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If the Trump administration softened sanctions against Russia — like an official said the president has been considering — that could increase the supply of popular AK rifles commercially available in the U.S., but it could also bolster the rapidly developing narrative that the president’s campaign colluded with Russian officials before the election.
An administration official this week sent mixed messages as President Trump met with NATO leaders during his trip abroad. His director of National Economic Council, Gary Cohn, said during Wednesday’s meeting with reporters on Air Force One the president had the sanctions on his mind.
“I think the president is looking at it. Right now, we don’t have a position,” Cohn said.
But he walked back the statement on Friday, saying the administration will not be lifting sanctions on Russia and “If anything, we would probably look to get tougher on Russia.”
The issue returns four months after the Treasury Department eased some sanctions on FSB, the Kremlin’s intelligence agency, enacted by a 2015 executive order signed by former President Obama to punish Russia for “engaging in significant malicious cyber-enabled activities.” The sanction adjustments allow for the import of U.S.-made information technology products into Russia.
Further easing could benefit Russian gun manufacturers as well as give American gun buyers more choice. According to International Trade Commission data, the U.S. imported some 204,788 firearms of all kinds from Russia in 2013, but that number has been reduced to just 9,556 in 2015 because of sanctions.
While the president now maintains he would not lift sanctions on Russia, particularly those imposed for the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine in March 2014, he had floated the idea before and at least one member of his cabinet had actively pursued it.
Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, had at least one conversation with a Russian official regarding the lifting of sanctions during the Trump team’s transition into the White House — something Flynn lied about and was forced to resign over. At the time of the meeting, Flynn, who had been working with the Trump campaign before the election, was being vetted for a cabinet position.
Flynn was recently subpoenaed by the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of its investigation into Russian collusion. He pleaded the Fifth, keeping the committee from viewing documents it sought and protecting him from self-incrimination. The retired Army lieutenant general in March requested immunity from prosecution in return for his sworn testimony on the matter.
Still, some lawmakers see more value in admonishing Russia for its misbehavior — including the invasion of Ukraine and the Kremlin’s alleged meddling in U.S. elections — and holding the Trump administration accountable for undoing sanctions earlier this year.
Shortly after the Treasury Department’s February action, lawmakers introduced a bill to ensure checks and balances were maintained between the branches of government. Since the “Russia Sanctions Review Act” was introduced, 27 Democrats and 15 Republicans have signed on to ensure that the lifting of any sanctions on Russia is first approved by Congress.
The move came amid fears of collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election. Some believe that secretive relationship persists into the president’s fifth month in office, to the tune of several investigations into the matter.
One investigation, being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, was stymied when Trump fired its director, James Comey. Before the firing, Trump reportedly asked Comey for his loyalty and for him to drop the Russia investigation. Comey offered his truthfulness, but not his fealty. Trump then tried to recruit top officials in the intelligence community to publicly attack Comey. The heads of both the National Security Agency and National Intelligence both turned down the president’s request.
Some have called Trump’s move unprecedented, dubbing the scandal “Kremlingate” and comparing it to President Richard Nixon’s own troubled administration. The NSA chief in an address to his subordinates revealed what the president had asked of him and went even further.
“There is no question that we have evidence of election involvement and questionable contacts with the Russians,” Admiral Mike Rogers reportedly said early this week.
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Todd Strange, mayor of Montgomery, Alabama, said Thursday he plans to use a loophole in state law to hold a gun buyback this summer.
The city’s original plan was to pair the gun buyback program with another program, announced on Wednesday, in which cash would be traded for tips on juveniles illegally possessing firearms, the Montgomery Advertiser reported. However, a state law prevented the city from moving forward on its gun buyback plans.
The relevant section of Alabama law states that “nothing in this section authorizes or permits a political subdivision to offer remuneration for the surrender or transfer of a privately owned firearm to the political subdivision or another party as a method of reducing the number of privately owned firearms within the political subdivision.”
“The companion piece we were going to put was an overall gun buyback program. Late Tuesday we found out that under state law … a political subdivision, aka city or county, cannot use a buyback program to get illegal guns off the street,” Strange said.
