New York NY Sept 10 2012 Welcome to the dark side of 3D printing.
The hobby is best known for creating colorful toys and trinkets, but some enthusiasts are working on design files that would allow anyone to print a working gun. These don’t exist yet, but some believe it’s only a matter of time
Why would a 3D-printed gun be appealing? For one, it could potentially be cheap. You can buy a preassembled 3D printer for about $500. A spool of ABS plastic to print with goes for $50. Depending on where you shop, you can buy .38 Special ammunition for 30 cents a round. The plans will undoubted be distributed free like so many MP3s.
In fact, plans for working gun parts already exist. They can be found on a site called Thingiverse and on similar sites, alongside thousands of free plans for toys, jewelry, tools, and design equipment.
Thingiverse is a creation of Brooklyn, N.Y.-based MakerBot and its CEO, Bre Pettis. Pettis and his company have become the de facto faces of 3D printing thanks to regular appearances in mainstream and tech media talking about how 3D printers democratize manufacturing. Pettis usually demonstrates this idea with brightly colored remote-control cars, robots, and other toys made with MakerBot printers. MakerBot and Pettis don’t really talk about files related to gun parts.
That doesn’t mean the issue has gone unnoticed, with the intersection of 3D printing and firearms having made the news a few times this year. In June, Michael “HaveBlue” Guslick reported on his blog about successfully test-firing a homemade gun whose key component, the lower receiver, he made from ABS plastic on a ’90s-era Stratasys FDM 1600 3D printer.
And in August, Forbes’ Andy Greenberg wrote about a group called Defense Distributed, which has some lofty goals as mapped out in the video below. In practical terms, their immediate aim is to create a design file for what they call a Wiki Weapon, a functional, 3D-printed firearm.
The increased attention on printable guns comes as Defense Distributed is approaching a firing test, said Cody Wilson, a University of Texas graduate student and the chief spokesman for the group. Depending on the outcome of that testing, 3D-printing companies, file-hosting sites, and law enforcement and legislative groups may have to tackle a challenging set of questions regarding the manufacture and regulation of firearms, both in this country and abroad.
All of this might sound exciting, alarming, or nonsensical, depending on your personal beliefs and familiarity with guns and gunsmithing. Setting aside any moral leanings, the fact is that the idea will need to overcome significant material and legislative hurdles before you can crank out a working, legal, 3D-printed gun in the United States. On the physical side, the ABS printing plastic might not be strong enough to make a stable enough weapon. And law-abiding, gunsmithing Americans must first face numerous federal, state, and local gun regulations and bureaucratic procedures that may not take kindly to people printing their own firearms.
None of that means printing a gun is impossible.
Darwin Award, or upending the means of production?
On his blog, Haveblue.org, Guslick offers thorough documentation of the process he followed to design, print, fine-tune, and test his 3D-printed receiver. Guslick also addresses the reception to his project by the greater 3D-printing community, as well as the ensuing media swirl and the feasibility of the Defense Distributed project. All of those topics are worth reading about, but that last part will be of particular interest to would-be gunmakers.
You can make a receiver like Guslick’s out of plastic because it houses only the basic mechanical parts of a firearm — the trigger mechanism, the magazine, and other components. It’s the barrel of a gun and/or the firing chamber, both of which you attach to the receiver, that must be strong enough to contain the heat and explosive pressure that comes from firing a round. A project like that of Defense Distributed and its Wiki Weapon poses a much harder challenge, as Guslick explains on his site (links added where appropriate):
The problem is that even the strongest 3D-printable thermoplastic currently available for the FDM process (Ultem 9085) doesn’t even have half the tensile strength needed to withstand the 24,000 psi maximum allowed chamber pressure of the .22LR round as defined by SAAMI (the Sporting Arms and Manufacturer’s Institute).
As such, yes, a 100 percent 3D-printed gun made on a RepRap could certainly go “bang,” but even with a barrel of large enough diameter to keep it from exploding, there would be so much deformation in the bore that most of the available energy would be sapped by gas leakage around the projectile (to say nothing of the utter lack of accuracy). In the end, you’d have a smoking, charred crater left for a barrel bore after the single shot.
Wilson at the University of Texas says he intends to find out just what’s possible with ABS plastic. “I’m excited about the question, because I’m interested to see how it fails,” he told CNET.
That doesn’t mean Wilson expects to fail. He referred me to this list of barrel pressure tolerances, and said Defense Distributed plans to test .38 Special ammunition, as well as .45 Long Colt, both of which have lower maximum pressure output than the .22. And according to Wilson, “operational pressure is also about half of the SAAMI-suggested maximum tolerances.”
