The U.S. Senate today begins a series of votes on gun safety legislation, including a bipartisan but controversial effort to expand gun purchase background checks to gun shows.
Political opponents will be watching U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor closely. He's an important vote on filibusters, which will decide the outcome of the votes, most likely. Doubtful with an election next year that he'll cast a vote not approved by the NRA. And doubtful that he'll get credit from the gun zealots for siding with them.
For the record, the Progressive Change Committee has scheduled a news conference today to urge Pryor to support gun reform. It will cite polling that shows a majority of Arkansans — and a majority of gun owners — favor the legislation being considered today. That's a generally silent majority, however, compared with the shrill gun lobby, which no longer will accept any legislation pertaining to guns, period. The news conference today included Arkansas gun owners calling on Pryor to vote for background checks.
UPDATE: Here's a poll that shows Arkansans, like the rest of the country, favor expanded background checks. The beauty of this insanity is that the gun nuts simply say the polls are wrong. They know it. Just like they know, against all evidence to the contrary from A. Scalia and Co., that 2nd Amendment allows no regulation of guns.
UPDATE II: I tuned into the live broadcast long enough to hear Mark Pryor's vote against the measure. He mealymouths about it here.
A light input overnight. A few things stand out.
* IT'S ALL ABOUT MEDICAID: Will today be a climactic day on Arkansas's decision on expanding Medicaid under President Obama's health care initiative? Will the House vote to appropriate the money, with the required 75 votes? Don't know yet. But note that the 27 Senate votes also remain an open question, particularly if tall-talking tea baggers such as Jason Rapert and Missy Irvin scuttle back into the corner of their patrons and soulmates on the Koch-financed reservation. One unconfirmed report has national Republican leaders making calls to fence-sitting Republicans to oppose the Arkansas plan, devised by Republicans to make Obamacare more palatable.
UPDATE: Now have a second report that House Speaker John Boehner is meddling in Arkansas politics, encouraging Republican legislators to vote against Medicaid expansion.
UPDATE II: Need a good uurp this morning? Read Roby Brock on Rep. Rick Crawford's appeal to Arkansas legislators to defeat Medicaid expansion and then, for a real urrp, catch some U.S. Rep. Tiny Tim Griffin posturing in Congress this morning with HHS Secretary Sebelius. She's not getting into the Arkansas debate.
* MORE GUNS IN SCHOOL: The move to put more guns in schools in the person of armed security officers seems likely to only contribute to this trend reported by the New York Times. When you put more guards in schools, you wind up with more kids arrested and put into the criminal justice system for offenses, routine fistfights, that once were better handled in the principal's office.
* FIE ON THE NEW BROADWAY BRIDGE: The Democrat-Gazette reported this morning on a letter by Jim McKenzie, director of Metroplan, excoriating the planned design of the replacement Broadway Bridge. Better late than never. He's right. It will be a plug ugly monstrosity, with an awful paint job and fake bricks, supposedly to mimic Dickey Stephens Park, that will soon look like homemade s***.
The eternally ugly edifice will be but nothing to the poor traffic design, which will sacrifice safe and useful pedestrian/bike access to the mission of moving motorized traffic as fast as possible between Dogtown and South Dogtown. Walkers and bikers will take their lives in their hands, particularly, trying to cross the high-speed funnel down to LaHarpe Boulevard, a nightmarish ramp now.
The Highway and "Transportation" Department honors non-motorized traffic only to the barest extent required by federal law. It is going to build this new bridge just because it can and because some free federal money's available, though not enough to do it right. The state never had an interest in waiting to get enough money to do this bridge right — or better yet, build a new crossing on a new site and make the existing Broadway Bridge a hanging garden of public enjoyment between a remodeled Robinson convention center and the north shore's lovely riverfront. It was always this approach for the highway builders: We're going to build a monstrosity NOW, so you better get out of our damn way.
The two-year nightmare of downtown disruption of construction will seem blissful by comparison to the 100-year legacy of poor planning that the Highway Department is soon to dump on the river.
The Highway Department spokesman seemed pissed that the director of a planning agency had used his letterhead to urge a well-planned bridge. Where does he get off doing such a thing?
* ANOTHER LAWSUIT ON EXXON PIPELINE OIL SPILL: Here's a copy of the second federal lawsuit filed by a property owner who claims damages from the busted pipeline and tar sand crude deluge at Mayflower.