Now Montgomery is looking to examples set by Selma and Birmingham, which have held gun buyback programs by using private entities to run them, such as the Macedonia Apostolic Church in Selma and the Birmingham Housing Authority. By using these private entities, the cities were able to circumvent the “political subdivision” language of the law.
Strange said there have already been volunteers to hold the gun buyback program, which he anticipates will take place in June.
“I won’t tell you today who and how, but I will tell you that in June, there will be a gun buyback program run by a private sector group,” Strange said. “We have churches, Good Shepherd programs, Crimestoppers coming forward to say, ‘We want to be a part of that.’ The Community Foundation and many others are giving funds to be able to buy back these illegal guns.”
Details of the buyback program, such as type of guns accepted and how much money will be offered for each, have yet to be given.
So far in 2017, Montgomery has seen three major shootings that involved juveniles. Many of the crime guns used in Montgomery have been stolen during vehicle break-ins, one of the most common crimes in the city.
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An armed career criminal from Grandview, Missouri, was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
According to a Justice Department news release, 29-year-old Anthony B. Hutton had four prior felony convictions and so was sentenced as an armed career criminal without parole. Hutton pleaded guilty to possessing a loaded Glock .40-caliber pistol in February.
On Jan. 31, 2016, police officers spotted the pistol in Hutton’s waistband while arresting him for stealing a Toyota Corolla. Serial numbers on the gun later revealed it had been stolen.
During a search of the vehicle, officers found bags containing 44 grams of marijuana, 5 grams of cocaine and other unknown pills.
Hutton’s four prior felony convictions include three for drug dealing and one for unlawful use of a weapon when he tried to shoot someone. Hutton was also on probation at the time of his most recent arrest.
The Kansas City Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated the case.
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The Federal Bureau of Investigation will host its annual “NICS Retailer Day” in July, the agency announced last week.
The one-day event, held at the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division’s facility in Clarksburg, West Virginia, will connect federally licensed firearm dealers with federal experts on the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
“Experts who will provide you with informative presentations on various aspects of the NICS process, the NICS E-Check, upcoming NICS improvements, and much more,” the FBI said in a May 16 press release. “If you are not yet a NICS E-Check user but are interested, we can facilitate the NICS E-Check enrollment on-site.”
Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will also be available at the event.
FFLs can register for the event, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on July 25, by visiting the NICS FFL website.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson urged lawmakers Thursday to pass a bill that would lengthen prison sentences for repeat gun offenders in Illinois.
The Chicago Tribune reported the legislation, Senate Bill 1722, would increase sentencing guidelines for Illinois judges deciding on punishments for repeat gun felons, raising the sentencing range from 3-14 years to 7 -14 years. If judges opt out of those guidelines, they would have to provide an explanation.
Johnson said the new guidelines are needed to hold repeat gun offenders accountable.
“It’s the repeat offenders that consistently come back in our neighborhoods and shoot and kill, and if we don’t send a message that we are serious about holding them accountable, then what are we doing?” Johnson said. “When I talk to my neighbors they are asking me, they are begging me to do something about this violence.”
The measure, which was worked on by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and House Republican leader Jim Durkin, ultimately passed out of committee on a 10-3 vote. Bruce Rauner also supports the bill, a rare moment of agreement between he and Emanuel.
“Tougher, more certain sentencing for repeat gun offenders is a critical component of strengthening public safety here in Chicago and across Illinois,” Emanuel said on Twitter. “I am grateful that state lawmakers took action today to hold repeat gun offenders accountable for their crimes, and Superintendent Johnson and I will continue to work with legislators in Springfield to ensure a truly just criminal justice system.”
While the bill passed out of committee, some Democrats voiced concerns the legislation would lead to more minorities being incarcerated and said Chicago police need to do a better job of catching criminals in the first place.
“I guess my concern is that the thought in creating this culture of accountability, wouldn’t that be more so related to people believing that they are going to get caught versus just looking at the punishment,” said Rep. Juliana Stratton, D-Chicago. “Because right now, isn’t that the sense, that people feel they can just get away?”