Bringing in a specialist
Ryder Washburn is the vice president of Specialists Ltd., the East Coast’s largest provider of prop weaponry for film, TV, and theater. “What we try to do is the opposite of what you’re talking about,” Washburn said. “We want to take as much ‘gun’ out of our products as possible. Essentially we want to stay 10 feet back from the edge of making an actual firearm. But in order to do that, you have to know where the edge is.”
I asked Washburn about Wilson’s likelihood of success. “Using lower-pressure ammunition sounds like a good decision, but it depends on how you define success. If his goal is to fire a bullet and not blow his hand off, I give him a 50 percent chance.”
To my disappointment, I did not get to meet Washburn at his SOHO office in New York (“It’s pretty hectic here,” he told me). Instead, we met at a nearby coffee shop.
“People get excited by additive manufacturing [like 3D printing] because it seems like you’re making something out of thin air. But it has been possible to make guns with reductive technology, like a CNC mill, for years, and it works the same way as a 3D printer. Most of the work goes on in 3D-modeling software. Then you take the design file from the computer and send it to the machine to build. You can make a working metal gun with a $3,000 CNC machine. If all you want to do is make a cheap gun, you can go down to Home Depot and build one with $20 worth of parts.”
Washburn also backed up Guslick’s assessment that using Ultem or any other plastic-based FDM printer feedstock to make a complete, functional firearm would be very difficult, if not impossible. I asked him if it was possible for a gun made entirely from ABS plastic to fire a .22 caliber round, the same ammunition Defense Distributed had in mind initially. “You might be able to do that, but it would take a lot of design work, and a lot of research and funding. And the end result would still be an inferior product compared with what you can currently make using traditional machine tools.”
For Wilson, making a practical, working gun isn’t necessarily the point. “We have to start here. This is the fundament. It’s the beginning.” The Defense Distributed project is less about the gun, according to Wilson, than about democratizing manufacturing technology. His intention is that “the non-expert user will have the ability to make a gun with just a click.”
As Washburn points out, you can already do that with a CNC milling machine. But, Wilson adds, it still requires some expertise in the assembly. Wilson also argues that 3D printers are unique in their potential to print using multiple materials. That, he says, gives 3D printing a more capable future than traditional machine tools.
In summing up my goal for this article to Wilson, I said that it was in part to communicate the present-day reality of using a 3D printer to make a plastic gun and submitted that it was not currently feasible. Citing his team’s upcoming ammunition test, he disagreed. “Literally, it might be possible to print out a gun in a few weeks.”
Not everyone will agree with Wilson’s goals or philosophy, but enough people do that the project has made substantial progress toward its $20,000 fundraising goal. After stagnating at just over $1,000 toward the end of last week, on the evening of August 30, the group received a $10,000 windfall. Wilson tells me they also have a commitment for matching funds for every dollar above $10,000. According to the Defense Distributed Web site, the fundraising tally currently stands at $11,304, and he intends to conduct his firing test soon.
The law won
But is any of this even legal? From the 1934 National Firearms Act to the 1968 Gun Control Act (PDF) and a variety of other laws, the federal government has all kinds of regulations pertaining to firearm manufacturing and possession. And those laws supply only the minimum standard. Layer state and local laws on top of those, and the legal obligations for the would-be home gunsmiths become rather burdensome.
From a federal point of view, you have three primary legal considerations before you hit print.
If you aim to sell your services as a gunsmith (e.g., “I charge $50 an hour to make a gun”) or you intend to sell the weapon once you’ve made it (e.g., “I charge $500 for this particular gun”), you need to obtain a federal manufacturer’s license. If the weapon is for personal use, no manufacturing license is required.
You then need to consider the kind of weapon you intend to make. Crafting a Title I class weapon at home — a long-barreled semi-automatic or single-action rifle, a long-barreled shotgun, or a traditional pistol or a revolver as defined by the Gun Control Act — generally requires no preliminary paperwork. You may still need to register the weapon once you’ve made it (depending on state and local laws), but, federally speaking, you’re free to engage in the act of making it without any prior permission. The problem is that using a consumer-grade 3D printer to make a functional firearm that meets the specifications of a Title I weapon would be extremely difficult, not to mention impractical, for the reasons outlined above.
Instead, any successful design would most likely be considered a Title II-class weapon as defined by the National Firearms Act, specifically one that fits the “Any Other Weapon” category.
Get ready for some paperwork
Title II-class weapons are the more heavily regulated firearms under federal law. Guns in this category consist of, among other things, machine guns, sawed-off shotguns, explosive devices, and what the U.S. government calls “Any Other Weapon.” The latter includes pen, cane, and other gadget-type guns, and smooth-bore pistols. According to David Goldman, managing partner of Jacksonville, FL’s Apple Law Firm, and publisher of the NFA Gun Trust Lawyer blog, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms would most likely put a 3D-printed plastic gun in that category.
