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http://www.boston.com/business/globe/articles/2007/07/20/the_atf__me/

The ATF & me
By Steve Bailey, Globe Columnist | July 20, 2007

There is an epidemic of handgun violence in Boston's poorest neighborhoods, and the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating me?

Consider this my confession. I plead guilty to offending the loony gun lobby.

In the likely event you missed this alleged story, here are the facts. You be the judge.

Twenty months ago, a lifetime in columnist time, I wrote in this space about going to a gun show in New Hampshire. The idea was to see how easy it would be to buy a handgun just across the border from Massachusetts, which has some of the toughest gun laws in the country. The answer: not very hard at all.

I went with John Rosenthal, the Boston gun-control advocate the gun lobby loves to hate, a cop named Andrew Heggie, and a former prison guard, Walter Belair. I also took my kids, who got in free. The cereal makers may be cutting back on marketing to kids, but the gun industry knows it is never to early to target the next generation.

We shopped till we dropped. Someone beat us to the used grenade launcher (price: $190), but it took Belair, a New Hampshire resident and licensed gun owner, less than 20 minutes to complete the purchase of a trashy little .38-caliber revolver, perfect for a night out in Dorchester. The gun, which retails for $349, was bargain-priced at $240, which I had given to Belair. (And, of course, expensed to the Globe.)

Belair could have bought 100 guns in tax-free, no-limit New Hampshire that day, and I could have put them in my trunk and driven (illegally) home. That was exactly the point I was making. That is not what I did. Belair took the gun with him; I'm afraid of guns.

You would have thought I burned Johnny Pesky's jersey at Fenway Park. I got hundreds of vitriolic e-mails and phone calls from the live free and die bunch. No other column in a decade has approached it for hate mail, and that's saying something. In general, these are exactly the people I'd rather not see armed. In January I wrote about a 14-year-old boy who was gunned down on Bowdoin Street. Not a word of outrage from this crowd.

This was all ancient history until 10 days ago when Rosenthal and I talked about our trip to the gun show on WRKO-AM's "Finneran's Forum," where I am a daily (paid) guest. The loonies went off again. On Wednesday the Second Amendment Foundation issued a press release headlined: "SAF calls for firing of Boston Globe columnist in straw purchase." It asked the ATF to open an investigation.

(It turns out that Alan Gottlieb, the foundation's founder and the guy who thinks I should be fired for unethical conduct, was convicted in 1984 for filing a false tax return, a felony. His right to possess a gun was later restored through an ATF program that gave felons a second chance. Gottlieb says the case should have been a civil matter; he says he settled the case for $18,000. But that's another story.)

Coincidence or not, you decide, two ATF agents and a Manchester, N.H., cop visited Belair at his work the same day. They had a search warrant and a tape of the radio interview. They wanted to know about the gun, Rosenthal, and me. Belair told them the gun was at home; they went there later in the day, and confiscated it. They did give him a receipt.

Jim McNally, a spokesman for the ATF's Boston office, declined to comment.

This is how it works. Intimidation is the stock in trade of the National Rifle Association and all the NRA knock-offs out there. Dare to say we need fewer, not more guns in this country, dare to say we need a uniform system for monitoring gun sales in this country and you become a target to be hunted down. Democrats and Republicans have allowed themselves to be cowed by this one-issue bloc for too long.

The list of what ails America's poor urban neighborhoods is long. Start with the disaster of children bearing children, our scandalous dropout rate, and the drugs that are everywhere. But the flood of guns belongs prominently on that list, too. Count me as a proud member of the gun lobby's hit list.

Steve Bailey is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at [email protected] or at 617-929-2902.
It sounds to me that he made someone made, who in turn called the ATF and reported the straw sale that he admitted to on the the air.
 

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I got hundreds of vitriolic e-mails and phone calls from the live free and die bunch. No other column in a decade has approached it for hate mail, and that's saying something. In general, these are exactly the people I'd rather not see armed.
This is exactly why self control and politeness are important, even to people you believe are on the other side of the fence.
 