Johnson strongly disagreed with that viewpoint, noting “the police are not the ones picking up the guns and killing these people.”
In an effort to reach out to those concerned, Durkin added a provision to the measure that would establish a program to rehabilitate non-violent, first-time offenders charged with certain weapons crimes. Johnson expressed concern over the program, worried it would go too easy on those carrying guns without a license, but Durkin noted state’s attorneys would have a role in determining the participants.
Other new additions to the bill call for the Illinois State Police to create a task force to fight gun violence and for a review of the bill in five years.
The bill now heads to the House floor for a full vote. A different version of the legislation was already passed in the Senate.
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The North Dakota Supreme Court invalidated a restraining order last week filed against a gun owner in a dispute with her husband’s ex-wife.
The five-member panel unanimously agreed in a ruling issued May 16, a state district court erred when it extended the disorderly conduct restraining order against Karen Keller for exercising her constitutionally-protected right to carry a gun on her property.
The lower court upheld the restraining order last year after her husband’s ex-wife, Nichole Keller, said she felt threatened by the handgun Karen Keller held behind her back during a visit with her children in August 2016.
According to court documents, Nichole Keller and a friend, Rachel Parker, arrived at the rural McHenry County property Karen shared with her husband and his three children from his previous marriage to Nichole on Aug. 14, 2016. The two women waited in Parker’s vehicle at the edge of Karen’s property line until Karen came out of the front door, hands tucked behind her back. Parker asked Karen to send out Nichole’s youngest daughter and said she saw the gun in Karen’s hand as she turned around to get the child.
Both women questioned Karen about why she had the gun, to which she replied she didn’t immediately recognize Parker or her vehicle.
Nichole Keller left after speaking with her daughter. She immediately called police, who interviewed all three women. Nichole later filed for a temporary restraining order against Karen, insisting she feared for her life and the lives of her children. A district court extended the order for one year.
Both Nichole Keller and Rachel Parker testified Karen never pointed the gun in their direction “or make any threatening or violent statements,” according to court documents. The women remained about 200 feet apart during the entire exchange, Nichole Keller said.
Karen appealed the decision, arguing her actions didn’t meet the definition of “disorderly conduct” under state law.
Justice Daniel J. Crothers, who authored the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision last week, agreed her behavior didn’t qualify as “intrusive or unwanted acts, words, or gestures that are intended to adversely affect the safety, security, or privacy of another person.”
“The district court’s sole basis for finding reasonable grounds supporting the disorderly conduct restraining order was the presence of the gun,” he said. “Because possessing a firearm on private property is a constitutionally protected activity, reasonable grounds supporting the disorderly conduct restraining order did not exist.”
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Lawmakers in the Louisiana House have killed a bill that would have prohibited supplying children 12 years old and younger with a fully automatic firearm.
The legislation would have made it unlawful for adults to in any way provide children with fully-automatic guns, even in a supervised setting such as a gun range. Under the bill, those who did so could have been fined and possibly given prison time.
Norton was inspired to propose the bill by the story of a 9-year-old Arizona girl who lost control of an Uzi submachine gun at a shooting range and killed her instructor in 2014. Originally, the bill only prohibited providing Uzis to children, but it was amended to cover all fully-automatic firearms.
Rep. Stuart Bishop, R-Lafayette, was one of many opponents of the measure, the Associated Press reported. Bishop argued he worried he could be fined for letting his child handle a paintball gun, which he said may have been considered a fully-automatic weapon under the bill.
Rep. Sherman Mack, R-Livingston, also an opponent of the legislation, argued the bill was not necessary due to current child endangerment laws.
This was the third time Norton has proposed the bill and the third time it has failed.
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Winchester Repeating Arms expands the Super Pump X Shotgun series, adding the SXP Shadow Defender and SXP Shadow Marine Defender to the lineup.
Both models feature synthetic pistol grip stocks with textured gripping surfaces for a better hold. Each gun is accompanied with two length of pull spacers to adjust the shotgun, fitting shooters perfectly. Additionally, two interchangeable comb pieces enable them to dial in eye to optic alignment.
