inside Salem High School with hatchet: 'It seemed like a good idea t the time'
by Holly Henry, Dominic Brown, and Marissa Jasek
October 22, 2014

Virginia Beach, Va. – A man facing several charges after allegedly trespassing at Salem High School with a hatchet gave a rambling interview from jail in which he made several disturbing statements.

25-year-old Kirk Beckwith Cowart is charged with Trespassing on School Property, Possession of a Weapon on School Property and Disorderly Conduct.

Virginia Beach Public Schools Security notified police that Cowart entered the building just as the cafeteria staff was receiving a supply order at approximately 5:45 a.m.

When Virginia Beach Police officers arrived, they found him sitting on the auditorium stage.

Cowart was taken into custody without incident. He was a former Salem High School student, police say.

Cowart's father said his son suffers from mental illness and lives in his own imaginary world.

NewsChannel 3's Marissa Jasek spoke to Cowart and got his side of the story. Jasek called it the most bizarre interview she's ever done.

"When I walked out, there is a dirty little secret, and it's a dirty little name and it's a dirty little trick, that goes 'round here, that I, myself, come to you in bondage. What did you think the Commonwealth of Virginia's main stock and trade was? Tobacky? That comes from North Cackalacky. But from VIRGIN-ia. We breed virgins to be bought and sold," he said.

Cowart talked about weapons, old girlfriends and the 14 months he spent at Camp Lejeune in the Marine Corps, then continued to ramble.

"I wanted to do something for all the children that have ever been sold into sex slavery and get out on a stage with a mother-f***ing ax and a f***ing toothpick of a f***ing knife, my katana, and just lay everything down,"

"Did you go there with any intention to hurt people?," asked Jasek.

"I actually left my house and I was waiting and I was talking to the Lord and I heard a gun battle and I heard screams and people dying, but I didn`t hear the sickening sounds because I knew there were the bad ones who died," he responded.

Cowart is being held in the Virginia Beach Correctional Center without bond.

Daniel Keever, principal of Salem High School, issued the following message to the public:

"I need to make you aware of an incident that occurred on our campus early this morning. At approximately 5:45 a.m., a young male, who is not a student, entered the building as the Cafeteria Staff was receiving a supply order. Safe Schools and Police were immediately notified and the person was taken into custody a short time after without incident. As there was significant police presence involved this morning, I wanted you to assure you that your student is safe and we are working under normal operating conditions. Police are now investigating this incident."

5. A reminder to be careful where you carry


SC pork executive sentenced in DC gun case
October 22, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A South Carolina pork-and-poultry executive accused of trying to enter a congressional office building in Washington with a handgun in his bag has pleaded guilty in the case.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office says 59-year-old Ronald Prestage of Camden, South Carolina, pleaded guilty Tuesday in the District of Columbia's Superior Court to misdemeanor charges of having an unregistered firearm and having unregistered ammunition. A judge sentenced him to 30 days in jail, but suspended the jail time on the condition that he successfully complete six months of unsupervised probation.

Prestage, an executive of North Carolina-based Prestage Farms and president-elect of the National Pork Producers Council, was arrested in July after trying to enter the Cannon Building. A telephone message left for his attorney was not immediately returned Tuesday.

6. Supreme Court to hear UVA Law Clinic case involving gun, property rights

Member Bill Watkins emailed me this:


Supreme Court to hear UVA Law Clinic case involving gun, property rights
by Mary Wood
October 21, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear a case championed by a University of Virginia School of Law clinic that will weigh individual property rights against government limits on firearms possession.

Henderson v. U.S., which likely will be argued in late February, marks the 12th case U.Va.'s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic has taken to Washington. Working in teams, students handle actual cases, from the seeking of Supreme Court review to briefing on the merits.

The case involves former U.S. Border Patrol agent Tony Henderson, a Florida man charged with selling marijuana in 2006.

"While he was being prosecuted, the judge encouraged him to give all his firearms to the government for safekeeping, and he did," said U.Va. law professor Dan Ortiz, the clinic instructor, who will argue the case.

Henderson gave the FBI his 19 guns and served six months for felony drug offenses.

"Knowing that his conviction barred him from ever possessing firearms himself, he later tried to arrange for the government to transfer the guns to someone who would pay him for them," Ortiz said. "The government refused, saying that to do so would somehow attach constructive possession of the guns to our client."

Ortiz said the case involves an interesting property rights issue: Can the government effectively deny a criminal defendant the value of his property, even when the property has no connection to the crime?

Former clinic student Gillian Giannetti, a 2014 U.Va. Law graduate, found the case last year while researching opinions from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

"It's incredibly satisfying to see all of the clinic's work pay off. It's a fascinating case," Giannetti said. "I was intrigued by the clear circuit split, as well as the uniqueness of the question. I have never read a case before in which a convicted felon was seeking to transfer firearms he had legally owned prior to his conviction, when the firearms were completely unrelated to the offense committed."

Though the case had potential, it was not a sure thing, she added.

"While many of the cases that make their way to the Supreme Court also stood out at the appellate level, Henderson was a very short non-precedential opinion, which on its face would make it an unlikely candidate for Supreme Court review," she said. "Additionally, Mr. Henderson had represented himself in the court below. I think the fact that the court granted certiorari speaks to the talent and ingenuity of the clinic's participants."

7. Another Fast and Furious gun recovered at a crime scene

If it had been a normal citizen, instead of the government, involved in gun running, every time one of those guns showed up at a crime scene there would be another charge piled on. Instead no one in the government has been held accountable for Fast and Furious.

Member Walter Jackson emailed me this:


Another Fast and Furious gun recovered at a crime scene
by S.H. Blannelberry
October 17, 2014

Senator Chuck Grassley and Congressman Darrell Issa are slamming the Justice Department once again for the deadly consequences of the fatally-flawed gun walking program known as Operation Fast and Furious.

After learning that documents recovered by the conservative watchdog organization Judicial Watch indicated that another firearm linked to the operation was recovered at a crime scene in Arizona, the two Republican lawmakers iterated their frustration with the DOJ and doubled-down on their demand for answers on the botched gun walking operation that sent upwards of 2,000 firearms into the hands of known Mexican drug cartel operatives.

Here is a copy of the letter that Issa and Grassley sent to Deputy Attorney General Cole, who on Thursday announced that he would step down from his position once a replacement was named, following in the footsteps of his boss Attorney General Eric Holder (emphasis added):

October 16, 2014


The Honorable James M. Cole
Deputy Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530

Dear Deputy Attorney General Cole:

On more than one occasion, we have written the Department to ask for information about firearms that have been recovered in connection with violent crimes and are associated with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' (ATF's) Operation Fast and Furious. The Department has failed to respond to our last three letters on this topic, sent on October 2, 2012, December 17, 2012, and July 12, 2013.

Once again, we have learned of another crime gun connected to Fast and Furious. The Department did not provide any notice to the Congress or the public about this gun.

Documents obtained by Judicial Watch under Arizona's public records law show that law enforcement officials recovered a Fast and Furious gun last summer in connection with a shooting that left two individuals wounded. At 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 30, 2013, the Phoenix Police Department received reports of shots fired at an apartment complex. Responding officers arrived to find two wounded men, one inside an apartment and one outside. The men had suffered multiple gunshot wounds, and the front windows and door of the apartment had several bullet holes. Witnesses of the shooting reported that just after the shots were fired, a vehicle sped in reverse through a nearby parking lot and crashed backward into a fence at the apartment complex. Several individuals were then seen running in various directions from the complex. Police discovered an assault rifle in the front passenger area of the vehicle.

Approximately three weeks later, Phoenix Police Department detectives and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations agents arrested four individuals on counts of attempted homicide, aggravated assault, shooting into an occupied structure, and burglary. The arrests were reportedly connected with a large-scale drug trafficking investigation.

Based on the serial number from the police report obtained by Judicial Watch and documents obtained during our Fast and Furious investigation, we can confirm that the assault rifle recovered in the vehicle on July 30, 2013 was purchased by Sean Christopher Steward. Steward pled guilty to firearms trafficking charges resulting from his involvement with Operation Fast and Furious. A Department press release summarizes Steward's activity:

During a six-month period from December 2009 through June 2010, Steward, using funds provided by the leader of the firearms trafficking organization, paid over $176,000 in cash to purchase approximately 289 firearms, including 260 AK-47 style firearms, 20 nine millimeter pistols, a .50 caliber rifle and other "weapons of choice" of the Mexican drug cartels.

