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Illicit guns from other countries- not America- fuel drug cartels in Mexico

The battle for Mexico’s heart and soul has risen to the highest levels- not only is the country suffering from an explosive drug cartel battle, but Mexico’s very existence is embroiled in a narco-state clash.

The soul of a country lies within its citizenry and right now Mexico is losing the mêlée to the drug cartels. President Felipe Calderon has embarked on a noble quest and has promised to dethrone the powerful drug cartels from Mexico, yet in the past three years it’s the citizens who have lost 28,000 lives (and counting) to earth-shattering barbaric violence, like beheadings, perpetrated by mafia-type drug gangs.

Gone are the days of Poncho Villa as these thugs in Mexico are gaining the upper hand. They are replacing cartel leaders who have been killed or captured by the government with a more treacherous, vicious brand of brutality. The new drug cartel leaders must prove they mean business by exacting atrocious acts to garner fear and loyalty within Mexico’s borders.

The root of this evil is money – billions are made each year in Mexico from the drug trade. In an effort to capture those billions merciless drug cartels fight (with a plethora of military-grade weapons) to establish the shrinking smuggling routes into the heart of America.

The end result is a happy American drug consumer. Currently, America is home to more than Disneyland, it provides somewhere between 75 to 80 percent of the world’s drug consumption. Something Walt would not be proud of.

As with any national epidemic a message of propaganda must circulate to reveal the hero and villain. In this case the American politician and main stream media outlets have chosen guns as the villain. By spinning the web that guns are the root and American gun manufactures supply 90 percent of the weaponry to Mexican cartels; the U.S. is hit with a double whammy- a consumer and blame for the never-ending violence.

The media got it halfway right, America is the largest consumer of drugs and the cartels wouldn’t be in business if there wasn’t a demand for narcotics, but the guns are not coming from America.

In fact, a new paper out (Spring 2010) from George Mason’s School of Public Policy dispels this myth once and for all.

According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) only 17 percent of the guns recovered by Mexican authorities are traceable to the United States a far cry from the 90 percent perpetuated by the MSM. It is worth pointing out that the Mexican government does a good job photographing the drugs, money and weapons it seizes and releases them to the public.

Below is a recent seizure slideshow, (about a month old) near the Mexico/Arizona border and the pictures speak volumes about the arsenal drug cartels are using.

“The guns are from China, South America, Russia and the USA. However the firearms from the USA were sent via operation ‘Blue Lantern’ under the Clinton administration. If I recall correctly America gave Mexico about $6 billion worth of guns, ammo, night vision, grenades, and (my favorite) training,” said Marc Halcon a leading gun industry proprietor and federally-recognized advanced law-enforcement training expert.

“The rifles shown in the slideshow are from China (most likely) or eastern block nations. They have never been manufactured in the USA. The pistols ‘may’ have been manufactured in the USA, but I must point out that many countries make a clone of the same pistol so it is hard to say for sure,” he explained.

In Halcon’s opinion the Mexican government should be more cooperative with the BATF and U.S. officials. “As we pursue the true source of the firearms in question and since we apparently can’t stop the flow of illegals into our country; how are we expected to stop the flow of firearms without the assistance from the Mexican government?”

Mexico’s President lashes out at America

Last week Mexican President Calderon took a direct shot at the U.S. for providing the guns that fuel the drug war.

“The American weapons industry is a voracious and vicious industry they create. It’s clear to me that they create a conflict in a poor country in Africa just to sell weapons. In the same way they are making money on the situation in Mexico.” He goes on to say America has not changed its yearly budget in its own battle with drug consumption.

Upon closer look at this statement it appears Mexico’s president is continuing the government propaganda that America is providing the majority of the weapons the cartels are using- again a falsehood that is repeated until many believe it to be fact.

“To fully understand what he is saying you only need to listen to one sentence where he states ‘the budget for the war on drugs has not changed,’” Halcon explains. “Essentially he is asking for the U.S. to give Mexico (him) money. This is a typical third-world shakedown in my opinion.”

Halcon continues to add that “the U.S. government has supplied billions of dollars in firearms, ammunition, training, etc to the Mexico. The real issue facing Americans is that between 120 and 150 of the Mexican military troops defect to the dark side every month. When they leave they are taking their equipment, guns and training with them.”

