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 Statesman story 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!