US Attorneys slap down Bloomberg
VCDL has the report.The Exec Office of US Attorneys informs the mayor that they will not prosecute any of the dealers he targeted, and warns that his engaging in "stings" without law enforcement authorization could jeopardize real operations and expose him and the city to liability.
The latter is pretty apparent. The dealers would have the defense that they didn't realize that the gun was going to the person who didn't sign the forms, but the buyers have no such defense -- they knew exactly that that was the plan. So there's no doubt that the buyers broke the Gun Control Act, and that those who set them to it were liable as aiders and abettors, not to mention on a conspiracy theory. I'd assume that Bloomberg and company (1) figured it was worth it for the publicity and (2) figured that the laws don't apply to the rich and powerful. They may just have been right on both.
Update: here's the NY Daily News story.
From the New York Daily News:
"Asked if the Bloomberg administration plans to stop conducting the sting operations, Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler said, "Not necessarily."
"The city hasn't violated any laws," Skyler said defiantly, adding that the city will continue to pursue its civil lawsuits against the gun dealers."
Reference Wikipedia and Answers.com:
In the United States, straw purchases are a felony violation of the Gun Control Act of 1968 for both the straw purchaser (who can also be charged with lying on Federal Form 4473) and the ultimate possessor.
The ultimate possessor in this case is Mayor Bloomberg and the city of New York who hired the investigators for the purpose of acquiring the weapons. I would assume that the city still has possession of the weapons (to be used as evidence in their lawsuits).
Posted by: Dougger at February 8, 2007 05:11 PM
I am a lifelong shooter and gun tinkerer. For some forty years now neophite shooters have asked me to come along when buying guns. I have asked dozens of gun dealers questions and have examined multipal dozens of guns, especially used ones for newbys.
I am not unique. This is boringly routine to gunshop owners. Is my giving advice to a gun buyer and then the buyer filling out the paperwork a straw purchase? Hardly. The gunshop owner knows this.
Don't anyone tell Bloomberg that some people take mechanic frieds along when they buy used cars. Lord only knows what he'd do with that information.
Posted by: Peter at February 9, 2007 12:15 AM