So far under President Calderon’s watch the government has confiscated more than 70,000 weapons from the drug cartels.

Propaganda spoken by U.S politicians and main stream media

Chris Cox, a spokesman for the National Rifle Association, blames the main stream media and uninformed politicians in the U.S. for misrepresenting where Mexican drug cartel weapons originate. “Reporter after politician after news anchor just disregards the truth on this,” Cox contends. “The numbers are intentionally used to weaken the Second Amendment.”

American talking heads are not the only members spouting incorrect numbers. Auturo Sarukhan, the Mexican ambassador to the U.S., claims Mexico seizes about 2,000 guns a day from America. However that number adds up to 730,000 a year. The ambassador misses the real number by 700,000. The real number is 30,000 for all of 2007/08, according to the Mexican attorney general’s office.

Here is what the political leaders, federal agency heads and main stream media spokespeople are saying about the war next door. The following is a list of those who repeated that 90 percent of drug cartel guns come from America;

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeated it to reporters on a flight to Mexico City; CBS anchorman Bob Schieffer referred to the falsehood while interviewing President Obama; Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said 90 percent of the guns are used to kill judges, police officers and mayors at a Senate hearing; William Hoover, assistant director for field operations of ATF, testified to Congress that “there is more than enough evidence to indicate that over 90 percent of the firearms that have either been recovered in, or interdicted in transport to Mexico, originated from various sources within the United States.”

Apparently the ATF did not send out an intra-agency memo articulating that the 90 percent of traced weapons from America and that the majority of the firearms seized are clearly not even made or sold in the United States.

“Not every weapon seized in Mexico has a serial number on it that would make it traceable, and the U.S. effort to trace weapons really only extends to weapons that have been in the U.S. market,” Matt Allen, special agent of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reported.

Furthermore Mexican officials seized more than 30,000 guns in 2007/2008, but only submitted about 11,000 to ATF for tracing. Of the 6,000 of those traced, only 5,114 were traced to US sources. That number represents 90 percent of the 6,000 traced, but represents only 17 percent of all seizures, so again, the 90 percent number is supported by empirical evidence, but is not representative of the truth that only 5,115 of the 30,000 weapons seized were traced to US sources.” The true percentage of 17 percent does not present such a compelling argument for clamping down on American gun manufacturing as does the distorted 90 percent number does.

Some weapons, firearm dealers say, are legitimately shipped to Mexico, by Colt, from the United States. These sales are approved by the U.S. government for use by the Mexican military. Clearly these guns end up in Mexico and are not smuggled in across the river.

Firearm experts contend the remainder of the weapons that find their way into the ruthless cartels come from a variety of places

The black market in Mexico is a virtual arms variety store, with grenades from South Korea, AK-47s from China, and shoulder-fired rocket launchers from Spain, Israel and former Soviet bloc manufacturers.

Another large source is the Russian crime syndicates. In fact, Interpol claims Russian Mafia are actively trafficking drugs and arms into Mexico.

And don’t forget South America. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) established a clandestine arms smuggling and drug trafficking partnership with Mexican cartels after Pablo Escobar’s demise left a vacuum of weapons and drug addiction.

According to a 2006 Amnesty International Report, China provided arms to countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Of these weapons Chinese assault firearms and Korean explosives have been recovered in Mexico’s war on cartels.

Another major contributor is the Mexican military itself as more than 150,000 soldiers have deserted to the cartels in the last six years, according to Mexican Congressman Robert Badillo. Most deserters take their uniforms and weapons with them, including the standard issue M-16 assault rifles.

The Mexican government reports that it has seized 2,239 grenades in the last two years, but the grenades and the rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) confiscated are not available in U.S. gun shops. The grenades used in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey and a TV station in January came from South Korea.

Hilary Clinton accepts responsibility for Americans

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on a recent visit to Mexico, said that America’s inability to prevent weapons being smuggled across the border is causing the deaths of Mexican police officers, soldiers and civilians.

“I feel very strongly we have a co-responsibility,” Clinton told reporters on her Mexico City trip a day after the Obama administration implied it would send more money, technology and manpower to secure the border and assist Mexico battle the drug cartels.

“Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade,” she said. “Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of police officers, soldiers and civilians.”

Mexico appreciated Clinton’s admission of U.S. responsibility regarding the war on drugs.

“We want to address together the challenges that we are facing,” Foreign Minister for Mexico Patricia Espinosa said.

That being said, Mexico says it will never allow U.S. troops to operate inside the country and the fact that U.S. is deploying National Guard troops to the border is causing anxiety.

“It is seen as a very delicate issue,” said Espinosa.

Under former President Bill Clinton’s administration, an effort was also made to fight the drug cartels. It was called “Operation Blue Lantern.” In the mid 1990s, Clinton spent millions of dollars a year to curb the cartels.

In February of 1997, the Clinton Administration announced the Mexican government was a “full ally” in the war on drugs. In doing so Clinton’s Drug Czar, Army General Barry McCaffrey, described Mexican General Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo, who led the Mexican National Institute to Combat Drugs (INCD) as a “man of absolute unquestioned character.”

Shortly after McCaffrey’s announcement, Rebollo was arrested for taking bribes from one of the largest drug cartels in Mexico and he had been present at numerous secret meetings involving the White House, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

The blame game continues in Mexico

Taking exception to President Calderon’s direct shot at the U.S. government and U.S. gun manufactures for promoting the drug war in Mexico is recently retired ICE agent John Sakelarides.

“In a transparent attempt to shift the blame from Mexico to the United States for cross border incursions to include the flow of drugs, weapons, humans and money, President Felipe Calderon is claiming the guns being used by the cartels are coming from the United States. As such, he is accusing the United States of interfering in Mexican internal affairs by accusing the U.S. is somehow allowing the cartels to send guns from the U.S. to Mexico arming the cartels.”

“Excuse me? Let me get this straight- President Calderon. Your countrymen are smuggling not only narcotics, but human beings into this country at an alarming rate, in violation of America’s territorial sovereignty, and your countrymen who run the cartels, are smuggling guns into your country, and somehow this is our fault? Your government, and those before yours, have repeatedly, knowingly, intentionally and maliciously, interfered in the internal affairs of the United States. So much so, Mexican citizens, both legal and illegal alike, who are not U.S. citizens are voting in American elections- violating U.S. laws.”

“You support the flow of illegal aliens and narcotics into the United States, either tacitly or openly. You deny us our sovereign right to control our borders and to enforce our laws, claiming that doing so is somehow racist. However, you certainly support the flow of American dollars into Mexico in the form or remittances. Please, have the decency to not lecture America about how to run our country given the fact that Mexico is now a defacto narco-state.”

“Perhaps this behavior is acceptable in Mexico. But this kind of anarchy will not be tolerated in America. Mexico is like the neighbor who complains about his neighbor’s children playing in their yard, while he allows his children to run amok in the neighborhood. You sir, are a hypocrite.”

The mounting problems the Mexican government and President Calderon are having in controlling the drug cartels, lawlessness, and escalating violence is forcing Mexico to look elsewhere for blame, but little of the blame rests with the U.S. government, but more directly with the insatiable appetite Americans seem to have for Mexico’s “recreational drugs.”

“Recreational drugs” are killing thousands (more than 28,000 in three years) of Mexicans, destroying the Mexican economy, and inhibiting the government’s ability to govern has forced President Calderon’s hand to explore the legalization of illegal drugs as a distinct possibly. This concept was immediately acclaimed by former Mexican President Vicente Fox as a good solution to the drug cartel lawlessness.
The collapse of the Mexican government would have disastrous effects on the US, including the unabated flow of drugs through Mexico to the US and an influx of illegal immigrants in numbers never even imagined.

As this reporter has previously written, what happens in Mexico matters.

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Slideshow: An example of weapons captured along the Arizona/Mexico border

Mexico – a narco-state – drugs, gun and cash fuel economy

The lack of main stream media curiosity about the narco-state war being waged in Mexico is unbelievable. More people are dying in Mexico than the war in Afghanistan as the Mexican government wages a daily battle with drug cartels for its sovereignty.

Mexico’s state of lawlessness should be of particular concern to Americans because it’s painfully clear that the porous border is supplanting free trade with drugs, money and weapons for both countries.

