Congressman Raskin Despises Guns, Loves Gun Tax Dollars

H/T AmmoLand.

DemocRats never met a tax they did not like or what to hike.

We are born free and taxed to death.

 

U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) sure loves some of that sin-tax money. That’s the kind of money when a Member of Congress wants to ban things but can’t. So they go to their second favorite activity. They tax it.

U.S. Rep. Raskin likes his gun policies both ways. If he can’t restrict Americans’ ability to lawfully purchase a firearm, he’ll gladly accept the tax dollars paid on them by Americans while at the same time trying to price them out of their Second Amendment rights.

Fee for Thee

Rep. Raskin isn’t deterred by gun control bills already passed by the House of Representatives. He introduced tax increase legislation as an end-run gun control effort instead. It’s nearly the next best thing for a gun control politician.

The National Firearms Act Modernization Act, H.R. 2427, would increase the tax paid on certain items already strictly regulated under the National Firearms Act. Currently, Americans must complete additional extensive background checks and fingerprinting, submit photos and pay a $200 tax to purchase certain types of firearms, including short-barreled rifles or shotguns and even suppressors. Under Rep. Raskin’s bill, the tax would increase to $300. There are currently approximately 2 million registered firearm suppressors today and they are a health benefit when used for hunting and recreational shooting by protecting hunters’ hearing. They are legal to own and possess in 42 states and 40 states allow them for hunting.

But if Rep. Raskin can further infringe the Second Amendment rights of Americans while also raising taxes, he’ll go for it. “I’m proud to introduce the SAFER Act and the NFA Modernization Act today and will continue pushing for commonsense gun safety legislation so we can prevent gun violence and save lives. I applaud President Biden and Vice President Harris for announcing strong executive action to address the gun violence public health epidemic,” Rep. Raskin said in a statement.

President Joe Biden announced executive actions on gun control, including regulating so-called “ghost guns,” tightening restrictions on pistol-stabilizing arm braces, calling for expanding background checks on private firearm transfers, closing the falsely-termed “gun show loophole” banning modern sporting rifles. He capped it with his nomination of former gun control lobbyist and advocate David Chipman to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Rep. Raskin is all in on all of those efforts. Of course, none of these would punish criminals for misusing firearms, nor prevent the recent tragedies of murder.

Americans Buying Guns, Not Gun Control

There is a reason gun control efforts stalled in Congress and why Rep. Raskin’s bill faces a steep uphill battle. More than 21 million background checks were processed for the sale of a firearm in 2020. The first quarter of 2021 hit a record-high mark as well, continuing the blistering sales pace. Included in those numbers are more than 8.4 million first-time buyers, jumping off the fence to take their own self-defense into their hands. African-American gun ownership increased 58 percent over the previous year. Asian-Americans purchased 43 percent more firearms than they did in 2019. Hispanic-Americans did so by 49 percent more.

More Americans own guns and they’re coming from all walks of life.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) understands this change. So too does Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). He even challenged Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to put a so-called “assault weapons ban” on the Senate floor for a vote. “If you really want to ban assault weapons, bring up the bill, and let’s have the debate. The reason Senator Schumer won’t bring up the so-called Assault Weapons Ban, which is a misnomer, is because it won’t pass. It won’t get 50 votes, much less 60,” Sen. Graham taunted.

The demographics of voters who lawfully own firearms have changed dramatically and taking their rights away and adding a fee to exercise a right, isn’t selling. Rep. Raskin isn’t talking about holding criminals accountable or hitting them with prison time. He’s tossing around the idea to tax a right because if he can’t ban it outright, he’s certainly not going to miss the opportunity to make money off of it.

Winchester 1886 Highly Finished Pattern Gun – VIDEO

H/T AmmoLand.

A look at the embellished 1886 Winchesters.

USA – -(Ammoland.com)- Engraved, inlaid, carved, and embellished arms are some of the most eye-catching and highly collectible pieces on the market, regardless of maker. That said, Winchester rifles exhibiting these qualities always seem to rise to the top, making them the blue-chip investments of the collectible gun world. It’s been that way for decades, and contemporary sales prices indicate that this isn’t going to change any time soon.

Winchester catalog from 1897

Collectors and engravers alike have long studied the 1897 Winchester publication, Highly Finished Arms, which went through a number of different model rifles with different styles and levels of metal engraving and stock carving that was available from the factory. Winchester employed some of the best engravers and carvers of this era, and the pieces they created are nothing short of high art. Because there were so many different styles, options, and grades to choose from, you’ll find many gorgeous guns out there today that were inspired by those pattern guns featured in that booklet, but you’d be hard-pressed to find any two guns that are just alike.

Similar? Absolutely. The exact same? Highly unlikely.

The most expensive level of engraving was called “No. 1” and the most expensive style of stock carving was called “A.” They added an extra $250 and $60, respectively, to the base cost of the rifle. Adjusted for inflation, the engraving would cost approximately $7,900 and the stock carving would cost approximately $1,900. That might sound like a lot, but really, to have that kind of work done to a gun today would easily run you $9,800 – and that would probably be a bargain – especially when you consider that the No. 1 engraving level called for inlay of both gold and platinum. With precious metal prices the way they are right now, the final cost makes sense!

Winchester 1886 in the 1897 catalog
Winchester 1886 (Lewis & Grant Auctions)

As is noted in the 1897 catalog, any gun that is ordered with this level of embellishment “will be the result of hundreds of hours of labor.”

One of the models featured in the booklet is the Model 1886, which was chambered for the larger cartridges of its day, such as the .45-70 and .45-90. Like I mentioned earlier, there were specific pattern guns that were used for the demonstration illustrations in the 1897 booklet. That’s what makes this particular Winchester 1886 so special.

Detail of engraving on Winchester 1886 (Lewis & Grant Auctions)

It’s been determined that this gun is the actual pattern gun depicted in the original booklet! No engraver or stock carver creates two pieces that are exactly alike. Similar, yes, but not exactly alike. The experts at Lewis & Grant Auctions, who between them have hundreds of years of experience studying, collecting, and selling high-end arms, have studied both this gun and the publication long and hard before announcing that they have identified it as the gun in the Highly Finished Arms catalog!

Chambered in .45-70, this rifle is really something special. Not just because of its level of embellishment or its link to history, but because of when it was made. The serial number dates the gun to 1897, meaning it was a brand-spanking-new gun when it was embellished. It also means that this mechanical piece of high art is legally an antique. It can be shipped direct to your door, no government paperwork required.

Detail of engraving on Winchester 1886 (Lewis & Grant Auctions)

An opportunity to own a piece of art like this doesn’t come up often, and this gun will be available in the May 2021 sale from Lewis & Grant Auctions.

Biden Administration Asks Supreme Court To Drop Challenge to Men-Only Draft

H/T The Washington Free Beacon.

I am undecided about how I feel about drafting women the Israeli’s have women in their Army but the Israeli women are a different breed of tough omen.

Justice Department signals support for efforts to include women in the draft.

The Biden administration is urging the Supreme Court not to hear a constitutional challenge to the men-only draft registration system, but female Selective Service registration is still a possibility.

The Justice Department told the High Court on Thursday that judicial action is unnecessary because Congress is actively considering whether to change draft registration rules. The National Coalition for Men and the ACLU say the Military Selective Service Act is unconstitutional because it discriminates against women, and they asked the justices to say as much in January.

“Although this Court might someday wish to reconsider the constitutionality of the MSSA’s registration requirement if that statutory provision remains unchanged, Congress’s attention to the question may soon eliminate any need for the Court to grapple with that constitutional question,” DOJ lawyers wrote in legal papers.

The government’s brief is a sign that female draft registration could soon become a reality. Though the administration asked the justices not to get involved, its brief makes no attempt to defend the constitutionality of the sex-selective draft.

Indeed, the brief acknowledged that the main legal rationale for the men-only registration system is no longer in force. The Pentagon endorsed a draft registration requirement for women in 2017, and a blue ribbon commission that included director of national intelligence Avril Haines recommended that Congress amend the MSSA in March 2020.

The Justice Department’s proposal will likely appeal to the justices. The Court prefers to avoid deciding constitutional questions when it can and often avoids disputes when a legislative solution seems possible.

The Supreme Court upheld the men-only registration law in a 1981 case, Rostker v. Goldberg. Women were excluded from combat roles at that time. A six-justice majority said the MSSA’s registration rules simply reflected military policy, not a congressional choice to discriminate between like groups. The Court also said committees in both chambers studied the issue carefully, and their conclusions on a topic as grave as military affairs deserve deference.

The Defense Department opened combat positions to women in 2016. The plaintiffs challenging the MSSA say that reform destroyed the fundamental premise of Rostker and that the case ought to be overruled.

