Local TV Station Undercovers Gunwalked Guns At Crime Scenes In Arizona

Reporter Lori Jean Gilha of ABC 15 in Phoenix has undercovered evidence that some of the gunwalked guns from Operation Fast and Furious are turning up at crime scenes in Arizona. The video below is a teaser for her longer story that will air Thursday evening.

So let’s tally this up. Two Federal law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, an estimated 150 Mexican citizens killed in Mexico, and an unknown number of residents of Arizona killed by criminals using firearms that the ATF intentionally allowed to be walked in Operation Fast and Furious. Brilliant move there!

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer Is Not Pleased With ATF

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R-AZ) released a statement yesterday after listening to the Operation Fast and Furious hearings. She is not a happy camper – nor should she be given the impact of Project Gunwalker on her state.

Statement by Governor Jan Brewer

Federal Operation Fast and Furious placed Arizonans at risk

“I am outraged by findings in a new Congressional report that alleges federal agents were instructed to stand aside and do nothing as up to 2,000 weapons were illegally purchased in Arizona and resold. In many cases, the end result appears to have been the arming of violent drug cartels south of the border.

“During Operation Fast and Furious in 2010, according to this report, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms were ordered to simply track these „straw buyer‟ weapons sales but not intervene. Longtime federal agents have now testified before Congress that allowing these weapons to leave the premises, a practice generally known as „gun walking,‟ was a marked departure from accepted law enforcement practices.

“ATF agents lost track of many of these weapons, including assault weapons and .50 caliber sniper rifles. A significant number undoubtedly found their way to Mexican drug cartels. Tragically, two AK-47s traced back to Operation Fast and Furious later turned up at the crime scene near Rio Rico, Arizona, where Arizona Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered by bandits. Authorities are still looking for the murder weapon.

“If the allegations contained in this Congressional report are accurate, then Operation Fast and Furious endangered the lives of innocent people on both sides of the border. The people of Arizona deserve answers from the Department of Justice and ATF as to how this could have been sanctioned, let alone encouraged. We may never know how many weapons illegally sold as part of this operation later turned up at a crime scene. But the connection between this failed federal operation and the death of Border Patrol Agent Terry is clear. The Congressional report puts it best: „The death of Border Agent Brian Terry was likely a preventable tragedy.‟”


Phoenix Sued For Censoring Gun Training Billboards

The Goldwater Institute filed suit yesterday against the City of Phoenix for censoring and removing billboards that promoted gun safety and training. The lead plaintiff in the case of well-known author and activist Alan Korwin.

From the webpage set up to give details on the case:

Korwin v. Cotton (Bus Shelter Ads case)

On May 11, 2011, the Goldwater Institute filed a lawsuit on behalf of Alan Korwin and TrainMeAz LLC to challenge the decision by Debbie Cotton, director of the Phoenix Public Transit Department, to remove posters at 50 bus shelters advertising the company’s website. Ms. Cotton has claimed the ads didn’t promote a commercial transaction as required by city policy. Ms. Cotton’s explanation ignores the express purpose of TrainMeAz to make a profit while providing resources to people who want training on self-defense and marksmanship. In addition, the city of Phoenix has no written standards to explain to potential advertisers what specific messages and logos are acceptable at city bus shelters. Ms. Cotton and the city of Phoenix have arbitrarily denied Mr. Korwin’s right to free speech.

How are we upholding the Constitution?

The right to free speech is a fundamental freedom protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court has granted governments leeway in regulating commercial speech and product advertising on public property. But governments must adopt consistent standards that provide potential advertisers fair notice about when their messages might be restricted, and such standards can’t favor some viewpoints over others.

The Arizona Constitution provides an independent right of free speech in Article 2, Section 6: “Every person may freely speak, write, and publish on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right.” This lawsuit upholds the sovereign authority of a state to protect more liberty and further restrict government censorship beyond what is required by the U.S. Constitution.

What happened to bring about this challenge?

