Someone anonymously provided $200,000, to buy 2,000 guns in Phoenix, in May 2013, using $100 grocery gift cards as the money.
If it was billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg as the well-founded rumors suggest, he would have had to do it anonymously, and wash the money pretty good, because it’s illegal to buy guns like that across state lines. Buying 2,000 guns that way would be 2,000 federal and state felonies.
Giving money to someone else to buy guns for you — knowing you can’t buy them yourself — would be a “straw purchase,” something mayor Bloomberg knows is strictly illegal, since he has been fighting against straw buyers publicly for a long time. We don’t know who put up the cash and he sure isn’t saying. The crime doesn’t require that the true buyer ultimately receive the guns, just that the money moves through a knowing straw man (or woman).
The broadcast and print “news” media promoted the buyback event, proclaimed it good, spewed hyperbole about taking guns off the street, making us safer, disarming criminals, saving children. At last, something good was being done about all those nasty guns. You couldn’t miss the fanfare, it was even on billboards. There was no mention how that was paid for.
These guns were never “on the street” of course, with its dirty ghetto connotation, they were in closets and drawers in folks’ homes.
Somebody wrote the check that provided the money that was given to the perpetrators that bought the guns in the Phoenix gun buyback. It doesn’t matter who. And it’s really a buy-up, you can’t buy back something you never owned in the first place.
HOW WAS IT DONE?
We know how it was done. The anonymous bag man gave the money to Hildy Saizow and her anti-gun-rights group, the deceptively named Arizonans for Gun Safety (AGS), according to Phoenix police. Who has AGS taught gun safety to lately? That’s rhetorical; the answer is no one, ever. They’re in the business of buying guns to melt, and campaigning against gun ownership and gun rights.
They took the lucre and gave it to Basha’s grocers, which includes Food City and AJ’s Fine Foods. The Bashas turned it into 2,000 $100 grocery gift cards. It’s not known if the insiders transacting these dollars for grocery cards for eventual guns cut discounts for each other, announcing big numbers but using smaller figures between themselves. They know of course, but you could have been lied to, there is zero accountability (“the donor wants to be anonymous”), and your Mayor, Greg Stanton, a member of Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Guns (MAG)*, is in cahoots and playing along.
The value in the end though was $200,000 in retail cards to consumers, the event was a sellout. You should also know, as people in the business do, about 30% of gift cards are never returned, and a large percent are either never fully spent, or end up spent well over the card limit, a profit center for the issuer. So they do get big discounts on the publicized amounts. But I digress again.
So that’s how Bloomberg (or MAG, his anti-rights group, or whoever it was, we don’t know and the police and BATFE aren’t telling) washed all the anonymous cash. The $100 cards were given out with the Phoenix police, right at the churches where the buy-ups took place, and the consumers got them right at the point of exchange. Payment for goods received. We can all do that, right?
An exchange of value like that has a name. It’s called a sale. In a voluntary abandonment or relinquishing of property you don’t get anything. Phoenix PD didn’t just get 2,000 guns, as one officer feebly mumbled. Those guns cost somebody two hundred grand.
We also know that a lot, maybe most of the people turned into virtually worthless junk and ripped off the system, so the cash may have bought far less than you think. Police do have plans to keep whatever they consider “historic.”
Arizona Republic May 2013
WHO OWNS THE 2,000 GUNS?
That’s a good question. Who has title to the property? Why didn’t the media ask? Oh, that’s right, they’re 100% in the tank for this dog-and-pony show — honorable reporters need not apply.
The city washes its hands of all direct financial involvement, with Mayor Stanton quick at the draw with “no tax money used” before you even ask. Scores of city police officers have been involved. Scheduling, cruisers, traffic control, coordination with the churches, advertising, press conferences. No one believes that no tax money was used. But that’s their story and they’re sticking it to you.
Does Phoenix PD own the guns? They’ll tell you no sirree. How about Ms. Saizow and her outfit? If that’s it, how did she get Phoenix PD to store eight tons of property for her, at whose expense, with all the testing, inventorying, labor, rushed time frames, please don’t make me go on. “No tax money here.” All the circumstances seem to imply tax money being used without proper authorization for a partisan anti-rights political agenda.
The Arizona Republic, in an effort at balance, did report, “(Buybacks) make people feel good, but they do nothing to reduce violence on the street,” said Joe Clure, president of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association. “The reality of the matter is gun buybacks are doing zero percent for public safety.”
Where is it written the department has to rush? Just because they can’t meet Bloomberg’s (or whoever’s) public pledge to destroy stuff quick before the law changes and they no longer have their loophole? What happens if they don’t get to burn it all in time? Do they turn into pumpkins?
The only image available of the guns is this one from a newspaper, The Arizona Republic, credited to a TV station, Channel 12 News, the local NBC affiliate. The one relic on the right looks like a replica, most of the guns appear old and cheap, some are incomplete, including one in a baggie in the upper right. Nothing appears labeled or controlled, a good model could simply walk and who would know, maybe that’s why there are none visible. If there is any accountability for the 2,000 anonymously purchased items, it is a mystery. By rough count, at the city’s going purchase price, that’s about $3,300 worth of guns pictured right there. Note the difference between this caption and the one published.