Assuming your design does fall under the Title II Any Other Weapon classification, federal law mandates that before you make it, you fill out ATF Form 5320.1 (PDF), aka Form 1, aka the Application to Make and Register a Firearm. You then need to submit it and have it approved by the ATF.
As part of the approval process, an ATF spokesperson informed me that the agency will want to see the design for your homemade gun. This will help them determine its classification, as well as whether the weapon would be legal for you to possess in your state or municipality.
Form 1 also requires that you receive approval from a local law enforcement officer. Others have sued after failing to secure this approval for the transfer of weapons between owners, which requires a different form, but Goldman is familiar with no case law supporting those who have been unable to obtain this approval for a Form 1 application.
You must also consider the obscure but very relevant Undetectable Firearms Act. It was Wilson who told me about this law (“I’m doing your research for you,” he joked).
The Undetectable Firearms Act says, simply, that you may not manufacture or possess a firearm that cannot be detected by an airport metal detector. The law is a product of the debut of the Glock 17 handgun that caused a stir in the 1980s for its composite plastic components. That gun was itself never capable of defeating an airport metal detector, but the law is still in place regardless, although it’s due to expire in December of 2013.
Trying this at home
There are more legal considerations to making a Title II-class gun, but also interesting is the case of the Guslick’s receiver design. According to federal law, the receiver is so integral to the specific functionality of a given weapon that the receiver itself is considered a firearm. Guslick’s design in particular mirrors that of a Colt AR 15 hunting rifle, making it a Title I-class weapon. In New York City, possessing Guslick’s receiver would be illegal.
It’s for that reason that I printed a significantly reduced-scale version of Guslick’s receiver from ABS plastic on a MakerBot Replicator 3D printer. It’s also why I felt even more secure when the print came out a little mangled after one corner pulled up from the build surface during printing. It’s also the reason why, even despite the small size and the imperfect print, I destroyed the mini receiver last week.
I printed the receiver first to see if the end result seemed like a feasible gun part. I’m neither a materials scientist nor a gunsmith, nor am I even a particularly adept 3D-printer user, but my miniature receiver felt solid enough, at least to me, to accept some mechanical internal components and mounting hardware.
“This is about 25 percent scale,” Washburn said of my mini receiver. “There’s probably nothing illegal about this. If you made it at 100 percent scale, I wouldn’t want to be your lawyer.”
Even if a consumer-level 3D printer can’t currently make a functioning gun, it can make some rather serious gun components. “I’d hate to see some 15-year-old get in trouble for printing this full-sized,” Washburn said.
I am become death, the destroyer of my garage
The obvious retort to any discussion of the legalities of making your own firearms or firearm components, 3D-printed or otherwise, is that criminals don’t care about gun control laws. And even if it’s impractical, if not downright impossible, to make your own plastic gun now, as 3D-printing technology improves and grows you might envision a near-term future where crooks regularly arm themselves with cheap, easily reproduced plastic firearms.
Even if you dial down the scare rhetoric, 3D printing at the very least seems like it could disrupt the idea that a government can regulate guns or their manufacture. Defense Distributed outright claims that kind of disruption among its goals.
“In a sense, every dollar [that you donate to their project] is a statement to these international kleptocrats that this isn’t in [their] control anymore.”
Here’s the problem with that idea. As Washburn pointed out, you can already make a cheap gun with a trip down to the hardware store. And with only a little training, you can already use relatively affordable, widely available machine tools to mass-produce functioning weapons.
This is not to say that zip guns and other illegal homemade weapons don’t currently exist. Yet despite the widely distributed means of production and low financial and knowledge requirements, the regulation-shaking, homemade gun-making revolution hasn’t happened in this country.
Washburn, the ATF, and gun rights attorney Stephan Halbrook all believe current U.S. legislation is already well-equipped to handle the prospect of a plastic, 3D-printed firearm. You never know, of course. “You might find a legislator somewhere who wants to do something about it,” Halbrook said. But the federal government has been regulating alternative gun designs, the Any Other Weapon, since the National Firearms Act of 1934. Wilson counters that if his group can design an effective, easily distributed plan for a printable plastic gun, “there is just not enough manpower to control it.”
“3D printing 20 years from now is a different animal,” Washburn said, allowing at least the possibility that printing a functional firearm might one day become more practical. Even if it does, it will only offer another means to an end that we can already accomplish easily. “This has all been done before,” Washburn said, “and there are smarter ways to do it.”
