Archive for September, 2014


TSA Week in Review

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2014

TSA Week in Review – 48 Firearms Discovered This Week in Carry-On Bags (40 Were Loaded)


48 Firearms Discovered This Week
 – Of the 48 firearms, 26 were loaded and 11 had rounds chambered.

Artfully Concealed Prohibited Items – It’s important to examine your bags prior to traveling to ensure you are not carrying prohibited items. If a prohibited item is discovered in your bag or on your body, you could be cited and possibly arrested by local law enforcement. Here are a few examples from this week where prohibited items were found by our officers in strange places.

  • When TSA officers at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) opened a checked bag for a routine inspection, they discovered many household items, like baby wipes, coffee, lemonade mix, and a box of cat litter. After a closer look, they found two disassembled .40 caliber handguns, 350 rounds of ammunition, and 58 bricks of marijuana (33 pounds) concealed in the products. The traveler was arrested on state charges by the Port Authority Police.
  • A cane sword was discovered at New York Kennedy (JFK).
Firearms, Ammunition, and 33 Pounds of Marijuana (JFK)

Miscellaneous Prohibited Items  In addition to all of the other prohibited items we find weekly, our officers also regularly find firearm components, realistic replica firearms, bb and pellet guns, airsoft guns, brass knuckles, ammunition, batons and many other prohibited items too numerous to note.

Stun Guns – 13 stun guns were discovered this week in carry-on bags. Two were discovered at Denver (DEN), and the remainder were found at Buffalo (BUF), Dallas Love (DAL), Gainesville (GNV), Knoxville (TYS), Las Vegas (LAS), Lewiston (LWS), Lubbock (LBB), Minneapolis (MSP), Oklahoma City (OKC), Raleigh-Durham (RDU), and Syracuse (SYR).

*In order to provide a timely weekly update, this data is compiled from a preliminary report. The year-end numbers will vary slightly from what is reported in the weekly updates. However, any monthly, midyear or end-of-year numbers TSA provides on this blog or elsewhere will be actual numbers and not estimates.

You can travel with your firearms in checked baggage, but they must first be declared to the airline. You can go here for more details on how to properly travel with your firearms. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure.

Unfortunately these sorts of occurrences are all too frequent which is why we talk about these finds. Sure, it’s great to share the things that our officers are finding, but at the same time, each time we find a dangerous item, the line is slowed down and a passenger that likely had no ill intent ends up with a citation or in some cases is even arrested. The passenger can face a penalty as high as$7,500. This is a friendly reminder to please leave these items at home. Just because we find a prohibited item on an individual does not mean they had bad intentions, that’s for the law enforcement officer to decide. In many cases, people simply forgot they had these items.

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Unaccounted for . . .

 

Official: 70% of families from the immigration surge never showed up for follow-up appointments

  • Detained immigrant children line up in a cafeteria at a temporary home in Karnes City, Texas. (AP)

Tens of thousands of young families caught crossing the border illegally earlier this year subsequently failed to meet with federal immigration agents, as they were instructed, the Homeland Security Department has acknowledged privately.

An official with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement revealed that about 70 percent of immigrant families the Obama administration had released into the U.S. never showed up weeks later for follow up appointments.

The ICE official made the disclosure in a confidential meeting at its Washington headquarters with immigration advocates participating in a federal working group on detention and enforcement policies. The Associated Press obtained an audio recording of Wednesday’s meeting and separately interviewed participants.

On the recording obtained by the AP, the government did not specify the total number of families released into the U.S. since October. Since only a few hundred families have already been returned to their home countries and limited U.S. detention facilities can house only about 1,200 family members, the 70 percent figure suggests the government released roughly 41,000 members of immigrant families who subsequently failed to appear at federal immigration offices.

The official, who was not identified by name on the recording obtained by the AP, also said final deportation had been ordered for at least 860 people traveling as families caught at the border since May but only 14 people had reported as ordered.