The Senate voted 68-31 to send gun legislation to the floor for debate. The majority included many Republicans who oppose the bill, but believe the issue should be debated. U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor was one of two Democrats who opposed the motion.
If I read this correctly, the NRA didn't set a litmus test on this particularly procedural vote. But Pryor voted against it anyway. The real tests are on filibuster of a compromise proposal to broaden gun background check purchases to gun shows and Internet sales, something widely supported among the public at large, but not by the NRA.
The New York Times reports that a deal has been struck in the Senate to produce enough votes to avoid a filibuster and approve expansion of gun background checks to gun shows and on-line sales, with some record retention that law agencies want.
Can the House pass this? Not with any votes from the Arkansas delegation, you'd have to guess.
The NRA has already weighed in:
Expanding background checks at gun shows will not prevent the next shooting, will not solve violent crime and will not keep our kids safe in schools. While the overwhelming rejection of President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg's "universal" background check agenda is a positive development, we have a broken mental health system that is not going to be fixed with more background checks at gun shows. The sad truth is that no background check would have prevented the tragedies in Newtown, Aurora or Tucson. We need a serious and meaningful solution that addresses crime in cities like Chicago, addresses mental health deficiencies, while at the same time protecting the rights of those of us who are not a danger to anyone. President Obama should be as committed to dealing with the gang problem that is tormenting honest people in his hometown as he is to blaming law-abiding gun owners for the acts of psychopathic murderers.
The New York Times examines why some states — Colorado and Connecticut — have been successful in enacting gun safety laws while Congress has been stymied.
Living in Arkansas, I thought the headline out of touch, or at least a bit sweeping:
As Gun Control Advances in States, It Meets an Unforgiving Math in Congress
What advances? What you have in this story, actually, are defeats for the gun lobby in two states where mass killings occurred. The defeats occurred, even in those hot houses, only by tight margins and against an outpouring of massive resistance from the gun lobby, resistance that may yet produce future election backlash.
I also say this as a resident of the gun echo chamber of Arkansas: The gun lobby has won. Advocates of commonsensical and constitutional regulation have lost — to money, to passion and, in many cases, to fear. I don't happen to think we are any safer for the victory of the gun. The steady rate of people wounded annually by guns (including accidentally) is testament to that. But, outliers like votes in Colorado and Connecticut aside, the outlook politically isn't promising for regulation. I'm just about to the relax-and-enjoy-it phase.
The current debate about school security and guns prompted by the Sandy Hook slaughter has occasioned a 15-year anniversary article about the shootings at the Westside school in Arkansas. It's by David Peisner for BuzzFeed.
Today, the shooting is a historical footnote, and Jonesboro is just another name on a depressingly long list of places that seem cursed to be remembered — in some cases, barely — for the schoolyard carnage they played host to: Pearl, Paducah, Springfield, Littleton, Red Lake, Nickel Mines, Newtown. The details of each of these towns' tragedies are uniquely horrible, but with a decade and a half of distance, the story of what happened to this place and to these people — the students and faculty who lived through it, the families of those who didn't, the first responders, the shooters themselves — feels at times like an inspiration, and at others, like a grim cautionary tale.
But the residents of this community never signed up to be an inspiration or a cautionary tale. For almost everyone I spoke to over the course of a week in and around Jonesboro, it's the defining event of their lives, yet not something they talk about with strangers, or even with one another. But once they were convinced to open up, most seemed eager or relieved to share, accepting that their stories were not theirs alone but part of a larger story that goes far beyond northeast Arkansas, and that is still being written.
The extensive article is crammed with personal tales of difficult family passages, mental health problems, gun politics and more, including interviews with wounded and accounts of relationships with family of the shooters, including Monte Johnson, brother of shooter Mitchell Johnson, who went to the Westside school a year later.
Monte, who still lives in Jonesboro, declined to be interviewed, but did write in a Facebook message to me, "The biggest factor I want to get out to the public is not to push away, blame or point fingers at the family of the killers but to embrace them, accept them in society. I graduated from Westside High School. It was one difficult task, I assure you. There was a lot of aggression, anger [and] hatred for me and my family."
One of the shooters, Johnson, is in prison. Andrew Golden has mostly stayed off-radar, except when he applied for a concealed weapon permit under a different name. He's believed to still live in Northeast Arkansas.