Meanwhile, Defense Distributed is going forward with its testing.
Officials said Friday the workers were fired after Miami-Dade police notified the hospital of the potential problem, The Miami Herald reported.
The two admitted taking what are known as “face sheets” that include names, addresses, insurance policy numbers and the last four digits of Social Security numbers.
Some insurance programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, use Social Security numbers as their policy numbers.
Miami-Dade police would not comment on the investigation.
According to police, Biagio Sciacca Jr. of Oak Street was escorted from the nightclub after he harassed other patrons. Police said after Sciacca entered his vehicle, he pulled out a .45 caliber handgun, told a security officer he was going to “put two into his chest” and cocked the weapon.
The security officer used pepper spray and was able to disarm Sciacca, police said. Sciacca then attempted to leave and struck two parked cars.
Sciacca, whom police said showed signs of alcohol impairment, was arrested and taken to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Township for testing. He was charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, terroristic threats, DUI, possession of a controlled substance and misbranding a controlled substance.
Sciacca was jailed on $10,000 bail
“We hear stories anecdotally in Laytonville,” Good said, giving an example of the need for his services. “We’ve had people say they go out to get their cattle and someone walked out with an AK-47 in the middle of the road.”
The idea for his business, Compass Security, sprang from his efforts in the summer of 2010 to rally volunteers to tear down marijuana gardens in the Mendocino National Forest, and to patrol and remove water piping, structures and gardens that pollute the land and leave residents in fear for their lives.
Now, with two large timber companies on his client list, he’s reaching out to smaller land owners and “ranchers who are afraid to run cattle in a certain area because there might be people out there with guns.”
Good’s aim is to protect individual property rights by eradicating illicit marijuana gardens, on the premise that no one is allowed to plant anything on someone else’s property without the land owner’s permission.
Normally, he acknowledges, that’s a job that belongs to law enforcement. What he picks up is what law enforcement can’t afford to do.
“This is not an indictment of law enforcement; they do the best they can with the territory and amount of people they have,” Good said. “The Sheriff’s Office isn’t going to go out because you think you have an issue. Two COMMET (County of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication Team) guys can’t spend the whole day hiking your property for that … or drive five miles up a dirt road to kill 300 plants. That’s a complete waste of time and resources.”
His men are armed, licensed security agents who can make citizen’s arrests. He offers patrol services, posts signs to warn gardeners that the property is watched to keep them from returning and offers armed escort services so landowners who suspect there may be an illicit garden on their property can safely check it out.
“Law enforcement is the first, best option, but the current climate has made that nearly impossible,” Good said. ” There’s too much land and not enough people.”
Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman said he’s enthusiastic about the arrangement, which he called a “partnership” — a far cry from the dubious support law enforcement expressed about Good’s 2010 effort to rally volunteers to do what his business now does.
The commander of the Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force, which eradicates marijuana gardens in the forest and on private land, expressed concern that volunteers wouldn’t be trained to handle the kind of people who shoot at law enforcement officers, but acknowledged that the help was needed.
“It’s clear with the increase of marijuana on private land, and the Sheriff’s Office, because we have had no large increase in staffing, it’s hard to keep up with the increase,” Allman said, adding that Good’s company works closely with his office. “I fully support this eradication effort.”
Allman also acknowledged that Compass Security doesn’t just eradicate, but “prevents poisons and fertilizers (associated with illegal grows) from getting into the streams and polluting the land.”
Source: Ukiah Daily Journal
Phoenix AZ Sept 10 2012 Police on Saturday arrested a former Brophy College Preparatory teacher on suspicion of sexually abusing several past students.
The arrest came nine months after Daniel Whitehead, 71, was fired from the private Catholic school after two former Brophy students, now adults, accused him of inappropriate sexual advances. Whitehead had been a lay faculty member since 1967.
Whitehead most recently taught math, said Sgt. Tommy Thompson, a Phoenix police spokesman.
Whitehead faces charges of sexual assault, attempted sexual abuse, furnishing harmful items to a minor and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to police.
Brophy Principal Bob Ryan released a statement on Saturday that said the school will continue to cooperate with the police and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in the investigation.
“Brophy College Preparatory takes its responsibility to protect its students seriously and to provide any and all support to victims of abuse who are or have been students of Brophy,” the statement read. “Brophy is grateful to those who have come forward and continues to pray for them and all victims of abuse.”
The all-male school in central Phoenix first alerted police of the allegations against Whitehead in November.
School officials told police that two former students accused Whitehead of touching them inappropriately and against their will while at his home.
According to police, the alleged incidents would have taken place in the 1980s, when the men were teenagers and Whitehead was a teacher at the school. Thompson said it is possible that incidents occurred as early as the 1960s and more recently.