Female draft registration is a thorny political issue. Congress declined to amend the MSSA after the Defense Department implemented the gender integration policy for combat personnel. Instead, the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act punted the question to a blue ribbon commission that took three years to study the issue. The commission’s 2020 report recommended that men and women alike should be required to register for the Selective Service, and it included a draft bill along those lines.

Expanding registration would raise difficult questions about how deferments or exemptions to the draft would apply to women during conscription. The blue ribbon commission did not take a position on that issue.

Another question is whether the draft could be used to fill occupational specialties in the military. Historically, conscription has been used to augment combat forces. But a future draft could aim to mobilize all specialties, such as cyber operators or linguists.

Senators from both parties received the commission’s suggestions favorably. Sen. Jack Reed (D., R.I.), chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the commission’s guidance could be incorporated into the next annual defense authorization bill during a hearing in March. Sen. Joni Ernst (R., Iowa), who also serves on Armed Services, backs the commission’s proposals as well.

The next defense authorization bill is months away, however. The measure would also have to pass in the House, which has shown little interest in the issue. The commission’s draft bill was referred to a dozen separate committees in the House last spring, a common tactic for burying politically fraught legislation.

The bill’s prospects in the lower chamber will probably improve if the change is a component of the mammoth, must-pass defense bill, which usually enjoys strong bipartisan support. And the commission’s draft legislation includes a range of measures meant to promote public service, which could make the measure more palatable to lawmakers.

The armed forces remain about 85 percent male, according to a 2020 report from the Brookings Institution.

The Court could decide whether to hear the case, No. 20-928 National Coalition for Men v. Selective Service System this summer.

Take Action: Schumer Moving Fast on Red Flag Gun Seizures!

H/T AmmoLand.

We need to make it clear to these RINO’s if they vote with Schumer they will pay a price on election day.

 

Idaho – -(AmmoLand.com)- “This whole gunfight is going to come down to ‘Red Flag Gun Seizures.’ Moderates in the GOP think they can vote for that without getting burned…and if they pass ‘Red Flags,’ Biden will use that momentum to go for AR-15’s and mags next.”

That’s what one highly placed source on Capitol Hill told me just hours ago as the fight for gun control is being waged behind the scenes and behind closed doors with a vengeance!

I wish this information was wrong.

But with Republican backstabber Marco Rubio as the LEAD SPONSOR of ‘Red Flag Gun Seizure’ legislation in the U.S. Senate.

It’s becoming very clear that if we are going to be able to stop Joe Biden’s war on guns, that fight begins with stopping ‘Red Flags!’

As we’ve told you before, Chuck Schumer needs 60 votes to pass a cloture motion, the procedural step required to end debate on a bill and hold the actual vote. With 50 Democrats in the Senate, that’s a tall order, even with some Republican betrayals.

So while the radical left would much prefer to see immediate action on Dianne Feinstein’s ban on the AR-15 and a national database of every gun owner in America (H.R. 8), they just don’t have the votes right now.

The Republicans in the Senate COULD just stand tall and refuse to advance ANY PART of Biden’s war on guns…but as gun owners have seen time and again…that’s not what usually happens.

Instead, the backstabbing moderates in the Republican conference like Marco Rubio, Mitt Romney, and Lindsay Graham do their best to convince the Republicans to ‘offer up a common-sense compromise so we do something on guns.’

And that’s why Florida Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott are the lead sponsors on S. 292, a massive ‘Red Flag Gun Seizure’ spending bill that bribes state legislatures into enacting this law at the state level, with taxpayer dollars!

Contact your Senators so they know that you expect them to oppose this garbage with everything they’ve got!

As a reminder, if 10 Republicans lock arms with the leftists in the Senate and vote for S. 292, gun owners in Idaho can expect:

  • Liberal judges to order the seizure of your firearms before you have been arrested or convicted of a crime and based solely on the word of an embittered personal enemy (think ex-spouse) that you haven’t seen in years!
  • The destruction of your due process rights, by allowing your guns to be seized through secret, ex-parte, court proceedings that you would know nothing about, much less be allowed to attend!
  • A lifetime gun ban in many cases, as the laws often allow the issuing judge or requesting party to seek a renewal every year, which would be granted unless you can prove that you’re ‘safe.’

You see, ‘Red Flag Gun Seizures’ are the radical left’s dream come true because they allow the government to seize every firearm you own — not just your AR-15’s — and without the ‘hassle’ of having to convict you of a crime in a court of law!

It would be a mistake to underestimate the severity of this threat.

While the passage of ‘Red Flag Gun Seizures’ would be a massive loss for gun owners like you and me, it’s only a stepping stone for the radical left who wants to use the passage of this bill to build momentum for their ultimate goal of disarming every gun owner in America!

THE VERY MINUTE they pass ‘Red Flags,’ they would move right on to the rest of their agenda.

So these freedom-hating zealots (like Senator Chris Murphy, D-CT) are going ‘all in,’ working overtime to pressure moderate Republicans into agreeing with them.

And given how much Republican support this bill already has — and how much betrayal gun owners have experienced from Republicans at the state and federal level over the last two years — it’s vital that Idaho Senators Crapo and Risch hear from you now!

So please sign your petition against S. 292, and then make a donation to help the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance get the word out about this bill to every gun owner in Idaho.

Please donate NOW!

For Idaho,

Greg Pruett
President
Idaho Second Amendment Alliance

Nancy Pelosi Throws a Big Wrench in Democrats’ Plan to Pack the Supreme Court

H/T Western Journal.

San Fran Nan shocked  a bunch of people when she made this announcement.

Will she be forced by the radicals in the party force her to changed her mind about this bill?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she will not support a new Democratic bill to expand the Supreme Court and will not bring it to the House floor.

“[T]he growth of our country, of our challenges in terms of the economy … might necessitate such a thing,” the California Democrat said Thursday morning at her weekly news briefing, just hours after the legislation was released, according to Axios.

“But in answer to your question, I have no plans to bring it to the floor.”

The proposed bill would expand the court from nine to 13 seats, according to The Intercept.

The legislation is sponsored by Democratic House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler of New York and Democratic Reps. Hank Johnson of Georgia and Mondaire Jones of New York. Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts will shepherd the bill through the Senate, the report said.

President Joe Biden signed an executive order on April 9 to establish the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States.

The six-month bipartisan commission is tasked with studying a number of Supreme Court reforms, including expanding the number of seats.

“I don’t know if that’s a good idea or a bad idea. I think it’s an idea that should be considered, and I think the president’s taking the right approach to have a commission to study such a thing,” Pelosi said Thursday.

“It’s a big step. It’s not out of the question. It has been done before, in the history of our country a long time ago.”

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt attempted to pack the court in the 1930s, but his plan was so roundly opposed that it never got very far.

Since Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation in October, which created a solid five-justice conservative bloc often augmented by Chief Justice John Roberts, Democrats have said they want to increase the size of the court and pack those new seats with liberal justices.

The court’s size is not specified in the Constitution, but has been at nine since 1869.

Packing the court to ensure it is a rubber stamp for liberal policies has been opposed by Republicans.

The concept also has opponents on the left, including liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

In a speech last week, Breyer said the court’s status relies upon “a trust that the court is guided by legal principle, not politics.”

“Structural alteration motivated by the perception of political influence can only feed that latter perception, further eroding that trust,” the 82-year-old justice said.

“If the public sees judges as politicians in robes, its confidence in the courts — and in the rule of law itself — can only diminish, diminishing the court’s power, including its power to act as a check on other branches.”

Defend Grandmother, from Grandson – Armed Citizen Stories

H/T AmmoLand.

Sadly this ladies grandson had to get shot to keep him from hurting his grandmother.

 

U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- We start with this news report from the Free-Lance-Star newspaper in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

You get the call that no one wants to hear. One of the kids hit Grandma in the head and stole her car. The rest of the family is trying to get grandma to a doctor. They want your help if the grandchild comes back. That makes sense since her attacker is a large 29 year old male with a history of problems and a criminal record. You go to grandma’s house.

It is 10 pm when the attacker comes back. You get between grandma and the door. You tell her attacker to drop grandma’s keys and leave. He moves toward you. You’re armed. You present your firearm and shoot him. Now, he falls down. You call 911 and ask for police and EMS.

Your attacker is arrested, taken to the hospital to treat his wounded leg, and then taken to jail. He is charged with malicious assault, assault and battery, auto theft, and driving on a revoked license.

Comments

Our armed defender did a number of things to save himself and grandma. He owned a firearm. He also had his firearm with him, and it appears that this night he carried his handgun on his body.

