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Firearms tracker: NYC cop-killer likely used gun law loophole to purchase murder weapon

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Firearms trafficking expert Glenn Pierce said this week that Ismaaiyl Brinsley may have exploited a loophole in gun control laws to obtain the weapon used to murder to New York City police officers.

According to the New York Times, Brinsley had been arrested 20 times, including one arrest for firing a stolen gun in Georgia. And as a felon, he should have been barred from purchasing a gun.

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But the semiautomatic Taurus handgun that Brinsley used to kill Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos had been purchased by someone else at an Atlanta pawn shop in 1996.

Criminologist have long known that straw purchasers often buy guns in southern states with lax gun laws, and then sell them up north. And since private sales are exempted from background checks, the seller would have never known that Brinsley was a felon.

“Most guns go through a few separate owners,” Urban Institute researcher Sam Bieler told Al Jazeera. “Sometimes guns are sold legally, sometimes they’ll float around neighborhood social networks, sometimes they’re traded. Guns will often take a circuitous route from when they’re legally purchased to the crime in which they’re used.”

To complicate the problem, the 2003 Tiahrt Amendment barred researchers from analyzing federal firearms tracing data, making it difficult to understand the flow of weapons trafficking.

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However, Northeastern University criminology professor Glenn Pierce explained to Al Jazeera that it would have been a lot harder for Brinsley to obtain the weapon in a state with strict gun laws, like New York or California.

“Do I think more stringent laws would have made it more likely this guy would get a gun? Maybe if he was living in New York he might not have been able to get a gun as easily,” Pierce noted. “But there will be arguments on both sides as to whether increasing the restrictive character of laws is going to make you more safe or less safe.”


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Here’s how the law governing whistleblowers applies to the Trump Ukraine complaint

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This week it was revealed that President Donald Trump did something so concerning that an intelligence staffer felt the need to report the incident and file for whistleblower protections.

Trump asked Ukraine to look into scandals about former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter. For nearly a year, Trump's former attorney Rudy Giuliani was admittedly working to persuade officials in Ukraine to find "dirt" on the Bidens that they could use in the election. While the accusations against the younger Biden have been disproven, it's suspected, but not confirmed, that this was the incident detailed in the complaint.

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Retiring Republican lawmaker blames Trump’s ‘petty, childish bullsh*t’ for massive GOP exodus

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In an examination of the record-breaking number of Republican lawmakers who have decided to quit or retire despite holding a seat in solidly conservative congressional districts, one lawmaker admitted that he grew weary of having to deal with Donald Trump's daily Twitter habit and other shenanigans -- so he is calling it quits.

As the Washington Post reports, "Since Trump’s inauguration, a Washington Post analysis shows that nearly 40 percent of the 241 Republicans who were in office in January 2017 are gone or leaving because of election losses, retirements including former House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis)."

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Internet rains hell on ‘fake Christian’ Karen Pence’s new Twitter account: ‘I can’t wait for the rapture’

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The Internet reacted with scorn over the weekend after Second Lady Karen Pence announced a new Twitter account aimed at reelecting President Donald Trump.

In her first tweet, Pence posted a video lavishing praise on the president.

"There are probably a lot of things you don't know about me," Pence says in the video. "For example, I enjoy painting, I love to ride my bike and I like nothing better than reading a good book. On my new Twitter account, I will share what I'm up to when I'm not in the office at the White House."

Excited to start a new #Twitter account to help tell the story of all the accomplishments under the leadership of @realDonaldTrump and @mike_pence! Follow along to KEEP AMERICA GREAT! 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/RaPwC5ThyR

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