“We can only speculate,” he said.
Thompson said that if incidents did occur in the 1960s and 1970s, prosecution would likely be hindered by statutes of limitations.
Police initially were unable to proceed with an investigation.
“The problem was none of the victims wanted to come forward,” Thompson said. “Originally, we didn’t have anything else to pursue this case.”
Since then, four accusers as well as witnesses came forward, which allowed police to conduct the investigation.
Thompson said he believes media coverage led to people contacting police.
Police said investigators learned that Whitehead had invited the accusers to his home for various reasons, including tutoring and teaching home repair, during the 1980s.
At his home, the students viewed pornography and were provided alcohol by Whitehead, police said.
Police said Whitehead then fondled or attempted to fondle the victims.
Whitehead had taught mathematics, was a golf coach and was the moderator of the Calc Club at Brophy.
The 17-acre Jesuit campus on Central Avenue has roughly 1,290 students and 85 teachers, according to the school website. The annual tuition for the current school year is $13,200.
By her third-grade year in the Anchorage School District, the number had risen to 35 days, according to municipal prosecutor Cynthia Franklin.
By fifth grade, she was absent for 50. And by ninth grade she’d dropped out completely.
Starting this fall, the parents of Anchorage children who are chronically absent from school may be criminally prosecuted, Franklin said.
For the first time, the School District is teaming up with the municipal prosecutor to enforce a long-toothless truancy law, targeting the parents of the youngest absentee students in hopes the children won’t become dropouts later.
Charging parents with a crime is a last resort, said Franklin, whose office will handle the cases.
“Rather than just throw a bunch of people in jail, what we want to do is provide a program where the emphasis is on compliance,” she said.
The district has identified 184 families whose children missed more than 40 days in the last school year, said Superintendent Jim Browder, just starting his first year on the job.
When the first quarter of the school year ends on Oct. 19, school resource officers will look for kids who have missed more than nine days of school, or 20 percent of the year so far. Families of first and second graders will be the first group targeted.
If a pattern of absences continues, school officers will forward that information to the prosecutor’s office. Parents could be ticketed or, if they still don’t get their kids to school, charged with a class A misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of a year in jail and a $10,000 fine, Franklin said.
People with legitimate excuses, like an illness, won’t end up in court. Prosecutors will have to prove that parents knowingly or intentionally contributed to the truancy, she said.
“This is people who everything has been offered to, including a cab will come to your house and pick up your child,” she said.
Lawyers from the firm Gorton & Logue, who act as public defenders for people charged with municipal misdemeanors, were not available for comment on Friday.
Getting kids to show up is the single most important thing the district can do to raise academic achievement, Browder said.
“The group that attends the least performs the lowest academically,” he said.
Right now, not enough kids in Anchorage make it to class, he said.
Last year, according to the district, 78 percent of kindergartners made it to school 90 percent of the time. That means they missed no more than 17 days of the school year.
Statistics show that the number of children attending school 90 percent of the time peaks in the fifth grade, when 82 percent show up.
By the senior year of high school, the figure falls to just 55 percent of students.
“It’s not like all of a sudden they get in high school and have bad attendance,” said Cyndi Addington, an Anchorage policewoman assigned to Dimond High School and its feeder schools as a “school resource officer” for the past five years. “The reality is usually you can look back through their history and find they were missing huge amounts of school in elementary, middle and high school.”
Prosecuting parents for their children’s truancy is an idea that’s been around for more than a decade. School districts and law enforcement authorities have been doing it since the mid-1990s in places like California and Florida.
In Alaska, the Nome district attorney’s office, working with the Bering Strait School District, has been aggressively prosecuting parents of absentee schoolchildren for the past year. A father from the village of Wales was the first to serve jail time for the offense last October.
“I have a court calendar full of truancy cases on Monday,” said prosecutor John Earthman. He said his office has cited or filed charges against dozens of families in the past year, on top of a burgeoning criminal caseload.
Why devote the resources?
“Life is very tough out here in this region,” he said. “These kids simply cannot afford not to be educated.”
For years Addington has kept tabs on truant kids, checking attendance records, talking with secretaries and conducting “knock and talk” visits with families to find out where kids are if not in school.
Behind the front doors of some of the wealthiest and poorest homes in Anchorage, she said, she’s heard every excuse in the book.
She’s had parents beg her to face down their physically large and defiant high schoolers. At times she has driven them to school herself in a patrol car. She’s heard of older siblings staying home to care for younger siblings because the family can’t afford day care. She sees many parents who work two or three jobs and aren’t home enough to know when their older children aren’t getting to school.