Offered in 12-gauge and 20-gauge with 3-inch chambers, the guns alloy receivers are drilled and tapped for bases and rings. Both models are equipped with an 18-inch barrel and come with a cylinder choke tube.
The SXP Shadow Defender in 12-gauge retails for $449.99 while its 20-gauge sibling is priced at $469.99. The SXP Shadow Marine Defender touts a $499.99 price tag on the 12-gauge and $519.99 on the 20-gauge.
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A man who attempted to elude authorities in Nashville, Tennessee, last month by ramming into a patrol car during a traffic stop now faces gun charges.
An indictment filed May 18 charged Joe Lewis Williams, Jr. with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, namely a Sarsilmaz 9mm semi-automatic pistol. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
According to a criminal complaint, on April 12, an officer with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department was driving out of the parking lot of an apartment complex as Williams was turning into the parking lot. The officer noticed the vehicle matched the description of a vehicle involved in an earlier hit-and-run. The officer also recognized the driver as Williams, who he knew had an outstanding warrant for a probation violation.
The officer initiated the stop, and while Williams stopped his car, he kept his foot on the brake and repeatedly refused to place the vehicle in park. In an attempt to elude authorities, Williams then pulled away and rammed the officer’s patrol car, pushing it with his own car so that he could exit the parking lot.
Williams drove away but was located at a nearby hotel a short time later by another officer. As the officer attempted to apprehend Williams, he resisted arrest. During the struggle, the officer, who had already pulled out his stun gun but not yet deployed it, observed a handgun sticking out of Williams’ pocket.
The officer then dropped the stun gun in an effort to gain control of Williams and his weapon. However, Williams then tried to get the stun gun and it wasn’t until another officer arrived on the scene to assist that Williams was successfully subdued.
A subsequent search of Williams uncovered drug paraphernalia, including a digital scale and a glass pipe, commonly used to smoke methamphetamine, crack or PCP. In addition, Williams was in possession of a firearm which was previously reported stolen out of Davidson County.
Due to his prior criminal history, which includes multiple felonies, Williams is prohibited from legally possessing a firearm.
During the April incident, Williams was arrested on the warrant and also charged with a number of other offenses, including felon in possession of a handgun, assault on an officer, resisting arrest, evading arrest, possession of drug paraphernalia, and vandalism.
Acting U.S. Attorney Jack Smith called Williams’ case another example of an individual facing federal charges following the assault of a police officer.
“I want this message to be heard loud and clear,” Smith said. “There will be zero tolerance for acts of violence against law enforcement officers in this district.”
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Wilson Combat, renowned for its high-quality high-end 1911s, introduced the Carry Comp Professional, chambered in 9mm/.39 Super and .45 ACP.
The Carry Comp model was developed to offer shooters improved weapon control without the added bulk or weight. Wilson Combat says the design is based on the similar technology used in the company’s ACCU-COMP competition pistol model created in the 1980s to reduce muzzle flip and minimize recoil.
The new Carry Comp Professional boasts a 4-inch length match-grade barrel, including a 1/2-inch muzzle extension that houses the compensation port. Overall length measures at just over 8 inches. The gun weighs 40.5 ounces empty, but ships with a magazine capacity of 8 rounds. Built on the professional-sized carbon steel frame, the 1911 touts 30LPI front strap checkering.
Wilson says the gun is accuracy-guaranteed to shoot 1.5-inch groups at 25 yards.
Base price on the 9mm/.38 Super model totals $3,310 while the .45 ACP version is priced at $3,200.
The head of a national gun rights group contends the city’s controversial gun tax has done little to curb shootings in Seattle.
The 2015 measure, which placed a $25 assessment on each modern firearm and up to 5 cents on each round of ammunition sold by retailers in the city, was billed as a “gun violence tax” but Alan Gottlieb, executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, says it hasn’t done anything to stem the rising tide of criminal gun use in the city after looking at police statistics.