In a statement, ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen did not respond to questions from the AP about the newly disclosed figures. Instead, she said the agency was committed to increasing its capacity to detain and quickly deport families who crossed the border illegally.

The AP reported in June that the administration would not say publicly how many immigrant families from Central America caught crossing into the U.S. it had released in recent months or how many of those subsequently reported back to the government after 15 days as directed. The AP noted that senior U.S. officials directly familiar with the issue, including at the Homeland Security Department and White House, had dodged the answer on at least seven occasions over two weeks, alternately saying that they did not know the figure or didn’t have it immediately at hand.

The Homeland Security Department’s public affairs office during the same period did not answer roughly a dozen requests for the figures.

More than 66,000 immigrants traveling as families, mostly mothers and young children, have been apprehend at the border since the start of the budget year in October. Nearly 60,000 of those immigrants are from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala and cannot be immediately repatriated, so the government has been releasing them into the U.S. and telling them to report within 15 days to the nearest Immigrations and Customs Enforcement offices.

At the meeting, the ICE official acknowledged the no-show figures while explaining the administration’s decision in June to open a temporary detention center for families in Artesia, New Mexico. A second immigration jail in Texas was later converted for families and can house about 530 people. A third such detention center will open in Texas later this year. Before the new facility in Artesia, the government had room for fewer than 100 people at its only family detention center in Pennsylvania.

Immigration advocates have complained that the new detention centers were punishing immigrants who ultimately may win lawful asylum claims to remain in the U.S. In the meeting, they also questioned whether immigration officials had clearly and properly instructed immigrants to meet with federal agents within 15 days.

The ICE official said it was necessary to detain families to ensure they didn’t vanish into the U.S. He encouraged advocacy groups to help find ways to ensure that immigrants reported to federal agents as ordered so the government could begin processing their cases, including any requests to remain in the U.S. legally.

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Obama’s condemnation of Ferguson, Missouri, during UN talk was a mistake

President Obama spoke Wednesday to the United Nations General Assembly in his annual foreign policy address to the world body.  Speaking after the Brazilian president but before Uganda’s leader, Obama spoke for 31 minutes on Russia, Asia, Ebola, Iran and climate change.

Eighteen minutes into his speech, Obama mentioned ISIS. Then, he went on to talk about “violent extremism” (he never mentioned “Islamic extremism”).  But after talking about terrorism and “taking action against immediate threats,” Obama transitioned to calling out America’s “failure” and “our own racial and ethnic tensions” in “the small American city of Ferguson, Missouri.”

Equating the burglary-turned-shooting death in Ferguson with ISIS killings and beheadings was a big mistake.

While humility and self-reflection are admirable leadership qualities, equating the burglary-turned-shooting death in Ferguson with ISIS killings and beheadings was a big mistake.

In the sentence right before President Obama’s Ferguson comment in front of 191 other countries, the president said, “In a summer marked by instability in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, I know the world also took notice of the small American city of Ferguson, Missouri . . .”

Morally equating the events of Ferguson to Islamic terrorism and Russia’s annexation of Crimea gives foreign diplomats from Arab countries and Russia the excuse they need to dismiss America’s condemnation of their actions.

For anyone thinking that President Obama didn’t purposefully mean to equate the world’s problems with the events in Ferguson, two sentences later Obama blamed globalization for the public’s outrage in Ferguson:  “And like every country, we continually wrestle with how to reconcile the vast changes wrought by globalization…”

Overstating America’s issues doesn’t make us relatable; it makes others’ issues easily dismissable.

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September 23, 2014

011413GunsAP.jpg

A federal judge has overturned a Hawaii law barring legal immigrants from applying for a firearm permit, the latest in a wave of rulings against similar laws across the country.

Judge J. Michael Seabright ruled last week in favor of plaintiff Steve Fotoudis, an Australian citizen who is a permanent resident living in Honolulu.

According to court documents, Fotoudis was a competitive shooter in his home country and “had extensive training in firearms use and safety” before he moved to the U.S.

