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How About Some Prosecution?

This Umass student committed a federal crime, namely buying a long gun out of state in a private sale. While you may buy long guns out of state in from a federally licensed dealer, any transfer between non-licenees has to happen through an FFL if the residents are of a different state.

If I did this, and bragged about it here, I’d get busted. Let’s see some justice. Ironically, the person who sold him the gun did not commit a felony, since he did not know he sold a gun to someone who wasn’t a New Hampshire resident. But the student here most definitely did commit a felony.

So what was that again about weak gun laws?

UPDATE: I should note this is a bit of “trying to make a point.”  I actually don’t think this kid’s life ought to be ruined because he violated an unjust law. What I’d like him to do is recognize the law is unjust. I do not think the US Attorney for Massachusetts should treat him any differently than he would any other gun owner in Massachusetts, but I think offering a plea deal to avoid jail time would be fair. He’ll have a federal gun felony on his record, but hey, I don’t make the laws, you know.

UPDATE: Also notice in the video he freely admits that no one would sell him a handgun. The best he managed is a break action double barrel bird gun.

UPDATE: Maybe not a crime. Some more confusion over our federal gun laws that ordinary people with no legal training are expected to follow or face multi-year prison sentences from the felony rap. Still want to argue that guns aren’t regulated enough Mr. Daniel Entrinkin?

17 Responses to “How About Some Prosecution?”

  1. Ian Argent says:

    The comments are nailing him hard. I am of two minds; but in the end I think he should be prosecuted.

  2. I think he should be prosecuted too.

  3. gene says:

    Just wondering- did any of mayor Bloombergs people make an out of state private purchase?

  4. SayUncle says:

    “any transfer between non-licenees has to happen through an FFL if the residents are of a different state.”

    I did not know that at the fed level.

  5. mobo says:

    I doubt any prosecutor will pursue this. It’s likely that the sale never actually took place, and this kid is making the whole story up. Even if he really did buy the gun, why would our evil fedgov bother to prosecute someone who is trying to help them get what they’ve always wanted?

  6. Patrick says:

    It _appears_ that he’s from Medfield, MA, assuming he’s the Dean’s List student listed on this page: http://www.wickedlocal.com/medfield/news/education/x757554008/Student-standouts.

  7. Sebastian says:

    He says in the video he’s not a NH resident. I think his lawyer must have told him if he disposed of the shotgun in New Hampshire, it would all be legal. That’s not the case, however. It’s illegal for someone to purchase a gun from anyone other than an FFL if they are purchasing it from a resident of another state.

    If nothing happens to this kid, I’m going to assume he made the whole thing up, and the shotgun either isn’t his, or it’s something his family legally possesses in Massachusetts.

  8. BC says:

    I was initially confident that he violated 18 USC § 922(a)(3), but now I’m not so sure. An out-of-state buyer doesn’t commit a crime merely by buying a gun from somebody who isn’t an FFL. He only commits a crime by transporting or receiving the purchased gun across state lines except through an FFL. (The seller, of course, violates 18 USC § 922(a)(5) by selling to somebody he knows or has reason to know is an out-of-state resident; while the statute doesn’t require sellers to check ID, not doing so is asking for trouble.)

    So if the “local police” that sonny turned the bird gun over to were New Hampshire cops, then he’s probably okay. But if he took it back to Amherst with him and turned it in to Massachusetts cops, well, then he’s admitted to committing a federal felony.

  9. Daniel Entrikin says:

    Yeah, I’m from Mass. I of course would not bring the gun across state lines. I’ve done my research better than that.

    To answer your question, yes, it doesn’t seem that guns are very regulated. I got one quite easily. I shouldn’t have been able to. I could have been a violent criminal, or mentally ill. A background check would have shed light on that, in addition to my out-of-state residency.

    I don’t think it’s enough to slap penalties on possession. When I drove back to school, I managed to not get pulled over. I wouldn’t have been caught. The real problem is that I could get the gun. At the very least, it shows that some sellers are willing to break laws at shows.

  10. Sebastian says:

    Yes, Daniel, but these laws send non-criminals to jail at a much higher rate than they send criminals, largely because, as you said, criminals don’t buy their guns through legal channels. You did your research, and consulted with an attorney. Your average gun owners don’t often do that, and end up felons when they trip over one of these technicalities.

    You want universal background checks, I’m willing to talk, but there will be an awful lot I will ask for in return for that. Are you willing to talk about it?

  11. Mike says:

    Hey Daniel, I read somewhere that there are people who drive after drinking heavily. That shows that some drivers are willing to break the laws. By your logic, that means we need to make more laws targeting law abiding drivers.