“That ‘gun violence tax’ is been a monumental failure, and we are challenging Mayor Ed Murray and the Seattle City Council to publicly admit it,” said Gottlieb in a statement. “You simply cannot provide better evidence than the Seattle Police Department’s crime statistics of such a colossally stupid idea that has not worked.”
This week authorities released a 15-page report that showed the number of gun incidents in the city is at a recent high, with 155 reports of gunshots fired in 2017 already compared to 132 in all of 2016. The figure is the highest for the past five years of data released while the number of shootings — 35 including three deaths — have already surpassed last year’s benchmark of 27.
In response to a spate of five separate shooting incidents in one 24 hour period earlier this month that left one person dead and four injured, Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole issued a statement saying the agency and their partners would redouble their efforts.
“We are outraged by the gun violence, and neither our department nor our community will tolerate it,” said O’Toole.
As for the tax itself, which was billed as the city’s solution to the $17 million in medical costs from gunshot victims at the city-underwritten Harborview Medical Center in 2014, it has failed to generate the revenue forecast by its supporters. The measure was expected to garner as much as $500,000 and while the city has sandbagged efforts from Gottlieb’s group to find out just how much it produced, Seattle City Councilman Tim Burgess said earlier this year the tax generated less than half of that figure.
“The Council and Mayor Murray should be ashamed now that the dismal failure of their gun control scheme has been exposed,” said Gottlieb. “They deceived Seattle citizens about how much their tax would raise and what it would accomplish, and they should be held accountable.”
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We recently had the chance to tour U.S. Army’s Museum Support Center at Anniston Army Depot, the keepers of the flame for military history in the country.
The 15,200-acre installation in North Alabama was established in World War II and overhauls both small arms and vehicles for the Army. A longstanding tenant on the sprawling base, based out of Building 201, is the Museum Support Center, operated by the Center of Military History. The CMH maintains an immense collection of 650,000 historic items across 228 sites including 57 large museums that are a part of the Army Museum Enterprise. Items not yet on display, waiting for a public home, or are excess to current museum needs are stored in the “Army’s attic” in Anniston.
Once relegated to a more primitive existence, the Anniston operation started in the 1980s when the Army moved its museum storage there from Pueblo, Colorado. Until 2012, the center had only four employees to manage a collection that looked like the warehouse scene from Indiana Jones.
“The Army is trying to do the right thing,” Lt. Col. Trent Klug, the MSC’s boss, told Guns.com on our tour of the facility.
Klug, a tall, clear-eyed officer with a combat infantry badge on his chest and a 7th Infantry Division patch on his right shoulder, said he jumped at the chance to move to Anniston and work in the center. For him, an avid history buff and veteran, a lot of the artifacts have a deep connection, such as the unit flag of his last battalion, now in storage at the facility.
In secured storage at the MSC are 13,000 live weapons of all sorts, ranging from 13th Century Ottoman gear to guns captured recently in Afghanistan.
The Army has made an active effort since the original Information and Historical Service Teams were started during World War II to deploy to the theaters of operation to a sharp eye out for artifacts. This has evolved today to Military History Detachments which collect interviews, documents, photographs, and relics documenting the Army’s ongoing operations both in war and peace. This includes preserving both U.S. arms and gear and those of her enemies to include uniforms, equipment, weapons, and vehicles.
This means the collection at Anniston is perhaps unparalleled. Odds are, if the U.S. Army has ever encountered a weapon overseas, a battlefield-fresh example exists in Anniston.
In climate controlled storage rests everything from hats (did you know the Army used to wear Prussian-style spiked helmets? — we’ve seen them), uniforms, vintage MREs (mmm, ham slice), Christmas packages from past wars, saddles, and sleeping bags. A whole row of recoilless rifles rests among Spanish-American War era Gatling guns; Pork Chop Hill meets San Juan Hill. While we were visiting, an SA-7 manpads trainer was being examined by the staff (please, no photos.)
