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Insider Report: Don't Arrest Kerry, Author Says

Monday, 13 September 2004 12:00 AM

A Gun-law expert Alan Korwin is calling for calm in the national uproar over John Kerry's possible serious gun violations during a recent photo op in Racine, W.V.

The national clamor over the Democratic presidential candidate, who took possession of a Browning semiautomatic shotgun outside his home state, reflects a problem with the laws and should not be used to arrest and prosecute the man, Korwin says.

A gun crossing state lines is heavily regulated thanks to John Kerry and his ilk.

"There are so many charges Kerry might face," according to Korwin, who has written seven books on gun laws, including the unabridged plain-English federal guide "Gun Laws of America."

1. Taking ownership of the shotgun gift, if he doesn't already have a valid Massachusetts Firearm Identification Card, could subject him to a two-and-a-half-year prison term in his home state. Since he has claimed publicly he owns firearms, chances are he has this critical piece of paper, Korwin says.

2. Bringing the firearm back to Massachusetts, if he received it from a private party, would be a federal felony under the 1968 Gun Control Act (five years in prison, $5,000 fine, 18 USC §922).

3. The only exemption that would allow him to bring it into his home state requires that he obtained it in a face-to-face transaction with a federal firearms licensed dealer (FFL). A private gift would not qualify.

4. If Kerry did get it from an FFL, he would have had to personally fill out and sign a 4473 form, required by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE), before the gift was given, under penalty of federal felony.

5. If Kerry did not personally undergo a "NICS" instant background check before the transfer from an FFL, he would have put the person conducting the transfer in some legal jeopardy, though the law contains a loophole that probably would save Kerry from additional harm (the dealer, not the recipient, suffers from failure to do the NICS check).

While gun lobbyists are inflamed that Kerry introduced a law that would outlaw this particular type of sporting shotgun and gun gifts in general, it is a good thing the law has not passed yet, because then it might be too serious a problem to simply ignore.

Korwin says that calls to indict Kerry are premature and "most certainly overkill. John Kerry should receive the same lenient treatment any other citizen deserves when innocently violating these complex and non-intuitive rules." At least give him a chance to explain, Korwin pleads.

Unfortunately, federal authorities from BATFE have been known in the past to be inflexible in their enforcement of even minor technical violations (note that none of these felony violations involve a victim or any sort of harm). With widely circulated evidence, in the form of photographs of Kerry in obvious possession of the firearm, he could find himself subject to the long arm of the law.

More importantly, Korwin says, "Some of these laws are just foolish, putting honest citizens at enormous and unjustified risk, and are so complicated that even a presidential candidate and his staff cannot figure them out."

2. U.N. Scandal Book to Become TV Program

First NewsMax's Stew Stogel reports from the United Nations that the authors of a controversial book on the United Nations have stepped up their defiance of the world body.

The book -- "Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures" (Miramax Books), written by two current and one former United Nations staffers -- has been a source of controversy since it was released in June.

The book details, among other items, sex and drug parties during U.N. peacekeeping operations.

Under U.N. rules, the authors needed to seek permission to publish a book on their work with the world body. The authors, however, only requested permission once rights to the book had already been bought by Miramax.  As it turned out, the U.N. was outraged by the book and refused approval.

The U.N. also sent the authors letters of reprimand and says it still reserves the right to terminate the authors.

The book, a compilation of personal memoirs stretching over a decade of service in the U.N.'s Department of Peacekeeping Operations, alleged widespread incompetence, drug use and other questionable activities by U.N. management and field personnel.

The persistent refusal by the United Nations to spell out what it intends (or does not intend) to do with the authors has been a source of continuing friction between the parties.

That tension spilled over during a news conference at U.N. headquarters when the authors announced, in yet another move in defiance of staff rules, that they have opted to sell TV rights to their book.

Miramax Television will develop a TV series loosely based on the controversial book.

During the Wednesday meeting with reporters, one of the authors, Ken Cain, took time to blast U.N. officials on a wide range of issues, including taking on U.N. chief Kofi Annan:

Annan was the head of the U.N.'s peacekeeping operations during civil wars in Bosnia and Rwanda. Cain claims that more than 1,000,000 civilians died under Annan's stewardship. Annan should be held accountable, Cain says.

Cain also claims that Shashi Tharoor, who currently runs the U.N. Department of Public Information and was a senior aide to Annan in the 1990s, also shares responsibility for the massacres in Bosnia and Rwanda.