The whys remain out of reach.
There's an account, too, of a play about the event staged in February in Memphis as a benefit for Sandy Hook, written by one of the children at the school the day of the shooting
Who wants to be like Connecticut? High per capita income. High education achievement. And now, tough gun control laws.
The legislation includes a ban on the sale of magazines carrying 10 or more bullets and requires registration of existing ones. It also includes an expansion of the existing assault weapons ban, requires background checks on all firearms sales and sets up a registry of weapons offenders. Among the mental health measures are changes intended to require insurers to make faster decisions on coverage for mental health and substance abuse issues, a program to help educators recognize signs of mental illness and a doubling in the number of specialized treatment teams providing intensive support to people with serious mental illness.
We need not fear such here, of course. And speaking of guns: Can you imagine an organization more unhinged about guns than the NRA? Imagine it. The Gun Owners of America says its missionis to stay on top of the N.R.A. “when we don’t think they’ve gone far enough.” Zounds.
Care to see the number of bills introduced this session — against no demonstrated threat — to promote more and more unregulated firearms in Arkansas? Go to legislative search page and plug "firearm" into the word search field. Quite a list. Amazingly, a few didn't pass. Not to worry, the Gun Owners of America are on the case.
Not to mention the likes of U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, who's joined the NRA paranoia-fueled opposition to a UN treaty to regulate arms sales to tyrant regimes. The dubious and groundless argument is that it would somehow impede domestic gun rights. If you want the NRA line, you can read Cotton's news release.
A new study says (Talking Points Memo) states with the loosest gun laws have a higher level of gun-related violence.
The report, from the liberal Center for American Progress, analyzed 10 indicators of gun violence: overall firearm deaths in 2010; overall firearm deaths from 2001 through 2010; firearm homicides in 2010; firearm suicides in 2010; firearm homicides among women from 2001 through 2010; firearm deaths among children ages 0 to 17, from 2001 through 2010; law-enforcement agents feloniously killed with a firearm from 2002 through 2011; aggravated assaults with a firearm in 2011; crime-gun export rates in 2009; and percentage of crime guns with a short “time to crime” in 2009.
Applying this criterion, the report found that the states with the weakest gun laws "collectively have an aggregate level of gun violence that is more than twice as high—104 percent higher, in fact—than the 10 states with the strongest gun laws." Of the the 10 states with the highest level of gun violence, eight have some of the loosest gun laws in the country. The report's rankings of the states with the worst level of gun violence are as follows:
6) South Carolina
7) New Mexico
This is before the spate of further relaxation of gun laws in the recent legislative session. But, as you know, the gun advocates contend more guns and looser gun control will make us safer.
Asa Hutchinson has gotta be kidding.
The National Rifle Association announced that Republican Asa Hutchinson had been chosen to lead a study on school safety. It paid for the study. It ballyhooed the release of the results of that study yesterday. It is promoting the study on its website now.
Hutchinson, to no one's surprise, announced that the major finding of the study was like all initiatives from the NRA — more guns are needed, this time in schools.
But, last night, on Lawrence O'Donnell's show Hutchinson took pains to try to disassociate himself from the NRA. (Might he think, maybe, even in darkest Arkansas, that being a shill for the gun lobby isn't necessarily a political home run?)
“I’m not with the NRA nor do I represent the NRA, nor am I a spokesman for the NRA. So I’m in here just as the director of the task force that just looked at the school safety issues.”
Right. And he responded to questions aimed at whether this school report serves as a useful distraction from attention to gun regulation measures in Congress by saying he wished people would focus on the NRA-commissioned report (a study notably lacking membership from school people.)
UPDATE: Hutchinson clearly does want to put some degree of separation between himself and the most extreme edge of the gun lobby. He has a local news conference scheduled this afternoon at the Arkansas Educational Administrators headquarters. The expectation is that he will distance himself from news accounts that portrayed him yesterday as endorsing weapon carrying by school teachers. His report certainly advanced the cause of putting armed guards in schools. But arming teachers as a means of getting the guns inside without added cost is supposedly not part of his message, though he did say quite explicitly that a thoroughly trained teacher who wanted to carry a weapon was an idea worth considering. I've asked him how he feels about the advocacy by his nephew, Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, of allowing teachers and other school staff to carry weapons. Nephew didn't introduce the bill, but he talked about it at length. And others, too, proposed the idea.