However, when Fotoudis attempted to apply for a firearm permit at the Honolulu Police Department, he was told he was not allowed to because of state law. The law restricted police in Hawaiian counties to issuing gun permits only to U.S. citizens, with a few exceptions that did not apply to Fotoudis.

Seabright ruled that law unconstitutional.

“The undisputed facts establish that Fotoudis, as a lawful permanent resident alien of the United States (and resident of Hawaii), was denied the opportunity to apply for a permit to acquire firearms solely because of his alienage,” Seabright wrote. “This classification violates the equal protection clause of the U.S.”

Gun rights advocates, like Second Amendment Foundation founder Alan Gottlieb, say rulings such as this strengthen the rights of both permanent residents and Americans citizens.

“The Second Amendment is an individual right,” he told FoxNews.com.

The Hawaii statute  is the latest in a series of similar laws being struck down across the nation.

Earlier this year, another federal judge ruled that a New Mexico law that only allowed citizens to apply for concealed handgun permits was unconstitutional.

Judge M. Christina Armijo ruled the law violated the 14th Amendment rights of another Australian citizen, who was represented by the Second Amendment Foundation.

According the Washington Times, attorneys for the state in that case unsuccessfully argued that the law was necessary, as it is impossible to run a complete background check on an immigrant.

They also argued setting different standards for citizens and permanent residents was not discriminatory.

The Second Amendment Foundation has likewise been successful in Massachusetts, Nebraska and Washington on the issue and has filed similar cases in other states.

The issue of gun rights for legal immigrants has also gained support from another end of the political spectrum. The American Civil Liberties Union told FoxNews.com in 2011 they supported the rights of legal immigrants to apply for a concealed weapon permit.

That same year, the group successfully helped a British citizen who was a permanent resident sue the state of South Dakota for the right to apply for a permit.

Gottlieb said while his foundation was not involved in the Hawaii case, he is “really proud” that the judge in that case seems to have followed the precedent of prior decisions.

He said if legal immigrants benefit from other constitutional rights while living in America, they also deserve this one.

“Second Amendment rights should be treated the same way,” he said.

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SEPTEMBER 17, 2014

NORBORNE, Mo. — Sherry Falke  said her seven-year-old son came home from school Tuesday crying hysterically. She thinks the school went overboard with a punishment her son received at s bringing in a souvenir shell casing.

“He felt it in his pocket, and he took it out and was showing some of his friends at school,” Falke explained.

She says her son Zane forgot he left the shell casing in his pocket, a souvenir he received at the 9/11 ceremony from the VFW in Carrollton, given to him and his Cub Scout group.

shell and mom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The principal proceeded to reprimand him as though he were bringing live ammunition to school. I understand that’s in the policy, in the handbook, that they can’t bring guns to school, I fully support that, but it’s an empty blank casing,” Falke added.

Zane’s teacher took the shell casing, and took him to the principal’s office. Falke says they told Zane he could be suspended from school for 10 days, but instead gave him a silent lunch where he sat by himself, and missed two recesses.

“In today’s society, unfortunately, we do have to be concerned with those types of things in schools,” said Dr. Roger Feagan, the superintendent of the Norborne R-VIII School District.

He says while the shell casing is not a huge deal, the safety and security of students is their number one priority.

“Though this seems minor, if we don’t handle the minor things, they can unfortunately escalate into major things down the road,” added Dr. Feagan.

Falke said she called the school and explained the significance of the casing, and asked if they would reduce the punishment knowing now what it was.

“Had he brought a war medal to school, would he have been punished?” Falke asked. “They also passed out American flags to all the kids, if he brought that to school would he have been punished?”

The school said no, the punishment stands.

“We didn’t want anything to lead to anything further with that student or think that was OK to bring to school,” said Dr. Feagan.

The school handbook specifically says weapons, firearms, knives, and the like, are not allowed. While the shell casing doesn’t exactly fall into that category, the school feels the punishment was appropriate, and a common consequence for minor offenses.

The school says it stands behind the punishment, and the superintendent adds that hopefully this is a learning experience for everyone. He says had the school been informed ahead of time about the souvenir, and where it came from, it could have been a great discussion topic in the classroom.

