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Fwd: MD, DC, VA gun owners facing crackdown using sniper tip info

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  • Scott Darby
    Friday, January 3, 2003 ... Sniper tips trigger firearms crackdown ... Posted: January 3, 2003 11:00 a.m. Eastern Over the next few weeks, Montgomery County
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 3, 2003
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      Friday, January 3, 2003
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      Sniper tips trigger firearms crackdown

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      Posted: January 3, 2003
      11:00 a.m. Eastern

      Over the next few weeks, Montgomery County police will launch an intensive firearms crackdown using the 100,000 tips called in during the October sniper terror investigation, reports the Washington Times.
      "Our goal is to reduce illegal firearm possessions and violent crimes," Capt. Nancy Demme, spokeswoman for the Montgomery County Police Department, told the Times.
      A task force of county and state police officers, as well as federal agents of the Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms will take part in the hunt for violators of Maryland and Washington, D.C., gun laws.
      Officers will rely on information called in by Maryland, Washington and Virginia residents to a special tip-line telephone number that was set aside as not relevant to the ongoing manhunt for the snipers.
      "If, for instance, someone called to say, 'The guy next door has a couple handguns,' that did not apply," Michael Bouchard, special agent in charge of the ATF office in Baltimore, told the Times. A rifle was the weapon of choice used in the sniper attacks.
      Though the task force will focus on handgun owners convicted of violent felonies, Bouchard acknowledged that some tips already have led to persons who had no idea they owned guns illegally.
      "We are not looking to take away any guns or ammunition that are legally possessed," he said.
      While police expect these tips may help solve cases and get illegal guns off the street, gun advocates fear the task force could go overboard while investigating gun owners, relying on "rumors" or fraudulent or misguided tips.
      "I just plain don't like it," said Robert Culver, co-chairman of Montgomery Citizens for a Safer Maryland, a Montgomery County-based gun-advocacy group.
      In October, a website for Maryland gun owners warned that the sniper shootings could lead to a "wanton politicizing of a crisis, leading to apparently unconstrained police activity" and offered advice to gun owners interviewed by authorities based on tips.
      The sniper terror ended Oct. 25 with the arrests of John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo at a rest stop near Myersville, Md. Both suspects remain in Virginia jails awaiting trial.

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      Related column:
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      Related special offers:
      Control of guns = control of individuals
      'The 7 Myths of Gun Control'
      Myth-busting research on guns in America
      The scriptural case for self-defense

      � 2003


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