August 2002

Thursday, August 1st, 2002

Black BATF agents want Treasury
Secretary Paul H. O’Neill held
in contempt for failing to implement
reforms ordered in a 5.9 million dollar
settlement involving accusations of
racial discrimination. The agents, in
a motion filed in U.S. District Court in
Washington, D. C., said the Treasury
Department, which oversees BATF,
has not made required personnel
reforms, provided promised monitoring
information, made offers of
equitable relief or paid attorneys’ fees
as promised in the 1996 settlement.
“The most important features of
the settlement agreement were those
which required the Department to
reform its personnel systems and
ensure that equal employment opportunity
existed for all employees,”
said the agents in the suit, filed by
attorneys David J. Shaffer and Ronald
A. Schmidt.
“I am pleased that the Bush
Administration has recognized that
the Constitution protects individual
rights to keep and bear arms,” said
Congressman Ronnie Shows of
Mississippi. “But we must always
remain vigilant against efforts to strip
us of our rights. I vigorously oppose
any gun control efforts that violate
our constitutional rights, such as
national registration of law-abiding
gun owners or misguided lawsuits
against gun manufacturers.”
The recorded number of small
arms around the world rose 16 percent
last year, to 639 million, according
to the newly-released Small Arms
Survey conducted by the Graduate
Institute of International Studies
in Geneva, Switzerland. Civilians
owned 377 million of those firearms,
including handguns and rifles, said
the study. The school said that number
represented a 25 percent jump
from the year before but that much of
the rise probably reflected improved
data gathering after its first ever survey
last year. Arms manufacturers
around the world make about eight
million small arms yearly, the survey
found. Figures show that more than
1,000 companies in some 98 countries
around the world produce small
arms and ammunition.
Some officials in the United
States Department of the Treasury
are bracing to retain control of the
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and
Firearms, reports The Wall Street
Journal. It has been rumored that
BATF could end up in the Department
of Justice, under Attorney General
John Ashcroft, or in the proposed
Homeland Security Department.
The Fraternal Order of Police, which
endorsed George W. Bush for President
in 2000, supports moving BATF
to the new department.
In Maryland, supporters of a
rival candidate in the Eighth District
congressional race accused State
Delegate Mark K. Shriver early last
month of misstating his legislative
record by claiming a leadership role
in the effort to pass the state’s mandatory
trigger lock handgun bill two
years ago. The real leader, according
to Carole Price, president of the antigun
Marylanders Against Handgun
Abuse, was State Sen. Christopher
Van Hollen, Jr., one of Shriver’s opponents
in the hard-fought primary
nomination to face Rep. Constance
A. Morella in November. Price said
Shriver’s claim of leadership in the
trigger lock fight was “untrue.”
In Illinois, a recent report that
homicides are on the rise came as no
surprise to CCRKBA, which blames
the state’s anti-self defense laws for
the increasing bloodshed. “Illinois
lawmakers have stubbornly refused,
time and time again, to reform the
state’s law on concealed carry of
firearms for self defense,” noted
CCRKBA Chairman Alan M. Gottlieb.
“Because they have failed their
responsibility to provide adequate
law enforcement, while consistently
preventing law-abiding citizens the
means to defend themselves, the
blood of every one of those crime
victims is on the hands of Illinois
legislators.”
In Germany, the upper house of
Parliament ratified new anti-gun laws
aimed at curbing gun ownership
even further. The gun law raises the
legal age for carrying sports weapons
to 21 from 18 and bans pump
shotguns. Gun buyers under 25
must present certificates of medical
and psychological health. Owners of
illegal weapons have a five-month
amnesty period to hand over their
arms before the law takes effect.