DESTROYING THE EVIDENCE
There’s another strange thing about all this. Why bother with all the ballistic tests if you plan to destroy the evidence? Phoenix PD is racing to test fire all the guns someone owns that they’re holding onto, and they’re saving the spent casings and fired rounds. These they’re entering into a new national database of spent ammunition in the hopes, they claim, of finding a match, probably down the road, with a crime gun when more states — even Tucson — joins the national database and makes entries.
Well if they find a match, they’ll have destroyed the evidence that would matter. No fingerprints, no DNA, no fibers, the gun itself can’t be called into evidence, because it no longer exists — it was deliberately destroyed by the people who did all that work to catalog it. They’re really using Saizow to test out and grow their new tool. That was probably part of the draw for them. The crime-fighting capacity appears to be nil or even upside down, if the evidence is vaporized. But hey, it’s not their money, before or after the fact. They’re not volunteers you know.
Come to think of it, this system is the perfect way for a killer to dispose of the murder weapon — have the police do it for you. Even if the police find a match, they have no idea who gave them the gun, it’s a no-questions-asked policy, they just take guns and say have a nice day. The ballistic tests are gear practice with virtually no practical value. How does that help Mayors Against Illegal Guns? Sounds irrational to me, almost hoplophobic.
– Where are they getting all that ammunition, and how is that paid for? How many wacky old calibers do they need, or is that anonymous too? That must be fascinating, it ought to be publicized, a segment on “How It’s Made,” since it’s a public entity doing the simple work. It would make for good public relations.
– Are all those old crapola guns safe to shoot? When we had to shoot a questionable old relic, we tied it to a tree and set it off with a string. Is that how they do it? They must have a jig of some sort. That’s a slow process.
– When BATFE goes after gun irregularities, they follow the money just as you would expect. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to think that the man (or men or women or entities) who actually spent the $200,000 (a lot of money!) to get the 2,000 guns might actually be out-of-state buyers, despite the well-laundered cash and distracting publicity barrage of the process. Take someone’s word, or require depositions?
– Because the money source is hidden from scrutiny Ms. Saizow, her group, the Phoenix police, the City Council and the mayor find themselves in an awfully sticky position. Who actually owns all these guns they bought? If it’s the people, as with any other city asset, destroying public property borders on a criminal act, even if you did pinky swear to a friend. Oh, I’m sorry, is there a contractual arrangement we don’t know about?
– Because the guns are going to be destroyed — with as much public scrutiny as the rest of this sordid affair has received — there is no real assurance that the guns will be reduced to ash. If any of those guns walk, how will you know? Ask the police? Ask, uhh, BATFE?
– If BATFE wants to take some heat off itself, refocus and do some good for a change, they ought to require the source of the $200,000 to be revealed, in case it is indeed from out of state. A crime of such magnitude cannot be allowed to simply coast by. The source of this money, for buying this many guns with city and police cooperation, cannot remain a secret. Where’s the paper trail everyone else would be required to have?
MAIG has a sordid history.
Mayor Bloomberg got into buckets of hot water a short while ago for sending secret “investigators” to Phoenix and elsewhere to buy guns at gun shows to “prove” he could buy guns out of state. He squeaked out of formal charges because people that rich who run cities as big as New York have a lot of pull and a lot of armed guards.
Some members of Michael Bloomberg’s MAYORS AGAINST ILLEGAL GUNS
Mayor Sheila Dixon: Baltimore, Maryland – Convicted of perjury and embezzling funds meant for charity
Mayor Gary Becker: Racine, Wisconsin – Convicted of attempted child molestation and luring a child for illicit purposes
Mayor Larry Langford: Birmingham, Alabama – Convicted on 60 counts of bribery, fraud, money laundering, tax evasion
Mayor Eddie Perez: Hartford, Connecticut – Convicted of bribery and extortion
Mayor David Donna: Guttenberg, New Jersey – Convicted of extortion and tax fraud
Mayor Frank Melton: Jackson, Mississippi – Convicted of violating his own city gun possession ordinance
Mayor Buddy Cianci: Providence, Rhode Island – Convicted of assault and racketeering
Mayor Samuel Rivera: Passaic, New Jersey – Convicted of extortion and accepting bribes
Mayor Jeremiah Healy: Jersey City, New Jersey – Convicted of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest
Mayor Will Wynn: Austin, Texas – Convicted of assault
Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick: Detroit, Michigan – Convicted of assault on a police officer and perjury
Mayor Richard Corkery: Coaldale, Pennsylvania – Convicted of child pornography and bail violations
Mayor Adam Bradley: White Plains, New York – Convicted of domestic violence charges
Mayor Gordon Jenkins: Monticello, New York – Pled guilty on five counts of trademark counterfeiting
Mayor Roosevelt Dorn: Inglewood, California – Pled guilty to public corruption and embezzlement charges
Mayor Pat M. Ahumada Jr.: Brownsville, Texas – Arrested three times for driving while intoxicated
Mayor April Almond: East Haven, Connecticut – Arrested and charged for interfering with a police officer
Mayor Tony Mack: Trenton, New Jersey – Recently charged for accepting $119,000 in bribes
Alan Korwin, is the foremost publisher of books on American gun laws. He can be reached through his website http://www.gunlaws.com/