Recently America has stepped up its security measures on some fronts but clearly there is still much more work to be done. Much of the billion-dollar drug profits are funding corruption as well as the murders of politicians, judges, lawyers, police, soldiers and thousands of Mexican nationals.

Mexico is on the verge of a serious inflection point and clearly they are under siege from the drug cartels. There is a rapid disintegration of security even in upscale neighborhoods once thought to be secure. Kidnappings and murders are commonplace and the Mexican leadership still has no answer. Since Mexican President Felipe Calderon began his “war on drugs” more than 28,000 people have lost their lives.

And the brutal nature of the violence is spilling into the U.S. at alarming rates. On top of that the majority of the Mexican drug cartels operate freely in every major city within the United States. In the border cities of Juarez, Laredo, and Brownsville, residents complain about gunfire on a regular basis. The drug cartel’s motto of “silver or lead” is a major factor of intimidation that has become an everyday reality. The ability to induce a legitimate government to either accept the silver or risk the bullets leaves Mexico’s citizens powerless in the fight to rid the country of a multi-billion dollar drug industry.

The drug cartels should not to be tolerated; they are intent on the exploitation of drugs, human trafficking and ultimately state control. The American public must understand that the instability in Mexico directly impacts the U.S. and the lack of national security along the southern border presents a larger threat than anything happening in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Speaking of the Middle East wars, the cartels have now introduced Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) to their weapons package and have began to target police as well as federal troops with these terrorist tools of the trade.

At a recent roundtable discussion President Calderon discussed the possibility of legalizing illegal drugs in Mexico and it wasn’t long before former Mexican President Vicente Fox jumped on the bandwagon and called for the legalization of all drugs as a method to end the escalating violence. The impact on the U.S. would be the free and uninhibited movement of illegal drugs across Mexico through the U.S. ports of entry.

What’s more amazing is the President Calderon released a statement today admitting there will be more violence in the coming months. “I don’t rule out that there might be more bouts of violence we’re witnessing and what’s more, the victory we are seeking and will gain is unthinkable without more violence,” he said in a statement.

So far the Mexican government has been slow or unable to freeze cartel bank accounts or even seize the banks that “launder” billions in drug money. Many acknowledge it should be relatively easy to identify the banks providing cover for the murderous cartels as Mexico only has a GDP worth $1.465 trillion.

Bribing federal officials remains a key to the cartel’s success. All levels of government including mayors, political candidates, police, military, and high ranking politicians are extorted or bribed by the drug cartels.

The rule of law in any country is dependent upon the integrity of the system. When the integrity is compromised the entire foundation of the republic begins its inexorable decay until it collapses. Such is the case with Mexico.

The drug war is not fiction; it’s a reality that Mexico is sliding toward a Narco-State and the legalization of illicit drugs will only push that country into further civil unrest. One only needs to look at the drug war waged by the Columbian cartels under the rule of Pablo Escobar in the early 1990s for proof narco-states exist.

Mexico is not alone in the drug frenzy, American’s insatiable appetite for “harmless, recreational” illegal drugs ensures that billions of dollars exchange hands and cement violence in both countries.

Think about the tens of thousands of people who have been tortured, murdered, enslaved, or trafficked so American drug users can get high. Think of the people in Mexico who live in constant fear everyday from bombings, beheadings, kidnappings and brutality the cartel-business plan provides. The attitude or argument that many liberal-minded people invoke that “recreational” drugs are not hurting anybody need only look at the 28,000 deaths our neighbor to the south has suffered in the last four years.

Mexican citizens face gruesome headlines everyday like; “Disappearance of Mayor confirmed (a few days later he was found tortured and murdered); Cuidad Juarez records new violence record (1,852 people murdered in first half of 2010).

Nuevo Leon, is a northern state where both Monterrey and Santiago upscale communities are located, unfortunately they have seen a sharp increase in crime due to the fact that the most violent drug cartel, Los Zetas, moved into the region. For Mexico the safe zones are rapidly disappearing.

As a result, transnational citizens are purchasing U.S. property along the southern border to insure safe passage of drugs into the American market, making billions and sending satchels of money back to Mexico where the country continues to teeter on the brink of poverty and all out war.