In 2010, the Arizona Legislature repealed a requirement to have a state-issued permit before carrying a firearm concealed from public view. Alan Korwin saw a business opportunity to help people who want to safely exercise their right to own and carry weapons. Mr. Korwin worked with training instructors and other organizations to create TrainMeAz.com, a website devoted to providing information about weapons safety training and locations to practice shooting skills. The business raises money by selling sponsorships to other companies for expanded promotion on the website, advertising in printed maps, and other sources of revenue.

TrainMeAz launched an advertising campaign in mid-2010 to attract customers to the website that included roadside billboards [2]. Mr. Korwin also signed a contract with CBS Outdoors, a private vendor hired by the City of Phoenix to manage advertising at city-funded bus shelters. On Oct. 11, 2010, CBS Outdoors placed an advertisement for the website at 50 bus shelters.

On Oct. 20, 2010, CBS Outdoors informed Mr. Korwin that the City of Phoenix objected to the bus shelter posters. In a telephone conference call, city officials told Mr. Korwin the posters didn’t comply with a written requirement [3] that bus shelter advertising only be used for speech that “proposes a commercial transaction.” However, city officials were unable to provide Mr. Korwin with any standards that would explain what kind of messages would meet that requirement.

Meanwhile, CBS Outdoors removed the posters at the city’s direction before the expiration of TrainMeAz’s contract.

What does Goldwater Institute want from this legal challenge?

The Goldwater Institute is asking a judge to strike down the City of Phoenix Transit Advertising Standards under the free speech protections of the Arizona and U.S. constitutions. Phoenix should be required to develop constitutional standards that make clear beforehand what kind of advertising will be approved, so all businesses are treated fairly and none will be subject to potential censorship based on a city official’s subjective views. As an alternative, the TrainMeAz poster should be considered acceptable advertising under the existing standards and allowed to appear on City of Phoenix bus shelters.

Who is the client?

The Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation represents Alan Korwin, a Phoenix resident and manager of TrainMeAz, a limited liability company with a website devoted to providing customers with information about gun safety training and locations for practicing their skills.

What are the key issues?

The TrainMeAz poster clearly complies with the requirements of the city of Phoenix for bus shelter advertising.

The poster promotes a for-profit business website where legitimate commercial activity takes place every day. The poster doesn’t include any information listed as unacceptable in the Phoenix Transit Advertising Standards [3]. The poster deals with an issue, firearms ownership and use, which the city routinely approves for advertising such as upcoming weekend gun shows.

The city of Phoenix’s written standards to explain what types of advertising would be acceptable for city bus shelters are unconstitutionally vague.

The Phoenix Transit Advertising Standards [3] list several specific items that bus shelter ads cannot advocate including false or misleading information, violence, tobacco, alcohol, and obscene language. But the standards provide no explanation about what ads are acceptable except to say they must propose a commercial transaction. This provides little guidance to potential advertisers about what messages will be accepted or rejected by the city. Clear standards are required under the Arizona and U.S. constitutions to prevent arbitrary discrimination by government officials against messages they don’t like.

Whom are we suing?

Debbie Cotton, in her official capacity as director the Phoenix Public Transit Department, enforces the advertising rules at city bus shelters.

The City of Phoenix, as its official actions must comply with the Arizona and U.S. constitutions.

Can we win?

The City of Phoenix must comply with the First and 14th amendments of the U.S. Constitution, which requires the city to provide equal protection of every person’s constitutional rights. Also, the city cannot interfere with those rights without due process of law.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has provided Phoenix significant leeway in regulating advertising for city bus shelters under federal law. But the Arizona Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled the Arizona Constitution provides protections for speech that are even broader than the First Amendment.

Case Timeline

May 11, 2011: Complaint filed in Maricopa County Superior Court

The Legal Team

• Clint Bolick is the Goldwater Institute’s litigation director. He has extensive success before trial judges and appellate courts. He has won two cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He was named as a Lawyer of the Year in 2003 by American Lawyer magazine.

