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Case of ‘jihadist’ murder suspect shows another gun law failure

Ammunition like these 9mm cartridges, headstamped "FC 9mm Luger" were recovered at two Seattle murder sites, published reports say.
Ammunition like these 9mm cartridges, headstamped "FC 9mm Luger" were recovered at two Seattle murder sites, published reports say.
Dave Workman

Today’s Seattle Times report about the self-styled “jihadist” murder suspect in killings that occurred in Seattle and New Jersey carries tidbits that most people might overlook, but serve as more proof that gun laws, including a proposal for a so-called “universal background check,” are inherently doomed to failure.

Ali Muhammad Brown, whom the Times describes as “a self-proclaimed Muslim jihadist,” is the suspect in three Seattle-area homicides earlier this year and the killing of a New Jersey man on June 25. The Los Angeles Times is reporting today that he “took responsibility for each shooting.” He is currently being held in lieu of $5 million bail.

One thing tying the murders of Skyway resident Leroy Henderson in April and the June 1 killings of Dwone Anderson-Young and Ahmed Said is shell casings found at both sites. Similar spent casings, stamped “FC 9mm Luger” were recovered.

In the firearms community, that’s known as the head stamp for Federal Cartridge 9mm ammunition. Federal is one of the nation’s “Top Three” ammunition manufacturers, producing ammunition for sportsmen, competitors and law enforcement. Federal makes quality ammunition for shotguns, rifles and handguns, used by law-abiding citizens and police all over the country. It is a private company, not a government entity.

The newspaper also says that a lab test done by New Jersey authorities indicates that the same gun was used in that state’s killing — for which Brown is now being held — as was used in the three Washington murders. According to the Los Angeles Times, investigators believe he stole the handgun, and a car, from the woman who is the mother of his children; so much for background checks.

At the time of the slayings, Brown was already a convicted felon, barred from possessing firearms. He did time for bank fraud and was wanted for failure to register as a sex offender, the Times reported.

This case also demonstrates that much-ballyhooed “gun buy-backs” don’t necessarily disarm criminals, who aren’t going to give up their firearm for a tennis shoe gift certificate. Further, it shows that guns held illegally in one jurisdiction can be held just as illegally in another jurisdiction a continent away, and used in random crimes. Laws disarming potential victims make that kind of viciousness easier, gun rights advocates contend.

New Jersey has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation. It is nearly impossible for a law-abiding citizen to get a carry permit, and out of the question for someone with Brown’s record to be carrying legally. Yet people get shot in New Jersey frequently by other people who aren’t deterred by gun laws, or the basic principles of a civilized society.

Another chilling consideration is Brown’s alleged justification. He’s a “jihadist.” He reportedly told investigators that the Washington and New Jersey slayings were “just kills” done “in retaliation for actions by the U.S. Government in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan,” according to the detailed story written by veteran Times reporter Christine Clarridge.

That takes on a frightful new meaning in the wake of this week’s grisly beheading of American freelance journalist James Foley, allegedly in retaliation for U.S. air strikes against ISIS terrorists in Iraq. Bad enough such gruesome killings occur anywhere, but for a murder suspect to allegedly use retaliation as an excuse to murder total strangers on U.S. soil is ample argument against efforts to unilaterally disarm private citizens via restrictive gun control laws.

Brown will have his days in court, and he could face the death penalty in Washington. Anyone who believes one more restrictive gun law could have prevented the crimes for which he is charged, and has allegedly taken credit for, just might be self-delusional.

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