Guns

When Guns Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Who Pay Off the Cops Will Have Guns (Puerto Rico Edition)

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Puerto Rico has restrictive firearms laws. Getting a concealed carry permit to legally tote a handgun is an arbitrary affair that largely comes down to a matter of knowing the right people. As with all laws that give government officials the authority to dispense favors, this creates an opportunity for a market—and Lieutenant Sergio Calderón-Marrero, head of the Puerto Rico Police Department's Bayamón Criminal Investigations Corps, is just the sort of guy to introduce supply to demand. Unfortunately, federal officials don't care for those sort of shortcuts, and the former police lieutenant has been arrested and indicted.

From the United States District Attorney's Office for the District of Puerto Rico:

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On Thursday, December 11, 2014, a federal grand jury returned a 17-count indictment against former Lieutenant and head of Bayamón CIC, Puerto Rico Police Department Sergio Calderón-Marrero for conspiracy to commit identity fraud, unlawful production of identification documents, aggravated identity theft, attempted witness tampering and attempted obstruction of justice, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) are in charge of the investigation.

Calderón-Marrero would obtain forged firearms handling course certificates, forge signatures of his clients, and use the notary seal of a deceased Attorney and Notary Public to circumvent the appropriate legal process and obtain Concealed Carry Weapons Permits illegally for his clients.

The feds say that over the course of two years, from 2012 to early 2014, Calderón-Marrero pulled in $105,000 from his extracurricular business activities. They, rather unkindly, want to deprive him of his proceeds.

Officials like Calderón-Marrero who lubricate the wheels of restrictive regimes and intrusive laws with the grease of corruption make life more livable for many people in a multitude of jurisdictions. Admittedly they're a second best to not having restrictive regimes and intrusive laws to begin with.

But officials like Calderón-Marrero are certainly preferable to honest and sincere enforcers of authoritarianism, as C.S. Lewis noted:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

Spare us the tyranny, please, but if we can't be spared that, let it be enforced by the likes of Calderón-Marrero, from whom a little breathing room can at least be purchased.

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  1. Pay attention, coppers:

    If you murder a civilian, you will suffer no adverse consequences.
    If you assist civilians in procuring weapons to be used in their own self defense, you will be dealt with harshly.

    Fucking incentives- how do they work?

  2. Note the significant overlap between people who think police forces are riddled with racism and brutal abuse of power and those who are appalled by the idea of a citizenry armed for their own self defense. The latter think people’s only possible resort to thuggish threats should be to call the police they concede are so bad. Sheesh

    1. Re: Bo Cara Esq.

      Note the significant overlap between people who think police forces are riddled with racism and brutal abuse of power and those who are appalled by the idea of a citizenry armed for their own self defense.

      Slaves don’t want to be free, they just want their slave-drivers to be more sensitive and caring. That’s all.

    2. You see, the people cannot be trusted with arms because they’re stupid and emotional. I mean, if you’re an emotional boob who can’t be trusted with a gun, then you naturally feel that everyone else is the same way. Well, except for people in government. They have had training. So they’re different.

      As far as racism and abuse of power in police forces goes, that’s only because they don’t have the power to stop it. I mean, how else can problems with government be fixed except with more government?

      It all makes sense if you just emote. Don’t think. Emote. Feel. See?

  3. Unfortunately, federal officials don’t care for those sort of shortcuts

    Unless they’re somehow cut in on action.

  4. Puerto Rico has restrictive firearms laws. Getting a concealed carry permit to legally tote a handgun is an arbitrary affair that largely comes down to a matter of knowing the right people.

    Almost like anything else that has to do with procuring the government’s permission for anything.

    During the 80s in Mexico, there was a crusade to end government corruption while at the same time reduce the paperwork required for most applications for licences and permits. The latter was called administrative simplification while the former was called moral conscience (or something). Then started to circulate a joke about the traffic cops stopping drivers for minor infractions and saying “So, do you want administrative simplification? That will be fifty pesos, but if you want moral conscience, here’s your ticket.”

  5. Corruption is just how markets self-correct. It’s as natural as rivers overflowing their concrete channels.

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  7. point of order:

    I just want to point out that corruption always runs to the top.

    It’s just a matter of who the clientelle is.

    Serving regular individuals is too low to have any real power. When it is in conflict with the underboss, or the capo, or the capo di tutti, then our friend becomes a problem. Someone gotta go down there and take care a that thing.

    That old mental model of corruption as a release valve doesn’t work for me anymore. It’s more about getting someone to swing a taste my way.

  8. This is a false allegation, all a lie to try to pin conspiracy where there is none. Before y’all start talking look up the facts, get familiar with the story and then judge. This here happen to be my father. A retired Lieutenant of 34 yrs in the Police Force. Being thrown to the public eyes, damaging his legacy and his name because of people he happened to come across. The story starts with a Conspiracy Scheme a Puerto Rico Lawyer was involved with. Because it was a known Lawyers his face went public and some of the people that were involved with him in one way or another were taken into custody. My father has NEVER done anything to jeopardize his career or his name. That to him is priceless. Unlike what the Feds are saying, in Puerto Rico laws are not like here in the US in PR they use what they call “Facilitators” which are the face of the law to deal with this type of transactions which is what my father has been doing for years. If it was illegal why did everyone and I mean everyone know? I knew, his friends, coworkers, excoworkers, neighbors, employees they all knew……..does that sound like someone that is hiding something??? No, I don’t think so! There’s Always going to be that rotten Apple that wants all the others to Rot with them. But reality of it is it’s that HE DID NOT DO IT! I know police have been in bad eyes lately but there is good cops my father and stepfather included who stand for something different!!!

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