• Christina Kohn worked to advance liberty as a law clerk at the Pacific Legal Foundation in California and a research intern at the Michigan-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy before joining the Goldwater Institute as an attorney in 2010. Christina earned her law degree from Michigan State University College of Law, where she served as notes editor of the law review and president of the campus Federalist Society.

• Carrie Ann Sitren strives to defend property rights, enforce fiscal responsibility, and protect school choice. A graduate of the Wake Forest University School of Law, she also has been a strong advocate for public access to information about government policies before final decisions are reached, using Arizona’s public records law to compel city governments to release key documents that they would prefer to keep hidden.

A high-resolution sample of the censored bus-stop ad can be found here.

Arizona Citizens Defense League Response To Brewer’s Veto

The AZ Citizens Defense League, the Arizona pro-gun rights organization, issued this response on their Facebook page to Gov. Jan Brewer’s veto of SB 1467.

SB 1467, the AzCDL-requested Campus Carry bill, was vetoed by Governor Brewer on April 18, 2011.

SB 1467 would simply have prevented the governing boards of colleges and universities from prohibiting the “lawful possession or carrying of a weapon on a public right-of-way.” That covers streets, sidewalks, etc. open to public use. Her press conference cited concerns about the lack of a definition of a “public right of way” that sounded suspiciously similar to the complaints of the anti-rights forces that have been bombarding the governor and urging her to veto the bill. Apparently, the fact that the term “public right of way” is used numerous times throughout Arizona law does not provide sufficient clarity, at least not when it comes to protecting the rights of the law abiding on our college and university campuses.

The anti-rights crowd has pulled out all the stops this year to prevent teachers, staff, and students in Arizona from having a safe learning environment. East Coast based national groups have beefed up their staff in Arizona. At the Capitol, they have spared no expense on lobbying, including holding a closed meeting with “freshmen” legislators in the House (AzCDL tried to attend but we were stopped at the door). On college and university campuses, they have conducted a series of fear-mongering indoctrination sessions, disguised as “forums,” to stop Campus Carry. Sadly, they have also exploited the victims of the January Tucson shooting tragedy in order to intimidate nervous legislators. Now, they appear to have succeeded in convincing an otherwise pro-rights governor to ensure that campuses remain safe havens for criminals and dangerous places for students.

Let’s make sure the governor doesn’t make any more mistakes because she listened to bad advice. SB 1201 is still awaiting action by the governor, and if we act now, we can make sure the anti-rights crowd isn’t the only voice heard.

SB 1201 is the AzCDL-requested bill that says that if a state or local government office (Public Establishment) is going to ban firearms, then security measures (metal detectors, armed guards, etc.) must be in place to ensure that no one is capable of bringing in a firearm without detection. Under current law, all that’s needed is a “No Firearms” sign and a place to lock up your firearm. This has had the perverse effect of disarming the law-abiding while allowing those with no respect for the law to remain armed at will.

It’s time to let the Governor know that you support the passage of SB 1201 and urge her to sign it into law.

Gov. Jan Brewer Vetoes Campus Carry Bill In Arizona

FoxNews out of Phoenix and the AP are both reporting that Gov. Jan Brewer, the Republican Governor of Arizona, has vetoed SB 1467. This bill would have allowed concealed carry on public rights of way on university and community college campuses. The bill would not have allowed concealed carry in college buildings.

“This bill was very sloppily written and drafted, and I believe when it affects not only our education system, all the way from K-12 all the way through the university, and we can’t even find out a definition, what is a right of way? It just wasn’t defined to be able to tell the courts or the policeman how they are going to enforce a law like that,” Governor Brewer told us. (Fox News)

The bill was opposed by university presidents even though it had been gutted in the State Senate. The original bill would have allowed concealed carry in campus buildings. ABC 15 out of Phoenix said on this:

University presidents opposed the bill. They said allowing guns on campuses would endanger employees, students and visitors, and it would be difficult for officers responding to a shooting to quickly identify a wrongdoer.

There are no comments yet from gun rights organizations such as the Arizona Citizens Defense League nor the sponsors in the Arizona legislature. Surprisingly for the Brady Campaign and CSGV, they haven’t issued a press release crowing about Brewer’s veto…yet.