Our defender also had a plan. He made a decision that he was not going to let an angry attacker get within arms reach. He would present his firearm if the attacker moved toward him in an aggressive manner. He would shoot if the attacker continued to close the distance. Though those choices may sound obvious to us now, there isn’t time to ponder those limits at 10 at night with an angry man moving toward us. We won’t have time to think.

The defender put himself between grandma and her attacker. The simple presence of a defender was a deterrent that could have stopped the attack. Our defender used his firearm to stop the attacker’s advance, and then our defender stopped shooting when the attacker stopped advancing. The defender called 911. He stayed at the scene and gave a statement to the police when they arrived. That is what good guys do.

These news stories often leave out important points. There are a number of things we’d like to do if we were there defending a loved one.

It would probably be better if the police were called when the attacker first hit grandma in the head with a pair of pliers and stole her car. Let the police apprehend the criminal so we aren’t forced into an escalating situation with a relative. Make sure Grandma receives medical treatment. Head injuries on the elderly can be particularly serious because many elderly people are on blood thinners and have a propensity to bleed. The medical exam also documents grandma’s injuries from the attack.

This is why training is so important. We’re not expected to be medical professionals, but it sure helps to know when we need to see one.

Grandma needs a plan too. If a family member shows signs of violence or stealing for drug money, then make sure everyone in the family is prepared. It hurts to admit that someone you love is now willing to hurt or injure you. We need the mindset necessary to protect ourselves and other loved ones. Accepting that fact doesn’t come easily. There was a time when the grandson was welcome. Now, we lock the doors.

There is more to do once the attacker stops advancing. We want everyone to call 911 and get help on the way. Give the 911 dispatcher the essentials.

This is our address. We need medical assistance and the police. Someone was shot. We’re safe and the scene is secure. Also, identify yourself and tell the police what you’re wearing.

Holster your firearm when you’re safe or when the police arrive. It is usually better to escape a dangerous situation than to continue to hold a criminal at gunpoint.

Identify yourself to the police when they arrive. Tell them that you are the one who called 911. Show them your ID and your carry permit. Keep your firearm holstered at your side. Ask the officers what they want to do next. Once your firearm is no longer an issue, now you can make a brief statement when the officers are ready.

The earlier attack is a separate incident and by itself is not sufficient justification for using lethal force later. It was lethal force even though you shot your attacker in the leg. It was lethal force because you presented your firearm. Now you have to explain why.

You can make a statement that the attacker entered without permission. You told him to stop. You had reason to think he was a violent threat. You had to defend yourself and defend Grandma who was behind you. You shot the attacker when he closed the distance to you. You stopped shooting when he stopped advancing.

Make a statement that you want your attacker charged. Offer to sign a complaint and testify against the grandson in court. You’ll also cooperate with the investigation and give a complete statement after you talk to your lawyer. There is lots more to say, but this isn’t the time. Leave your official statements to your attorney.

Family situations are difficult. The grandson might lie and say he didn’t do anything wrong. A lot of people are going to tell grandma that the attacker is sorry, or that the attack was her fault for not giving her grandson the money he wanted. Make sure grandma has a counselor to talk to. She needs reassurance that it wasn’t her fault that her grandson was a violent criminal.

You might get handcuffed, arrested and jailed. You want to have a legal aid plan that includes bail. The good legal plans will suggest, and help pay for, a counselor for grandma. A good lawyer will get a copy of the 911 tape for your defense.

 

New Jersey: Gov. Murphy Announces Drastic Gun Control Agenda

H/T NRA/ILA.

Governor Phil Murphy(Delusional-NJ)is doubling down on his failed gun control agenda while crime is running rampant in his cities.

Thursday morning, Gov. Phil Murphy held a press conference to unveil yet another gun control package in the Garden State.  Every time he reverts back to the same playbook, it is nothing more than an admission that years of gun control have been a failure.  But because he has no real ideas about how to enhance public safety, the Governor doubles down on more of the same failed laws. 

The Governor has proposed and supported the introduction of legislation which includes: 

  • Reworking the Firearms Identification Card system (FID) to include mandatory firearms safety course completion to even those who own firearms.
  • Legislation which would require mandatory storage.  Gun owners would be forced to store their firearms under lock and key in safes, rendering them useless in self-defense situations.
  • Raising the age to 21 for FID card issuance for long guns and completely stripping an entire class of legal adults of their constitutional rights.
  • Microstamping.  This legislation would require all new semi-automatic handguns to be equipped with microstamping technology, a costly technology which is unproven and easily circumvented.  This is nothing more than a traditional handgun ban.
  • Forced market acceptance of “smart guns” by mandating that gun shops sell them.  Again, this is nothing more than an attempt to ban traditional handguns.
  • A .50 Caliber ban.  This is a firearm that weighs about 30 lbs., costs thousands of dollars and is rarely, if ever used as a crime gun.  This is the proverbial solution in search of a problem and constitutes political pandering at its worst. 
  • Electronic registering of all ammunition sales.
  • Registering of firearms brought into the state by residents relocating to New Jersey.  Ironically, under Murphy’s reign, most moving vans are pointed in the opposite direction. 

There were other issues which were discussed, but these are a sample of the drastic steps the Governor is proposing.  With each step he is inching toward his goal of completely banning the Second Amendment in New Jersey.

New Jersey has some of the toughest gun laws in the country and has for decades.  Despite these laws, cities like Paterson, Camden, Newark and Trenton are some of the most violent cities in the country.  This is evidence that none of these laws have been successful.  New Jersey gun laws are an epic failure and so is Gov. Phil Murphy.  NRA and its New Jersey members are adamantly opposed to these proposals, and we will fight them every step of the way in Trenton.

The Question Biden Won’t Answer

H/T The Washington Free Beacon.

The main reason Joe Pee Pads Biden can not answer the question of will the Afghan government survive the American troop withdrawal is does not have the mental capacity to answer that question.

Column: Will the government of Afghanistan survive America’s retreat?

It’s not just generals who are always prepared to fight the last war. President Biden’s April 14 announcement that U.S. forces will leave Afghanistan before the 20th anniversary of 9/11 has a long and complicated backstory. Biden said his decision will allow America to put this violent and ambiguous past behind it, to retire the frameworks that conditioned its foreign policy for a generation, and to focus its energies on the competition with China.

Perhaps so. The risk, however, is that Biden’s fixation on settling old scores has blinded him to contemporary realities, has prevented him from answering the question that will determine the future of both Afghan and U.S. security: Will the democratically elected government of Afghanistan survive American withdrawal?

Behind the official statements of Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken is the assumption that our exit (and that of our NATO allies) won’t jeopardize the existence of the regime based in Kabul. “While we will not stay involved in Afghanistan militarily,” Biden said, “our diplomatic and humanitarian work will continue.” Blinken echoed this sentiment at a press availability during his surprise visit to Kabul, when he said that “Even when our troops come home, our partnership with Afghanistan will continue.”

The robust promotion of civil society, counterterrorism, education for women and girls—none of this, we are told, will be interrupted when our soldiers leave. Nor will the enemy of civilization, the Taliban militia whose safe harbor for al-Qaeda was the reason for our intervention in 2001, abandon peace negotiations and impose its theocratic will through military force. “We have an expectation that the Taliban is going to abide by their commitments that they are not going to allow Afghanistan to become a pariah state,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the other day. “That’s our view.”

And a remarkably foolish view it is. You know the Taliban—always looking out for its international reputation. Of course there is no evidence that the Taliban has changed its methods, moderated its ideology, or abandoned its ambition to impose the strictest possible interpretation of shariah law on as many Afghans as it can reach. There is no evidence that the Taliban has ceased its attacks against Afghan security forces or that it has repudiated al Qaeda. Indeed, the very “intelligence community” on which Biden places so much importance says the Taliban will escalate its war on Kabul as soon as the last American is out and that “the Afghan government will struggle to hold the Taliban at bay if the coalition withdraws support.”

A big “if.” I do not doubt that—for a time—the aid will continue to flow to Afghan democrats, that weapons will continue to be supplied, and that some degree of overwatch from satellites and drones will continue to be provided. But I am equally certain that our attention will be redirected elsewhere, that neglect will lead to negligence, and that within a few years the Afghans may find themselves on their own. There is no substitute for the forward presence of U.S. forces, who are able to assess conditions on the ground, liaise with friends and neutrals, and deter bad actors of all sorts. On this point the Biden administration agrees with me—which is why, even as it announced the Afghanistan withdrawal, it deployed additional troops to Germany and conducted Freedom of Navigation Operations in the South China Sea.