Besides the small arms and gear at Building 201, the MSC also maintains a vast collection of macro artifacts in covered outdoor storage including a Nike surface to air missile, the fifth M1 Abrams prototype, jeeps, one of the only Sgt. York air defense vehicles in existence, captured Soviet armored vehicles still in tan desert schemes from when they were part of Saddam’s Republican Guard, artillery pieces, and other items.
Like the small arms, these items are in storage until they find their forever home. A 1942-made M3A1 Stuart light tank brought back from Haiti was stored at Anniston back in the 1990s before it was restored and placed on display at the museum of the 1st Armored Division in Europe. It is now at Fort Bliss. A Great War M1917 Renault light tank is now restored and in a static position in front of the Depot’s hospital, likely visited by Patton’s smiling ghost.
Preservation and catalog efforts at the MSC are full speed ahead, the staff now expanded to 15 — big numbers compared to past years. Old wooden crates, which often had not been opened in years or came from other bases where they were stored in forgotten Q-huts, are now being opened, inventoried and the items inside transferred to new climate-stable containers as part of the unit’s war on mold. You see, the old wooden crates are infamous for the green stuff, and we don’t mean olive drab.
This means more items are finding public display and more are finding an appropriate home. For example, Klug has 60 H&R Reising subguns in storage and, as the gun was more commonly used by the Marines in WWII, they are being held for that branch’s historical use.
If they have too many of something well past the need to preserve objects with historical significance, they get moved out to the public if possible through DRMO in the case of old gear (think Desert Storm mummy bags) or, with non-NFA regulated firearms and shooting accessories (slings, bayonets, bandoliers), transferred across town to the Civilian Marksmanship Program. Klug showed us several crates boxed up and awaiting red tape to clear to be trucked over to CMP — including some with 1,500 literally museum quality M1911 pistols.
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WARNING: Video contains images some may find disturbing.
Body cam footage released this week shows a man violently choking his 18-year-old girlfriend before he is shot in the head by police outside of the man’s home in Canton, Ohio.
Hayden Stutz, 24, died as a result of the gunshot wound.
In the moments leading up to the deadly confrontation, two officers responded to the scene after police first received a 911 hangup call, then another call from Stutz requesting the police, an ambulance, and “all of that.”
Stutz, who sounded somewhat calm during the phone call, told the dispatcher he had asthma and needed his inhaler. Stutz also said he had a pistol and doesn’t “do well around cops.” Stutz later again reiterated that he has a pistol and “doesn’t give a fuck.”
When officers arrived on the scene, they found Stutz outside of the home with his girlfriend, violently dragging her across the yard as he choked her. The officers repeatedly told Stutz to let the girl go, but he refused to comply and continued to choke her.
One of the officers can be heard yelling at Stutz to stay away from the pistol before a single shot rang out, Stutz fell to the ground, and the girlfriend started screaming.
Stutz’s girlfriend told police he just “freaked out.”
No gun was recovered.
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Gov. Greg Abbott’s signature is all that’s stopping Texans from shooting hogs from hot air balloons.
The Texas Senate on Wednesday passed House Bill 3535, which would require Texans to get a permit before hunting feral hogs and coyotes.
According to researchers at Texas A&M, there are about 2 million feral hogs in the Lone Star State. That’s nearly half the hog population of the entire United States. The invasive animals cause an estimated $52 million in damage to agricultural efforts in Texas annually.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Mark Keough, told the Texas Observer he’s “interested in anything that will help us get rid of these things.”
“We’ve got a problem here, and we are willing to fix it ourself,” he said. “We have that Western, swashbuckling, cowboying type of way to deal with things. It’s part of the culture, it’s different than any other state.”
If Gov. Abbot signs the bill, it would be effective on September 1.
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A military and commercial satellite engineer pleaded guilty Monday to federal charges of economic espionage and violating the Arms Export Control Act for selling information to a person he thought to be a Russian spy.
Gregory Allen Justice, 49, faces up to 35 years in prison for the two felony offenses, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
In a criminal complaint, a special agent with the FBI wouldn’t name Justice’s employer, instead calling it “Cleared Contractor A.” But the engineer’s father told the Los Angeles Times his son worked at Boeing Satellite Systems in El Segundo, California.