UPDATE II: I chatted with Hutchinson, who was "frustrated" by a Democrat-Gazette headline that had him endorsing armed teachers. "The story is flat wrong," he said. "I've said consistently since the whole debate began that teachers should teach and others should protect. The story line gave the opposite impression."
It IS true, though, that the options he outlined, after a trained resource officer, might include a specifically trained staff member — teacher, administrator or otherwise — who served the protective role of a resource officer, if a local school district chose to do it that way. He said he couldn't envision more than one person on a staff with such a designation because multiple people with weapons could create a problem should law enforcement have to respond to a school emergency. Coordination would be important, he said. He acknowledged the budgetary problems schools faced, including in security issues including fencing, doors, entrances and the like.
I asked him about advocacy in December by his nephew, Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, for a law to allow school staff to carry weapons. He didn't introduce the bill and a similar idea in the House was pulled down. The legislature has approved a bill allowing church school staff to carry guns at churches that have approved guns on the premises. "I think he realized that wasn't a good idea," Asa Hutchinson said. He said he'd never supported broad arming of teachers.
I asked Hutchinson about something I've often thought about not just in school safety but in the huge sums the U.S. has spent on airport and other security since 9/11. Is there a point at which the cost outweighs the benefit. As awful as the Connecticut shooting was, does it justifying an enormous expense in greater security and armed guards? There are tens of thousands of schools in the U.S.
Hutchinson's answer: If he had to choose between two schools for a grandchild between one with a security plan and one with a plan and an armed officer, he'd choose the one with the officer.
Today, he'll emphasize the push in yesterday's report for self-assessment by schools of existing security plans.
As for his linkup with the NRA, he said it was fair to question his independence given the financing for the study. But he noted that he'd moved away from the notion of volunteer armed guards that the NRA leader Wayne Pierre had suggested when the planned study was announced. And, he also has broken with the NRA line on a current hot topic in Washington — universal background checks. From CNN:
Asa Hutchinson, the former Republican congressman who led the National Rifle Association’s school safety initiative, personally disagrees with its opposition to universal background checks, he told CNN on Tuesday.
"Yes. Absolutely. I'm open to expanding background checks," he said in response to a question on the "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."
He's also open to guns in school, as he made clear at the Little Rock news conference in the company of some school officials and law officers.
Is there a gun issue for which the NRA solution is not more guns and less regulation of same? Today, it will undoubtedly begin with armed guards in every school.
UPDATE: Hutchinson has begun his presentation. Early on, he mentioned a recommendation was coming for armed guards. But he also mentions door security, perimeter fencing, information management and so forth as elements of concern. It sounds a bit like applying the TSA model of airport security to school security. Expensive, in other words. It includes changes in state and federal law. Recommendations include:
* Training program for school "resource" officers and for armed guards.
* NRA on-line "assessment tool" for schools on safety issues.
* Have state law include a safety and security plan as part of state adequacy standards.
* Federal funding and coordination for school safety.
* Address mental health through various means.
The full report, if you can stomach it.
Hutchinson said an earlier recommendation about using volunteers for security had been dropped because of school official objections. Now, the proposal emphasizes they should be school staff. He said an armed presence is not enough, however, without access control and adequate concern about mental health issues.
Talking Points Memo saw the show today as a way for the NRA to distract attention from efforts to pass universal background check requirements in Congress.
RELATED: U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor appeared on Alice Stewart's radio show this morning and demonstrated just how low he plans to go to win re-election. He indicated reservations about expanding background checks to gun show sales and touted his support of a proposal that would, effectively, make it easier for people who've had mental problems to buy firearms. Think Progress reports.
Good way to distract attention from unhappiness over House Speaker Davy Carter's failure to move expeditiously enough for some Republicans on the House vote to legalize vote suppression (voter ID) in Arkansas by overriding Gov. Mike Beebe's veto.
Wave a gun around.
You can't go wrong demagoguing guns in Arkansas, judging by the current session. And the speaker speaks nothing but the truth in inviting a couple of gunmakers looking for gun-friendly states as manufacturing sites because of gun control legislation where they currently operte to look at Arkansas. Whadya bet a taxpayer handout to a gunmaker wouldn't get NEARLY the scrutiny being given a proposed steel mill with 500 $70,000-a-year jobs? House news release:
Arkansas House Speaker Davy Carter recently sent the attached letters. The first letter is addressed to the Chief Operating Officer of Beretta based in Maryland. The second letter is addressed to the Chief Operating Officer of Magpul Industries based in Colorado.
