Frankly, I can’t blame the GOP for going after Hunter Biden with this cocked up story about how he went out and bought an illegal gun. After all, with an unemployment rate under 4% and our national security readiness being in the hands of a couple of F-35’s flying up and down the East Coast, what else do the Republic(ans) have to talk about particularly when Trump-o’s is now facing 91 felony charges with perhaps more to come?
Now I’m not an attorney but I know a few things about laws covering the purchase of guns, because I was a licensed, federal firearms dealer for more than 40 years beginning in 1973 and during that period of time I probably sold at least 10,000 rifles, pistols, and shotguns in the gun shops I owned in three different states.
And from what I have read about the indictment for illegal gun purchasing being ready to be brought against Hunter Biden in this case, if his lawyers can’t get him off the hook, then he’s hired lawyers who are even dumber than the bunch that have been pushing the election ‘fraud’ nonsense for Donald Trump.
Here’s how the whole gun thing works, or at least is supposed to work.
The United States is the only country in the entire world which regulates the private ownership of small arms based on the character, temperament, background, and legal history of every individual who wants to own a gun. In every other country which has created a regulatory infrastructure for private gun ownership, the primary consideration is based on the dangerousness of the gun.
So, for example, we are the only country which allows private individuals to own full-auto machine guns, like the type that the guys who worked for Al Capone used to carry around. The licensing process is somewhat more detailed, and the license costs a few bucks more, but the bottom line is that anyone 21 years or older who can answer a bunch of questions that were developed by the ATF back in 1968, can walk into a gun shop and a few minutes later walk out with whatever type of gun he or she wants to own.
The questions which the purchaser must answer are on Form 4473, and if you answer any of these questions except the first question positively, you won’t be allowed to purchase a gun. The first question asks if the person filling out the form is the same person who will win d up with the gun. Obviously, the proper answer to that question has to be ‘yes.’
The fifth question reads like this: “Are you an unlawful user of or addicted to marijuana, or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug or any other controlled substance?” If you answer that question with a ‘yes,’ the dealer can’t sell you a gun because under federal law, a drug addict is considered too dangerous to own a gun.
Evidently, when Hunter Biden went into a gun shop in California in 2019 to buy a gun, he was ‘struggling’ with narcotics, whatever that means. He hadn’t been arrested for a crime related to his narcotics problem, he also wasn’t being investigated by the cops for selling drugs. So, he answered the question with a ‘no’ and after all his answers were verified by the FBI, he became the legal owner of a gun.
At some point later on, a friend or a relative took the gun, threw it into a dumpster and that was the end of Hunter’s gun-owning career. And this sequence of events, as I have described it, is being considered as the basis of a federal indictment with a penalty of – ready? – ten years in jail?
I have a sneaky feeling, and maybe I’m wrong, that Merrick Garland is letting this incredibly stupid case go forward for two reasons. Reason #1: He doesn’t need someone like Marjorie Taylor Greene demanding his impeachment because he’s covering up this serious crime. Reason #2: He knows that if the case does wind up in court, that no jury will convict Hunter of anything involving the purchase of a gun.
Back in 2014, the Supreme Court heard a case in where a guy bought a gun which he then legally transferred to his uncle but said on the 4473 that he was buying the gun for himself. The Court decided that the initial buyer, a guy named Abramski, had violated the law because even though he made sure that his uncle was entitled to own the gun, he lied when he answered the initial 4473 question with a ‘yes.’
So here we have an entire regulatory system designed to keep guns out of the ‘wrong hands,’ and yet the regulations are so screwed up that nobody really knows what’s right and what’s wrong. Each year, federal prosecutors receive roughly 500 referrals of instances when someone lied on a 4473 form. The DOJ says that roughly 300 cases are filed, but they don’t even bother to keep records on how many of those cases actually wind up in court.
In other words, what we have here is bullshit from end to end, and if the GOP believes that the case against Hunter Biden can be used to replace the noise being made about when and for how long El Trump-o may go to jail, they better come up with another headline pretty quick.