Biden’s argument is that a U.S. military footprint is no longer required in Afghanistan, that we accomplished our main objectives years ago, that the costs of force protection for our remaining 2,500 soldiers outweigh the strategic and tactical benefits they provide, that “the threat has become more dispersed, metastasizing around the globe: al-Shabaab in Somalia; al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Nusra in Syria; ISIS attempting to create a caliphate in Syria and Iraq, and establishing affiliates in multiple countries in Africa and Asia.”

But Biden is unable to draw the causal connection between America’s involvement in Afghanistan and the “metastasizing” terrorist threat that emanates from places where religious fanatics operate more freely than they do in Afghanistan. Nor does he recognize that the terrorist groups he named in his address are based in exactly those locations where America has opted, for different reasons and to varying degrees, to pursue his policy of “offshore balance” rather than onshore residence. The existence of an allied host government is crucial to our ability to intercept, interrupt, interdict, and preempt terrorists before they strike. Biden’s decision to walk away from Afghanistan puts such a government at risk.

This danger is a fact Biden will not or cannot face. He is more interested in rectifying old errors than in preventing new ones. Both the location and the text of his address referenced the history of U.S. involvement in the Afghan theater. He delivered his remarks from the White House Treaty Room, where George W. Bush announced the launch of Operation Enduring Freedom on October 7, 2001, less than a month after al-Qaeda struck New York, Washington, and United Flight 93. He mentioned that he had called President Bush in advance of his directive. He recounted his visit to Afghanistan before becoming Barack Obama’s vice president and how it convinced him that the war was needless. “It has been well publicized and published that he opposed the surge back 10 years ago,” Psaki said. “And he was vocal about that in the appropriate manner at the time.”

That’s putting it mildly. Biden was furious. He was convinced that the Joint Chiefs of Staff and commanding generals had set the terms of the debate to guarantee that Obama would maintain and expand the war. His current determination to remove American troops over the objections of military commanders, including the Joint Chiefs chairman, General Mark Milley, is evidence of his desire to prove retroactively the wisdom of his position in 2009. His rejection of a conditions-based withdrawal underscores his disagreement with the generals. He dismisses the potential adverse consequences of our departure while implicitly conceding that conditions in Afghanistan are about to become worse.

Potentially much worse. It all depends on whether the Afghan government can fight the Taliban without the guidance of American troops. If it can’t, then over time Afghanistan will revert to the pre-October 2001 status quo of civil war, tribalism, and Taliban dominion. The forces of global jihad will feel empowered. That is what happened after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, from the American withdrawal from Somalia in 1993, from the American withdrawal from Iraq in 2011. Terrorism followed each retreat.

“I’m now the fourth United States president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan: two Republicans, two Democrats,” Biden said. “I will not pass this responsibility on to a fifth.”

No, he won’t. What Biden will pass on instead is the responsibility for cleaning up his mess.

FIVE GUN LAW MYTHS THAT CAN LAND YOU IN JAIL ~ LISTEN NOW

H/T AmmoLand.

How many of these myth have you heard and possibly believed?

 

New Jersey – -(AmmoLand.com)- In gun Lawyer, Evan Nappen’s most recent podcast he breaks down five gun law Myths that if you fall victim to can land you in jail. Listen now!

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Gun Lawyer Episode 25 – Transcript

Gun Lawyer S1 Episode 25

SPEAKERS

Evan Nappen

Evan Nappen 00:19

I’m Evan Nappen and welcome to Gun Lawyer. So today I was thinking about this, and I have got to make sure that my listeners are protected. Lately I’ve been seeing so many cases of law-abiding gun owners being turned into law-abiding criminals, and I’ve noticed that there’s a belief in a number of gun law myths. I want to talk to you today about the five top myths about guns and gun laws that you need to know. There’s so much absolute garbage out there, particularly on the internet. You can see all kinds of things, and it’s just not true. There are people that believe it, and end up getting themselves in trouble. When they are put in that situation of having to deal with a stop or with police, they became vulnerable when they thought they were doing the right thing. Those are the most frustrating things, not just for me to defend, but it’s just sad, because the folks that do this are kicking themselves in the butt for doing it. They are beating themselves up because they can’t believe what they thought was wrong and because they’ve been doing it the whole time.

Evan Nappen 01:56

Let me give you a good example of such a thing. You may have heard that when you transport a firearm, you put your firearm in the trunk and your ammunition in the glove box. They separate it. I had a case just this week, where that’s exactly what my client did. He was coming from a southern state, and he said that’s what his father always told him. Keep the ammunition separate. Well, here’s my advice. Don’t keep your ammunition in your glove box despite what you may have heard. If you keep it in the glove box, what happens? Well, you get pulled over for a minor traffic violation like what happened to my client. What’s the first thing that the police say? “Your license, registration, and insurance.” And what do you do? You open the glove box to get out your paperwork. As soon as you do that, the officer sees ammunition or a magazine. Or a magazine with ammunition. I’m talking about a gun magazine, not Life magazine. A gun mag, a firearm component, a holster. Anything like that in your glove box, they now are going to have arguably probable cause to search your vehicle for other weapons. This is common, particularly in New Jersey.

Evan Nappen 03:35

It now can escalate the whole thing, and before you know it, in New Jersey, you’ll be facing charges for your cased, unloaded handgun that you had in the trunk. You are looking at a Second Degree charge, up to 10 years and State Prison, a minimum mandatory three and a half years, no chance of parole, because you left your magazine or your ammunition or your holster in the glove box. Whereas, if you had simply kept the gun unloaded and not had the ammunition in the glove box, guess what? You most likely wouldn’t have any of this trouble. It’s something that simple. That simple yet it can ruin your life. It can throw you into the judicial system. Where, if it’s New Jersey, your entire life can be ruined. Your career, your family, your hopes and dreams, no joke ruined, imprisoned. Three and a half years, no chance of parole. The Judge has no discretion in Jersey on that. All that, you’re going to face and have to fight. Think of the anxiety, the stress, the cost, all because you put those things in the glove box. You thought it was the right thing to do because you followed the myth. Whereas, if you hadn’t done that, most likely you wouldn’t even have a problem.

That’s how outrageous this is. It is a myth, and these myths hurt good people.

Evan Nappen 05:18

Now look, you might live in a jurisdiction where they have some law that says to put it in the glove box, but I’ve never heard of that. Federal law does not say that, even to transport under Title 18 926a. The ammunition should not be in the same lockbox as your gun. As long as it’s in a separate container and your gun is unloaded, you’re fine under Federal law. It does not ever say in the glove box. Now it’s true, if you had it in the glove box and it was locked, we would argue two separate containers but you don’t want to do that. Put it in its own little locking box and your gun in a locking case. Put it in the trunk or the back of your vehicle, cover it up, and make sure it’s locked. Now your gun is unloaded. The ammunition is separate. Part of being a gun owner today because of the enhanced scrutiny, media bias, narrative, agenda, hatred toward us, and fear mongering by the media, we have to be discreet with our guns. We have to be smart about our guns. You don’t want to become the next law-abiding criminal. So, myth number one is putting those things in the glove box.

Evan Nappen 06:39

I have heard a variation of this myth. I had a client who was driving around Jersey, and he had his Buck knife on top of the dash. Full size Buck knife. I asked him, why were you driving around with it up there? Well, he was told that as long as you have it in the open exposed on your car, you’re okay. And I’m like, that’s just an invite to be arrested. They look and see my big knife. Now, please arrest me. It’s a myth. Just the opposite. Granted, no one should be arrested for these things. They are victimless crimes, but it doesn’t matter. It’s not how it runs. It’s not how it operates. You’ll get dragged into the system on this. You do not want to have that happen.

Evan Nappen 07:24

Speaking of knives, here’s another myth, and it is one of my favorite myths. How many of you heard someone ask, ” hey, what’s the blade limit size on a knife? What’s the blade limit size? And let me tell you right now, the blade limit size of a knife is not the width of a fat cops palm. Okay? Not the width. No. How many times have you seen them say, “Let me put it against my palm and see. There is no palm knife law. No such thing. It’s a myth. This palm stuff. How many times have you seen that? Oh, look, it’s bigger than my palm. Well, that’s nice. Either you’ve got a small palm, or I’ve got a big knife. It doesn’t mean crap under the law. Nothing. So, please, this myth of blade length is wrong. Some jurisdictions do have blade length laws. Some jurisdictions do. I get that. But if they do, it is a measurement in inches. A measurement in a specific quantity that we recognize and can establish. That’s the amazing part about it.