But a small, stubborn group simply can’t or won’t get their kids to school.
Until now, efforts by Addington and the 15 other school resource officers have relied on “finger-shaking,” without any real chance of legal consequence, she said.
“They realize we’re bluffing them,” she said. “We’re not going to be bluffing anymore.”
BAY MINETTE, Alabama Sept 10 2012
Police are investigating a domestic murder/suicide at the Driftwood Service Station in Bay Minette Sunday morning.
It happened around 8:25am at the BP gas station off Hwy 59 in Baldwin County, south of I-65.
Bay Minette Police Chief Michael Rowland tells News 5 the wife was working as a clerk inside the store when she saw her husband of eleven years approaching with a shotgun.
The woman had time to push the panic button, but it was too late. The husband entered the store, fired several rounds, and killed her. He then turned the gun on himself.
Both the husband and wife are dead. No names or motives have been released yet, but authorities say the woman was well-known in the area. Identities are expected to be released later.
There are unconfirmed reports that the husband set fire to their house before the shootings occurred.
Homicides are rare in the city. The police chief says this is their first murder case in four years.
There are surveillance cameras inside the store, which will help officers in their investigation
HARRISBURG PA Sept 10 2012 - Not so long ago, in the name of security, top state House leaders championed the need to give the chamber’s guards the power to carry guns.
House officials have quietly decided to strip the roughly 16 uniformed guards, who also act as the chamber’s sergeants-at-arms, of their firearms. They did so after discovering that one had been carrying a gun for years despite a criminal history.
That security officer was fired in early May, and three who supervised him resigned shortly afterward, according to House records and interviews.
House Speaker Sam Smith (R., Jefferson), the top official in the 203-member chamber, would not talk about the matter. Also declining comment were other senior House officials, including one who said publicity would create the perception of a security risk.
But the incident has raised the question of whether the House’s security staff had sufficient policies in place for screening and background checks – and whether they should have been armed in the first place.
Security guards for the Senate do not carry weapons, and the Capitol complex is already protected by the Capitol Police, an accredited force whose officers receive extensive training in firearms, emergency management, hazardous materials, and riot control.
“We are the first line of defense,” said Dave DeLellis, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 85, which represents Capitol police officers and which has raised concerns about House guards carrying weapons.
“That is part of the core function we provide in the Capitol, and we consider ourselves to be the best at it,” DeLellis said.
The House’s legislative security guards are supposed to protect people and property in the rooms and other spaces occupied by the chamber, according to an official description of the job. They also investigate complaints, accidents, and suspicious people or behavior. Salaries for uniformed officers range from $23,000 to $41,200.
In January 2006, House leaders armed the guards with .357-caliber handguns. The decision was made by the House’s five-member Bipartisan Management Committee, made up of legislative leaders from both parties. At the time, that included Republican House Speaker John M. Perzel and Democratic House leaders Bill DeWeese and Mike Veon. All three have since been convicted on political corruption charges.
The move was controversial. Coming just after the legislature had passed the hugely unpopular legislative pay raise, it was disparaged as evidence that lawmakers were frightened of the public outrage over the pay raise.
Defenders said the guards needed to be armed to protect against terrorism and prevent incidents such as the July 1998 shootings at the U.S. Capitol that killed two security guards.
In an interview last week, the former director of security for the legislative officers, Phil Frederick, said he advocated arming the guards for years. When the decision was made to do so, Frederick said, his officers received rigorous training in a special program through Temple University.
Frederick was among the three people who resigned in May after it was discovered that one of the House guards, Brian Marhon, had a criminal background.
Marhon, hired as a House security officer in 2001, could not be reached for comment.
Court records show he faced simple-assault assault charges in 1994, to which he pleaded guilty; DUI charges in 2003 and 2004, to which he also pleaded guilty; and aggravated-assault, simple-assault, and harassment charges in 2008, after which he pleaded guilty to simple assault and harassment. In all cases, records show, he received probation.
Frederick called Marhon “an exemplary employee.”
Frederick said he was aware of Marhon’s 1994 incident and the DUI charges, but said they were misdemeanors and did not disqualify him from the job. Frederick said he thought Marhon’s 2004 charges were related to a civil issue.
He said that starting in 2006, all uniformed House officers underwent fingerprint and FBI background checks. Before that, guards underwent a state criminal background check, psychological testing, drug testing, and a physical examination.
There were no periodic follow-up checks. Not until 2009 was a policy put into place that guards report any run-ins with the law, Frederick said.
Top House leaders and officials, including Chief Clerk Anthony Barbush, became aware of Marhon’s background in late April, according to two sources who asked not to be identified. Those sources said Barbush immediately ordered that Marhon be terminated.
