It seems shocking that it would take a federal appellate court to remind prosecutors and district judges that the prosecution should have to prove all elements of a crime in order to gain a conviction, but such is the case of US v. Fries, which essentially rules that prosecutors don’t get a pass on whether or not the parties involved in an unlawful interstate transfer had FFLs or not. They have to prove they did not. From the Annual Law Seminar Facebook page:
This case was supported by the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund.
A win in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals involving an undercover ATF investigation at a gun show. The government carries the burden of proof in this statute.
“The plain language of § 922(a)(5) clearly requires the government to prove, as an essential element of the offense, that neither the defendant nor the nonresident to whom the defendant allegedly transferred the weapon possessed an FFL at the time of the transfer.”
I say it’s a minor victory, because it just seems obvious. If this had gone the other way, the courts would have essentially rewritten the law to create a new crime that Congress did not. A minor victory, but one that avoided a major loss. What’s shocking is how many anti-gun people don’t think we have any kind of point with this stuff. The ATF and the US Attorneys can do no wrong, and there’s nothing too horrible that can be done to the American Gun Owner if it helps save the life of Just.One.Child.