 

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Over 200 Medications Can Cause Hearing Loss – Are you taking one of them?

NOTE: Before stopping any prescribed medications, it’s important to consult with your healthcare professional first!

Be informed before taking medications

Drugs considered ototoxic have the potential to damage the inner ear or cause vestibular dysfunction, which could result in:

• Hearing loss

• Tinnitus

• Balance disorders

While many of the ototoxic effects are temporary and go away once a medication is stopped, some can be long term or permanent.

What medications are ototoxic?

Time, probable connection and scientific studies are required to determine a drug’s ototoxic capabilities. Therefore, it’s difficult to make a precise list, especially with new medications. Many drugs have been tested, and the list of known ototoxic drugs includes:

• Aspirin

• Quinine

• Loop diuretics (or “water pills”)

• Certain antibiotics

• Some anticancer drugs

• Some anesthetics

• Environmental chemicals like carbon monoxide, hexane and mercury

Symptoms of ototoxicity

If you’re taking a known or suspected ototoxic drug and begin to notice any of the following symptoms, consult with your healthcare professional right away.

• Mild tinnitus or ringing in the ears

• Noticeable hearing loss, especially high-frequency hearing loss

• Issues with balance

What can you do?

Unfortunately, there is no “one size fits all” solution to preventing ototoxic-related hearing loss. However, depending on each individual’s situation, certain recommendations can be followed:

• Before treating serious illnesses or medical conditions with ototoxic drugs, discuss the risks vs. benefits with your healthcare team

• Follow medication instructions carefully

• Avoid taking multiple ototoxic drugs simultaneously (like aspirin and loop diuretics)

• When around environmental chemicals, ensure proper ventilation and minimize usage/exposure

Get a hearing screening

Most importantly, before receiving treatment for any condition that involves known or suspected ototoxic drugs (both prescribed or over-the-counter), you should get a hearing screening taken by a hearing professional.

Listen for any changes

A pre-treatment hearing screening will set a baseline for your hearing that can be used to measure against during the course of your treatment. Then, regular hearing tests throughout treatment can help detect any changes. These could be shared with your healthcare professional.

 

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NRA-ILA

California: Governor Brown Needs to Hear Your Opposition to Four Pending Anti-Gun Bills

Governor Jerry Brown has until the end of this month to sign or veto the anti-gun bills below.  It is vital that you call, fax AND e-mail Governor Brown DAILY respectfully urging him to VETO these anti-gun bills.  Governor Brown can be reached at (916) 445-2841, by fax at (916) 558-3160 or by e-mailhere (https://govnews.ca.gov/gov39mail/mail.php).

  • Senate Bill 199 removes the BB device exception from the imitation firearm prohibition.
  • Senate Bill 808 bans firearm manufacturing and 3-D printing.
  • Assembly Bill 1609 makes it a state crime to transport or otherwise import firearms into California that were acquired from out of state, unless the firearms are sent to and transferred through a licensed California firearms dealer.
  • Assembly Bill 1014 allows any person to file a restraining order against YOU causing your firearms to be forfeited.

Please forward this alert to your family, friends, fellow gun owners and sportsmen in California urging them to call, fax AND e-mail Governor Brown and urge him to VETO SB 199, SB 808, AB 1014 and AB 1609.

The following anti-gun bills have already been signed into law this year:

Assembly Bill 1964 unnecessarily removes existing exemptions for all single-shot pistols, other than those with a break top or bolt-action, from California’s roster of “not unsafe” handguns.

Assembly Bill 2310 allows city attorneys in Los Angeles and Sacramento counties to initiate unlawful detainer actions against residents who have been arrested for any firearm-related crime.

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September 17, 2014

Traditional Ammunition Ban to Cause Shortages, Price Spikes 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) today released a new report demonstrating the negative effects that the State of California’s ban on the use of traditional lead ammunition in hunting will have on hunters, the state’s economy and wildlife conservation. That report, commissioned by NSSF on behalf of the firearms and ammunition industry, was presented today at a public hearing of the Wildlife Resource Committee of the California Fish and Game Commission.