UPDATE: I have embedded Brewer’s veto message below. The chief sponsor of the bill, Sen. Ron Gould, R – Lake Havasu, was none too pleased by the veto nor the veto message.

Gould said he was surprised by the aggressive nature of the governor’s statement.

“I thought it was a very rude veto letter,” Gould said, adding that he thought “her spin on it … is a stretch.” He was referencing her remarks about how it could potentially affect K-12 schools.

The university presidents were all very pleased by Brewer’s veto.

Crow, University of Arizona President Robert Shelton and Northern Arizona University President John Haeger wrote a letter to the governor, asking her to veto the legislation.

Haeger on Monday said that if signed into law, the legislation would have had a “chilling effect” on the university’s intellectual climate. The veto helps protect the safety of faculty, staff and students.

“We are very grateful for the governor’s action,” he said. Crow and Shelton also released statements on Monday, thanking the governor for her veto.

Arizona Board of Regents Chairwoman Anne Mariucci expressed similar sentiments.
“Because of (the governor’s) veto, the universities can focus on their core mission of providing a high-quality education to students without the distraction of the increased opportunities for violence Senate Bill 1467 would have allowed.”

Chairwoman Anne Mariucci’s statement about “increased opportunities for violence” is utter bullshit but typical for what comes out of universities nowadays.

The Brady Campaign must keep banker’s hours because they haven’t responded yet. Ladd Everitt of CSGV who apparently has no social life didn’t waste much time in proclaiming the news on Twitter.

Great news from #Arizona tonight. Gov. Brewer vetoed insane #NRA guns on campus bill! #p2 #politics #congress #AZ http://fb.me/v0HTFNFJ

0418gun Veto
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Bloomberg Challenges Obama On Gun Control

Michael Bloomberg, not satisfied with conspiracy to commit a felony in Arizona, is now pushing Obama on gun control according to the Washington Post.

And he is now on a media blitz to push Obama on the issue. The White House has said Obama will soon “address” the issue of gun control, but it has been vague on exactly what he will say or whether he will propose any additional funding or new laws.

“The president should stand up” on gun issues, Bloomberg said in an appearance Tuesday on “The Rachel Maddow Show.” He added, “It’s one of the issues he can build a legacy on.”

I’m not sure that Obama wants his legacy to be a one-term President.

Here is the video from the Rachel Maddow show. The discussion of gun control starts at about the one minute mark.

If any prosecutor had the gumption enough, he ought to seek an indictment of Bloomberg for conspiracy. If the private investigator buyers are non-residents of Arizona and Bloomberg funded them, no matter what his good intentions were, this is conspiracy to violate Federal gun laws which is a felony. However, I doubt any charges will ever be brought against Bloomberg.

Did Someone Put Something in the Water at the Washington Post

On Sunday, the Washington Post ran a story on Raymond Woollard who is challenging Maryland’s concealed carry law. Today, they have a story entitled “Gun-toting soccer moms a scary thought in D.C. area, but not out west”. Did someone spike the water cooler in the Post’s newsroom?

The story is well worth reading and is remarkable for its relatively non-judgmental attitude towards firearms and firearm owners.

H/T Instapundit.

Obsolete Signs

Now that Arizona has passed constitutional carry – concealed carry without a permit – signs in Tucson parks that warned “Carry a firearm in this park is limited to persons who possess a permit” are coming down. Why? They are obsolete!

Here is a link to the KVOA story with video. Of course the reporter goes into anti-gun hysterics about kids being scared and that they will less safe.

Move Over Dale Peterson!

Dale Peterson made quite a splash earlier this year with some of his ads for Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture featuring Dale riding off into the sunset atop his horse and carrying his Winchester 94.

Well, I think it is time for Dale to move over for Pamela Gorman of Arizona. She not only safely handles a firearm (unlike Dale) but does it in full auto.

BTW she is running in the Republican primary to replace Congressman John Shadegg who is retiring.