Evan Nappen 08:52

Maybe your jurisdiction has a three and a half-inch blade length. Maybe it does, and you need to know that if you are in that jurisdiction. But it is not this weird palm thing that you see or hear all the time. Not at all. Interestingly, in New Jersey, as bad as they are, they do not have a blade length limit. It’s not about blade length at all. Length doesn’t matter in Jersey. No, it doesn’t because it’s not about that with knives. Know the jurisdiction that you’re in and what matters. But know for a fact that these other stories and weird things like palming your blade and all these are just nonsense. No basis whatsoever for that. You want to know the facts because if you have the screwed up information, you can end up in trouble. Maybe your jurisdiction does have a blade length, and maybe your palm is bigger than the blade length list. If you are doing this palm thing, all you are doing cities is setting yourself up for a problem. So, don’t do that. Be smart, be smart.

Evan Nappen 10:08

Take another myth, and it’s a myth that I understand. It is common in a lot of people believe it, but it’s not true. I’m sure most of you probably recognize this, but you would be surprised how many people don’t. I get case after case of people who didn’t know this. There is no national reciprocity for a carry license. I think there should be. Of course, you know, driver’s licenses are recognized in every state. It is not an illogical step to think that my gun license is recognized in all the states. It is a state that made it legal for me. In fact, they have given me this license after they ran a criminal background check and done things that never happen to get a driver’s license. You were not given a criminal background check and fingerprinted to get your driver’s license. But you were for your carry license if you live in a jurisdiction that issues carry licenses. So, it’s not a far leap to think that well, why wouldn’t all the states recognize my carry license? But they don’t. They don’t.

Evan Nappen 11:17

For example, New Jersey recognizes no other state’s license whatsoever. If you come to Jersey and you are transporting your handgun, thinking that you’re covered by a carry license from another state, you are not. Many people have suffered terrible consequences because they believed in the myth of reciprocity. It does not exist. That was Shaneen Allen’s mistake. She didn’t understand why her Pennsylvania license was not recognized. I’ve had case after case where individuals who come from another jurisdiction, believe that Jersey would be fair and reasonable and would, of course, respect a license from another state. But they don’t, and the charges are incredibly serious. Again, Second Degree, up to 10 years in State Prison, minimum mandatory three and a half years, no chance of parole. If you get convicted of that handgun, even though you have a carry license from another state, the judge has no discretion. Period. You are getting three and a half years as a minimum in State Prison. Think about how draconian and insane New Jersey’s law is, and how many folks unwittingly fall for this trap. In New Jersey, it is really bad news. So, you do not want to fall for the myth of reciprocity.

Evan Nappen 12:52

I will tell you another myth. This is one that you’ll hear at times when you talk with folks about self-defense. Some guy will say, “Oh, well, if I shoot some guy outside my house, I’m dragging them back in.” Like what is he now a houseguest? Or, “if I shoot some guy, I’m gonna plant a kitchen knife in his hand or a weapon. I got a throw away, and I’m gonna put it right in his hand.” Listen, it is a myth. Never, never mess with the scene. Don’t do it. It’s that simple. Because it will get discovered. It will get figured out. They are going to see the drag. They are going to see the blood. They are going to find prints, and they are going to do DNA. I mean, come on. When they determine that you screwed around with that, you have lost all credibility. You have really screwed yourself. Never do that.

Evan Nappen 13:52

Instead, have good counsel. We will deal with what the truth is, how you defended yourself properly under the law, and why you were threatened with serious bodily injury or death. And were in fear of those things. Establishing it and defending on the truth. Not trying to change the scene. Because then you won’t be able to effectively defend yourself. You will be cut down at the knees when the prosecutor is nailing you on messing with the evidence and the scene in front of the jury. Not good. Plus, you could even be charged with doing such things. So, no, don’t do that. It doesn’t matter. If they fall outside, they fall outside the house. If they had a weapon or not but if you thought they did, we are going to make that clear. You do not plant one.

Evan Nappen 14:52

These kind of myths can cost you dearly. So, don’t believe any of that stuff you see and hear. Stick to what I’m telling you here. I don’t want you making these mistakes. When we come back, I’m going to tell you about what happens when you have that police encounter and one of the biggest myths about how to deal with that encounter, should you need to.

Evan Nappen 15:22

For over 30 years, Attorney Evan Nappen has seen what rotten laws do to good people. That’s why he’s dedicated his life to fighting for the rights of America’s gun owners. A fearsome courtroom litigator. Fighting for rights, justice, and freedom. An unrelenting gun rights spokesman, tearing away at anti-gun propaganda to expose the truth. Author of six best-selling books on gun rights, including Nappen on Gun Law, a bright orange gun law Bible that sits atop the desk of virtually every lawyer, police chief, firearms dealer, and savvy gun owner. That’s what made Evan Nappen America’s Gun Lawyer. Gun laws are designed to make you a criminal. Don’t become the innocent victim of a vicious anti-gun legal system. This is the guy you want on your side. Keep his name and number in your wallet and hope you never have to use it. But if you live, work, or travel with a firearm, that deck is already stacked against you. You can find him on the web at EvanNappen.com or follow the link on the Gun Lawyer resource page. Evan Nappen – America’s Gun Lawyer.

Evan Nappen 16:13

You’re listening to Gun Lawyer with Attorney Evan Nappen. Available wherever you get your favorite podcast.

Evan Nappen 16:43

As many of you know, my favorite holster is Mitch Rosen’s Extraordinary Gun Leather. I’m just going to tell you, this is not a paid advertisement. This is because I love what Mitch Rosen does. He is a friend of mine, and I am proud to be his friend. I’ll tell you right now his stuff is just amazing. I’m wearing one now, and you need to try it and see it. His rig and his leather just holds your gun perfectly. There’s no keeper strap unless you want to get one, but you don’t need it. It just holds it. Yet you can draw your gun beautifully, and you can put it back easily. It stays open because each holster is molded to each specific firearm. It literally fits like a glove. Then you get the belt that’s made to carry the holster and that forms the full rig. It gives you the support, and you won’t want anything else. I am telling you. Check out Mitch Rosen’s line of gun leather and holsters. And you’ll say man, I’m sure glad you told me about it. You’ll see why I love them so much.

Evan Nappen 18:12

I want to tell you. These times are very challenging, and I’m sure you are seeing the issues that we have to face. A lot of things are going against us, and there is a lot of movement against our rights, a lot of action. I’ll even use the word “conspiracy”. I am not talking black helicopters. But plainly, the media is not our friend, and they are trying to suppress us. So look, help keep a fellow gunner from becoming a law-abiding criminal. Tell them to listen to Gun Lawyer, visit my website at Gun.Lawyer. We have .com but I’ve got lawyer and it’s Gun.Lawyer. What I would really love for you to do is take a look at our Inner Circle. It’s right on the website. Sign up for the Inner Circle. That is my way of communicating with you, and you are going to get the inside for me. I will give tips and tricks and insight and fun. Sign up. It’s free. That way I still have the ability to communicate with you as it gets tougher and tougher to do so.

Evan Nappen 19:15

This microphone and this podcast are important. It’s a way for us to communicate with one another to protect our Second Amendment rights and fellow gun owners. It helps me communicate with you to touch base so you know what’s going on. Big tech doesn’t care about our rights. They don’t like us and want to shut us down. The Inner Circle is how we can stay in contact despite their efforts. These big issues, executive orders and this clarion call to take away our rights are real. It’s just amazing how these mass shootings happen right now when there is a big push for gun laws. You know, it’s like you could set your watch by it. It is so predictable. But there it is. So, we really have to deal with this. Please subscribe to the podcast. Join my Inner Circle, and get the word out. I am depending on you.

Evan Nappen 20:21

Now, we are talking here about what kinds of things you need to know to protect yourself. As a criminal defense attorney for over 30 years, defending folks that I   lovingly call law-abiding criminals, because they are law-abiding citizens who have been turned into criminals by these ridiculous gun laws, I have seen our rights play out and the reality of these rights. So, what I’m going to tell you is a myth that I see frequently. I want to tell you what you need to know so you don’t ever have this problem.

Evan Nappen 21:01

Some folks actually believe that if you have a problem and the police want to talk to you about it, that you can lie your way out of the situation. Let me just say, that’s a heavy duty risk, and frankly, it’s a myth. Generally speaking, you’re not going to succeed. In fact, they would love for you to try because lying to the police is a crime. So, you cannot lie to the police. If you do, you can be prosecuted simply for lying to the police, even if the underlying reason they were investigating you proves to be nothing. Zero, doesn’t matter. Your lying to the police is now a separate criminal act. You cannot lie to the police, but, and this is not a myth, the police are allowed to lie to you. You may say, hey, that’s not fair. Well, doesn’t matter, fair or not. It is how it works. The police have a license to lie. They can lie about things in their investigation to try to glean information out of you. I have seen this happen, and the surest way to not have a problem is by not lying. Because you cannot lie to the police does not mean that there’s nothing you can do. Oh, there is something very, very important that you can do. What you can do is keep your mouth shut. That’s right. You have a Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and you have a right to counsel. So, you have a right to say nothing. So many people seem to have a hard time doing that. But that’s what you need to do.

