Not happy with going after real guns, New York Attorney General now targeting toy ones

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The following contains editorial content which is the opinion of the author, a retired Chief of Police and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today. 

ALBANY, NY- Well, it’s good to see New York Attorney General Letitia James has other things to do besides target and harass former President Donald Trump and his family.

Unfortunately, the “other things” are just more leftist nonsense.

Last month, James decided that toy guns are a menace to society and must be dealt with.

Not happy with just harassing legal “real” gun owners, the feckless New York AG has now turned her attention to toy guns, BB guns, and airsoft guns which she claims “look too much” like real guns, according to The Reload.

In December, James fired off a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, asking for new rules concerning the likeness of toy guns to real firearms.

Of course, the psychotic James asked for such toy guns to be banned, claiming they look too much like genuine guns. Typical for a leftist bureaucrat, James didn’t specify where the line would be drawn.

“I write today concerning the long-standing need for strong, coherent federal regulations mandating distinct differences between three categories of consumer products: 1) toy, lookalike, and imitation guns, 2) non-powder (bb, air and pellet) guns, and 3) firearms,” James wrote.

“The ready availability of products that are visually indistinguishable from real, lethal powder firearms has, for decades, proven to have dangerous and—far too often—deadly consequences.”

Liberals like James, who love to suck the fun out of everything, claimed that the need for new rules was “urgent” due to the Christmas holiday, which is apparently why she waited until five days before the holiday to send the letter.

“As families conclude their holiday shopping and some purchase toy guys [sic] for their children, the last thing we want is for a Christmas give to turn into a Christmas nightmare,” James wrote.

“When toy guns are indistinguishable from actual firearms, the consequences can, and have been, deadly. We must take action to protect our children and our communities.

In my nearly three years as attorney general, I have consistently seen the tragic consequences of split-second decisions when the authenticity of a gun is in question.

“There should be no opportunity for confusion when individuals’ lives are on the line. We must put people above profit and ensure our police, crime victims, and children can clearly and easily distinguish fake guns from real ones.”

So James cited “consistently” seeing “tragic consequences of split-second decisions.”

Yet according to Concealed Carry Weapon, all examples of New York residents being shot while carrying a facsimile firearm were adults, with one exception, that being a 17-year-old who was experiencing a mental health crisis. But hey, let’s not let facts get in the way of a good story.

James’s letter is made even more absurd by the fact that the resemblance of toy guns to real weapons is already federally regulated and has been for the past 22+ years.

Under current regulations, toy firearms are required to have a permanently affixed blaze orange plug in the firearms barrel, a blaze orange marking on the exterior of the barrel, be constructed entirely of transparent materials, or be covered in certain other approved bright colors.

James complains current standards of bright orange colors are insufficient.

“Existing regulations, essentially unchanged for decades, have proven inadequate to protect the health and welfare of Americans.”

James is obviously playing to the Karens who believe that masks protect them from certain death. 

While any such shooting is troubling, a majority of the shootings involve adults using facsimile firearms to commit crimes.

And it is hardly an epidemic, with the Washington Post’s police shooting database showing last October that since 2015, 245 people were killed by police while carrying a toy gun, or an average of 35 per year.

And as noted, an overwhelming majority of those were criminals using guns to commit crimes. It is irrelevant under the circumstances that the guns in fact turned out being facsimiles. Most states make it illegal to use a facsimile firearm in the commission of a crime.

One incident cited by a website called The Trace cites a case in Tarpon Springs, Florida, where police received calls about someone pointing an AK-47-style rifle at passing cars.

When police arrived and confronted the suspect at an intersection, it turned out it was an 11th grader in possession of an airsoft rifle, easily mistaken for a real firearm, especially if modified.

A majority of the cases cited by the website involve individuals involved in other crimes or who were acting suspiciously and where the facsimile firearms they were in possession of either did not have the federally required modifications or had been altered.

James claims existing regulations are insufficient and admits that the “blaze orange” plugs are routinely removed or camouflaged.

