Colosimo’s Closing Up Shop

His attorney says he’s going to close. ATF is planning to revoke his FFL, and he does not plan to contest it. He’s still apparently debating whether he’s going to fight the criminal charge against his corporation.

Federal authorities began investigating Colosimo’s after the protests, and the ATF since has filed a notice to revoke his federal license to sell firearms, said Colosimo’s attorney, Joe Canuso.

So ATF didn’t inspect this guy until after the protests? That must be how he kept the FFL for so long. If ATF is doing a retrospective paperwork inspection, how are they determining that the sale was to a straw buyer, and that it was willful? It would be one thing if they conducted a sting, but if ATF is just now looking through his paperwork, how is intent being determined? Is it similar to ATFs traditional approach, which is if it was an error in paperwork, it clearly had to have been willful? How often does ATF find paperwork problems at other FFLs it inspects that don’t end up facing charges? These aren’t just semantics. The section of the United States Code the corporation is charged under is Title 18, Chapter 44, 922(m):

It shall be unlawful for any licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector knowingly to make any false entry in, to fail to make appropriate entry in, or to fail to properly maintain, any record which he is required to keep pursuant to section 923 of this chapter or regulations promulgated thereunder.

The statute requires intention to violate, so the United States would need to have evidence that that there was intent to commit a violation. What’s the evidence of that? These are questions that deserve an answer, but we will never find out of Mr. Colosimo doesn’t contest the charges against his company. If the charges are true, fine, plead guilty, by all means. But if they are false, the federal government should be forced to meet its burden before a judge and jury.

3 thoughts on “Colosimo’s Closing Up Shop”

  1. Intent?

    Sebastian, the key phrase is here:

    to fail to make appropriate entry in, or to fail to properly maintain,

    That doesn’t require intent.

    Any FFL that sells any reasonable amount of guns (say, 75 or more a month) has any employee turnover, and has had more than one person in their bound books has “fail(ed) to make appropriate entry in, or fail(ed) to properly maintain,” their bound books. Period. The “zero-tolerance for error” compliance standard is such that a rigidly-enforced compliance inspection could shut down any FFL at any time.

  2. I could be wrong, but very little in federal criminal law is strict liability. Without Congress explicitly removing mens rea, federal criminal provisions require a guilty mind.

    My understand is this is not true for administrative or for minor actions like imposition of a civil penalty.

    That’s not to say that your overall statement isn’t correct, because intent to commit a crime is something you can prove without having the defendant come out and say “I intended to commit a crime.” but at least in theory they can’t prosecute based solely on a missing 4473 or an entry missing in an A&D record. Though they can revoke a license for these things.

  3. It seems to me the ATF and FBI want us to start acquiring our weapons from the black market. No problem there for me. I can obtain fully automatic weapons from the black market. If that’s what they really want… Maybe some of those automatic assault weapons allegedly being sold over the counter to straw purchasers that DHS says end up in Mexico’s drug cartels possession.

    Works for me.

    Nex ut Tyrannus!

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