Evan Nappen 23:13

You need to say, “I’ve nothing to say and I want to talk to my lawyer first.” Always invoke that you want to talk to your lawyer. By asking to speak with your lawyer and not saying anything. Guess what? You are not going to fall for the myth of lying to the police. You are not going to incriminate yourself over some offense that you don’t even know you’re incriminating yourself over because you didn’t even know it was an offense. I get those cases, too. I cannot tell you how many times people say, “I didn’t know that was illegal. I thought I was grandfathered. I thought it was okay. I thought I was doing the right thing.” I understand all those things. I do. I get it. But talking is what becomes the biggest problem in your case. Police have a right to lie to you, but you do not have a right to lie to them.

Evan Nappen 24:13

You need to keep your mouth shut and not inadvertently say anything that can be twisted against you. Because you are innocent, and I have seen that it’s the innocent person, which makes it incredibly tragic, because they said things that are now being used against them, even though it really wasn’t them. I have had those cases. If they just kept their mouth shut. So many times through so many cases that I’ve had over 30 years of criminal defense. I look back, and I say where was the person’s mistake? They couldn’t shut their mouth and just ask for their attorney.

Evan Nappen 25:00

Many times in these criminal cases, your future hinges on one choice. Whether you’re choosing to put that ammunition in your glove box. Whether you have chosen to speak to the police. Whether you have chosen to think that a knife shorter than your palm is okay, and you’ve never even looked at the actual laws in your jurisdiction. When you choose to bring your gun and carry it into New Jersey, assuming that your license is going to be respected and honored. Those choices and that myth believed, if you will, ends up making people miserable, and put into a world of problems that they never thought they would end up in.

Evan Nappen 26:00

Remember, you cannot and should never lie to the police. You should not talk to the police either. Because you always have that right to say, hey, I want to talk to my lawyer first. That’s what smart people do. Because by talking to your lawyer, your lawyer cannot incriminate you. Your lawyer can speak for you and find out what’s going on. What you say to your lawyer is confidential, attorney-client protected speech between you and your attorney. This is the smart thing that folks do. You need to be smart and not fall into these traps.

Evan Nappen 26:40

The belief about law enforcement’s job and what their responsibility is, is distorted by way of television. So many times I’m watching a TV show, you know that my family was watching, and they’re investigating this suspect. He is there talking across the metal table, yackety Yak, and I am like shut up. Get a lawyer. Shut up. Oh, my God. It’s frustrating because if you’re ever read your rights, that’s not a myth. If you are read your rights, fireworks should be going off and the flag should be flying. The alarm bells should be ringing. If you are ever read your rights, and that you have the right to remain silent. Remain freakin silent. Okay, you just got hit with a train by these rights in your face, and you’re like, Hey, can I buy a ticket on that train? No. No, you were read your rights. That’s it.

Evan Nappen 27:56

If you are ever read your rights, there’s no more excuse. It just boggles me. The police read you your rights, and then the person says, “Oh, fine. Now I’ll talk to you, and I don’t need a lawyer.” Why do you think they read you your rights? Because you do need a lawyer, and you do need to shut up. It could not be more blatant. But you know what? Television conditions you. “Oh, you don’t have to worry about those little rights things. Everybody just talks. If you don’t talk, you must have something to hide. You must. No, that is not how it works. Not how it works at all. Not at all. If you are ever read your rights, that is absolutely the last stop sign before the cliff. Okay, that’s it. If you go through that stop sign, you are going down, down, down into that gully, and you are going to crash and burn. That is your final warning right there. The guardrail at the end of the road, and you just went right through it. No problem. Oh, la dee, da dee da. No. I cannot emphasize it enough. The bottom line myth is that you can ignore when your rights are read to you. Do that and you will pay the price. Absolutely.

Evan Nappen 29:32

Never waive your rights. Demand your attorney. Then and only then, if your attorney advises you after thorough consideration and that defense counsel that knows criminal law and your situation tells you that you can waive your rights and do this or that, fine. But short of that. No way. You have nothing to say, and I want my lawyer.

Evan Nappen 29:59

This is Evan Nappen reminding you that gun laws do not protect honest citizens from criminals. They protect criminals from honest citizens.

Speaker 3 30:08

Gun Lawyer is a CounterThink Media production. The music used in this broadcast was managed by Cosmo Music, New York, New York. Reach us by emailing Evan@gun.lawyer. The information and opinions in this broadcast do not constitute legal advice. Consult a licensed attorney in your state.

 

In Ponzi We Trust

H/T Smithsonian Magazine.

A story of where the term Ponzi in Ponzi scheme came from.

Borrowing from Peter to pay Paul is a scheme made famous by Charles Ponzi. Who was this crook whose name graces this scam?

Charles Ponzi mug shots
Mug shots of Charles Ponzi, Boston financial wizard, taken during his arrest for forgery under the name of Charles Bianchi. (Bettmann / Corbis)
 
 

Editor’s Note, April 14, 2021: In the wake of the death of convicted fraudster Bernard Madoff, Smithsonian looks back at the crook who gave Ponzi schemes their name

 

John Kenneth Galbraith once observed that “the man who is admired for the ingenuity of his larceny is almost always rediscovering some earlier form of fraud.” Although the details may vary, all flimflam games rely on their basic ability to make a lie look like the truth. Even today, confidence artists continue to work their scams with great success. Time and again, people from every walk of life demonstrate their ability to abandon common sense and believe in something that is simply too good to be true by succumbing to the con man’s call.

 

Yet when all is said and done, the Internet is merely a vehicle for swindlers to reach their victims. “What is new—and striking—is the size of the potential market and the relative ease, low cost and speed with which a scam can be perpetrated,” FTC Chairman Robert Pitofsky told a Senate subcommittee during a February hearing on Internet fraud. But there is nothing new in the scams themselves: they are the same pyramid schemes, phony business opportunities and phantom storefronts that have been fooling the unwary and greedy for centuries.

Many of these computer-savvy crooks have taken their cue from an Italian immigrant named Charles Ponzi, a dapper, five-foot-two-inch rogue who in 1920 raked in an estimated $15 million in eight months by persuading tens of thousands of Bostonians that he had unlocked the secret to easy wealth. Ponzi’s meteoric success at swindling was so remarkable that his name became attached to the method he employed, which was nothing more than the age-old game of borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. The rules are simple: money taken from today’s investors is used to pay off debts to yesterday’s investors. Typically, these investors are lured by promises of exorbitant profits—50, even 100 percent. Often, they are coached to recruit more investors to enrich themselves further. The problem is that there is no actual investment going on; the only activity is the shuffling of money from new investors to old ones. Everything is fine until the scheme runs out of new investors and the whole house of cards comes tumbling down.

We still hear about Ponzi schemes, or pyramid schemes, as they are more frequently called. Last year, the collapse of dozens of Ponzi schemes in Albania sparked mass rioting that escalated into a national crisis. And in New York, investors were out an estimated $1.5 billion when the Bennett Funding Group, described by regulators as a “massive, ongoing Ponzi scheme,” went belly-up. On the Internet, a company called Fortuna Alliance promised investors monthly returns as high as $5,000; more than 8,600 people bought into the scheme, which was shut down by the FTC in 1996. Fortuna eventually stipulated to an injunction prohibiting its alleged scam. In January 1998, a judge ordered the company to start paying back its investors. The FTC says it is seeking $5 million in refunds for consumers.

Ponzi himself was probably inspired by the remarkable success of William “520 percent” Miller, a young Brooklyn bookkeeper who in 1899 fleeced gullible investors to the tune of more than $1 million. Years later, “Honest Bill,” as he came to be known after a jail term in Sing Sing and a turn down the straight and narrow, questioned the workings of Ponzi’s enterprise. “I may be rather dense, but I cannot understand how Ponzi made so much money in so short a time,” Miller observed to a reporter from the New York Evening World mere days before the bottom fell out of Ponzi’s scheme.

But whatever Ponzi lacked in originality, he had plenty of finesse—and chutzpah. “He was a fascinating crook—the ultimate con man,” says Ponzi biographer Donald Dunn. Ponzi’s investors ran the gamut from working-class Italian immigrants like himself to cops and politicians. He even accepted money from a priest.