Frederick confirmed that he had a series of tense meetings with Barbush after Marhon’s record became known. He said he recommended temporarily disarming the security guards.
But he said Barbush told him he no longer had confidence in him, so he submitted his resignation.
After he resigned, Frederick said, two other House security officers, both supervisors, were asked to submit their resignations.
“I have no regrets,” said Frederick, who worked at the Capitol for 13 years. “These officers are dedicated people. And make no mistake about it: Every one of them would go the extra mile.”
Charlotte County Fla Sept 10 2012 When you hear about DNA it’s usually involving murders and rapes but as Walmart recently proved, it isn’t just for murders anymore.
Walmart recently has started to use DNA testing.
In this instance, the shoplifter was courteous enough to leave blood samples on a jewelry case he had smashed. According to the Charlotte County (Florida) sheriff’s office, 20-year-old Tyler Ray Kerry did a smash and grab for 33 rings from Walmart. He covered his hand with a sock, but that was apparently not sufficient to stop him from getting cut. (He actually used a hammer to break the case, but he then reached in with his socked hand.)
When authorities sent in the bloodwork, it matched Kerry, who had an extensive record and had been jailed 15 times before in fact when charges were filed against him for the Walmart robbery-he was already in jail-again.
He had broken into a home to steal TVs and tools.
Biometrics got him that time, too, when he was ID’d with his fingerprints.
Walmart representatives didn’t disclose how often or how widespread the use of DNA is being used to solve retail theft crimes.
Tonawanda Walmart manager arrested for stealing a customer’s credit card information www.privateofficer.com
Eric A. Martinez, 23, was arrested June 20 at the Sheridan Drive store.
“A customer noticed some unauthorized charges, and last used (her credit card) at the Bon-Ton store,” Lt. Nick Bado said. “She never got the credit card back from the clerk. It looks like he actually took it from her.”
Bado said Discover representatives contacted the victim and told her there had been suspicious purchases at a few other stores in the area, but it’s unknown exactly what Martinez bought.
The woman called town police and detectives investigated.
“I don’t know exactly how they ended up catching him,” Bado said. “They probably went over there and identified him. Ultimately, he was connected to it.”
Martinez, of Niagara Street, Buffalo, was charged with three counts as a result of the incident — fourth-degree grand larceny, felony identity theft, and misdemeanor identity theft.
Martinez is scheduled to be sentenced for those charges Nov. 29. And on Thursday, he’s expected to appear in North Tonawanda City Court in relation to the incident at Walmart, where he will be arraigned on a charge of third-degree unlawful possession of personal identification.
The small statured man from Puerto Rico was arrested at the newly opened Walmart on Aug. 29 after a Wheatfield man told authorities his credit card company had reported several suspicious charges on the card.
The victim, who lives on Graydon Drive, said he visited the store Aug. 27 to return an item. Martinez, who was a manager in the customer service department, completed the transaction and wrote down the customer’s credit card information during the process.
The victim questioned Martinez as to why he was copying the information down, but Martinez told him he needed it to handle the request. The victim told authorities he didn’t think anything of it at the time.
But on Wednesday, the fraud department at the credit card company called the victim and said there had been multiple charges on the card at retail websites. The victim immediately suspected Martinez.
Niagara County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the store to investigate and the officers’ report states Martinez initially denied the allegations, saying, “I don’t know anything about anyone’s credit cards.
The deputies then consulted with store security and found a video of the transaction in question.
Eventually, Martinez succumbed to detectives’ questions and admitted his actions, the report said.
“OK, yes, I wrote down the customer’s credit card number and security code. … I went home and used the credit card information to buy a few iPhones online,” the report quotes.
The arrest report states Martinez bought the phones from a few different websites and planned on selling them to a store.
He admitted to being arrested “up to eight times before” and stealing another Walmart customer’s credit card information for the same purpose. NT detectives are continuing to investigate the case and Wal-Mart representatives have not returned
Martinez is being held in lieu of $500 bail.
Source: The Tonawanda News
Serial shoplifters steal computer hard drives from nine metro Atlanta Target stores www.privateofficer.com
Cobb County, GA Sept 10 2012
Marietta Police are investigating a series of thefts at local Target stores involving two serial shoplifters. Officers say one suspect, 29-year-old Ryan Kingston, of Dacula, is now in police custody in Atlanta. But, they are still searching for Kingston’s accomplice.
Investigators say the two men shoplifted computer hard drives from nine metro Atlanta area Target stores and possibly other stores.
The thefts occurred when Kingston and another unidentified white male entered stores together and walked back to the electronics section a of the store.