Steward purchased this particular firearm on December 8, 2009, one of 40 that he purchased that day while under ATF surveillance. According to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) report of Operation Fast and Furious:

On the morning of December 8, MacAllister went to FFL1 and was informed that a caller inquired about the store's inventory of AK-47 style rifles. The incoming telephone number was from Celis-Acosta's residence, which had already been identified by agents as a possible stash house. Shortly thereafter, Steward arrived to purchase the 20 AK-47 style rifles. A United Parcel Services truck delivered an additional 20 AK-47 style rifles while Steward was at the store and, according to the ATF report of this incident, Steward told FFL1 that he would return later in the day and purchase those firearms as well.

Agents maintained surveillance of Steward after he left FFL1 and eventually observed him transfer boxes containing the firearms from his vehicle to another. Agents also conducted surveillance of Steward when he returned to FFL1 accompanied by two other individuals to purchase the additional 20 AK-47 style rifles. The firearms were placed in the bed of a truck – not Steward's vehicle – and the three individuals left FFL1. At ATF's request, Phoenix police officers conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle in order to identify its occupants, one of whom was Celis-Acosta. The officers asked the occupants about the firearms that were visible in the back of the vehicle. Steward told the officers that he purchased the firearms and that they belonged to him. The officers did not seize the firearms or issue a traffic citation. Surveillance was continued after this stop, and agents eventually observed the firearms being transferred into Celis-Acosta's residence.

Under circumstances that we describe later, 8 of the 40 firearms purchased by Steward on December 8 were seized by police officers in Douglas, Arizona (adjacent to the Mexican border) later that same day. ATF reviewed records on December 9 from the Arizona Department of Economic security that showed Steward had a reported income totaling $4479 for the first quarter of 2009.

ATF officials entered the 40 firearms Steward purchased on December 8, 2009 into ATF's Suspect Gun Database on December 9, 2009. As our July 31, 2012 joint staff report recounted, a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) wiretap in early December 2009 also intercepted telephone communications in which Steward made arrangements to obtain firearms for DEA's target. DEA passed this information off to ATF, but ATF utterly failed to act on it. The OIG report concludes of Steward in this time period:

Steward went on to purchase approximately 200 firearms in December, all but one from FFL1, for over $110,000. This total included 43 firearms purchased on a single day, December 14 (four of these firearms were recovered in Mexico just four days later). Steward purchased another 42 firearms in January 2010 for over $25,000. ATF did not take any measures to disrupt Steward's purchasing activity following the events on December 8 or at any other time until agents interviewed him at his residence in November 2010. Steward was not arrested until the Fast and Furious case was indicted on January 19, 2011.

Patrick Cunningham, then Chief of the Criminal Division for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Arizona, apparently prepared talking points for then-U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke's indictment press conference. These talking points highlighted Steward's December 8, 2009 purchase as typical of the firearms trafficking ring whose takedown ATF and the U.S. Attorney's office touted that day.

On July 18, 2012 Steward pled guilty for his role in Operation Fast and Furious, and was sentenced on November 26, 2012 to serve nine years in prison. Steward's attorney at the time said he planned to appeal his client's sentence.

According to the Phoenix Police Department report, ATF traced the firearm on July 31, 2013, the day Phoenix police officers recovered it. Yet, over a full year has passed, and the Department has failed to notify the Committees. The refusal to respond to our standing requests for this information effectively hides the connection between crimes like this and Operation Fast and Furious. Unless the information becomes available some other way, the public would never know. This lack of transparency about the consequences of Fast and Furious undermines public confidence in law enforcement and gives the impression that the Department is still seeking to suppress information and limit its exposure to public scrutiny.

Therefore, please respond to the following questions as soon as possible, but not later than October 30, 2014:

1) Was the firearm recovered on July 30, 2013 connected with any other crimes in Mexico or the U.S.?
2) As of the date of this letter, what is the total number of weapons associated with Fast and Furious that have been recovered in the U.S. and successfully traced?
3) As of the date of this letter, what is the total number of weapons associated with Fast and Furious that have been recovered in Mexico and successfully traced?
4) Of the U.S recoveries, how many were recovered in relation to an incident of a violent nature? Please describe in detail the date and circumstances of each recovery that has not previously been described in the Department's responses to our letters.
5) Of the Mexican recoveries, how many were recovered in relation to an incident of a violent nature? Please describe in detail the date and circumstances of each recovery that has not previously been described in the Department's responses to our letters.

Should you have any questions regarding this request, please contact Tristan Leavitt of the Senate Judiciary Committee staff at (202) 224-5225 or Ashok Pinto of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform staff at (202) 225-5074. Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter.


Charles E. Grassley, Ranking Member Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate

Darrell Issa, Chairman Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives


This is slightly random and off topic, but looking back on some of the comments Holder has made in the past, are you really all that surprised by the gross incompetency (that's being kind, one can argue that his stonewalling on the Congressional investigation into Fast and Furious is on par with criminal behavior, i.e. obstruction of justice) of this Department of Justice?

8. Obama asserts Fast and Furious Executive Privilege claim for Holder's wife

As the government cover up gets yet deeper, the Justice Department loses more credibility.

Member William Goodman emailed me this:


Obama asserts Fast and Furious Executive Privilege claim for Holder's wife
October 23, 2014

Judicial Watch announced today that it received from the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) a "Vaughn index" detailing records about the Operation Fast and Furious scandal. The index was forced out of the Obama administration thanks to JW's June 2012 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and subsequent September 2012 FOIA lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. Department of Justice (No. 1:12-cv-01510)). A federal court had ordered the production over the objections of the Obama Justice Department.

The document details the Attorney General Holder's personal involvement in managing the Justice Department's strategy on media and Congressional investigations into the Fast and Furious scandal. Notably, the document discloses that emails between Attorney General Holder and his wife Sharon Malone – as well as his mother – are being withheld under an extraordinary claim of executive privilege as well as a dubious claim of deliberative process privilege under the Freedom of Information Act. The "First Lady of the Justice Department" is a physician and not a government employee.

This is the first time that the Obama administration has provided a detailed listing of all records being withheld from Congress and the American people about the deadly Fast and Furious gun running scandal. The 1307-page "draft" Vaughn index was emailed to Judicial Watch at 8:34 p.m. last night, a few hours before a federal court-ordered deadline. In its cover letter, the Department of Justice asserts that all of the responsive records described in the index are "subject to the assertion of executive privilege."

The Vaughn index explains 15,662 documents. Typically, a Vaughn index must: (1) identify each record withheld; (2) state the statutory exemption claimed; and (3) explain how disclosure would damage the interests protected by the claimed exemption. The Vaughn index arguably fails to provide all of this required information but does provide plenty of interesting information for a public kept in the dark for years about the Fast and Furious scandal.

Based on a preliminary review of the massive document, Judicial Watch can disclose that the Vaughn index reveals:

Numerous emails that detail Attorney General Holder's direct involvement in crafting talking points, the timing of public disclosures, and handling Congressional inquiries in the Fast and Furious matter.

President Obama has asserted executive privilege over nearly 20 email communications between Holder and his spouse Sharon Malone. The administration also claims that the records are also subject to withholding under the "deliberative process" exemption. This exemption ordinarily exempts from public disclosure records that could chill internal government deliberations.

Numerous entries detail DOJ's communications (including those of Eric Holder) concerning the White House about Fast and Furious.

The scandal required the attention of virtually every top official of the DOJ and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). Communications to and from the United States Ambassador to Mexico about the Fast and Furious matter are also described.

