The Gun Laws We Have

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on February 25, 2016

Yesterday, former Democratic state Sen. Leland Yee was sentenced to five years in prison on public corruption charges. (Media bias note: The Associated Press story does not identify Yee as a Democrat.)

Yee didn't honor the gun laws we have, let alone those he proposed.
Democrat Leland Yee was sentenced to five years in federal prison.

Yee made a name for himself as a legislator in a couple of ways. Video gaming sites noted that the legislator gained some notoriety for sponsoring a law (eventually overturned by the Supreme Court) that prohibited the sale or rental of "violent" video games to anyone under the age of 18.

Before his arrest, Yee had been pushing a bill that banned so-called "assault weapons" and sought to ban semi-automatic rifles in California that were fitted with a "Bullet Button." The bullet button makes otherwise illegal (only in California) "scary black rifles" legal by requiring a tool to remove an otherwise fixed magazine.

Anti-2nd Amendment Democrats are again trying to pass similar legislation this year.

The gun laws we have

Yee pleaded guilty to a single racketeering charge as part of a plea deal that would've exposed the 67-year-old to no more than 10 years in prison (as noted before, he received 5).

In the plea agreement, Yee admitted that he traded his political influence for bribes, typically offered by undercover FBI agents posing as potential campaign contributors. Yee, among other things, admitted he agreed to influence legislation for would-be medical marijuana businesses in California, an NFL team owner trying to exempt pro athletes from the state's workers' compensation laws and a fictitious FBI concocted software firm seeking government technology contracts.

The racketeering charge also contained allegations Yee tried to arrange an illegal international arms deal through the Philippines in exchange for money.

Yee originally also faced federal charges related to the efforts to arrange that arms deal. Yee had plotted to bring in fully automatic weapons from the Philippines for distribution to criminals within the U.S.

As happens too often with many criminals who flout the gun laws we have on the books currently, the federal government wasn't interested in forcing Yee to face the gun-running charges separately. No, if they want to make an example of someone, they target nuns.

It isn't just corrupt politicians either.

Late last year a federal judge sentenced a straw buyer—someone who buys a gun for someone else—to one year of probation.

The sentence becomes all the more outrageous when you find out that the straw buyer, Jalita Johnson, bought the gun for her boyfriend, convicted felon Marcus Wheeler.

And that Wheeler used that gun to murder Omaha police officer Kerrie Orozco, who was on her last shift before taking maternity leave after her premature baby was released from the hospital.

The straw purchase of a firearm is a felony, punishable by a sentence of up to 10 years and a $250,000 fine.

Jalita Johnson got 1 year of probation.

President Obama and the vast majority of the Democratic Party always tell us that more gun laws are the answer, but they won't use the gun laws we have to their fullest extent.

There's no reason Yee couldn't be forced to spend the rest of his miserable life behind bars for plotting to give fully automatic weapons to criminals, while he would force his law-abiding constituents to use only bullet button-equipped rifles with magazines carrying no more than 10 rounds.

If there was ever a case where a straw buyer should get the proverbial book thrown at them, it was Johnson's case. Her actions led directly to the death of a police officer. But the best prosecutors and a federal judge could manage was probation.

There's a two-fold problem with gun control laws in this country:

  1. We're not enforcing the plethora of laws on the books (not that criminals would obey them any more than they obey the ones against robbery, assault, rape, murder, etc.).
  2. Every new gun law they propose doesn't do anything to prevent crime, instead it makes life more difficult for the law-abiding who wish to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights.

Let's start by enforcing, with zeal, the gun laws we have. Then we can move onto a discussion of whether new laws are really needed.


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February 2016



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