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Socialists - the ends justify the means.

I mean, its not libertarians or conservatives coining phrases like "You have to break a few eggs to make an omelette."

They think the laws do not apply to them. Laws are for everybody else.
 

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He is deflecting his responsibility for his actions (which I believe is a Liberal trait) by suggesting that he isn't doing anything wrong (and oh by the way - SAF's Gottlieb is a felon - and you bring this up why?).

Let me see...I deliberately broke a Federal law just to see how easy it is, but I shouldn't expect consequences for that.
 

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Thorsen said:
Well he did openly admit to breaking the law on a radio program. What did he expect would happen? That he would get a cookie for doing so?
What law did he break? Looks like he was smart enough to not take possesion of the gun. If he did not then no law was broken. Its not a straw purchase to pay for someone elses gun. If the ATF had searched his house and found the gun he would be toast.
 

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ber950 said:
Thorsen said:
Well he did openly admit to breaking the law on a radio program. What did he expect would happen? That he would get a cookie for doing so?
What law did he break? Looks like he was smart enough to not take possesion of the gun. If he did not then no law was broken. Its not a straw purchase to pay for someone elses gun. If the ATF had searched his house and found the gun he would be toast.
The dealer refused to sell to Rosenthal as he was a Mass. resident and ineligible to purchase a firearm. Rosenthal then asked if his New Hampshire friend could purchase the weapon ... an obvious strawman. The dealer agreed.

So at least as far as I can tell, Rosenthal, Bailey, the New Hampshire friend and the dealer all violated the law regarding straw purchases.
 

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ber950 said:
What law did he break? Looks like he was smart enough to not take possesion of the gun. If he did not then no law was broken. Its not a straw purchase to pay for someone elses gun. If the ATF had searched his house and found the gun he would be toast.
So does a child molester actually need to molest the child? Or is it enough to show intent when he shows up to the "meeting" which turns out to be the Po-Po?
 

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If thats the facts in this case. I bet the dealer says different. Then the dealer was an idiot. I have been behind the counter in a gun shop and it is rarely that straightforward. There are some dealers that will go along with that but they have a hard time keeping a license.

What is common is two people come into the shop together. One does the shopping and the other pays. That is not necessary a straw sale but you do have to be careful. What we did was ask "Who is the gun for ?". You had to go on their word.

Even if you trip them up and refused the sale, they get smart the next place they go. We had the advantage/disadvantage of having two shops fairly close together. I can remember the owner calling the other guy and warning him at least once.

What is impossible for the FFL holder to defend against is two come in and shop. One will often point out a particular model. They leave and two days later one comes back into the shop alone and buys that exact gun.

Maybe it was a straw sale maybe not.

What you have to get past is the motive of this reporter. He wants gun registration. He thinks that if the gun was registered this wouldn't happen. I call :bsflag: If necessary a criminal will just steal.
 

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wsweeks2 said:
So does a child molester actually need to molest the child? Or is it enough to show intent when he shows up to the "meeting" which turns out to be the Po-Po?
Non sequitor. If he intended to take possession of the gun he would have already. Intent is very difficult to prove especially in the past ie he intended to take possesion but he didn't.

We were told by the ATF that even if a felon came in and bought a gun that the 4473 could not be used against them.
 

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I'm with ber950 here. I don't see anything illegal or out of line transpired. He didn't buy the gun and he never took possession of it. Where's the crime? Why is the ATF checking into this purchase? I must be missing something here.

Oh yeah, I do have to admire the guy for having the guts to admit he's afraid of guns. Not many men will make that admission. They may well be, but ain't gonna admit to it.

That's like saying you're afraid or spiders or mice.

A very feminine type woman, like my wife or our own GlockGirl, can get away with saying that. (That's one of my jobs. Along with putting gas in her car, I also get called whenever a spider needs to be put outside...)

According to the govenator, a man who says something like that is admitting he's a girly-man...

I think this particular columnist is definitely a girly-man! Not to accuse him of being gay. Some gay guys are pretty tough. He's not. He's nothing but a big sissy!
 
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