Many of the records are already publicly available such as letters from Congress, press clips, and typical agency communications. Ordinarily, these records would, in whole or part, be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. Few of the records seem to even implicate presidential decision-making and advice that might be subject to President Obama's broad and unprecedented executive privilege claim.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton criticized President Obama and his disgraced Attorney General in a statement today:

This document provides key information about the cover-up of Fast and Furious by Attorney General Eric Holder and other high-level officials of the Obama administration. Obama's executive privilege claims over these records are a fraud and an abuse of his office. There is no precedent for President Obama's Nixonian assertion of executive privilege over these ordinary government agency records. Americans will be astonished that Obama asserted executive privilege over Eric Holder's emails to his wife about Fast and Furious.

Once again, Judicial Watch has proven itself more effective than Congress and the establishment media in providing basic oversight of this out-of-control Administration. This Fast and Furious document provides dozens of leads for further congressional, media, and even criminal investigations.

On June 28, 2012, Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt by the House of Representatives over his refusal to turn over records explaining why the Obama administration may have lied to Congress and refused for months to disclose the truth about the gun running operation. It marked the first time in U.S. history that a sitting Attorney General was held in contempt of Congress.

A week before the contempt finding, to protect Holder from criminal prosecution and stave off the contempt vote, President Obama asserted executive privilege over the Fast and Furious records the House Oversight Committee had subpoenaed eight months earlier. Judicial Watch filed its FOIA request two days later. Holder's Justice Department wouldn't budge (or follow the law), so JW filed a FOIA lawsuit on September 12, 2012.

But then the Justice Department convinced U.S. District Court Judge John D. Bates to stay our lawsuit, in part to allow ongoing settlement discussions between the Holder's government lawyers and the House Committee to continue. Unsurprisingly, the "negotiations" between politicians running the House and the Justice Department went nowhere.

Fed up with the interminable delay caused Holder's gamesmanship and stonewalling, JW renewed its request to the Court to allow our transparency lawsuit to continue. Thankfully, this past July, Judge John D. Bates ended the 16-month delay and ordered the Obama administration to produce a Vaughn index of the alleged "executive privilege" records by October 1. Judge Bates noted that no court has ever "expressly recognized" President Obama's unprecedented executive privilege claims in the Fast and Furious matter.

Unhappy with having to produce the records prior to the elections, Justice lawyers asked the judge to give them one extra month, until November 3 (the day before Election Day!) to produce the info. Judge Bates rejected this gambit, suggested that the Holder's agency did not take court order seriously. Rather than a month, Judge Bates gave Justice until yesterday to cough up the Vaughn index. Judge Bates issued his smack down on September 23.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced his resignation two days later.

Many share our opinion it was "no coincidence" that Holder's resignation came "on the heels of another court ruling that the Justice Department must finally cough up information about how Holder's Justice Department lied to Congress and the American people about the Operation Fast and Furious scandal, for which Eric Holder was held in contempt by the House of Representatives."

The House had been separately litigating to obtain the records but had gotten nowhere until after Judge Bates ruled that the DOJ finally had to disclose information to Judicial Watch.

On September 9, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, citing Judicial Watch's success, ordered the Justice Department to produce information to Congress by November 3.

Fast and Furious was a DOJ/Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) "gun running" operation in which the Obama administration reportedly allowed guns to go to Mexican drug cartels hoping they would end up at crime scenes, advancing gun-control policies. Fast and Furious weapons have been implicated in the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and hundreds of other innocents in Mexico. Guns from the Fast and Furious scandal are expected to be used in criminal activity on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border for years to come.

Guns from the Fast and Furious scandal continue to be used in crimes. Just last week, Judicial Watch disclosed that a Fast and Furious gun was used in gang -style assault on a Phoenix apartment building that left two people wounded. We figured this out from information we uncovered through another public records lawsuit against the City of Phoenix.

Congress officially confirmed the AK-47 was used in the assault that terrorized residents in Phoenix. In an October 16 letter sent from Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Rep. Darryl Issa (R-CA) to Deputy Attorney General James Cole discloses that "we have learned of another crime gun connected to Fast and Furious. The [Justice] Department did not provide any notice to the Congress or the public about this gun….This lack of transparency about the consequences of Fast and Furious undermines public confidence in law enforcement and gives the impression that the Department is seeking to suppress information and limit its exposure to public scrutiny."

We have many other active lawsuits over the Fast and Furious scandal:

On October 11, 2011, Judicial Watch sued the DOJ and the ATF to obtain all Fast and Furious records submitted to the House Committee on Oversight.

On June 6, 2012, Judicial Watch sued the ATF seeking access to records detailing communications between ATF officials and Kevin O'Reilly, former Obama White House Director of North American Affairs at the U.S. National Security Council.

On September 5, 2013, Judicial Watch sued the DOJ seeking access to all records of communications between DOJ and the Oversight Committee relating to settlement discussions in the Committee's 2012 contempt of Congress lawsuit against Holder. The contempt citation stemmed from Holder's refusal to turn over documents to Congress related to the Fast and Furious gunrunning scandal.

On May 28, 2014, Judicial Watch sued the DOJ on behalf of ATF Special Agent John Dodson, who blew the whistle on Operation Fast and Furious and was then subjected to an alleged smear campaign designed to destroy his reputation.

9. The unsavory history of gun control

Perhaps this article explains why Moms Demand Action like gun control so much.

Member Timothy Wise emailed me this:


The unsavory history of gun control
by Daniel J. Mithcell
October 20, 2014

I've written extensively about gun control, but mostly because of practical and moral objections to the notion that government should have the power to disarm law-abiding people.

But I hadn't realized that some of the earliest gun control initiatives were designed to oppress blacks.

As Dave Kopel explains in Reason, the white power structure in many post-Civil War states was very anxious to disarm former slaves.

After the Civil War, the defeated Southern states aimed to preserve slavery in fact if not in law. The states enacted Black Codes which barred the black freedmen from exercising basic civil rights, including the right to bear arms. Mississippi's provision was typical: No freedman "shall keep or carry fire-arms of any kind, or any ammunition." …The Klansmen, unlike the freedmen, had horses, and thus the tactical advantages of mobility. In a few months, the Klan triumph was complete. One freedman recalled that the night riders, after reasserting white control, "took the weapons from might near all the colored people in the neighborhood." …Sometimes militias consisting of freedmen or Unionists were able to resist the Klan or other white forces. In places like the South Carolina back-country, where the blacks were a numerical majority, the black militias kept white terrorists at bay for long periods. …In areas where the black militias lost and the Klan or other white groups took control, "almost universally the first thing done was to disarm the negroes and leave them defenseless," wrote Albion Tourgeé in his 1880 book The Invisible Empire. …As Jim Crow intensified, other Southern states enacted gun registration and handgun permit laws. Registration came to Mississippi (1906), Georgia (1913), and North Carolina (1917). Handgun permits were passed in North Carolina (1917), Missouri (1919), and Arkansas (1923). As one Florida judge explained, the licensing laws were "passed for the purpose of disarming the negro laborers… [and] never intended to be applied to the white population."

With this historical knowledge, this poster now makes a lot of sense.

It quotes the infamous Dred Scott decision, which also was predicated on the state-sanctioned oppression of African-Americans.

While I wasn't aware of the racist history of gun control, I did have some familiarity with the fact that totalitarian governments traditionally have wanted to disarm citizens.

I wrote, for instance, about gun control initiatives by the Venezuelan dictatorship.

And this superb poster from Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership is the 4th-most viewed post in the history of my blog.

So this image is in that tradition.

Now let me make an important point.

I don't think advocates of gun control in the United States are racists or fascists. I assume that 99 percent of them are guilty instead of being naive.

Which is why I'm always delighted to share admissions from honest leftists that gun control simply doesn't make sense.

P.S. Switching to a different topic, a French economist (no, that's not a contradiction in terms) was awarded the Nobel Prize about a week ago.

He's apparently considered to be on the left of the philosophical spectrum, yet it's worthwhile that even he thinks there's too much statism in his home nation.

Hours after he won the economics Nobel Prize, Tirole said he felt "sad" the French economy was experiencing difficulties despite having "a lot of assets". "We haven't succeeded in France to undertake the labour market reforms that are similar to those in Germany, Scandinavia and so on," he said in telephone interview from the French city of Toulouse, where he teaches. France is plagued by record unemployment and Tirole described the French job market as "catastrophic" earlier on Monday, arguing that the excessive protection for employees had frozen the country's job market. "We haven't succeeded also in downsizing the state, which is an issue because we have a social model that I approve of – I'm very much in favour of this social model – but it won't be sustainable if the state is too big," he added. Tirole remarked that northern European countries, as well as Canada and Australia, had proven you could keep a welfare social model with smaller government. In contrast, he said France's "big state" threatened its social policies because there will not be "enough money to pay for it in the long run".

