Tragically, NYPD officer Brian Moore was fatally shot by 35-year-old Demetrius Blackwell on May 2, 2015. Blackwell used a Taurus model 85 revolver to kill Moore. The handgun was reported stolen from the Little’s Bait, Tackle & Pawn in Perry, Georgia, on Oct. 3, 2011 along with 23 other firearms. Since the theft, nine of those firearms have been recovered by New York City police at crime scenes.
Instead of focusing on the scumbags who stole the firearms and the man who pulled the trigger, politicians and gun control organizations are pointing the finger at Georgia’s gun laws as if they are to blame for the death of Brian Moore. They’re essentially leveraging the tragedy to roll back the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.
“Once again, a police officer has been killed with an illegal gun from Georgia – a state that last year did the NRA’s bidding and weakened its already lax gun laws,” said Everytown for Gun Safety Executive Vice President Megan Lewis in a statement.
“These are the same laws that the gun lobby is now trying to force on other states nationwide,” she continued. “Americans have to decide what kind of country we want to live in. It’s past time for common-sense solutions to gun violence.”
Everytown, which is funded by billionaire business magnate and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, called for the following measures in the wake of the shooting.
- Requiring criminal background checks on all Georgia gun sales would keep guns out of the hands of felons, domestic abusers, and other dangerous people.
- Requiring reporting of stolen guns, or allowing local governments to require reporting of stolen guns, would weed out the straw purchasers who profit from putting guns into dangerous hands.
- Repealing the federal inventory rider would allow ATF to crack down on careless and corrupt gun dealers, and reduce the flow of lost and stolen guns into dangerous hands.
In the shooting death of Moore, the guns were stolen — yes, stolen — from a federal firearms licensee who is already required by federal law to run a background check on every customer. But how does one run a background check on a thief?
As for the second mandate, Little’s Bait, Tackle & Pawn in Perry reported the guns stolen and released footage of the incident to help authorities capture the individuals who snatched the firearms.
With respect to the third request, in no way does it appear that Little’s Bait, Tackle & Pawn did anything to warrant punishment for the burglary. If anything, they were the victims.
On the other side of the equation, looking at the individual who murdered Moore, it appears he has a rather long and well-documented criminal history. Blackwell was arrested nine times, including twice for assaults on police officers, and had a warrant for his arrest for criminal mischief at the time of the shooting. In 2001, Blackwell was convicted of attempted murder for shooting into a car following a robbery. He was imprisoned for five years. Blackwell now faces charges for first-degree murder for killing Moore.
Under federal law, Blackwell was prohibited from possessing a firearm. As it should be abundantly clear, the laws on the books did not stop Blackwell from obtaining a firearm and killing Moore. To suggest that the lack of strict gun laws in Georgia were the cause of officer Moore’s death is intellectually dishonest.
Yet, Everytown is not alone in playing this game. New York Sen. Chuck Schumer is using this tragedy to try to beef up the dysfunctional Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
In a press release, Sen. Schumer called for the following:
- First—Supporting more federal resources and modernization of the ATF’s National Tracing Center used by NYPD and other local departments fighting the scourge of crime guns in their communities. The center helps police agencies trace crime guns from their original source and could help law enforcement connect the dots to a gun-running hot spots and criminal enterprises.
- Second – Eliminating the damaging Tiahrt amendment, which restricts the ATF from sharing trace data with law enforcement and the public. Better, more sophisticated tracing could help expose an illegal criminal gun-running ring much faster. Schumer has rallied against this amendment before, but says now events like Officer Moore’s murder and even clearer evidence of the flow of crime guns to places like New York City will help him and colleagues to renew that call. The Tiahrt rider also shields trace data so that it is not considered admissible evidence in court. Schumer says this not only hurts the ATF but keeps criminal enterprises and gun runners on the streets.
- Third—Schumer said the ATF needs a permanent director who can lead these efforts. The ATF is once again without a formal director, which hurts the ATF’s ability to use Congress to support its broader missions, like stopping the flow of crime guns to New York City. Schumer will work to push through the nomination of a new ATF Director, giving the agency the leadership and direction it desperately needs.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and fellow officers of NYPD hero Brian Moore, who was tragically killed by a cowardly criminal using an illegal gun exported to New York City from gun law-lax Georgia via the so-called ‘iron pipeline,’” Schumer said.
“The feds, especially the ATF, must step up the campaign to cut-off that pipeline and I will fight to get them the resources and enhanced capabilities to do just that. Georgia, and other southern states, have long been the irresponsible source for some of New York City’s most horrendous gun crimes,” Schumer continued.
“That’s why I am pushing to get rid of the barriers faced by ATF; fighting to get them the resources and capabilities they need to carry out this mission; and asking them to immediately devote more of these resources to cracking down on the rush of crime guns flowing onto our streets,” said Schumer. “Now, more than ever, we need the federal resources and the ATF to permanently clog this noxious and deadly ‘iron pipeline’.”
While some of those suggestions perhaps seem reasonable, giving the scandal plagued ATF more power would be the last thing that any responsible lawmaker would suggest. Between the fatally-flawed gun running program known as Fast and Furious, which sent upwards of 2,000 firearms over the border and into the hands of known Mexican drug cartels, and the sting operation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where agents used “rogue tactics” to prosecute mentally-disabled informants (see chart), the ATF has proved to be nothing but a farce in terms of its ability to enforce the law and track down criminals.