Text of Trafficking Law

It’s hard to see any gotcha’s with the text of this proposed anti-trafficking law, in terms of ensnaring otherwise law-abiding individuals, but as the commenter who posted it noted, it’s also hard to see what this criminalizes that’s not already criminalized. Disposing of one firearm, let alone two firearms, to someone the person knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is prohibited from possessing the firearm, is a felony punishable by ten years. The proposed crime reaches the organizer of such sales, but it’s hard to see how conspiracy wouldn’t reach those individuals under current laws.

The only place I can see this coming into play, where current laws don’t necessarily apply, is if you’re transferring the firearm to someone who you know will use or dispose of it unlawfully, but is not otherwise prohibited from purchasing a firearm. But again, it’s hard to see how this could not be reached by conspiracy. If you know, or have reasonable cause to believe, that your act is going to aid in the furtherance a crime, you’re reachable under conspiracy.

So this statute is, to be blunt, a joke. I can’t see this has any purpose short of trying to divert attention away from the Fast and Furious scandal, and to try deflect blame for the DOJ’s criminal mishandling of the program, and their abysmal record of prosecuting traffickers under existing law. This is a dog and pony show put on by the Democrats to try to blame Fast and Furious on the gun laws, and it’s blatantly transparent.

24 thoughts on “Text of Trafficking Law”

  1. I disagree. the part about carrying illegally is a catch all for people lik em in Illinois or other may issue states where they just won’t issue a permit.

    the other part of “knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that” was a chatch all they tried to use in the Chicago suits against gun shops for vague comments made at the gun counter.

    “ORGANIZER.—It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly direct, promote, or facilitate conduct that violates subsection (a).”

    the y will use this to go after gun show operators. remember the power to indict is the power to destroy — even if you did nothing wrong.

  2. It shall be unlawful for any person…to transfer or otherwise dispose of to 1 or more individuals, 2 or more firearms…knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such conduct will result in the disposing of 1 or more such firearms to [a prohibited person.]

    This seems to suggest that the bill would create another “layer” of straw purchasing, so that it would be a crime to transfer guns to a non-prohibited person if you know or suspect he’ll then transfer them to a prohibited person.

    I could just be botching the Legal to English translation.

  3. Elmo:

    That layer already exists under conspiracy.

    If person A and person B are non-prohibited, but person C is, and person B plans to sell person C the gun, but needs to first get it from person A. If person A knows about the intended sale by person B to person C, person A is still reachable under conspiracy, under current law. And under the existing law and the new law, if person A did not know anything about the intended sale between person B and C, it’s not a conspiracy and he’s not liable, because he did not know.

  4. Also, I think on second look I was misreading it. The phrasing is ambiguous in plain English, but I think I see what they’re getting at in Legal. My mistake.

  5. Todd:

    I do believe they could abuse the statute in that respect, but they could also use existing law for that as well.

  6. Looks like it is ripe for an amendment for Nationwide Concealed Carry Reciprocity or National Constitutional Carry.

  7. “ORGANIZER.—It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly direct, promote, or facilitate conduct that
    violates subsection ”

    That means it would be illegal for DOJ & ATF (As it is now) to run Operation Fast & Furious, right?

    I don’t see the monetary punishment? Right now is up to $250K. They would get a freebie now?

  8. This law couldn’t be used to prosecute anyone for any offenses from Fast and Furious, due to our Constitution’s Article 1 Section 9 Clause 3: “No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.”

    There are plenty of laws the straw buyers have already violated to put them in jail for many years.

    The interesting point is the difference between the anti-rights and the pro-rights side.. “Pass more laws” vs “enforce the laws on the books.” The AFT/DOF is currently at the lowest point of prosecuting firearms offenses in 10+ years. http://trac.syr.edu/tracreports/crim/249/

  9. Looks like another case of making it “double secret illegal” like that McCarthy/Gillibrand collaboration a little while back.

    Just a thought, maybe the idea is to keep pushing this illusion that we have no gun laws to the ill-informed. If you introduce “A bill to prohibit firearms trafficking”, some people will think firearms trafficking is currently legal- naturally because of the NRA.

  10. If you introduce “A bill to prohibit firearms trafficking”, some people will think firearms trafficking is currently legal- naturally because of the NRA.

    Yep. I don’t think that motivation should be discounted.

  11. Prohibited from carrying a gun -or- prohibited from possessing?

    Setting aside the definition of “prohibited” (post adjudication or simply no carry option available by law?) won’t that impact gifts to minors who, in many states, have no carry rights?

  12. As long as we’re speculating, I could imagine a creative NJ prosecutor using the carry clause to harass a gun store. “What did you _expect_ the customer to do with a ‘concealed carry pistol’?”

    I don’t honestly think these lawmakers are as clever as all that, though. I look forward to commentary from people better versed in the law than I am, but on first blush this bill looks like it may not be specifically intended to screw gun owners. It may be specifically crafted to do nothing noteworthy, so that NRA won’t oppose it. The people pushing for it have been trying to push the “Congressmen are scared to stand up to the NRA” meme, in which context they probably expect this thing can be sold as a victory to their base.

    “The NRA paralyzed Congress all last year, blocking all attempts at common-sense gun control, but I fought ceaselessly for this landmark anti-trafficking bill…”

    The same tack could be used by anti-gun groups to deceive potential donors, and the administration could use it to deflect uncomfortable questions about Gunwalker at the podium. “I share your concern about that, which is why I’ve signed a comprehensive anti-trafficking bill into law. Next question.”

  13. Nope this law will never see the light of day, which they already know, it merely provides a set of “approved” talking points that Democrats can use to show how the “evil” grandma killing Republicans are out to destroy America. That way they can conveniently forget to discuss the out-of-control spending or economic doom that they policies have placed the country in.

  14. Opps, also forgot to mention that they can skirt the topic of Fast & Furious, led by a Democrat controlled Justice & State Dept, & tried their darnest to prevent scary, cop killing, guns from going to Mexican Drug Cartels.

  15. @AntiCitizenOne – How about both. Pretty much guaranteed to kill it if we could. Unless they really want to make stuff that’s already illegal even more illegal that bad. Heh

  16. Roberta,

    How would it get from the text as written to actual enforcement against gun show/private sales?

    There still seems to be the “knows or should know” element present

  17. Ian,

    Oh I’m with ya, but that’s a fact for a jury to decide.

    I was thinking about it, we do have the MD data that shows few prohibited persons actually acquire their own guns personally, whether from stores or gun shows. Most don’t even steal them themselves.

    They get the majority from family, friends and “associates” who actually are in a position to know their prohibited status. My concern is would this extend that actually reasonable “should have known” out one transaction.

    As in, you should have known that selling to this person you have every reason to believe or actually know is non-prohibited, but who you know or should have known -knows or associates with- prohibited people, was likely to result in them reselling or gifting the firearm to that prohibited person.

    It would operate like “lost or stolen” in that regard, you become culpable for what happens due to someone else breaking the law without your knowledge after the fact.

    I can see an anti-gun prosecutor in essence blaming you for not discriminating against a non-prohibited person based on your knowledge or suspicion of their family ties.

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