The survey-based report by Southwick Associates quantifies the problems that this ban will cause. Non-lead ammunition is not available for about half of hunting calibers, and the report found the California ban will cause severe shortages nationwide.

Due to technical and market-based constraints on manufacturers, the implementation of AB711 will at least triple the price of ammunition, driving more than one-third of the state’s hunters to hunt less or stop hunting completely. With the loss of more than 50,000 hunters in the state, California’s economy will see a loss of millions of dollars in salaries and in tax revenue.

In addition, as hunters are the primary source of conservation funding in the state, a dramatic decline in hunters means fewer dollars for wildlife conservation.

Access the full report here.

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US military’s new laser gun zaps drones

boeing-mobile-laser

Boeing’s High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD). (Boeing)

The U.S. military is now one step closer to having a laser gun that can shoot down enemy drones in the blink of an eye.

Boeing recently announced that its mobile laser weapon, dubbed the High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD), successfully shot down more than 150 drones, rockets and other mock enemy targets in a third round of tests. The trials prove that the laser weapon is reliable and capable of consistently “acquiring, tracking and engaging a variety of targets in different environments,” according to Boeing.

The most recent demonstration of the 10-kilowatt, high-energy laser took place at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The laser was installed on a military vehicle, making it the first mobile, high-energy laser built and demonstrated by the U.S. Army, according to Boeing. [7 Technologies That Transformed Warfare]

Directed-energy technologies like the HEL MD could soon be used by the military to augment what are known as kinetic strike weapons, such as missile interceptors, that don’t contain explosives but destroy targets by colliding with them at extreme speeds.

Kinetic strike weapons are expensive, and the HEL MD could offer “a significant reduction in cost per engagement,” Dave DeYoung, Boeing’s directed-energy systems director, said in a statement.

This push for laser weaponryis part of the U.S. military’s Ground-Based Air Defense Directed Energy On-the-Move (GBAD) program. The goal of the program is to provide what officials from the Office of Naval Research call an “affordable alternative to traditional firepower,” to guard against drones and other enemy threats.

The recent demonstration of Boeing’s mobile laser weapon is just a prelude of things to come. By 2016, the military plans to have a 30-kilowatt laser gun ready for testing, according to the Office of Naval Research.

And Boeing isn’t the only defense contractor working with the military to develop high-powered laser weapons. In August, the Office of Naval Research awarded Raytheon an $11 million contract to build a vehicle-mounted laser device capable of shooting down low-flying enemy targets. The system will reportedly generate at least 25 kilowatts of energy, which will make it more than twice as powerful as the laser recently tested by Boeing.

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September 13, 2014

Overall, 82% of California voters agreed that local police have a tough job and for the most part do it well

By Michael Finnegan

Los Angeles Times

A solid majority of California voters believes local police have a tough job and do it well, but nearly a third say law enforcement targets minorities unfairly, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll.

The survey found attitudes toward police split along racial and ethnic lines: Blacks, Latinos and Asians were substantially more likely than whites to say that police are too aggressive or treat whites better than others.

The contrasting views reflect persistent tension between law enforcement and minority communities in California — even decades after police clashes with African Americans sparked the 1965 and 1992 riots in Los Angeles.

Black voters, the poll found, were consistently most critical of police, followed by Latinos and Asians, while whites had the most favorable views of law enforcement. Two-thirds of blacks said it was true that police target minorities unfairly; less than a quarter of whites agreed.

Poll respondent Ralph Berry, an African American who lives in Bellflower, said in a follow-up interview that young black men were especially susceptible to unwarranted scrutiny by police. Typical, he said, was the time years ago when an officer followed him around the block and checked his plates as he searched for a parking spot in downtown Long Beach.

“You’re looked at as suspect, regardless of where you’re at or what you’re doing,” said Berry, now 55. “It’s automatically assumed the worst.”