Coincidentally, it is believed that Tharoor, in his current U.N. post, has led the fight against the U.N. authors.

U.N. sources tell NewsMax that it was Tharoor who was instrumental in blocking the authors from receiving U.N. approval to publish the book.

Cain, in an e-mail to NewsMax, says Annan and Tharoor were guilty of "lethal cowardice" and continues by charging that the "cowardice" continued when both tried to block publication of the book.

U.N. officials wasted no time replying to the charges.

Annan spokesman Fred Eckhard told NewsMax: "No one with a detailed grasp of the tragic events would say that Kofi Annan or Shashi Tharoor were ccountable for them. In both cases, those primarily responsible were governments."

Tharoor was even more emphatic:

"I am unaware of any attempt by anyone at the U.N. to block publication of the book. The only concerns that I am aware of relate to the appropriateness of serving U.N. officials (of which Mr. Cain is not one) to publicly criticize the Organization which employs them, while continuing to draw a salary from it. I believe that the U.N. is entirely justified in demanding accountability from its own staff for their own actions while they are on the payroll."

Meanwhile, U.N. sources confirm that at least two other "unauthorized" books by current staffers are believed being written.

3. Security Breakdowns at Republican Convention

There's More than 40,000 security "experts" guarded the recently concluded Republican National Convention in New York City.

Officials from President George W. Bush to Big Apple Mayor Michael Bloomberg repeatedly told the press the convention would be "as safe as can be."

Over the four-day convention period, NewsMax has learned that there were repeated and serious breakdowns in security.

Some were reported, others were not.

On at least two occasions (including during President Bush's speech), protesters made their way into the Madison Square Garden arena -- a supposedly "secure" area.

In one instance, protesters briefly interrupted the Bush acceptance speech. Though the intruders were quickly removed, many RNC delegates were asking how such individuals got as far as they did.

Unlike with other high-profile events, such as the U.S. Tennis Open and the World Economic Forum both have been held in NYC), RNC credentials did not include pictures of the pass holders.

At the RNC, security officers did demand that any credential holder also present a form (any form) of photo ID.

One small news organization that has never felt a need for company IDs rushed to make ones for its team at the convention. Thank God for Kinko's! But the procedure was also easy for counterfeiters to gain access to the Garden.

"We assign credentials to organizations, not individuals.  Therefore, it is up to the organizations to make sure they are properly assigned.  We hold the organization responsible," explained Ed Pesce of the RNC.

Even more disturbing was the fact that non-paid volunteers were assigned by the RNC to screen credentials at the various check-in points.

With so many colored passes, allowing all kinds of access, confusion often arose.

"We had only six hours of training, one week ago.  It was a joke," confided one RNC security screener.

Even worse, one Secret Service agent told NewsMax: "I don't know what all the colored passes mean. I am only here to check luggage."

Despite the heavy security, NewsMax has discovered repeated and serious breakdowns in security throughout the convention.

Between the various street-side check-ins and the arena floor inside the Garden, convention attendees had to go through anywhere between three and five searches by security officers.

Some involved simple body frisks, others involved X-ray scanners and yet others involved hand inspection of luggage.  In numerous instances, all three procedures were put into effect.

NewsMax has learned that on at least six occasions during the convention, one attendee was able to smuggle potentially dangerous items through the security checkpoints, all the way to the foot of the podium on the convention floor.

The same podium used by President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

In one instance the vice president was making his acceptance speech.

In another, Cailfornia Gov. Arnold Schwartzengger was wowing the crowd.

One item was a popular Leatherman multi-purpose tool.  It included a three-inch knife as well as a scratch awl.

The other was a hand-held laser pointer, a device commonly used in group presentations, which clearly has a sticker prominently displayed that warns blindness could occur if pointed at a person's eyes.

"It should not have happened ... but am I surprised?  No," lamented an NYPD officer who was informed of the breakdowns.

While RNC security officers spent numerous hours confiscating umbrellas and soft-drink cans because of their potential weapon value, items of real value to potential terrorists easily slipped through their hands.

"We were lucky," sighed a NYC policeman.

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A Gun-law expert Alan Korwin is calling for calm in the national uproar over John Kerry's possible serious gun violations during a recent photo op in Racine, W.V.The national clamor over the Democratic presidential candidate, who took possession of a Browning semiautomatic...
Monday, 13 September 2004 12:00 AM
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