James clearly appears to be going for a ban of toy guns, and addresses their use in real crimes as a means to make the case.

She cited a study where police allegedly recover thousands of fake guns used in crime every year, including in about 15 percent of all robberies.

Clearly fake guns are easier and cheaper to obtain than real firearms because you don’t need background checks.

James also suggested the use of executive orders, which has been used by Joe Biden to bypass the legislative process, basically skipping Congress, and signing orders whether they are constitutional or not.

In particular, she spoke to Biden’s willingness to take executive action on guns and thinks it’s a great idea to do the same thing for toy guns. These people are literally unhinged lunatics.

“From the outset, this administration has demonstrated a clear and consistent willingness to use the levers of its regulatory authority to protect consumers and to take on our gun violence epidemic,” James said.

“I believe this issue—which sits at a critical intersection between those two key priorities—deserves to be part of that ambitious agenda.”

Spoken like a true tyrant. 

In New York, they recently restricted options for toy gun makers, only permitting those that are either transparent or brightly colored while outlawing the manufacture or sale of all other kinds of toy guns.

She wants Congressional Democrats to do the same thing, and actually go even further. James didn’t specify what other changes she believes should be implemented.

Officials with the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) slammed James’ clear overreach, telling The Reload that her “priorities are misplaced when it comes to protecting public safety in New York.”

“This is yet another example of Attorney General James using the weight of her office to target industry instead of criminals,” said Mark Oliva, spokesman for the NSSF.

“Nowhere in her letter to the Secretary of Commerce does Attorney General James make any mention of efforts to hold criminals accountable for their crimes, whether they are illegally using a firearm or threatening others with replica firearms.”

The NSSF is presently leading a lawsuit against James and the state’s liability law for firearms manufacturers. Oliva called her attempts to implement more federal regulations as being unnecessary, while suggesting she change her focus instead to prosecuting criminals in New York as opposed to targeting the firearms industry.

“Attorney General James seeks to lawyer regulations instead of holding responsible those criminals who wrongfully and criminally misuse products to commit their heinous acts,” Oliva said.

“New Yorkers would be better served if Attorney General James pursued policies that actually locked up criminals and protected the citizens she serves.”  

Two men arrested and charged with the attempted murder of a Chicago cop after shooting him during a traffic stop

For a previous report from Law Enforcement Today about James’ targeting of guns, we invite you to read a report about her trying to take down the National Rifle Association.

DIG DEEPER

ALBANY, NY – Back in December of 2019, Law Enforcement Today brought you insight into an investigation that New York Attorney General Letitia James was spearheading into the NRA and it’s charitable arm, the NRA Foundation.

Now, AG James filed a lawsuit against the NRA on August 4th alleging years of fraud and is asking that the NRA be dissolved because she alleges that there’s been intentional mismanagement of funds within the organization via it’s top leaders.

In this lawsuit, there’s allegations against the likes of NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, general counsel John Frazer, former treasurer Woody Phillips and former chief of staff Joshua Powell.

On top of that, the entire organization has been named in the suit since AG James believes that the organization is so “fraught with fraud and abuse”.

The entire lawsuit hangs on allegations that money used as salaries and expenses were tantamount to ill-gotten gains essentially.

According to the suit, and a subsequent blasting on Twitter for social-media points, AG James points to things like travel expenses as being proof positive that the NRA leadership illegally funneled money to behoove themselves

So, what exactly are these ill-gotten gains that are alleged – and if they are in fact illegal transfers and expenditures – why would that create cause to obliterate the organization?

This investigation into the NRA was first launched back in February of 2019 reportedly.

In one of the more recent claims made in this lawsuit stemming from the investigation, AG James says that LaPierre had somehow arranged a post-employment contract for himself valued at $17 million and did so without the NRA board’s approval.

In further allegations against LaPierre, the suit claims that he failed to report income to the IRS by funneling personal expenses through a public relations firm.