During this time of incredible violence President Calderon is blaming America for not increasing its drug interdiction budget-this amounts to a typical third world shake down for U.S. money.

Mexico exports millions of tons of cocaine, marijuana and meth across, under and around its border with the U.S. and then Mexican citizens send billions of dollars per year in illegal currency via wire transfers from the U.S. to Mexico to further exploit its citizens.

Now leadership in Mexico wants America to stop the flow of weapons and money that flows south. Currently the average wait to enter the U.S. via car from Mexico is well over an hour and for those heading south into Mexico it’s 5 minutes at best. Mexico doesn’t provide much border security at the ports of entry as well as the fence structures are provided and maintained by the U.S.

There is no question our neighbor to the south is literally fighting for its life, but it’s up to Mexico to control its drug cartel problem. Equally important is the U.S. federal government’s responsibility to secure the nation’s borders and stop the northward flow of illegal drugs.

In order to move forward the Mexican government needs to offer more economic security to its citizens so they can turn their backs on the drug pushers and move towards a strong trade partnership similar to the one America enjoys with Canada our neighbor to the north.

The Mexican cartel wars cannot be won without a concerted effort by both Mexico and the U.S. The myth that these illegal drugs are “recreational” and harmless must be confronted as forcefully as possible by America through awareness and enforcement.

The U.S. must close the border and force individuals and cargoes to pass through inspection sites at ports-of-entry. Mexico must guard its own ports-of-entry to reduce the flow of weapons and cash into Mexico.

Cash is king for a reason, it provides access and enforcement. Mexico must seize laundered money being sanitized for entry back into the legitimate marketplace. Without cash the cartels cannot operate, but conversely, with the volumes of cash being generated, it is impossible to hide the hundreds of billions moving through Mexican banks each year.

Perhaps Mexico could declare martial law for a few years to root-out the cartels and destroy them. The alternative of legalizing these drugs by Mexico would result in catastrophic results for America and would immediately expand the reach of the cartels into the U.S. A failure to act and to act in a rigorous effort will merely force the cartels into new sanctuaries in Central and South America and continue to expand the lure of human traffickers into the North.

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National security flaws shine through at a yearly security Congressional meeting

There are many reasons applicants are denied the right to carry a hand gun, prior brushes with the law, inconsistent legal records or lack of need, however in San Diego it appears if they just don’t like you your conceal carry permit application it is stamped – DENIED.

It’s true California is a liberal state and as such keeps a close eye on the state’s gun owners, however, San Diego takes exception to what constitutes residency in order to prevent gun owners from legally carrying their weapon. As a result, Edward Peruta has filed a lawsuit against San Diego County and Sheriff William Gore – leveling some precedent setting charges.

Peruta, a Connecticut native, owns home in several states (including California), calls himself a liberal Democrat and is a firm believer in the Second Amendment and finds it odd that he is having so many troubles in San Diego.

“I guess you could say my wife sums it up best, California seems to follow the ‘rules de jour,’” Peruta said.

His San Diego saga began when he and his wife decided to take their home on the road, a motor home that is. When the Peruta’s made the decision to travel across the country law enforcement officers encouraged him to carry a firearm for protection.

“It seemed plausible enough, we were traveling in a vehicle with only one exit, carrying quite a bit of cash and would pass through areas where cell phone coverage would be spotty,” Peruta explained. “So I naturally looked into what the process was for states around the country and put together a piecemeal gun owner application process in the states I owned homes. I wanted to make sure I was covered wherever I traveled.”

His logic garnered him three conceal carry permits in the states of Connecticut, Florida and Utah. In each state he went through the application process that included references and background checks. Smooth sailing for Peruta in other states would not meet with the same result in San Diego.

“I knew there was going to be trouble when I turned in my application at the San Diego Sheriff’s office and they denied me before they even took my application! I was stunned by their lack of candor,” Peruta explains.

According to the San Diego Sheriff’s paperwork they received Peruta’s application and he was interviewed by Donna Burns, a licensed supervisor on November 17, 2008. During the initial phase of the CCW application process Burns advised him he did not meet the criteria for a CCW license and was denied the ability to turn in an application.