In the summer of 1920, Ponzi was front-page news virtually every day in the Boston papers. But prior to 1920, few people outside Boston’s Italian community had ever heard of Charles Ponzi. He told the New York Times that he had come from a well-to-do family in Parma, Italy. He also claimed to have studied at the University of Rome, but said that he was not suited to the academic life. “In my college days, I was what you would call here a spendthrift. That is, I had arrived at the precarious period in a young man’s life when spending money seemed the most attractive thing on earth.”

When his money ran out, young Ponzi decided the wisest course of action was to head west. On November 15, 1903, he stepped off the gangplank of the SS Vancouver in Boston Harbor with only a couple of dollars in his pocket—the result, he said, of being taken in by a cardsharp during the transatlantic crossing. “I landed in this country with $2.50 in cash and $1 million in hopes, and those hopes never left me,” Ponzi later told the New York Times.

The road to riches was a long one for the ever-optimistic Ponzi, who waited and bused tables in New York City, painted signs in Florida and worked small jobs up and down the East Coast. In 1917, he headed back to Boston in response to a newspaper ad placed by merchandise broker J. R. Poole, who needed a clerk

He soon met young Rose Gnecco on a streetcar and wooed her energetically. A small, pretty woman from a modest background, Rose was swept off her feet by her older, seemingly sophisticated suitor. Rose’s youthful innocence shines through even in newspaper photographs, as does her unswerving devotion to her husband. The couple married in February 1918. Ponzi took over his father-in-law’s grocery business and proceeded to make a mess of it. (He had already left Poole, who apparently failed to recognize his new clerk’s latent financial genius.)

It was not long before Ponzi struck out on his own, and finally hit upon the scheme that—for a short time—was to make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. He had come up with the idea for an international trade journal, which he believed could make a tidy advertising profit. But the bank where he sought a $2,000 loan, Hanover Trust Company, did not agree. Following a brusque rejection by the bank president, Ponzi sat alone in his little School Street office and pondered his next move.

It came to him while opening his mail one day in August 1919. As Ponzi relates in his shamelessly exuberant autobiography, The Rise of Mr. Ponzi, a business correspondent from Spain, interested in learning more about Ponzi’s aborted journal, had enclosed a small paper square that put the well-oiled wheels of Ponzi’s imagination into overdrive.

The little scrap of paper was an international postal reply coupon, and the Spanish correspondent had enclosed it in prepayment of reply postage. Purchased in a Spanish post office for 30 centavos, it could be exchanged for a U.S. postage stamp worth 5 cents, a redemption rate that was fixed by international treaty. But the Spanish peseta, Ponzi knew, had fallen recently in relation to the dollar. Theoretically, someone who bought a postal reply coupon in Spain could redeem it in the United States for about a 10 percent profit. Purchasing coupons in countries with weaker economies could increase that margin substantially, he reasoned. It should be possible, then, to make a financial killing by buying huge quantities of these coupons in certain overseas countries and redeeming them in countries with stronger currencies. Ponzi called his new business the Securities Exchange Company, and set out to promote his idea.

It was a big idea—one that Ponzi managed to sell to thousands of people. He claimed to have elaborate networks of agents throughout Europe who were making bulk purchases of postal reply coupons on his behalf. In the United States, Ponzi asserted, he worked his financial wizardry to turn those piles of paper coupons into larger piles of greenbacks. Pressed for details on how this transformation was achieved, he politely explained that he had to keep such information secret for competitive reasons.

Of course, there was no network of agents. Nor, for that matter, did Ponzi expend any effort to corner the market on postal reply coupons. A final audit of his company’s assets after the whole business was over turned up $61 worth of the coupons, according to Dunn.

Dunn’s book, Ponzi! The Boston Swindler, provides a dramatized account of Ponzi’s wild ride to riches and shows that, if anything, Ponzi’s genius lay in psychology, not finance. Ponzi knew that his concept—the path to easy riches—was so alluring that the worst thing he could do was try to sell it too aggressively. Borrowing a page or two from Tom Sawyer, he cultivated an image among friends and acquaintances as a man on the verge of wealth who preferred not to discuss his good fortune in detail—unless, of course, he was pressed. In his role as the busy but cheerful investment expert, Ponzi showed up at boccie games and neighborhood cafés, plied his pals with good cigars and bonhomie, then rushed off to meet with one of his many important “clients,” Dunn relates.

Only after his victims were well primed was Ponzi ready to dangle his bait: the grand plan in which his investors received 50 percent interest in 90 days. (Later he sweetened the pot, promising 50 percent interest in 45 days.) By December, the money had begun to roll in.

Most of the actual investment pitches were done by sales agents who were trained by Ponzi and received 10 percent commissions for investments that they brought in to him. In turn, many of those sales agents recruited “subagents” who received 5 percent commissions for new investors. Once Ponzi paid off his first round of investors, word of the financial “wizard” on School Street spread quickly. Ultimately, some 40,000 people joined the feeding frenzy. Many people simply reinvested their profits with Ponzi, thereby relieving him of actually having to make good on his promise. At the height of his success, Ponzi had offices from Maine to New Jersey, and was fending off shady offers from prospective “partners” in New York.

The newspapers caught wind of Ponzi after a man named Joseph Daniels filed a $1 million suit against him in July 1920, according to Dunn. Daniels, a furniture salesman, laid claim to a share of Ponzi’s fortune on the basis of an old debt. His lawsuit for what was at the time an enormous amount of money started a buzz about Ponzi outside the circle of investors he had cultivated.

By then, Ponzi had built the lifestyle he had pursued for so many years: a 12-room mansion in upscale Lexington; servants; a couple of automobiles, including a custom-built limousine; and fine clothes and gold-handled Malacca canes for himself, and diamonds and other baubles for Rose. He purchased commercial and rental properties all over Boston and acquired stock in several banks. He even bought out his former employer, Poole. “The more I bought, the more I wanted to buy,” Ponzi wrote. “It was a mania.” But what he really wanted was control of a bank. He arranged a takeover of Hanover Trust, the same bank that had turned down his loan application the previous year. A few months later, when Ponzi fell, so did Hanover Trust. (The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, it turned out, had $125,000 on deposit with Hanover Trust—a revelation that figured in the September 1920 resignation of State Treasurer Fred Burrell.)

On July 24, 1920, the Boston Post ran a front-page feature on Ponzi with the headline: “DOUBLES THE MONEY WITHIN THREE MONTHS; 50 Per Cent Interest Paid in 45 Days by Ponzi—Has Thousands of Investors.” The article described his rags-to-riches ascent, including details of his postal reply coupon scheme. It pegged Ponzi’s worth at $8.5 million.

Monday, the 26th, started out as a banner day for Ponzi. The scene that awaited him as he approached his office that morning in his chauffeur-driven Locomobile “was one that no man could forget,” he later wrote.

“A huge line of investors, four abreast, stretched from the City Hall Annex, through City Hall Avenue and School Street, to the entrance of the Niles Building, up stairways, along the corridors…all the way to my office!…

“Hope and greed could be read in everybody’s countenance. Guessed from the wads of money nervously clutched and waved by thousands of outstretched fists! Madness, money madness, the worst kind of madness, was reflected in everybody’s eyes!…

“To the crowd there assembled, I was the realization of their dreams….The ‘wizard’ who could turn a pauper into a millionaire overnight!”

 

Interestingly, the U.S. Post Office Department announced new conversion rates for international postal reply coupons less than a week later—the first change in the rates since prewar days, the New York Times reported. Officials insisted that the new rates had nothing to do with Ponzi’s scheme. However, they also insisted it was impossible for anyone to do what Ponzi claimed to be doing. (Postal authorities today say the same thing: although international postal reply coupons are available at post offices where there is a demand for them, regulations make speculation in them impossible.)

The tide turned quickly against Ponzi. He had come under investigation by postal and legal authorities as early as February, but they appeared to be making little progress in their efforts. Meanwhile, the editors at the Boston Post, possibly chagrined at having published the article that injected so much momentum into Ponzi’s enterprise, launched an investigation into his business. The bad press enraged Ponzi. At the advice of his publicity agent, a former newspaperman named William McMasters, Ponzi offered to cooperate with the U.S. District Attorney’s office by opening his books to a government auditor and declining to accept new investments, as of noon that day, July 26, until the audit was complete.

Word that Ponzi was closing his doors prompted a huge run, as thousands stormed School Street to redeem their investment vouchers. Ponzi directed his clerks to refund the money of everyone who presented a voucher. On one day, the Post reported, Ponzi paid out more than $1 million. Frightened investors who cashed in their chips early got back only their principal, which, Ponzi noted, saved him considerable interest.

