The White House plans to ask
Congress to consider moving BATF
from the Treasury Department to the
Justice Department, according to
The Washington Post. The proposal
follows the Bush Administration’s
decision to transfer two other large
Treasury agencies, the U.S. Customs
Service and the Secret Service, to the
proposed Department of Homeland
Security. BATF has about 5,000
employees and an annual budget
of more than $850 million.
“People are afraid to fly because
they see what a politically correct
joke our airline security is,” writes
columnist Peggy Noonan in The Wall
Street Journal. “Searching for every
last toenail clipper, forcing 85-year
old people with walkers to stand
spread-eagled as some oafish wandwielder
in a blue jacket humiliates
them – this is absurd and cowardly.
Let’s get coldly serious: Arm the
pilots, fortify cockpits, man flights
with marshals, and profile passengers.
We don’t have a transportation
secretary who is willing to do these
things. Someday when something
terrible happens we’ll wish we did.
Why not coldly remove Norman
Mineta now?”
Virginia Attorney General Jerry
Kilgore stated in an advisory opinion
that the Virginia Department of Conservation
and Recreation exceeded
its authority when it prohibited the
carrying of concealed handguns by
holders of valid carry permits within
state parks. Kilgore noted that the
Virginia General Assembly made explicit
statements regarding the limits
of carrying concealed handguns,
prohibiting such carrying in places
of worship, courthouses, schools,
places licensed for on-premises
alcohol beverage consumption, and
such property as may be prohibited
by the owner. He said the Department
may no infer authority to change
those limits.
The nation’s violent crime rate
fell 10 percent last year, continuing
a trend observed since 1994, the
Justice Department’s Bureau of
Justice Statistics (BJS) announced
last month. During the last seven
years, the annual violent crime rate
decreased about 50 percent, from 52
violent victimizations per 1,000 U.S.
residents age 12 or older in 1994 to
25 per thousand in 2001. Violent
victimization and property crime
rates in 2001 are the lowest recorded
since the National Crime Victimization
Survey’s inception in 1973. The
number of criminal victimizations in
2001 was almost half that measured
when the BJS survey commenced
in 1973. There were an estimated
44 million personal and household
crimes that year, compared to 24.2
million in 2001.
U.S. Reps. Jim Gibbons of
Nevada and Chris Cannon of Utah
introduced H.R. 5176, the proposed
Veterans’ Heritage Firearms Act of
2002. Referred to the House Judiciary
Committee, and the House
Ways and Means Committee, the
measure would allow veterans to
keep the automatic firearms they
brought home as souvenirs. The
proposal would give veterans 90 days
in which to register their firearms with
BATF. In order to qualify, a member
of the Armed Forces while stationed
outside the continental United States
must have acquired the guns before
Oct. 31, 1968. The bill would allow
family members to register firearms
inherited from veterans.
The Arizona State Court of Appeals
ruled recently that people who
manufacture and sell guns that later
are used to kill someone cannot be
held liable. In a unanimous decision,
the three-judge panel threw out the
claims of the families of three employees
of an East Side Pizza Hut who
were shot to death during a 1999 robbery.
The court rejected the families’
contention that the defendants had a
duty to have procedures designed to
keep guns out of the hands of those
who should not have them or foreseeably
might commit a crime. The
case involves the path of a firearm
used in the slayings, a .40-caliber
semiautomatic pistol from Glock,
Inc., which manufactured it and sold
it to Centerfire, Inc., a retail outlet. An
appeal to the State Supreme Court
is expected.