He's exactly right. I'm a libertarian, so I don't want the government involved in areas such as housing, healthcare and income redistribution.

But even if you favor larger government, there's a giant difference between having the public sector consume 57 percent of economic output (as in France) or a more reasonable amount, such as what's found in Canada or Australia (as Professor Tirole mentioned).

By the way, I made the same point as Tirole when I spoke last year in Paris. I asked my audience whether they thought they got better and/or more services than the citizens of Switzerland, where the burden of government spending is far less onerous.

10. Holder: Gun control among biggest failures

Member Billy Huckleberry emailed me this:


Holder: Gun control among biggest failures
by Benjamin Goad
October 20, 2014

Outgoing Attorney Gen. Eric Holder on Monday listed the Obama administration's inability to enact more stringent gun control regulations as among the biggest failures of his tenure, saying the matter "weighs heavily" on his mind.

"I think the inability to pass reasonable gun safety laws after the Newtown massacre is something that weighs heavily on my mind," Holder said during an interview aired on CNN.

Long-sought measures requiring background checks for all commercial gun sales and banning assault weapons and large capacity ammunition appeared to have traction following the December 2012 elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn.

A re-elected President Obama announced their passage as a top second-term priority, and congressional Democrats rallied behind a flurry of gun control bills.

All failed, with the most crushing defeat coming in April of last year, when a bipartisan amendment mandating universal background checks fell six votes short of passage in a Senate controlled by Democrats.

In lieu of congressional action, Obama announced nearly two-dozen executive actions aimed at tamping down on gun violence, addressing mental health issues and keeping guns out of the wrong hands.

Holder's Justice Department spearheaded the implementation of many measures, and the White House has since claimed progress on each of the items. But Holder, citing polls showing that the vast majority of Americans support the legislation that was beat back, lamented the loss for proponents of stronger restrictions.

"And the thought that we could not translate that horror into reasonable — I mean, really reasonable gun safety measures that were supported by the vast majority of the American people is for me something that I take personally as a failure," he said, "and something that I think we as a society should take as a failure, a glaring failure, that I hope will ultimately be rectified."

11. NY Times author uses Ebola situation to call for more gun control

Next article from the Times will discuss why herpes proves the need for gun control, too.

Member Walter Jackson emailed me this:


NY Times author uses Ebola situation to call for more gun control
by Dan Cannon
October 17, 2014

A recent New York Times editorial on the ebola situation in America started out innocently enough.

The author, Frank Bruni, fairly pointed out that seasonal flu kills far more people in the United States each year than ebola has killed in the entire world, ever.

He then compares it to some other preventable health issues and accidental deaths.
However, at the very end of the editorial, he couldn't help but stick in an argument for gun control.

From the editorial,

So are these: fewer potato chips. Less sugary soda. Safer sex. Tighter restrictions on firearms. More than 30,000 Americans die from gunshots every year. Anyone looking for an epidemic to freak out about can find one right there.

Of course, what isn't mentioned is that around 20,000 of those deaths are due to suicide, and a percentage of the homicides are justifiable homicides by armed citizens or police officer involved shootings.

Interesting that an article that was supposed to be about rational health issues ended up making an irrational plea for gun control.

Oh well, I don't know what I expected from the Times.

12. Lead poisoning is a major threat at America's shooting ranges

Ventilation is critical at indoor ranges. Washing your hands to remove any lead residue after shooting is also important.

Workers cleaning up ranges should wear special clothes just for that purpose and not wear those clothes back home. Workers should also use breathing protection to prevent inhaling fine particles of lead as they clean up the range.

Member Clay Rhoades emailed me this:


Lead poisoning is a major threat at America's shooting ranges, perpetuated by owners who've repeatedly violated laws even after workers have fallen painfully ill.
by Christine Willmsen, Lewis Kamb, and Justin Mayo
October 17, 2014

A confused 38-year-old father in Kentucky rarely crawled out of bed.

A conservation volunteer in Iowa lost feeling in his hands and feet.

A 5-year-old girl in South King County doubled over in pain and vomited.

The cause of their suffering: lead poisoning. The source: dirty gun ranges.

Indoor and outdoor, public and private, gun ranges dot the national landscape like bullet holes riddling a paper target, as the popularity of shooting has rocketed to new heights with an estimated 40 million recreational shooters annually.

But a hidden risk lies within almost all of America's estimated 10,000 gun ranges. When shooters fire guns with lead-based ammunition, they spread lead vapor and dust, insidious toxins.

Thousands of people, including workers, shooters and their family members, have been contaminated at shooting ranges due to poor ventilation and contact with lead-coated surfaces, a Seattle Times investigation has found.

Those most at risk are employees who work around firearms, unknowingly inhaling lead-tinged dust and fumes as they instruct customers and clean shooting ranges of spent ammunition. Lead exposure can cause an array of health problems — from nausea and fatigue to organ damage, mental impairment and even death.

Even those who've never stepped inside a gun range have become sick. Employees have carried lead residue into their homes on their skin, clothes, shoes and work gear, inadvertently contaminating family members, including children, who are the most vulnerable to lead's debilitating health effects.

For the public, shooting firearms is the most common way of getting lead poisoning outside of work, according to national statistics.

Through documents, interviews and a first-of-its-kind analysis of occupational lead-monitoring data, The Times has found reckless shooting-range owners who've repeatedly violated workplace-safety laws with no regard for workers who became sick. Other owners and operators were ignorant of the dangers posed by lead.

By law, owners are responsible for protecting employees from lead-polluted workplaces by following rules and regulations on air quality, surface contamination, safety gear and various other standards. Yet state and federal regulators are doing little to make certain gun ranges put such protections in place.

The nation has an estimated 6,000 commercial indoor and outdoor gun ranges, but only 201 have been inspected in the past decade, according to a Times analysis of federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) records. Of those inspected, 86 percent violated at least one lead-related standard, the analysis found.

Places like Manchester Firing Line Range in New Hampshire, Target World in Ohio, Top Brass Sports in Tennessee and the Sharp Shooter in Texas each had more than 20 lead-related violations.

Of the 10 commercial ranges inspected in Washington, nine had at least one lead violation.

OSHA typically doesn't examine a gun range unless it receives a blood-test report that shows an employee already has been overexposed to lead or unless someone complains. In states such as Washington and California, authorities knew about workers with severe lead poisoning, but failed to inspect the shooting ranges that employed them.

In 14 states, federal and state occupational agencies didn't inspect a single commercial gun range from 2004 to 2013, an analysis of OSHA records found.

When caught, gun-range owners face few consequences for failing to protect their workers. Fines are reduced. And owners are allowed to keep ranges open while appealing their cases, which can take several years and put employees and customers at continued risk.

Washington state and federal workplace regulators have the power to temporarily close a lead-polluted shooting range to protect workers from exposure to high amounts of lead, but have never done so.

Several thousand other indoor and outdoor gun ranges in America — most of them casually operated by volunteer-led clubs and sports organizations with little knowledge of lead safety — don't even have to follow OSHA regulations. They aren't subject to any scrutiny because they have no employees.

Publicly, the National Rifle Association (NRA) dismisses contentions by health officials that lead is a widespread health and safety problem at shooting ranges. "The issue of lead problems for indoor ranges is extremely rare," said Susan Recce, an NRA official. To their members, the lobbying group encourages owners to clean up their ranges to avoid inviting government scrutiny.

But research by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which analyzes occupational hazards for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), shows lead is a hidden danger.

Lead exposure at gun ranges is "a serious problem and we think it could be quite widespread," said Dr. Elana Page, medical officer for NIOSH.

The risk isn't limited to range employees, Page added.

"Some firing ranges cater to children, they have birthday parties and special events," she said. "I think it's really important that people are aware they can have significant exposure at a firing range, even for members of the general public."

