Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Now they come to us.

There is a new plan in Mississippi and it worries me some.
A federal-state program designed to get illegal firearms off Jackson streets could be operational by year's end, law enforcement officials say.

U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton wants to start a gun interdiction unit through the Jackson Police Department. Officers would use vans equipped to test-fire guns taken at the scene of vehicle stops and crime scenes.

Laboratory technicians would analyze cartridge casings and projectiles to determine whether those weapons had been reported stolen and used in crimes. The test results would be entered into a database linked to a national gun database.
Now at first I could see the logic of test firing firearms at crime scenes. Not sure how much this will help in the long run, but it seems to have a positive side. It is the other part that worries me.

"vehicle stops". Vehicle stops have long been an abused part of law enforcement. Using stops as the reason to do a lot. Most of it questionable and down right illegal. Now if I was stopped why the heck do they need to test fire my handgun? Oh I am sure they will cloak this with the image of righteous police work, but it is still over stepping the limits placed upon them.

Now I went to Project Safe Neighborhood. The ones who are giving them the grant. The newest whiz-bang government project to clean up those streets. Like all the ones in history this is the one that will work, until it doesn't.

Now at PSN they have a well laid out site with good links and even free posters(PDF). But it is the poster that makes me feel they will be inclined to abuse "stops"

The poster has an Ingram on it, a evil black gun if there ever was one. Over it are the words.
Since when does a broken tail light lead to federal prison?
Then under the evil black weapon they have this subtle threat.
Since we found an illegal gun in you trunk
Now if I was pulled over for a tail light courts have ruled that the police cannot use that as an excuse to search a vehicle. But when has the law restrained the police from busting people? This poster is an obvious threat. Now before you state that having an illegal firearm is a crime remember that in California the .50 caliber round has caused a lot of firearms to become illegal. Illegal does not always mean criminal in my book.

So now they will come directly to you. They do not have the right to seize your handgun if it is legal and you have not broken the law. But remember that they always take it "for our protection" during the stop, and normally return it afterwords. It is during that time I feel the abuse here will occur. They will shoot off a few rounds and test it even though you are not suspected of doing anything. This is so damn wrong. But when has that stopped them?

Here, and here are a few more articles about the plan.

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