While he waits to hear back from Mr. Biondi and Mr. Fitzpatrick, he is providing members of the media with copies of the invitation to visit Arkansas.
Speaker Carter will answer any questions regarding the letters at his daily briefing upon adjournment.
Wouldn't it be nice if a speaker could write a letter saying, "I understand your industry wants to locate in a state with the nation's best higher education; chart-busting high school test scores; a proven record of public investment, through a progressive tax structure, in infrastructure including public transit and cultural institutions, and a proven warmth toward diversity in race, religion, gender and sexual orientation. Arkansas is the place for you."
To say, "We love guns," somehow isn't quite so uplifting. (Also, as others have noted, how you going to compete with Texas, among others already making this same pitch?)
The Beretta letter is shown below. The letter to Magpul is identical.
I couldn't begin to catalogue all the steps taken by the Arkansas legislature to combat a problem that doesn't exist. Has anybody tried to limit guns in Arkansas in the last 40 years?
But the lawmakers have OK'd guns in church and guns in church schools and guns on college campuses; taken steps to protect gun owners and merchants from civil or criminal liability for dealing with the wrong sorts of people, and I don't know what all. Amazingly, open carry and Bullet Bob Ballinger's gun interposition law did not pass.
But just so you'll know, Rep. Nate Bell is waiting in the wings with a favorite Republican ploy — a constitutional amendment to pre-empt legislation on his pet topic for all time. As the abortion forces have made abortion constitutionally impossible in Arkansas, should the Supreme Court ever relent, and as the homophobes have made equal treatment of gay people unconstitutional until the Supreme Court corrects the injustice, and as the gun nuts have irrelevantly enshrined hunting constitutionally, Bell now plans a further constitutional option for guns.
He writes on Facebook:
Next week I will present the Arkansas Firearms Freedom Amendment of 2014 to a joint meeting of the House and Senate State Agencies Committees. If added to our state constitution the new language will be an important protection for the right to keep and bear arms in Arkansas. The final text of the amendment will be engrossed into the joint resolution on Monday or Tuesday. The resolution is the culmination of efforts by several dedicated representatives and I'm proud to be the lead sponsor of this important amendment. I will do my best to ensure that it is one of those referred to the people for a vote in the 2014 general election.
It's almost certainly superfluous to the broad protections afforded by the U.S. Constitution and without meaningful present value, except that it will handcuff Arkansas against future enlightenment and a currently unanticipated need for some common-sense gun safety regulation by the people's body. Frankly, given the current crop of legislators, it is a fair argument that tying the legislature's hands is not a bad idea.
By the way, the 1874 Arkansas Constitution, way up high, already addresses the matter of guns. It's instructive, I think, because it says more clearly what the U.S. Constitution also says, at least what everyone thought it said until the U.S. Supreme Court reversed precedent and wooled it around a bit:
5. Right to bear arms.
The citizens of this State shall have the right to keep and bear arms, for their common defense.
We could hope when the joint state agencies committees get down to the business of arriving at three constitutional amendments to propose, they'll devote attention to more practical topics with more value than symbolic political fist pumping and gun waving. Vain hope, I'm afraid.
One last tangent. Saw this Twitter below by Fiddlin' Jason Rapert last night. Had some thoughts about those who don't feel safe unless there's a weapon in each night stand. Do they carry them along on midnight trips to the refrigerator and bathroom? And, if not, what happens if a malefactor were to break in at that precise moment? Are the weapons carried to the dinner table? Kept in a drawer by the reading chair or in the recliner with the TV remote? Can one feel truly safe unless armed at all times in all places? Somehow, the old Buffalo Springfield song came to mind. You know ... the man with a gun in his hand ... paranoia strikes deep ... it starts when you're always afraid.
Today was the day in House Judiciary for Bullet Bob Ballinger's bill to assert state supremacy on various matters related to firearms. His bill would prohibit enforcement of federal law on weapons manufactured in Arkansas. It would prohibit state officials from enforcing new federal gun laws, such as those related to semi-automatic rifles or large ammo magazines. It would provide that a public defender represent anyone prosecuted by the feds.