The problem of lead exposure need not be part of the debate raging over gun rights in America, said Kentucky firearms instructor Colleene Barnett, who suffered from lead poisoning.

"We need people to educate folks," she said. "The last thing you need is to stop shooting — and for people to hold lead against shooting as a sport."

A heavy diagnosis

James Maddox, a former gun-range manager in Kentucky, talks about himself as two different men: the jovial, hardworking man before lead poisoning, and the reclusive, weakened man after.

"I wish I could just show you guys the type of person I was," he said, with tears streaming down his face.

For about a year starting in 2006, Maddox and his wife worked at Bluegrass Indoor Range in Louisville.

Like many shooting-range workers, Maddox knew little about lead and its damaging capabilities. Daily, he inhaled airborne lead while managing the range and gun shop. Nightly, he swept up casings from spent ammunition in the 12 firing lanes, pushing a broom and kicking up more lead dust. The toxin landed on his skin and sank into his pores. Every breath pushed the poison further into his lungs, blood and bones.

He complained to owner Winfield Underwood that catch bins at the end of shooting lanes were overflowing with spent lead bullets, the ventilation system didn't work and workers needed protective gear. Inspectors later discovered the air vents didn't even have filters.

"It was just circulating the lead air," said Maddox, who earned $9 an hour.

After working at the Louisville range about six months, Maddox, a hefty 38-year-old man, dropped 180 pounds. He also lost sensation in his fingers and toes. His head throbbed, his thinking slowed and he couldn't remember birthdays. He had no sex drive.

"It just feels like someone unplugged me from the wall and I just lost all my power," he said.

His doctor's diagnosis: lead poisoning from the gun range.

A February 2007 blood test showed he had a dangerous level of lead with 68 micrograms per deciliter — more than 56 times the average adult level of 1.2. "Your organs could start shutting down," he recalled his doctor telling him.

The CDC states lead causes health problems like organ damage at as low as 10 micrograms, though symptoms rarely appear.

But OSHA's 36-year-old regulations say employees can have up to six times that amount of lead in their blood before being removed from the work area. The Times found many employees who'd already suffered significant health problems before reaching that threshold.

Despite the CDC's concern, OSHA has yet to adopt more stringent lead regulations to protect workers.

"OSHA recognizes that exposure to lead is a significant hazard and that our lead standard is outdated," said David Michaels, an assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Labor. Changing the standard, he added, is highly complex and can take more than seven years.

Maddox, who spent several weeks in bed, returned to work after he assumed Underwood had fixed the lead problems. But when Maddox found not much had changed, he started to alert pregnant women and kids they shouldn't enter the range because of lead exposure.

Maddox's wife, who worked throughout the business, also developed elevated levels of lead. They both had enough and quit.

"You claimed to care so much for me and my family and you did NOTHING to protect us from this or even try to resolve any further exposure or supply us with the proper safety equipment," Maddox wrote in his April 2007 resignation letter.

He has advice for range workers: "Educate yourself and know the risks — it's not just bullets you need to watch out for."

Underwood, of Lexington, couldn't be reached for comment.

Kentucky Labor Cabinet, the state's workplace-safety agency, inspected Underwood's range several times and determined that he had overexposed his employees to lead on a daily basis. The agency hit him with dozens of violations and $461,400 in fines, the highest total amount imposed against a U.S. gun range in the past decade.

But in a later settlement with Underwood, the Kentucky Labor Cabinet lowered the fine to $7,200 because of "financial hardship."

As with other industries, OSHA and state occupational agencies often reduce fines for gun-range owners, sometimes because they are cooperative or they show an inability to pay. Nationally, the agencies initially fined gun ranges a total of almost $2 million for violations in the past decade, but reduced it to less than half that amount. For ranges that were fined, OSHA reduced the amounts in two out of every three inspections, a Times analysis found.

In the Bluegrass case, Underwood paid the fine in 2012. But he didn't fix all the lead violations, which dated to 2007. Under federal and state law, he didn't have to because he filed an appeal.

Even though blood tests and sampling of air and surfaces show dire hazards and widespread lead contamination, shooting ranges can avoid costly cleanups and paying fines until the administrative appeal is resolved.

During 2010 congressional testimony, Michaels said the appeal process is flawed, pointing to 33 cases in which workers in various industries died while employers contested violations and fines.

"The only situation worse than a worker being injured or killed on the job by a senseless and preventable hazard is having a second worker felled by the same hazard," Michaels said.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and other lawmakers proposed bills in 2013 to require abatement of serious hazards during an appeal, but the bills are languishing in committees.

Evan Satterwhite, director of Kentucky's occupational safety and health compliance at the time, said "it's not something we like," but he could do little while Underwood's appeal dragged on.

"We're all for the Second Amendment, but he was deceiving employees while exposing them to an unhealthy chemical," Satterwhite said.

Trouble from the start in Kent

From the moment the doors opened at the new Champion Arms indoor shooting range in Kent, in October 2005, co-owner Steve Wangsness knew airborne lead was going to be a problem, Washington state records show.

The ventilation system specifically designed for the custom-built, 10-lane range was supposed to push air containing lead dust and bullet fragments away from shooters. Filtered vents at the back of the range were then expected to suck the bad air out of the building.

But the exhaust system didn't work. Instead, it blew toxic dust clouds back on unwitting shooters — and into the retail areas of the business, where workers spent most of their day.

"This system was so screwed up, it's remarkable they could have gotten the doors actually locked at night," Cheryl Christian, a state Labor and Industries expert on lead issues, would later remark. "…It would have been a wind tunnel out the front door in the wrong direction."

Wangsness and co-owner Maria Geiss sparred with the building's landlord over the faulty system, eventually filing a lawsuit. Still, they kept Champion Arms open for business, exposing their employees, customers and an on-site resident to the dirty gun range.

In December 2005, an unpaid gunsmith and maintenance worker living at the range got his blood checked and found high levels of lead. Triggered by a complaint, an L&I inspector showed up in July 2006 to investigate.

Air sampling showed Champion Arms workers were being exposed to airborne lead above safe standards. Using testing wipes that measure lead on surfaces, the inspector also found lead dust more than 115 times the recommended amounts on a soft-drink machine. Lead also contaminated the employee conference table and the floor of a shooting booth.

L&I learned the range's owners had no training about safe range operations. One of the owners even used a leaf blower to clean up, and the range employed a pregnant worker. Women can have miscarriages when overexposed to lead.

The inspector cited Champion Arms for 15 violations, 13 of them deemed serious, meaning they posed a substantial probability of death or serious physical harm to workers. Fearing Champion Arms would put workers and the public at risk if it stayed open, officials with L&I's Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) debated whether to shut it down. They could issue an "order and notice of immediate restraint" that forces a business to close until it fixes its problems.

DOSH has issued more than 150 such orders since September 2004, though never for a gun range.

"This is the worse (sic) indoor firing range DOSH has investigated certainly recently and potentially ever," Christian wrote later in an email to a state lawyer.

But L&I management decided not to close it and couldn't explain why.

"As a public range with the potential for underage kids using it in addition to adults, in retrospect I wonder at that decision," Christian's email said.

In all, Champion's violations could have resulted in fines up to $31,500. But L&I fined it only $11,200, cutting the owners a break in part for being cooperative.

But the owners stopped the clock when they contested the violations to the state Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals, as is their right. Meanwhile, the range stayed open to the public.

Finally, in October 2007, Champion Arms agreed to the state's violations and penalties. The range was placed on a six-month payment plan for the fines and promised to fix any outstanding violations in 15 days.

L&I allows businesses to essentially police themselves by submitting an "Employer Certification of Hazards Corrected" form.

Several months after the settlement, Geiss declared in writing that all violations had been fixed. By then, the range already had missed payments.

But L&I didn't immediately check on whether the range had corrected its problems. In May 2008, inspectors received a report that another Champion Arms employee's blood had tested high for lead. Only then did L&I follow up to see if the range really had fixed the hazards.

Inspectors were afraid to return to Champion Arms. "I have a concern about entering this location," a supervisor said by email. "There is no evidence that the ventilation system has been fixed."