“I wasn’t happy about the decision and returned in December to talk to Blanca Pelowitz, a manager, who concurred with her staff that I did not qualify to even hand in my application for processing,” he said.

At this point his career in journalism kicked in and he insisted the Sheriff’s Department take his application, his references and required fees.

In paperwork obtained from Peruta, the San Diego Sheriff ‘s office had this to say. “Despite the fact Peruta was told he did not meet the criteria for a CCW license Peruta insisted this office accept his application. Peruta was advised that no monies would be refunded once his application was accepted.”

Houston we have a problem, collecting 100 percent of the fees and not refunding money is against California Penal Code.

This is where the San Diego Sheriff Department ‘s claim begins to unravel. The psychic abilities of the San Diego Sheriff’s office are amazing. Apparently they can predict which CCW applications will be approved and those that won’t without reading and checking completed CCW applications.

One of the main sticking points for San Diego Sheriff employees is the fact Peruta lives in his motor home at Campland on the Bay in San Diego, from November 15 to April 15 each year. The department balks at Peruta’s residence even though he has presented paperwork for the last two years, fulfilling the residency requirement the Sheriff Department claims is mandatory for a successful application.

The lawsuit Peruta filed will tackle the residency issue San Diego is claiming as the leading indicator for denial of his CCW permit. The thorough process the SD Sheriff’s office says they completed did not include contacting the plaintiff’s eight character references, including three law enforcement officers, disregarding the three states that have issued CCW permits to Peruta already and looking at the “good cause” aspects in connected to the CCW submitted application.

Wording contained in the Second Amendment lawsuit stipulated Peruta provided all the required information necessary for a successful application. Mr. Peruta also turned in a completed and certified National Rifles Association (NRA) Basic Pistol Safety Course, an eight-hour Firearms Safety Proficiency Certificate, Good Cause and Durational Residency in San Diego, yet he was still turned down.

San Diego Sheriff candidate, Jay LaSuer, who is running against Gore in the upcoming election, has made many statements about the CCW process and has openly endorsed a “shall issue” stance. “If a person can pass a background check and is a law abiding citizen they ‘shall’ receive a CCW license,” LaSuer explains. “When you have a Sheriff like Gore who doesn’t understand the law, how can you expect him to apply it?”

The County and Sheriff’s Department have requested the case be dismissed, however the law remains on Peruta’s side and he is prepared to take this all the way. “I’ve discussed this with my attorney and we will take it to the Supreme Court if we need to,” he candidly said.

Looking down the road Peruta remains confident. “I never thought of anything but winning, and often think of the people who don’t know how to litigate or don’t have the personal funds or funding sources to solve their problems. I wasn’t looking for a legal fight with San Diego but couldn’t walk away given the facts and circumstances. I have the facts, knowledge, finances and legal resources to address this issue.”

What does Peruta want to happen as a result of the lawsuit? He hopes the staff of the San Diego Sheriff’s Department becomes educated, by court order or agreement if need be in how to read and implement provisions of the California Penal Code and make decisions based on the exact wording contained in the state law. He says it’s important for public employees regardless of the public agency they work for to listen, and treat individuals with the respect they deserve.

The continued disconnect between ‘real America’ and ‘bureaucratic America’ creates an unnecessary barrier for Joe taxpayer the result often ends with a lawsuit. “I would like public employees to stop adding or using words which are not contained in the law when making decisions,” Peruta explains.

Looking to change the way the San Diego Sheriff’s office does business is priority number one for Peruta, but the fact that many California residents don’t understand the law as it is written means they rely on public officials to be truthful during the application process.

“I believe that if this case is not settled and finds its way for whatever reason to a higher court, it has the potential to impact the right to bear arms across the country for countless law abiding individuals. I’d like to believe that this case will clarify and correct the current pattern of abuse which exists in the State of California regarding CCW licenses,” Peruta says.

At a minimum, Peruta would like to obtain and possess a government issued CCW permit, to exercise his second amendment right to defend himself and family members if necessary in California and receive compensation for the substantial amount of legal fees this case is sure to generate.

The San Diego Sheriff’s Department was contacted to respond to this lawsuit and have refused to respond.

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