According to court documents, the company began monitoring Justice’s work computer in late 2015, and found he’d put files with detailed mechanical drawings and design information on to a USB drive. A few months later, in a court-authorized search, the FBI found a handwritten note with contact information for two Russian Embassy offices in Washington, D.C. One of them was the Office of the Defense, Military, Air and Naval Attachés.
On Feb. 10, 2016, Justice made a phone call in his car, which the FBI had been monitoring with listening devices. “Last autumn I sent a technical schematic and I called to follow up on that and spoke with the Naval Attaché for a moment and I was just calling to follow up to see if he was still interested in, in uh, maintaining contact and uh obtaining more of the uh, similar things to what I sent,” Justice said during the call.
A week later, he met with an undercover FBI agent, whom he believed to be a Russian spy. It was the first of six meetings the two held over several months. And Justice held nothing back.
“Since the 1980’s the United States Air Force has been building and launching surveillance satellites called WGS,” he told the phony spy. “We build those. So what I’m offering is basically everything on our servers, on our computers. The plans, the test procedures, that’s what I have access to.”
In that initial meeting, Justice told the agent he was a fan of Jason Bourne and James Bond. “I know it’s not like real life, but I like spy movies,” he said.
His knowledge of spy activities wasn’t limited to the silver screen. During their investigation, authorities discovered that Justice spent more than $4,300 from 2013 to 2015 to enroll in online courses, with payments going towards “Spy Escape and Evasion,” “Delta Defense LLC,” “Legally Concealed,” “Fight Fast,” and “Survival Publications.”
“You understand the security risk here,” the undercover agent asked Justice during the first meeting.
“Very much,” Justice replied. “(For) both of us.”
“(R)ight now my main concern is trying to cover existing medical bills,” he told the agent, talking about his wife, whom he said was disabled. “I’m so underwater with, with everything right now that I don’t even know how far.”
When FBI Special Agent Robert Lee looked a little deeper into some images on Justice’s work computer, it became clear that the engineer’s financial woes weren’t just a result of medical bills. There were nine pictures of a woman on Justice’s computer, all of them using the name “Chay” in the .jpg title. Lee reverse image searched those photos and found they were of a European model.
But during the investigation, the agent found reason to believe Justice was being catfished, when Facebook photos he found of Chay didn’t match up with the photos on Justice’s work computer.
“I believe that the person who Justice knows as “Chay” is not the person (the model) depicted in the photographs that he refers to as “Chay,” but rather is a different woman who lives with her boyfriend and son and who requests continual cash payments and gifts from Justice,” Lee said in the criminal complaint.
The agent found that Justice had sent more than $21,000 in cash via FedEx to the woman he believed to be Chay. He also placed orders and paid for nearly $6,000 worth of items on Amazon.com, and had them sent to her home in Long Beach.
During the six meetings with the undercover agent, Justice handed over four trade secrets and other information on USB drives for $2,500, at least $1,700 of which he sent to Chay. During the final meeting on July 7, 2016, Justice offered to give the undercover agent a tour of the production facilities, noting that he’d “found out by accident” that he had “unrestricted badge access to a DoD system test control room.”
“(Justice) stated that no photography was allowed, but that if the (undercover agent) brought glasses that could take pictures, he could circumvent that rule,” says the engineer’s plea agreement.
Justice was arrested a couple weeks after his final meeting with the phony Russian spy. He’s been in custody ever since. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 18.
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Century Arms, importer of Canik handguns and accessories, announced that the newest model in Canik’s TP9 series of pistols, the TP9DA, is now shipping.
The double action/single action polymer 9mm handgun was constructed to give shooters the ability to carry a DA/SA style trigger but in a modern polymer frame.
“The TP9DA was designed to meet the needs of those carrying everyday for personal defense, law enforcement and competition”, said William Sucher, Century’s vice president, in a statement. “We are excited to be able to offer yet another reliable, accurate, and affordable Canik pistol to the U.S. market”.