Later that month, inspectors again found rampant violations, including problems uncorrected since the 2006 inspection. Lead dust still contaminated the range's air; table and counter tops still remained coated in lead; and employees still lacked the required protective gear.

In cases in which an employer knowingly files false information about correcting workplace violations, L&I can pursue criminal penalties. Despite finding that seven of the violations Geiss claimed to have fixed were still uncorrected, L&I issued only more civil penalties.

L&I cited Champion Arms for 15 violations in November 2008, including six "Failure to Abate Serious" citations, and fined it $42,400.

Once again, Champion filed an appeal in December 2008, halting the state's orders to fix the problems and pay the fines.

During the year it took to resolve the appeal, the business kept operating. On Dec. 31, 2009, an industrial appeals judge affirmed all 15 violations and the original $42,400 fine against the shooting range.

Again, a gun-range manager guaranteed in November 2010 that Champion Arms had finally corrected all outstanding violations. But a few weeks later, after that same manager had been fired, he complained to L&I that Champion still was exposing its employees to lead at unsafe levels. L&I later issued $10,600 in fines and 10 more violations.

After its fourth inspection of Champion Arms in October 2013, L&I cited it for four more violations, including failing to fully institute a lead-training program for employees — one of the most basic precautions on the books.

Through a manager, Geiss declined to comment. Wangsness died earlier this year.

In 2012, Washington became only the second state to require employers to correct serious workplace hazards during an appeal. L&I pointed to Champion Arms as an example when it asked lawmakers for the change.

Lack of scrutiny

Six years ago, federal OSHA set a new bar for workplace regulators to inspect a business if an employee had elevated blood-lead levels of 25 micrograms or higher. The national emphasis program specifically included shooting ranges.

Several states, including North Carolina, Kentucky and Alaska, adopted the program. But Alaska workplace-safety officials didn't implement it.

At least four range workers in that state tested above 25 micrograms. But public-health officials didn't share those test results with regulators because they weren't aware of the program.

"But now that you mention it," public-health manager Ali Hamade told The Times, "it's not a bad idea."

Some states, like Washington, didn't know about OSHA's lead-emphasis program.

In an interview last month, Anne Soiza, L&I's top official for the agency's compliance division, expressed ignorance when asked about OSHA's ongoing program.

"I don't know what the directive says," said Soiza, adding she "wasn't here" when OSHA sent it out.

L&I has collected thousands of blood test results for lead through its Washington State Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance program.

It received notice of 59 employees at nine gun ranges who had lead levels of 25 micrograms or higher in their blood from 2004 through May 2013, according to a Times analysis of a previously unreleased L&I blood-test database. The tally is likely an undercount because workers weren't required to identify their employer.

Of those nine ranges, L&I inspected four over that time.

L&I has no requirement to alert inspectors of high blood-lead tests, regardless of the level.

The officials said referrals to inspect were made case by case, based on various guidelines.

But blood-lead monitoring officials failed at least once to follow agency guidelines about when to refer "critical situations" to inspectors. In a 2008 case, two employees at a Bellevue gun range had lead levels so high they were removed from work, as required.

Todd Schoonover, L&I's manager of the blood-monitoring system, declined to comment on his group's referral decisions.

The state's lack of scrutiny helped set the stage for what public-health officials now say is the country's largest reported occupational lead exposure at an indoor gun range.

During the 2008 lead-exposure case, six employees at Wade's Eastside Guns and Bellevue Indoor Range showed lead poisoning in tests sent to the blood-monitoring program, but results weren't passed on to L&I inspectors. The agency didn't inspect Wade's until 2010, after another cluster of workers tested high for lead.

In 2012, 46 construction and range workers were overexposed to lead during a project to add a second floor to the gun range. As a result of this case, L&I for the first time has started to compile a list of gun ranges in the state and to inspect more of them.

Officials also said the agency will review workers' blood-lead levels at 25 micrograms, to determine if L&I will investigate.

Lax regulation

Federal OSHA officials can't say how many gun ranges have been inspected nationwide, because they can't track them. Ranges have registered themselves under such business categories as "all other amusement and recreational industries," which include bowling alleys and soccer clubs, and "sporting goods stores." One range claimed to be a shoe store, another a locksmith.

OSHA handles workplace oversight for most states, but 21 states enforce their own occupational safety and health programs that typically mirror federal regulations. Yet whether under OSHA's or state jurisdiction, regulation of gun ranges is lax.

Alaska, Iowa and Louisiana are among 14 states that have not inspected a commercial gun range in the past 10 years.

Even when OSHA, the nation's largest workplace-safety enforcer, does take strong action, it sometimes has few consequences.

In 2012, OSHA touted a crackdown at Illinois Gun Works, a firing range in Elmwood Park, a Chicago suburb. After federal inspectors found air inside the range contaminated with lead at 12 times allowable levels, the agency cited the range with 27 serious violations and hit it with $111,000 in fines. OSHA then hyped its enforcement in a widely distributed news release.

But since then, Illinois Gun Works has neither paid a dime nor fixed a single violation. Range owner Don Mastrianni, 59, a retired Chicago garbage collector, said he opted against making costly corrections after he learned his landlord was planning to demolish the building that housed his range.

Instead, Mastrianni kept the range operating for months before it was torn down in 2013 to make way for a new McDonald's restaurant. Salvagers took no special precautions when hauling off the lead-caked debris.

OSHA has since sent the case to collections, but Mastrianni told The Times in March he had no plans to pay. He had kept active the defunct range's business registration, believing that protected him from personal liability.

"They can't come after me, they have to go after Illinois Gun Works," he said. "But if Illinois Gun Works don't exist, what are they going to do, go after McDonald's? I wish them luck." He died from a heart attack in April.

Another problem is many government agencies collect data from blood tests for lead, but don't share it with occupational regulators.

Until recently, Iowa Department of Public Health wasn't allowed to notify state occupational inspectors of gun ranges suspected of overexposing workers. That meant no inspection and no corrective action.

"It bothered me," said Kathy Leinenkugel, the coordinator for the Occupational Health and Safety Surveillance Program in Iowa. She also faced political pressure over gun ranges.

"If we say to private clubs and retail [gun ranges] you need to make sure you follow OSHA, the pushback is the government is trying to take our guns away," she said. "I'm not anti-gun. I want them to do it safely."

California's lead problems

California is viewed as a leader in fighting lead exposure. Even so, reported contaminations at its gun ranges have increased, though severe poisonings have dropped.

In 1986, California lawmakers passed a bill that created one of the nation's first statewide blood-lead registries to track exposures at gun ranges and other workplaces.

Five years later, they established a lead-poisoning prevention program within the state's Department of Public Health. The program educates problem shooting-range owners and managers about lead safety. But case workers have no enforcement authority and typically don't conduct on-site investigations, working instead by phone and email.

They rarely refer range owners to California-OSHA for enforcement. When they do, it's for particularly egregious cases. Cal-OSHA inspected 19 commercial indoor shooting ranges from 2004 to 2013, and fined them nearly $70,000.

But enforcement doesn't always mean compliance. Repeat violators remain a problem, records show. And most California ranges have never been inspected.

"Overexposure to lead continues to be a serious occupational-health problem in California" gun ranges, Dr. Barbara Materna, occupational-health chief of the California Department of Public Health, said in an email.

When The Times asked the health department for public records of gun ranges with lead problems, it refused to provide company names, or even the city where they did business, citing privacy concerns.

Vulnerable volunteers

Thousands of other gun ranges — those run by volunteers or that are members-only clubs — simply aren't monitored for lead problems. With no employees, these ranges are not subject to OSHA inspections and operators often are unaware of the dangers of lead contamination.

Bob Godlove and his wife traveled the Midwest, shooting in gun competitions. It was a bond that made their marriage stronger. But their passion for shooting turned toxic.

As president of the Linn County Izaak Walton League in Iowa for more than 15 years, Godlove volunteered 20 hours a week, cleaning the gun range and managing the facility. The conservation organization, with chapters across the United States, has as its motto "defenders of soil, air, woods, waters and wildlife."

For years, Godlove knew he had chronic lead exposure, with blood-lead levels around 40 micrograms per deciliter. His wife never got above 20. But he thought nothing of test results because they were below 60, the OSHA standard that requires removal from work. The CDC says any lead level over 10 is a health risk.