Investigators say Kingston was able to defeat the electronic security devices attached to the packaging of the hard drives and then conceal the computer hard drives on his person.
Kingston was captured on camera stealing several computer hard drives from the Target located at 2201 Cobb Parkway on September 4, 2012 at approximately 9:00pm. Forensic evidence collected at the scene also positively identified Kingston as the suspect.
The Marietta Police Department is asking any police jurisdiction or business that has similar, unsolved thefts of computer hard drives to contact the Marietta Police Department’s Crime Analyst at 770-794-5286.
Anyone with information as to the identity of Kingston’s accomplice is also asked to contact the Marietta Police Department Tip Line at 770-794-6990.
Yvonne Williamson Baumann, 54, of Haines City, worked as the property evidence custodian and administrative assistant until she was fired in August for unrelated reasons, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said.
In June, an elderly man gave the gun to police and said he wanted it destroyed, deputies said.
Baumann asked to purchase the gun, but the man refused. Deputies allege she placed the firearm in her lunch bag and took it home.
She was booked into the Polk County Jail late Friday.
The two then went to a self-checkout register, scanned a few of the items and left the store with the goods, valued at $2,000.
Police stopped the suspects’ car as it was leaving the parking lot just before 5:30 p.m.
The four people in the car were arrested and all face at least one felony charge. They all remained in the county jail yesterday evening.
Tiffany Harrison, 24, of Brooklyn is charged with felony willful concealment and false report to law enforcement.
Pierre Louis, 28, of Philadelphia and Rodrigue Domingue, 29, of Brooklyn both face felony charges of criminal liability for conduct of another.
Kenton Ames, 34, of Brooklyn faces a felony charge of theft by deception and possession of false identification.
Harrison, Domingue and Ames all refused the services of a bail commission and were taken to the county jail pending their arraignment in 10th Circuit Court in Salem.
Lous had cash bail set at $5,000, but did not post it and also remains in jail.
It’s the case where a patient being discharged from the hospital took the TV set off the wall and hid it under a sheet as he was being rolled along the hallway in a wheelchair on his way to go home.
Police say they have filed charges in the case and have made one arrest.
Laura Beth Dennis, 41, of Sparta Street, McMinnville, was arrested in the case on September 4 after Cookeville Police Detective Sgt. David Gragg served a warrant taken on July 18 by Officer Justin Long, who had conducted the initial investigation.
Laura Beth Dennis is charged with theft of property, says the warrant.
The warrant says that Dennis’ husband, Charles Dennis, was a patient at the hospital and was discharged on July 17, 2012, and that she “did place the hospital TV in the wheelchair with him and placed it in a vehicle belonging to an acquaintance by the first name of Charles.”
Dennis and her husband stole the TV, which is valued at $258, the warrant alleges.
Back in July when the theft happened and after hospital security officers and city officers had investigated, Officer Long took warrants charging both Laura Beth Dennis and her husband in the case.
But it was not until September 4 that Detective Sgt. Gragg arrested Laura Beth Dennis, picking her up at the Warren County jail.
Her husband is still in jail in Warren County on other matters and will be brought to Cookeville to face the charge here when he is released there, Detective Gragg said.
Laura Beth Dennis was booked into the Putnam jail on September 4 and posted bond and was released the same day.
She has a court date of October 1.
Source: Herald Citizen
DANIA BEACH Fla Sept 10 2012
A man found hanging from a tree in Greenbelt Park on Sunday morning apparently first killed his girlfriend before turning to suicide, authorities said.
The body of Louise Attardi-Cramer, 50, dead from blunt force trauma, was discovered in her bedroom early Sunday, said Keyla Concepcion, a spokeswoman for the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
About four hours later, Michael Kanuf, 49, was found by a couple taking a morning stroll through a secluded area of the park adjacent to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Concepcion said.
Police say Kanuf left a note outside a relative’s home admitting to the crime and saying that he was going to commit suicide.
After receiving a call at about 6:30 a.m. requesting that the Sheriff’s Office perform a welfare check of Attardi-Cramer, police found her body in her home in the 5300 block of Southwest 29th Way, Concepcion said.
Police spent the next several hours, Concepcion said, searching for Kanuf, the father of Attardi-Cramer’s teenage son.
When the couple made the grisly discovery in the park, they called 911. The body was confirmed to be Kanuf, Concepcion said.
When reached by telephone Sunday afternoon, a relative of Attardi-Cramer’s declined to comment: “This is a time of mourning for the family and nobody wants to talk about what’s going on.”
Records from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement show that Kanuf is a registered sexual offender stemming from a 1993 conviction out of Miami-Dade County for lewd or lascivious fondling of a child younger than 16.
The murder-suicide investigation is ongoing.