The TP9DA features a 4.07-inch match grade barrel with loaded chamber and striker status indicator. The pistol boasts interchangeable backstraps, providing multiple fits for shooters of all sizes. Equipped with standard dovetail sight cuts, the new gun offers Warren Tactical sights with a dot front sight.
The user-friendly decocker system permits users to carry the handgun with a longer first trigger pull, which is similar to traditional hammer-fired pistols. The TP9DA does not require owners to pull the trigger in order to take-down the pistol, instead all users must doe is press the “decocker” button on the top of the slide. The pistol follows normal disassembly procedure after doing so.
Available in black or “burnt bronze” Cerakote finish, the pistols are outfitted with two 18+1 magazines, a polymer holster with paddle and belt attachment, interchangeable backstraps, cleaning rod and brush.
Century Arms says the latest in the TP9 series is now shipping to retailers with a price tag of $424.99.
A man walked into the Anchorage Police Department Tuesday afternoon and told the officers inside that he had a bomb in his car, although authorities say it wasn’t a threat, but rather a call for help.
“He simply brought it here because he thought it was the best place to have it disposed of,” said Renee Oistad, spokeswoman for the Anchorage Police Department.
Oistad said the unidentified man showed up at the station after he was contacted by a friend who had a homemade bomb that he wanted safely detonated. The man drove his car – with the bomb – to a street near the police department and parked before he walked the rest of the way to the station.
“He did it as safely as he thought he could and walked in and let us know what’s going on,” Oistad said.
It wasn’t clear what the device was made of or whether it was a functioning explosive. Nonetheless, police blocked off the surrounding roads as a precautionary measure and called in the bomb squad.
Authorities didn’t disclose whether the device was viable, but did give the all clear by 4 p.m.
Oistad said they’re there to help, but recommend anyone with potentially dangerous items call the police for help first rather than transporting the items themselves.
[ Alaska Dispatch ]
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Wall or no wall, drug smugglers will find a way, even if it means calling on their feathered friends.
Case in point, customs agents at the Abdali border in Kuwait recovered a homing pigeon apparently on its way across the border Monday. Strapped to the bird’s back was a tiny backpack containing nearly 200 pills.
Authorities say they noticed the bird near the border perched on a vehicle and it looked as though it was trying to move about but appeared to be having a bit of trouble. Upon further inspection, agents noticed the bird’s backpack, which was secured with a safety belt.
Officers tracked down the bird and recovered the narcotics and authorities are now working to determine who owns the bird.
[ Arab Times ]
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Authorities in Nevada are asking for the public’s help identifying a man who attempted an unsuccessful carjacking in Las Vegas last month.
A video released Wednesday by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police shows the failed attempt and images of the suspect, who is described as a Hispanic man in his 30s who stands about 5-foot-11.
The crime occurred on April 13, around 7 p.m. in the back portion of a business parking lot on West Desert Inn Road.
The unidentified victim was sitting in her vehicle with the windows up and the doors closed when the suspect approached the car, opened the door, and physically dragged the woman out of the vehicle.
The suspect then got into the car to drive away, but apparently was never taught the fine art of driving a stick shift. Seconds later, the sad suspect disappointingly walked away.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555 or crimestoppersofnv.com. Tipsters can remain anonymous.
[ Las Vegas Sun ]
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The Great Big Story catches up with a Florida man who goes spends his days off cleaning and restoring the graves of American veterans.
Dubbed a “good cemeterian” by local media, Andrew Lumish of the Tampa area has been spending his spare time on his one-man mission for the past four years and estimates he has transformed between 500 and 600 monuments in that time.
“When I realized that monuments of those who served our country and fought for the freedoms that we enjoy today were in disrepair and in poor condition it upset me,” he says.
Lumish looks for stones covered in mold and buildup rendering them unreadable and brings them back to honor the veterans they memorialize. Working with soap, water, brushes, Q-tips and elbow grease, he may spend several months completing a restoration.
Lumish says the monuments are more than stones, they were people with stories, and above all, Americans.
“I can’t allow that to be forgotten.” he says.
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