In 2008, Godlove said, he felt tingling in his hands and feet, often lost his balance, and developed a temper. His lead level had shot up to 67 and lead attacked other parts of his body.

When he told fellow league members he'd suffered lead poisoning, the culture he'd been a part of for decades smacked him right across the face.

Fellow competitive shooters were adamant lead wasn't a problem. Many volunteers at the league didn't feel any urgency despite at least one other person having elevated lead. They didn't feel sick and no one had died, they told Godlove.

"I was unwilling to put it under the rug, and lots of people wanted me to," Godlove said.

Others feared the range would close if people knew it was possibly contaminated.

"It's a pervasive problem across the country — the lack of awareness and a belief that people and governments are trying to infringe on a gun owner's rights and ability to shoot," he said.

He upgraded the range ventilation system and posted lead-warning signs. He talks about personal hygiene with new members and in the basic firearms classes he teaches.

For more than two years, Godlove had to take chelation pills costing as much as $3,800 a month to rid his body of lead. But it was too late. It already had attacked his nervous system.

"It's insidious," he said.

With up to half of the feeling lost in his hands, Godlove has trouble picking up coins and paperwork.

He also can't pull a trigger and fire accurately anymore. So he quit competitive shooting.

13. [TX] Why I carry: Five men beat man and sexually assault his girlfriend

Member Ross McVey emailed me this:


Why I Carry: Five men savagely beat man and sexually assault his girlfriend in downtown Austin
by Dan Cannon
October 21, 2014

Here is another one of our "Why I Carry" stories. These stories, unlike our defensive gun use stories, take a look at situations that may have turned out very differently if the victim(s) had been armed. These stories are the "other side of the coin" so to speak and serve as an important reminder as to why it's important to take responsibility for your own personal safety.

A group of five men assaulted Max Cabrera and his girlfriend Gabby Perez as they were leaving downtown Austin, Texas early on Saturday morning according to KXAN.

One of the men started out the incident by groping Gabby's breasts and then the other men mercilessly beat Max as the couple tried to leave the area.

Another one of the men then put his hand up Gabby's skirt, and ended up badly scratching her.

Max suffered a broken nose, broken facial bones, and required numerous stitches on his face.

The couple is speaking out in the hopes that the group of men might still be brought to justice.

Austin police have tried to assure the public there is no general danger in the area.

As always, I have to point out that a firearm may or may not have helped prevent or stop this crime. However, I prefer to have options whenever possible over simply begging for my life.

14. [TX] CHP holder stops potentially deadly Walmart attack

Member Charles Losik emailed me this:


National Guardsman's trip to Walmart with his family turns into potentially deadly nightmare - then his training kicks in
by Jason Howerton
October 24, 2014

Earlier this year, 2nd Lt. Joshua Nelson found himself caught in the middle of a potential life-and-death situation during a routine trip to a Del Rio, Texas, Walmart with his wife and kids. The family was just gathering some items for a trip to the lake when a woman's distressed screams derailed the otherwise peaceful night.

"Stop, put it down!" he heard a woman yell.

Nelson said he quickly located the horrified woman and saw a "pretty large man" holding a big fish fillet knife to her stomach.

Nelson, a West Virginia Air National Guardsman, told TheBlaze he has a concealed carry permit and carries his firearm everywhere he can while he's off base. His wife also carries.

"Before I even walked over, I told my wife to go to the front of the store with the kids and call the police," he said, explaining that his first concern was the safety of his family

Nelson said he then carefully approached the knife-wielding man and "thought real hard about drawing my gun." He ultimately decided to keep a hand on his firearm and let the assailant know he was armed rather than drawing out of fear that he might cut the woman in a panic.

"I didn't have to draw," he told TheBlaze. "He knew I was armed and at that point, he became a little more cooperative. I was pretty forceful in demanding him to put the knife down."

But the attacker ended up turning the knife on himself and threatened to attempt suicide. Nelson proceeded to talk the suspect down, telling him that it "wasn't worth it" and that he would assist him in getting some help.

Finally, Nelson said the man complied with his order to drop the knife and kick it towards him. At that point, he said the suspect started to run away, but again followed orders when the armed lieutenant told him to "stop" and "sit down."

Nelson said he mostly "relied on all of the training I've had."

Police eventually responded to the scene and put the suspect in handcuffs. Nelson said he later discovered that the woman he was threatening was his own mother. He turned the knife on his mom when she refused to buy him a gun, according to a copy of the police report obtained by TheBlaze.

Nelson had nothing but good things to say about the way officers with the Del Rio Police Department handled the situation. He said the officers commended him for his handling of the situation — and because he never brandished or fired his weapon, officers said "no thanks" when he asked if they wanted to see his legal concealed carry permit.

"The number one reason I carry is to protect my family. It's a God-given, constitutional right that I fully, 100 percent stand behind," Nelson told TheBlaze. "Secondly, I love my fellow Americans, and if I'm in a position to help one of them, obviously, I want to do that."

"I immediately felt responsible for that lady's life," he added. "If I'm in a position to help someone and I don't, I would feel just as bad as the guy who does wrong."

What is bothersome, he explained, is the fact that there are tons of stories about responsible armed citizens that never get reported by most of the media. He may have a point — this incident has barely been reported and it occurred back in April.

"They never let us tell our side of the story," Nelson said. "We hope that some good can come out of our story and let people know what is really going on."

Laughlin Air Force Base notes that Nelson, a Liberty University graduate, has "gone from working in coal mines, to the Marine Corp, back to the mines, and today, when he's not refining his flying skills, he serves in the West Virginia legislature as a delegate."

16. [OH] Armed robber victimizes customer in Kroger bathroom; Bloomberg Moms silent

It's not about "safety" for Moms Demand Action, it's about control.

Member Evan Smith emailed me this:


Armed robber victimizes customer in Kroger bathroom; Bloomberg Moms silent
by Chad D. Baus
October 17, 2014

Hamilton, Ohio's Journal-News is reporting that a man reported being robbed in a bathroom at a Kroger store in Butler County - an incident that is drawing national attention due to claims by Michael Bloomberg's Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America that there is never a need to carry a firearm for self-defense in or near a grocery store.

From the article:

A suspect who reportedly robbed a customer at a grocery store here Monday night remains at large.

The incident was reported around 7:15 p.m. at Kroger Marketplace, 7300 Yankee Road, in the Liberty Commons shopping center, according to the Lt. Morgan Dallman of the Butler County Sheriff's Office Liberty Twp. substation.

When the man entered the restroom, another man put what he believed was a gun to the back of his head and demanded money. The man relinquished his wallet to the suspect and the suspect fled the scene.

The man immediately reported the robbery to police, telling investigators that the subject told him he had a gun, but that he did not get to look at the subject during the robbery.

"He was afraid to face him given the shock of thinking there was a gun pointing at him," said Capt. Mike Craft of the sheriff's office.

According to, this is the third violent crime in or near a Kroger in recent weeks, with a teen mob beating a customer and two employees unconscious in Memphis, TN, and a man shooting a robber in self-defense in Kroger parking lot in Indianapolis, Indiana, just miles from the home of Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts.

No business is immune to crime, and this article is certainly not meant to single out Kroger, a Cincinnati-based company which has refused attempts by the Bloomberg Moms group to bully the company into adopting a "no-guns" victim zone policy. But given the media attention the anti-gun rights Moms group is generating about Kroger, people are naturally going to take special note of any crimes that occur in the stores.

Billionaire Bloomberg's newly-minted gun control groups, which includes the $50 million Moms and Everytown for Gun Safety, aren't getting off to a very good start, especially for groups that, like their predecessor Mayors Against Illegal Guns, didn't start with the grassroots and are simply PR smoke and mirrors.

At the time it was launched in April, and despite the fact that he can afford to hire the finest public relations experts available, Bloomberg's $50 million "Everytown" campaign forgot to secure a Facebook page - and had to threaten to sue when a Second Amendment supporter created one himself, using it to show what REAL gun safety is. The page accumulated more than 20,000 fans in just a couple of days, and state-level "off-shoot" pages began popping up all over the country.

