OK. I decided to take Bitter up on her challenge. She got me the email addresses of the local personalites for the major print and television news outlets. I edited her letter somewhat and then sent it on with my contact information. I’ll post any results I get and I’ll keep my eye on the media to see if any of them run with this.
Here is the letter that I sent:
I would like to point you in the direction of a possible story that you might find interesting. The mayor of New York City is currently suing gun dealers around the country. However, it appears that the investigations he ordered into these shops may have involved illegal gun sales.
Mr. Bloomberg’s contention is that he hired private investigators to simulate “straw purchases”.
As you may know, a “straw purchase” occurs when someone who is not prohibited by law to purchase a firearm does so as a proxy for a prohibited person.
Most (all that I know of) gun dealers are very careful and conscientious about abiding by all applicable federal and local laws. If they were not, not only could they lose their license to do business, but they could be charged with federal crimes and jailed. With that said, federal law requires for the dealer to “know, or reasonably should have known” that a straw purchase was occurring and that the purchaser was not only not purchasing the weapon for themselves, but was purchasing it for a prohibited person (it is perfectly legal to purchase a firearm to present as a gift to someone who is not a prohibited person).
This means one of two things: Either Mr. Bloomberg’s “simulated” straw purchases actually violated no laws in that neither the purchaser nor the person for whom the purchaser was ostensibly acting as a proxy were prohibited persons; or the purchaser and/or other person broke one or more federal laws on Mr. Bloomberg’s behalf.
If the first scenario is true, then none of the targeted gun dealers broke any laws and the lawsuits are, therefore, groundless, how can a dealer be said to “know or reasonably should have known” something which is not true? A proxy sale is only illegal if the person for whom the firearm is being purchased is a prohibited person.
If the second scenario is the case, then the dealers MAY have violated the law depending upon one’s definition of “know or should have known”…but Mr. Bloomberg’s hirelings definitely violated at least one Federal gun law and probably several state laws as well. This means that Mayor Bloomberg could also be charged with conspiracy to commit these crimes.
As this boondoggle has effected several Virginia gun dealers, I am extremely interested in seeing this investigated thoroughly and any wrong-doing on anyone’s part…the Gun Dealers, the Investigators or Mr. Bloomberg…addressed adequately. I personally disagree with most if not all of the Federal Gun laws on the books, but whether I agree with them or not, they would be enforced against me were I to break them. Is this a country, as I was taught as a youth, where the law applies equally to all, or is there truly an “elite” class of citizens to whom the law doesn’t apply?
The NRA’s Wayne LaPierre has asked the ATF to investigate these potentially illegal sales. (See: http://nranews.com/blogarticle.aspx?blogPostId=98) It could make for an interesting story on who is held accountable and who gets off with a slap on the wrist or less. As a local media consumer, I hope you’ll consider investigating this or contacting the ATF to help citizens find out what’s going on with both Mayor Bloomberg and these targeted gun stores.
Thank you for your consideration.
OK. Time to get on the bandwagon. Contact Bitter, get the email addresses for your local media outlets and get those letters out. We need to stir the pot if we want these types of egregous assaults on the Second Amendment to end.