Things like flights to certain destinations were coined as being vacations for his family – but a spokesperson for LaPierre addressed those claims last year saying that they were indeed business trips related to NRA affairs.

Overall, it’s going to be a game of “he said, she said” in the allegations against LaPierre.

Now keep in mind while AG James is making claims about there being “a set of laws” that everyone in New York has to obey, she’s filing a lawsuit and not a criminal case.

Perhaps the gunning for a civil case might have something to do with the important contrasts between the burden of proof.

You see, in a criminal case, a prosecutor would have to prove their criminal allegations beyond a reasonable doubt to a paneled jury.

Whereas on civil cases, all a plaintiff would need to accomplish would be to persuade the designated fact-finder (typically a judge) that their claims are 50% or more likely to be true.

That’s evidentiary standard is what’s known as the “preponderance of the evidence”.

Essentially, if AG James can convince a judge to basically shrug their shoulders and think ‘well, it could be true’, then the judge can appease the requests made in the lawsuit.

As for the others named on the suit, which are Phillips, Powell and Frazer, their alleged of instances akin to ill-gotten gains or cooking the books.

AG James claims that Phillips, who retired from the NRA in 2018, awarded a contract worth over a million dollars to his girlfriend. Well, that’s a very clever way of calling an IT services contract awarded to a company based in Texas as something nefarious.

Even in a release from the anti-gun firm Everytown in September of 2019, they quoted that the NRA’s audit committee chairmen, Charles Cotton, stated that all services were rendered:

“In certain instances where retroactive approvals were appropriate, the Audit Committee confirmed that the services were rendered at fair market value and worked in the best interests of the Association.”

Further allegations against Phillips alleges he worked as a consultant for the NRA after his retirement and never provided any services after being compensated.

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LET Unity

In perhaps the most bizarre accusation against the four named people, AG James named Powell in the lawsuit – for him getting a raise and a housing allowance at the NRA.

Since he went from $250,000 a year to $800,000 a year during as three-year span, AG James claims that it was a “reward” for loyalty to LaPierre.

Or maybe he was just doing a good job.

Regarding Frazer, who serves as the general counsel to the NRA, AG James alleges that he didn’t ensure the organization was complying with state and federal law and allegedly certified false annual statements.

Once again, mentioning illegal activity, but using the civil courts instead of the criminal court system.

NRA President Carolyn Meadows released a statement about the lawsuit, calling it nothing more than an “attack” on the NRA rather than grounded in any fact:

“This was a baseless, premeditated attack on our organization and the Second Amendment freedoms it fights to defend. You could have set your watch by it: the investigation was going to reach its crescendo as we move into the 2020 election cycle.”

You can’t help but notice the timing here.

After a year-and-a-half investigation, we’re now hearing about a lawsuit and not criminal charges. The alleged offenses in the suit are something that could’ve been accomplished after a couple of months at best with how transparent non-profit financials are legally.

Meadows’ statement continued, saying the following:

“It’s a transparent attempt to score political points and attack the leading voice in opposition to the leftist agenda. This has been a power grab by a political opportunist – a desperate move that is part of a rank political vendetta. Our members won’t be intimidated or bullied in their defense of political and constitutional freedom.”

Once again, Meadows hit the nail on the head – because AG James ran her election campaign on telling voters that she would investigate the NRA. Prior to her election, she stated the following in July of 2018:

“I will use the constitutional power as an attorney general to regulate charities, that includes the NRA, to investigate their legitimacy.”

It’s almost like she launched an investigation into the NRA because she didn’t like the NRA. When AG James made those comments during her campaigning era, NRA counsel William A. Brewer III called it a promise for a “fishing expedition”:

“[James] she brags that if elected, she will launch a taxpayer-funded fishing expedition to see if any exist. The truth is, the NRA is a law-abiding New York institution that endures for one reason: it fights for its members and their constitutional rights.”

Well, after this long of an investigation to only craft up a lawsuit, it certainly sounds “fishy” to us here at Law Enforcement Today as well.

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