Next, one of the group's board members, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, quit the group, citing his discomfort with some of the political work the group was planning.

Later, the group made headlines when former MAIG boss Mark Glaze admitted to the Wall Street Journal that "it is a messaging problem" for gun control groups like Everytown "when a mass shooting happens and nothing that we have to offer would have stopped that mass shooting."

Soon thereafter, the group released a list of 74 supposed school shootings that had occurred since the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. It was soon revealed by journalist Charles C. Johnson, however, that not only did some of them not take place on campuses but that "fewer than 7 of the 74 school shootings listed by #Everytown are mass shootings," that one or more probably didn't happen at all, that at least one was actually a case of self-defense, and that 32 could be classified as "school shootings" only if, as National Review's Charles C. W. Cooke put it, we are to twist the meaning of the term beyond all recognition.

Everytown's latest PR boondoggle is a commercial which depicts a woman calling 911 as her ex-husband kicks in the door, grabs her child and puts a gun to her head. The problem for the people in "Everytown" is that almost NO ONE in real towns who watched the commercial came away with the idea that everything would have turned out ok if only the bad guy didn't have a gun. Instead, most viewers - including several panelists on ABC's The View - found themselves wishing that the mother in the commercial DID have a gun.

Before the Kroger crime incidents, Bloomberg's Moms group suffered a PR blow when, in response to their attempts to intimidate national corporations into discriminating against a large segment of their customer base who carry guns for self-defense, more than 57,000 smaller businesses recognized an opportunity to win over new customers by hanging up the "welcome" signs. While they have claimed success in cases involving Starbucks, Target, Sonic and Chipotle, the truth is that not one of these corporations have posted "no-guns" signs in response to the Bloomies' efforts.

17. [PA] Army vet stops knife-wielding attacker

While this victim in Pennsylvania is probably not going to be charged, shooting to wound is not a good idea here in Virginia. If you have the time to be able to place a carefully aimed wounding shot, a jury is likely to say the danger wasn't all that imminent. And even a shot meant to wound can easily be fatal and therefore is still considered the use of deadly force.

Member Rafael Pabon emailed me this:


The nine words Army veteran said to knife-wielding thug who threatened him and his girlfriend - he really should have listened
by Jason Howerton
October 16, 2014

An Army veteran was walking outside with his girlfriend near his home in Philadelphia on Sunday when all of a sudden a man threatened the couple with a 13-inch knife. The criminal didn't know he had several factors working against him.

Firstly, his would-be "victim," William Lawler, 38, is an Army veteran who retired as a lieutenant after serving for over a decade. That's strike one. Secondly, he's a longtime firearms instructor with a license to carry a concealed 9mm Glock. That's strike two.

However, the failed robber was the one who struck himself out by refusing to listen to the "half-dozen" warnings the veteran gave him. Lawler also immediately drew his firearm as soon as the man started cursing at him and his girlfriend, and that didn't deter him either.

"At least a half-dozen times, I ordered him to stop," Lawler told the Philadelphia Daily News.

He ultimately issued one final, nine-word warning: "I don't want to shoot you, but I will."

But the seemingly clueless suspect instead walked towards the veteran and his girlfriend.

"I'll cut you up," he reportedly threatened.

He wouldn't even get close as Lawler fired one round into the suspect's groin when he got within 5 or 6 feet.

"My intent was to stop him, not kill him. I hope he's OK, and hopefully he will be prosecuted," Lawler said.

Police later arrested and identified the suspect as Dondi DeCosta, 37. He was treated for the gunshot wound at Aria Health's Torresdale hospital, where he remained in critical condition on Wednesday, according to police.

DeCosta has an extensive rap sheet and has been arrested 21 times on charges like assault and theft. He will face yet another charge of aggravated assault and other possible charges for his run-in with the Army veteran.

After reviewing the surveillance video, law enforcement officials said Lawler tried to avoid a confrontation before he made the decision to shoot DeCosta.

"I firmly believe that in order to maintain a free society, people need to take personal safety into their own hands," Lawler told the Philadelphia Daily News. "You should walk around ready and able to protect yourself and others in your community."

18. [MO] Possibly drunk anti-gun Missouri Senator arrested with loaded 9mm

Hypocrisy is par for the course for the antis. There are plenty of examples of this kind of thing over the years.


Busted: Ferguson Police arrest anti-gun Dem senator with a loaded 9mm (maybe drunk, maybe not)
by Melissa Melton
October 23, 2014

Guess who got arrested Monday night after she refused to get up off the ground out in the middle of the road in front of the Ferguson Police Department?

And not only arrested, but arrested while her breath reportedly reeked of alcohol and she just so happened to be carrying a fully loaded 9mm with extra ammo?
Why none other than Anti-gun Missouri Senator Jamilah Nasheed (D-St. Louis), who has herself sponsored multiple gun control bills.

Via BizPac Review:
"Sen. Nasheed, along with another male, entered the street, were told numerous times by not only by the St. Louis County commander, but other officers on scene, that they needed to leave the street or they were subject to arrest," St. Louis County Police Sgt. Brian Schellman said. "They failed to comply, and they were taken into custody."

Here she is below chanting in the street in protest of the Michael Brown shooting — which the autopsy has now revealed happened after Brown went for Police Officer Darren Wilson's gun — prior to her arrest. Police gave the Senator and her companion numerous warnings to get out of the street and back on the sidewalk before they arrested her but she refused to budge.

According to police accounts, Sen. Nasheed reeked of intoxicants, and upon booking and being formally charged with Failure to Obey Lawful Order of Police and Manner of Walking in the Roadway, she refused a breathalyzer. She has since commented that she was not drunk and that the whole thing was a "symbolic arrest":

"It was a symbolic arrest – sending a message to the protesters that we can protest peacefully and that we must protest peacefully and that we want justice for Michael Brown, but we don't want it in vain," Nasheed said outside the jail Tuesday morning.

So the Senator's message to Ferguson protesters on how to protest "peacefully" involves what police describe as "intoxicants," carrying a loaded gun, and kneeling in front of traffic in the middle of a busy street and refusing to move?

The Senator told KMOV4 that she has a concealed carry permit, yet police seized her gun and the rounds upon her arrest. When KMOV4 asked Ferguson Police Officer Tim Zoll why the gun was taken if Nasheed had a permit, Zoll replied, "If she had a concealed carry permit, I'm sure she would have shown it to the officers."

The officer told 97.1 FM News Talk that, "It was readily apparent that [Nasheed] was intoxicated," and "It was decided that she was going to be charged with DUW… It was a decision on behalf of the prosecutor's office to not pursue that."

How nice of the prosecutor not to pursue that. Well, the senator did say it was a "symbolic arrest."

Looking into her anti-Second Amendment dealings, Sen. Nasheed has co-sponsored several bills, including a de facto gun owner registry she added as an amendment to Senate Bill 613 that was later removed.

She sponsored similar bills in SB 556 and SB 565, both of which would require firearm owners to report the loss of a firearm to a local law enforcement agency within 24 hours at the risk of being fined $1,000. Boom: de facto registry. If the gun owner happens to possess a concealed carry permit and fail to immediately pay the $1000 fine, the permit would be suspended for a whole year. Oh, and any subsequent failures in this regard would risk the gun owner being charged with a Class A misdemeanor.

This woman also pushed for a bill that would require parents or guardians who own firearms to notify their child's school in writing that they own said firearms within 30 calendar days of enrollment.

The issue here isn't even whether or not Senator Nasheed made an ass out of herself in the street on purpose for political reasons or if she was (or wasn't) visibly intoxicated while carrying a loaded gun.

The issue here is that this woman has used her political office to sponsor multiple gun control bills which would negatively impact the lives of every lawful gun owner in the state of Missouri, while she herself is a gun owner and thus must realize her actions are in direct conflict with the Second Amendment.

Clearly the senator isn't serving the will of the people — including herself as a gun owner — but the will of her party.

VA-ALERT is a project of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc.
(VCDL). VCDL is an all-volunteer, non-partisan grassroots organization
dedicated to defending the human rights of all Virginians. The Right to
Keep and Bear Arms is a fundamental human right.

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