Bias? What Bias?

From the Washington Post reporter James Grimaldi:

The controversy highlights the difficulty ATF agents face in complex cases against increasingly sophisticated gunrunning rings, said former and current government officials. Because of weak gun laws and investigative limitations imposed at the urging of the gun lobby, many gunrunning cases end with little more than paperwork violations against buyers who procure guns for others. Such so-called straw purchaser cases rarely amount to more than charges of lying on federal documents.

Not only bias, but ignorance. Is Mr. Grimaldi aware of what the penalty is for lying on those documents? The crime is to be found in 18 USC 922(a)(6):

It shall be unlawful for any person in connection with the acquisition or attempted acquisition of any firearm or ammunition from a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector, knowingly to make any false or fictitious oral or written statement or to furnish or exhibit any false, fictitious, or misrepresented identification, intended or likely to deceive such importer, manufacturer, dealer, or collector with respect to any fact material to the lawfulness of the sale or other disposition of such firearm or ammunition under the provisions of this chapter;

Penalties can be found in 18 USC 924:

(2) Whoever knowingly violates subsection (a)(6), (d), (g), (h), (i), (j), or (o) of section 922 shall be fined as provided in this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.

It’s unlikely you’ll do 10 years for robbing a bank in this country, so I think to characterize the crime here as “little more than paperwork violations,” is ignorant at best, and deliberately disingenuous at worst. These are serious federal crimes, and despite what Mr. Grimaldi would have you believe, neither NRA, or the vast majority of gun owners, have ever voiced objections to using these laws to prosecute criminal traffickers of firearms. In fact, we’ve encouraged the law to be used in this manner.

6 thoughts on “Bias? What Bias?”

  1. I’m known to spout off on subjects I don’t know much about, but the ignorance of anti-gun bloggers, like the two most recent Japete and Bjorn Odinsson(?), and journalists on the subject of existing gun laws goes beyond appalling.

    They are willing to get up in arms without actually checking if their concern or “reasonable idea” actually exists or has any data accumulated. Not that that’s unique to them but they chose this cause, you think they might have read a book or something.

  2. It’s unlikely you’ll do 10 years for robbing a bank in this country

    It depends. In Virginia, bank robbery is a Class 2 Felony, which means 20 years to life (Va. Code Sec. 18.2-93 and 18.2-10). On the other hand, our legal system has gotten so watered down that you’re probably right – a bank robber probably wouldn’t get even half the maximum sentence.

    On the gripping hand, it carries the same potential penalty as voluntary manslaughter (Sec. 18.2-35, Class 5, 1-10 years). Which means you could receive the same punishment for a mere paperwork violation as you could for actually killing someone.

  3. Wow. The Press is really working overtime to save the ATF from the ‘Fast and Furious’ scandal, aren’t they?

    Too bad for the ATF they can’t count on the same kind of support from Congressional committees anymore, eh?


  4. Looks like Grimaldi removed the “because of weak gun laws” statements. Shows good on his part.

  5. Carl

    Not removed! Now with a link to an earlier Post story which whines about ATF’s limited power to regulate guns! It’s a new attempt to push back against Sebastian’s criticism of the original “weak laws” statement.

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