Show owner says police advice heavy-handed

statesman.com/news/local/...ns-186641.html

Show owner says police advice heavy-handed.

By Tony Plohetski
AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Published: 9:26 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010

An Austin police effort to curtail the illegal sales of firearms at a weekend gun show sparked an angry response from the event's organizer and raised concerns about whether the department overstepped its authority.

Several police recommendations about the operation of the show were intended to curtail crime there and should not have been viewed as requirements, authorities said Tuesday.

But the show organizer said he thought that law enforcement officials were instructing him to adopt rules that violated state and federal law, including a requirement that only licensed gun dealers be allowed to sell firearms. He said he begrudgingly enforced the recommendations.

The dispute, which began late last week, has since sparked a controversy that is playing out on Web sites and radio talk shows.

Darwin Boedeker, owner of Texas Gun Shows, said he is collecting petitions from people who support gun shows without such requirements and will present them to the Texas attorney general's office.

"All they are doing is keeping the honest man from being able to do what is afforded to him by the Constitution," Boedeker said. "We have a right to buy and sell firearms as citizens of America, as legal, law-abiding citizens. That right is being infringed on us."

According to state and federal law, the private sale of guns is not illegal unless the seller knows the buyer is prohibited from purchasing a weapon, which includes being a convicted felon or an undocumented immigrant.

Gun dealers must have a license.

Austin police said that last year, while assisting federal agents in combating the sale of guns to undocumented immigrants, they recorded a number of illegal transactions. The repeated offenses at the site — a former Sam's Club location on North Lamar Boulevard — prompted police to refer the location to the department's nuisance abatement unit, which works with owners to reduce the number of crimes on their properties.

Police officials said they met last week with representatives from H-E-B, which handles the lease of the property, and with Boedeker, during which they outlined recommendations for reducing crime at the site.

The suggestions included permitting only licensed gun dealers to sell firearms, providing private security to prevent parking lot gun sales and defining a process for people other than licensed dealers who want to sell a gun at the show.

"We merely gave suggestions to reduce the amount of criminal violations that were occurring at this property," Austin police spokesman Cpl. Scott Perry said.

Boedeker said H-E-B representatives told him to follow the recommendations during the two-day show, which featured about two dozen vendors Saturday and Sunday.

"What they did was strong-arm H-E-B into making me do what I did," he said. "The problem is that it is unconstitutional to say I can't sell my private firearm to another individual."

H-E-B spokeswoman Leslie Lockett said Tuesday that police told company officials Monday about a possible illegal gun sale during the weekend and have decided that gun shows should not be hosted at the site until the issue is resolved.

Boedeker said he will look for a new venue to host shows.

He said that in the past couple of days, he has received numerous calls from across the state and nation from people who want information about what happened.

"There are a lot of upset people who want to know the truth," he said.

Illegals and the Second Amendment

americanthinker.com/blog/...nd_amendm.html

January 20, 2010
David Paulin

To keep 'undocumented immigrants' from buying guns, Texas cops allegedly violated local and federal gun laws.

Gun enthusiasts in central Texas are upset over what they say is a heavy-handed effort by police in Austin, the capital, to restrict the legal sale of firearms at gun shows in violation of state and federal laws. Specifically, they accuse Austin's police of unlawfully restricting the sales of guns between law-abiding citizens at a gun show last weekend.

Interestingly, police were in large part seeking to keep "undocumented immigrants" from buying guns -- and so they "recommended" to the property owner on which a gun show was held that all gun sales be made by licensed gun dealers and that private sellers transfer their guns through gun dealers. The property owner, H-E-B, is a local grocery chain.

Austin is considered a "sanctuary city" and is home to many "undocumented immigrants," primarily from Mexico.

Darwin Boedeker, owner of Texas Gun Shows, tells today's Austin American-Statesman, that Austin's police overstepped their legal authority and infringed on the rights of law-abiding citizens.

"What they did was strong-arm H-E-B into making me do what I did," he said, referring to his reluctant decision to allow gun sales at last week's show to be made only through licensed gun dealers. "The problem is that it is unconstitutional to say I can't sell my private firearm to another individual."

Austin police, for their part, contend they did not overstep their bounds, but merely made "recommendations" to a local property owner about what ought to be allowed at gun shows in order to curb illegal activity.

"There have been questions posed to us about whether or not we are trying to create new rules regarding the private sales of guns. We are not," Austin Detective T.J. Vineyard told "News 8 Austin." "We are just making recommendations to the property owner and how he can control the activity on his property in order to avoid ongoing violations of the law."

The growing controversy is sparking much debate on local talk shows and Internet websites. Gun shows are popular in places like Texas where many people own guns, hunt, and bristle over potential threats to the second amendment.

One resident, posting a comment under today's Statesmanstory on the controversy, wrote:
The Police State in action. Take away our rights as citizens. I noticed the police were only interested in gun sales to Illegal Aliens, not the fact that the people involved were in themselves "ILLEGAL." If the Police in Austin are not allowed to ask the "Legal Status" of a suspected Illegal Alien, how is a person selling a gun going to know if the buyer is ILLEGAL or not? Not stupid criminals, STUPID COPS.
Another resident, positing a comment on the website of a local TV station, "KVUE News," wrote:
PD as a RULE IGNORES the legal immigration Status of people that they deal with on a daily basis! This is in DIRECT violation of Federal law because all Law enforcement agents are obligated to enforce ALL laws! They CHOOSE not to enforce that law but decide to enforce something that is not even a law! WOW!

That’s what I was thinking when I first read the first; story doesn’t Austin give Illegal Aliens a pass?

Yep take away a law abiding American citizen right but give the Illegal Alien a pass. [FONT=Arial]Liberalism at it’s finest. [/FONT]

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