What can you say? The road is littered with failing attempts by states to nullify federal supremacy. The ghosts of Faubus and Wallace roam these marble halls.
Surprise. The bill failed in committee on a roll call vote, 6-5, with 11 votes needed for approval.
From the legislature:
* GUNS: The House approved HB 2025 allowing concealed weapon permit holders to carry guns into liquor stores.
AMPLIFICATION: The law only applies to employees of liquor stores. As several readers have noted, the legislature had already taken care of customers' packing heat. The law previously allowed owners, but not employees, to carry concealed weapons in the stores where they work.
Are concealed fetuses allowed in liquor stores? Zygotes?
* ALIMONY: With 55 votes, the House passed a long debated bill to provide for an end to alimony to a cohabitating spouse.
* EXECUTION WITNESSES: The House, with 48 votes, fell three votes short of passing a bill (resisted by the Correction Department) that would require executions be open to spouse, children or siblings of a capital crime victim. Prison officials had feared the cost of accommodating a potentially large crowd and also raised a fairness issue, as Rep. John Walker did today: the bill provides a place for a victim's family but known for the family of a person being executed.
* BODY ART: The House completed passage of those body arts bills. No debate after much earlier controversy and amendments.
* HIGHER EDUCATION: The House completed action, with 58 votes in favor, on legislation to remove an advanced degree qualification for the job of director of the state Higher Education Department. Gov. Mike Beebe's effort to make Shane Broadway the director were stymied by his lack of an advanced degree, but he's continued to serve as interim director. Rep. John Walker objected to the bill. A lack of reasonable qualifications for certain jobs makes those jobs a "farce," he said. This case sends a message that the state doesn't care about educational attainment. Walker had some rare support from Republicans in his opposition.
* AMENDMENTS: The Senate picked six constitutional amendments to go to match up with House picks to winnow down to three. Not exciting, as you might expect. The "tort reform" amendment from the chamber; election of the Game and Fish Commission; a vote suppression (ID) amendment; a legislative redistricting commission to change control of the process to favor the currently majority Republican legislature.
* CLEAN WATER: A coalition of groups announced opposition to a bill written by polluting industries to gut clean water law in Arkansas. The news release follows.
I hesitate to call attention to this news story from Northeast Arkansas, where the state Ethics Commission waded — properly — into (mis)use of public office so some local cops could get special treatment on purchase of high-powered special guns.
Why hesitate? Because the legislature is busy enacting everything it can to hold guns holy. In church. In church schools. Exempt from the FOI. Protecting gun sellers from legal action. Protecting gun traders from dealings with the wrong sorts of people. Working to prevent destruction of guns seized in crime. More guns is always the solution to any ill for the current extremist legislature. So they'd probably feel sorry for a former Salem police chief, Albert Roork, and officer Terry Walker, fined by the Ethics Commission for claiming official use for gun purchases from a Florida company when they actually just wanted guns for themselves and to resell to others, including a local sheriff, Buck Foley.
"I should have known better. Bottom line is, I screwed up," Roork explained when contacted about the ethics complaint. "Me and Patrolman Walker had been wanting some specialty guns from Kel-Tec and tried for a long time to get them. Distributors laughed at us, they said the demand for the guns is so high it was going to be a long wait."
Because Walker is a federally licensed fire arms dealer, they decided to contact Kel-Tec directly and, even though it has a huge list of backorders to fill, Roork said the company was receptive. According to Roork, the Salem officers explained they were buying the guns for individual use but, "They said, 'we will stop the line for a police order.'" Roork and Walker placed an order for themselves for a specialty handgun that will hold 30 rounds and a small shotgun that will hold 14 rounds. They also ordered some of the weapons for other local officers that wanted them, and some small concealed carry pistols.
The complaint was brought by Doug Neindick, a former Salem officer who's sued the city. Whatever the background, he's on point here.
Neindick, who continued to live in Salem until recently moving to Mountain Home, said he learned of the gun sales from people who had been approached to buy the guns intended for law enforcement. He made no apology for filing the complaint. "They got the weapons at a discount and got them right away, while regular people have to place an order and wait for months (to get their guns), " Neindick said. "Law enforcement officers should not take advantage of the system, and the Ethics Commission found they did," Neindick said.
The case naturally makes you wonder about use of official positions by others hoping to move to the head of the line in gun purchasing. And about floating purchases through public accounts.
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