John Bridges, a 22-year-old white Marine who grew up outside Modesto and now lives at Camp Pendleton, said he believes police treat every group the same.

“I’ve never had a bad experience with cops,” Bridges said.

The survey came weeks after the fatal police shooting of black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., triggered protests and civil rights investigations by the U.S. Justice Department. The use of heavy military equipment by the mostly white police force in confronting protesters in the predominantly black suburb of St. Louis has drawn widespread condemnation.

In South Los Angeles, the fatal police shooting last month of Ezell Ford Jr., a 25-year-old black man, has threatened to erode the credibility and goodwill that the LAPD has worked hard to build over the last decade. On Friday, the shooting of Ford was a key focus of an NAACP conference on police brutality in Exposition Park.

Despite its evidence of lingering concerns, the poll showed that police overall are popular in an era marked by steadily declining crime and efforts by police agencies to engage with communities disproportionately affected by crime.

Overall, 82% of California voters agreed that local police have a tough job and for the most part do it well. Yet even on that question, there was at least some racial divide: 88% of whites thought it was true, while 74% of blacks, 71% of Latinos and 73% of Asians agreed.

There also was a divergence of views on the question of engagement, a major focus for police in Los Angeles and other cities. Among whites, 81% agreed that police were willing to engage, but only 55% of blacks, 68% of Latinos and 69% of Asians agreed.

A bigger split emerged over the statement that local police were ineffective, too slow to respond to calls and nowhere to be found in an emergency. Nearly half of African Americans agreed, while 40% of Latinos, 24% of Asians and 18% of whites thought it was true.

Historian Josh Sides, author of “L.A. City Limits: African American Los Angeles from the Great Depression to the Present,” said the fact that even more blacks didn’t see police as ineffective showed progress in easing friction between police and that community.

“I can say unequivocally there’s been a significant improvement in police relations with African Americans,” he said.

Nonetheless, 42% of black voters said that local police were too aggressive and more of a threat to people than anything else; 28% of Latinos, 21% of Asians and 11% of whites agreed.

Most of the time, however, Californians were describing aggression that occurred at some remove.

Overall, the poll found 14% of California voters recalled an occasion in the last year when they felt police treated them unfairly; for blacks, it was 26%; Latinos, 20%; whites, 12%; and Asians, 11%. But nearly two-thirds of Californians knew of a case somewhere in the United States of police treating people unfairly.

California voters also were divided on whether police were tougher on blacks, Latinos, Asians or whites, or treated all groups equally. Overall, 40% said police treated everyone the same, 33% said they were tougher on blacks, and 10% said they were tougher on Latinos. (Almost no one felt police were tougher on whites or Asians.)

But substantial shares of whites, blacks and Asians agreed that if any group was unfairly targeted, it was blacks: 33% of whites thought so, as did 61% of blacks and 51% of Asians.

Latinos were divided, with 28% saying police were tougher on them, 24% saying they were tougher on blacks, and 34% saying they treat all groups the same. Just 19% of blacks believed police treated everyone the same, with 31% of Asians and 44% of whites agreeing.

Poll respondent Antonio Sosa of Mar Vista, a 48-year-old digital marketing executive, said his interactions with police on the Westside were all positive, but that racial profiling was clearly a nationwide problem.

“There’s an assumption of guilt or nefarious intention simply by the color of their skin, or the address where people live,” he said.

But Jennifer Valladao of Union City in the Bay Area, a white 30-year-old research associate for a pharmaceutical company, said racial profiling was limited to “a few bad apples,” and was not a systemic problem that police need to fix.

“A lot of it comes down to how you carry yourself,” she said. “If you treat them with respect, they’ll treat you with respect. If you start acting shifty around a police officer, they’re going to take notice.”

The survey of 1,507 registered California voters on behalf of USC’s Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and The Times was conducted by telephone from Sept. 2 through 8. The margin of error for the poll — conducted by the Democratic group Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and American Viewpoint, a Republican firm — is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points overall and larger for all subgroups.

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