    And from what you describe, none of the sellers broke the law. They’re not required to verify your identity (in NH). The reason there isn’t a national law regulating INTRASTATE face-to-face firearms transfers is because there can’t be. The federal government doesn’t have that power. See: commerce clause.

  12. Ian Argent says:

    Mandatory background check is incompatible with private sale due to privacy issues – there’s no way to have a non-burdensome background check mechanism that does not expose the buyer’s private information to the seller; and therefore can be leveraged to leak private information to a mailicious user of the system (say, an identity thief). As it is, a FFL’s bound books and 4473 records must present a juicy target to identity thieves, and outside of certain (narrow) high-risk lifestyle/professional choices we’re far more likely to be targets of identity theft than gun violence.

    Mandatory background check kills private sale. Period – there’s no way to secure the system against malicious use if there is no authentication for the seller. And lack of private sale increases the cost of low-end guns.

    An example from my own experience – I know a guy who wants to sell a rifle; but he lives in a different state. I cannot (legally) purchase that rifle from him – we would have to engage the services of a FFL. That FFL is going to charge for the background check and a fee for his time. Around here that’s going to end up being the best part of $75. Which would about double what he wants for the rifle. And increase the hassle enormously since we have to go to someone with a fixed place of business.

  13. Sebastian says:

    Mandatory background check is incompatible with private sale due to privacy issues – there’s no way to have a non-burdensome background check mechanism that does not expose the buyer’s private information to the seller; and therefore can be leveraged to leak private information to a mailicious user of the system (say, an identity thief)

    Actually, there is, if you engineer the system properly, which NICS is not.

  14. Ian Argent says:

    You’d have to have instantaneous, non-falsifiable, secure authentication for both parties (with the authentication information being securable FROM either party), or accept fraudulent use of the system. I submit that being able to find out if someone is a prohibited person fraudulently is a negative outcome…

    Instantaneous, non-falsifiable authentication is effectively impossible, BTW. Much less the securability of info from the participants. The current system is not targeted for abuse because abuse of the system can be traced, only certain FFLs have access to NICS.

    And it has to be free or *very* nominal cost at the transaction point. Not going to happen.

    Either I can generate a fraudulent “sale” to find out if my neighbor is a prohibited person (and get that info with no context; either – did he hold up a bank 5 years ago and was paroled out, or did he yell at his girlfriend in high school and was forced to accept a misdemeanor DV conviction and was lautenberged?) or I can capture verified indentity information (name and SSN/Driver’s license# and address) for each sale of a firearm. Sure, it’s all kinds of illegal to be in the business of selling firearms without an FFL; but I just need to sell one firearm to the right person – if they pay by check I have WAY more than enough information to clear out their bank account through a little social engineering. You can’t trace me by my gun purchases – the feds can’t keep a registry of firearms, and it’s trivial to structure my purchases in such a way as to avoid tripping flags in the BG check system. Would take about a year, probably, to accumulate enough firearms “legally” to be worth opening a table at the local show (make sure there’s something “collectible” about them to be on the safe side, not terribly hard; and you don’t even have to worry about tripping flags. “Yes, Mr. Federal Agent, I was siezed by a burning desire to collect Saturday Night Specials”.). Then, when the jackboots come by and ask why I dumped 20-odd firearms in a day, I tell them I liquidated my collection on account of needing the money. If I’m smart enough to pour piss out of a boot without instructions on the heel, I stole someone’s identity (or identities) to purchase the handguns in the first place, and the question never arises.

    Giving up the information necessary to do an accurate background check is giving up enough information to allow identity thieves to clean you out to the pocket lint. There is no way to design a system that would both allow a private seller to run a BG check on their own *and* to secure that information from the seller. There is no way for the buyer to know that the seller is who he says he is.

    I grant that most criminals AREN’T smart enough to pour piss out of a boot *with* the instructions printed on the heel; but identity theft is a much bigger problem that firearms violence.

  15. BC says:

    I of course would not bring the gun across state lines. I’ve done my research better than that.

    So if you’re such a careful researcher, what’s your excuse for persisting in slinging around the “gun show loophole” line of BS?

  16. Mike says:

    I was just thinking.. I wonder if the GFSZA applies, if he drove that shotgun around in a locked container, or if he made sure to stay 1000 feet away from any schools. Yet another way to become an insta-felon.

  17. Sebastian says:

    Maybe, but GFSZA is a hard thing to prove. You have to prove that not only did he possess the gun in a school zone, but that he knew he possessed a gun within a school zone.

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