Ponzi maintained a cool head. He played games with the authorities—on the one hand appearing to cooperate with them, and on the other snubbing them to talk to reporters, who provided daily coverage of the unfolding drama. “‘POSTAGE STAMP’ KING DEFIES FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO LEARN HOW HE PROFITS,” the Washington Post reported on July 30. In the article, Ponzi shrugged off the notion that he was under any obligation to reveal details of his business dealings to officials. “My secret is how to cash the coupons. I do not tell it to anyone,” he asserted. “Let the United States find it out, if it can.”

 

As the run continued, Ponzi ordered up sandwiches and coffee to be distributed to the mobs of people waiting outside his office. He directed that women be moved to the front of the line, after hearing that several had fainted in the sweltering summer heat. Uncertain whether he was a crook or a hero, the crowds simultaneously booed and cheered him. Many people changed their minds while waiting to turn in their vouchers, convinced that their investments would pay off in the end. The Boston Post reported how one man proclaimed Ponzi “the greatest Italian of them all.” With false modesty, Ponzi pointed out that Columbus had discovered America and that Marconi had discovered the wireless. “But Charlie,” the fan replied, “you discovered where the money is!” Meanwhile, speculators in Ponzi’s hire bought up notes at a discount from the worried, Dunn reports.

The investigation slogged on. “OFFICIALS BALKED BY PONZI PUZZLE,” the Boston Post observed. Then, on August 2, the Post dropped a bombshell after enlisting the cooperation of McMasters, Ponzi’s erstwhile publicity agent, who wrote a copyrighted, first-person report in which he proclaimed Ponzi “hopelessly insolvent.” “He is over $2,000,000 in debt even if he tried to meet his notes without paying any interest,” McMasters declared. “If the interest is included on his outstanding notes, then he is at least $4,500,000 in debt.”

Still, McMasters found it difficult to condemn the little financier: “No wonder Ponzi is confident: He sees an apparently unlimited pile of cash…the public dippy about him…and Wall Street ‘experts’ who never did anything like it themselves offering ‘sure-thing’ explanation of his ‘operations’—is it any wonder the thing has gone to his head?”

Note holders besieged the School Street office the day the McMasters article ran. Ponzi hotly denied the charges of insolvency, and threatened to sue both McMasters and the Post.

The public circus escalated. On August 10, Ponzi gave a luncheon address at Boston’s Hotel Bellevue for the Kiwanis Club, which had invited him for a “battle royal” with a mind reader named Joseph Dunninger. The idea was that Dunninger would “throw the X-ray of clairvoyance on the subtle brain of the little Italian and reveal what he found to the audience,” the Boston Globe reported. But the spectators were so enthralled by Ponzi that the contest apparently never came off; at 2:45, Ponzi was still fielding questions from the audience.

Ponzi audaciously implied that he dealt directly with foreign governments in order to purchase the vast quantities of coupons needed to support his enterprise. Because the governments from whom he bought coupons profited themselves, they “naturally would not care to reveal” the exact nature of their business, he explained. “PONZI TELLS KIWANIS CLUB HOW HE GOT HIS MILLIONS,” the Globe shouted from its front page. Editors at the Chicago Tribune, which also reported on the Kiwanis Club affair, were more skeptical: “PONZI REVEALS PHILOSOPHER’S STONE: 0+0=$,” the headline ran.

On August 11, the Boston Post made the sensational revelation that the financial wizard was a former jailbird, having served time (1908-10) in Canada for forging checks. The article, the result of the Post’s own investigation, ran complete with mugshots of Ponzi from Montreal police. Later, it was learned that Ponzi had served another term in a federal prison in Atlanta for smuggling five Italians from Canada into the United States.

The next day, Edwin Pride, the government auditor, concluded his examination of Ponzi’s books. He found Ponzi to be $3 million in the red (he later revised it to $7 million). Ponzi was placed under arrest. “PONZI WEARING HIS SMILE EVEN IN EAST CAMBRIDGE JAIL,” the Boston Evening Globe reported. “The man’s nerve is iron,” his jailer marveled.

Half-a-dozen banks crashed in the aftermath of Ponzi’s fall. His note holders received less than 30 cents on the dollar; many investors held on to their notes, clinging desperately to the belief that their hero would somehow come through, Dunn says. For its relentless reporting, the Boston Post won a Pulitzer Prize.

Ponzi was convicted on federal charges of using the mail to defraud. He served 31/2 years and was paroled. In 1925, he was convicted on state fraud charges. Out on bail while the verdict was under appeal, he headed for Florida to raise money by selling swampland under the name “Charpon.” He was quickly arrested and convicted of fraud. He jumped bail when he learned that the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts had upheld his conviction in that state. With authorities in two states in pursuit, Ponzi fled to Texas. He signed aboard as a seaman on an Italian freighter, but was captured in New Orleans. Ponzi was returned to Massachusetts to begin his sentence at the state prison in Charlestown.

When Ponzi emerged from jail in 1934, balding and 40 pounds heavier, immigration authorities were on hand with a deportation warrant. He had never become an American citizen and was considered an undesirable alien. On October 7, after his appeals to remain in the United States were rejected, he was deported to Italy. Rose stayed on in Boston with plans to join him once he found employment, but after two years she tired of waiting and finally divorced him. For years, says Dunn, who interviewed her not long before her death, she was dogged by rumors that she had a secret stash of her husband’s ill-gotten gains. But Rose was a victim herself: she and eight of her relatives had loaned Ponzi more than $16,000. After Ponzi’s departure, Rose led a pinched and quiet existence, eventually remarrying after her husband’s death and moving to Florida, where she tried to escape the notoriety of her former husband’s escapades.

Accounts of Ponzi’s life after his eviction from the United States vary. According to one version, he talked his way into a high-ranking financial ministry job in Mussolini’s government. When officials realized that he was not the financial genius he purported to be, he fled carrying two suitcases stuffed with cash and caught a steamer to Brazil.

Dunn, who’s done the most extensive research on Ponzi, uncovered a different story. He reports that Ponzi got help from his second cousin, Col. Attilio Biseo of the Italian Air Force, who was commander of the Green Mice Squadron and a friend of Mussolini’s. Biseo landed Ponzi a job with a fledgling airline doing business between Italy and Brazil. This new career kept Ponzi in high style between 1939 and December 1941, when the United States entered World War II and the Brazilian government cut off supplies to Ponzi’s airline, having learned that it was ferrying strategic supplies to Italy.

Out of a job, Ponzi scraped by, teaching English and French and later working as an interpreter for an Italian importing firm, according to Dunn. But his eyesight was failing and a stroke in early 1948 left him partially paralyzed. Ponzi died in a charity hospital in Rio de Janeiro on January 18, 1949, leaving $75 to pay for his burial.

Why does anyone fall for such scams? “It’s human nature,” says Susan Grant of the National Consumers League. “The crooks know that there are basic human factors that they can appeal to—the desire to do what you think you see other people doing around you, making money and getting rich.”

In other words, wishful thinking. In 1920, people saw Ponzi as a man who could make the impossible possible. Today, many people in search of lucrative investment opportunities “see the Internet as a place where all things are possible,” observes Paul H. Luehr, who chairs the FTC’s Internet Coordinating Committee. Sometimes, they simply can’t tell the difference between a legitimate business enterprise and a hoax. But other times it’s clear that they don’t really want to know. Grant and Luehr tell of inquiries they’ve received from consumers in search of reassurance that an attractive scheme is legitimate. But when cautioned against it, they become angry. “Many times people are mad at the government for spoiling a ‘good’ investment opportunity,” says Luehr.

Today’s operators often use high-tech bells and whistles to lure their prey. Ponzi’s approach was more charismatic. But the bait is always the same and the outcome is inevitable. Up to 95 percent of the people who buy into Ponzi schemes eventually lose all their investments, says Luehr. Generally, it is only the con man who gets the easy money. For Ponzi, there undoubtedly were other rewards as well: excitement and power. Richard Ault, a retired special agent and criminal profiler for the FBI, speculates that, more than anything, Ponzi wanted to be “something special.” A poor immigrant, he sought to become part of the Boston establishment that had excluded him, Ault believes. “It was an impossible goal, but he managed to achieve a little bit of it for a short period of time.”

To Ponzi, it was all a grand, desperate game that he was determined to play to its conclusion. At the end, he had this to say about the mad caper on which he had led the people of Boston: “Even if they never got anything for it, it was cheap at that price. Without malice aforethought I had given them the best show that was ever staged in their territory since the landing of the Pilgrims!… It was easily worth fifteen million bucks to watch me put the thing over!”

To Charles Ponzi, who began with nothing, ended up the same way but enjoyed a brief interlude of power and fame, it undoubtedly was.