Troopers to be Charged for NFA Violation


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Leatherneck
February 9, 2006, 11:38 AM
This from the 8 Feb Belleville News-Democrat, via Free Republic:
Nine chiefs of police have endorsed a letter written by Belleville Police Chief Dave Ruebhausen urging that three Illinois state troopers charged with weapons violations not to be prosecuted.

If they are guilty, they should be punished administratively, according to Ruebhausen's letter given Tuesday to the News-Democrat.

The letter also was endorsed by two state senators, two sheriffs and retired Belleville Police Chief Terry Delaney, a former U.S. marshal.

But a statement on Tuesday issued by interim U.S. Attorney Edward McNally cautioned, "These matters are now in public court ... no doubt many of the officials (listed in the letter) will look forward to an opportunity to have a complete understanding of all the facts in the case...."

The statement added, "Many would say that at the charging level, they (troopers) should be treated the same as any other citizen."

The troopers -- Greg Mugge of Jerseyville, John Yard of Collinsville and James Vest of O'Fallon -- are charged in federal court in East St. Louis with illegal possession of automatic weapons. They face a maximum of 10 years behind bars and a $250,000 fine.

Vest and Yard are assigned to the State Police in Collinsville and Mugge works out of Litchfield. They were suspended with pay pending a hearing before the state police merit review board.

A physician, former Glen Carbon resident Dr. Harold Griffiths of Spaulding, also is charged. All were released on their own recognizance.

The troopers could have legally possessed automatic rifles or "machine guns" on their jobs if certain federal paperwork had been completed. Under certain circumstances, this would allow them to take the rifles home.

Ruebhausen urged that the troopers, who are said to have unblemished records, be disciplined internally.

His letter stated, "We do not see how the citizens are made safer by placing these troopers in jail."

In an interview, Ruebhausen said, "You're not supposed to own (illegal) weapons... But the bottom line is that with all the thugs out on the street, is society served by putting these officers in jail?"

McNally's written statement, released after a copy of Ruebhausen's letter was sent to the U.S. attorney's office, stated, "The United States respects the views of the chiefs, sheriffs and the senators and the fact that they too, have to make decisions every day about whether to treat public officials the same as other citizens."

The statement continued, "Every man and woman who has worn the badge has risked their life to protect others. That is one of the reasons there are few situations more challenging than allegations that a police officer has violated the law...."

Mearl Justus, the sheriff of St. Clair County, declined to add his name to the letter.

"They asked me and I said I'd rather not sign it because I don't think anybody knows enough about what happened."

The charges were announced Jan. 17 at a news conference at the U.S. attorney's office. At that time, State Police Director Larry Trent said the troopers "... are not above the law." He could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

According to information from the news conference, the weapons were rifles, an M-16 designed to fire automatically and two AR-15 semiautomatic rifles that had been converted to fire fully automatic, or as long as the trigger is depressed.

Vest, 39, is a weapons instructor who purchased his M-16 in 1998 and used it often for police firearms instruction. He allegedly told police that he sometimes took the weapon home.

Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton, a former Madison County state's attorney, said he was "stunned" when he read that the troopers had been charged.

"In this case there does not appear to be any conduct intended to violate the statute," he said.

Besides Ruebhausen, the area police chiefs who signed the letter are, Chris Sullivan, Alton; Richard Miller, Granite City; Scott Williams, Collinsville; Patrick Delaney, Sauget; Joe Brauer, Waterloo; Joe Edwards, Columbia; William Webber, Wood River; Darren Carlton, East Alton; and Brian Vielweber of Smithton.

Williams, the Collinsville chief, said that while he allowed his name to be added to the letter, he is still in favor of criminal charges, if the facts warrant.

"I'm not saying they shouldn't get in trouble over this," he said, " (but) they shouldn't be made an example of because they are officers."

Sen. James Watson, R-Greenville, whose name is on the letter, could not be reached. Delaney also could not be reached.

Bond County Sheriff Jeff Brown and Madison County Sheriff Bob Hertz also added their names to the letter. Hertz was out of town but Brown said, "I see this as driving a wedge between (federal officers) and local and state law enforcement."


Some of the responses from Freepers are distinctly non-THR LEO-bashing. Let's not have that here please.

TC

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WT
February 9, 2006, 11:51 AM
We had a similar situation here but the feds did not get involved. It was handled in state court. The state court found that the local officers had done nothing wrong and were allowed to keep their machineguns.

Wonder what upset the feds?

Rumble
February 9, 2006, 11:52 AM
Well, here's my stance on it: let it play out in court. If I were found in illegal possession of an automatic weapon, whether I intended to violate any statutes or not, there's no "internal disciplinary action" that would be suggested in place of 10 years in the slam.

I assume that there may have been some confusion on the part of the officers over whether as LEO's they were exempt from the requirements (for instance, they reason that they can use the weapons on the job, so perhaps there's no big deal in taking them home). I'll grant that they probably didn't intend to violate the law. But I still think they need to ride this one out in our jujishal shisshem.

PATH
February 9, 2006, 11:56 AM
The law should be applied equally to all citizens. Just my opinion.

StopTheGrays
February 9, 2006, 11:57 AM
A physician, former Glen Carbon resident Dr. Harold Griffiths of Spaulding, also is charged.
Does he also get the same deal? If so, then I do not see a problem.

Some more info on this:
http://72.14.207.104/search?q=cache:GaMF0Vr98rIJ:www.ksdk.com/news/illinois_article.aspx%3Fstoryid%3D90860+Dr.+Harold+Griffiths&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=8

By Steve Jankowski
Illinois Bureau Chief

(KSDK) - Four men, including three Illinois State Police Officers, have been charged with illegal possession of a machine gun. The charges were filed last week in federal court, but sealed until Tuesday afternoon.

In announcing the indictments, U.S. Attorney Edward McNally stressed "no one is above the law."

John Yard, 36, of Collinsville, Illinois, has been with the State Police for nine years. He is classified as a special agent and had been assigned to the FBI's Public Corruption Task Force. He claims he obtained the weapon, which was illegally converted to an automatic weapon, from Dr. Harold Griffiths, 69.

Griffiths, formerly of Glen Carbon, was also charged. The indictment says the weapon was recovered from his home in Spaulding, Illinois.

Sgt. James Vest, 39, of O'Fallon, Illinois, has been with the Illinois State Police for 16 years. He allegedly told investigators he bought his machine gun from a California gun company in 1998. The indictment alleges he kept it at home, but sometimes stored it at District 11 headquarters in Collinsville.

Trooper Greg Mugge, 51, of Jerseyville is a 21-year veteran of the Illinois State Police and had been working out of District 18 in Litchfield. He allegedly purchased his machine gun from a federally-licensed gun dealer from Harrisburg, Illinois almost 25 years ago.

Illinois State Police Director Larry Trent expressed his disappointment at the charges against officers whom he said "had otherwise very good service records." But he echoed the sentiments of everyone involved in the announcement, that no one is above the law.

The four men charged in this case were arraigned Tuesday morning in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis, and released to their own recognizance. If convicted, each faces a maximum of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Soybomb
February 9, 2006, 12:04 PM
His letter stated, "We do not see how the citizens are made safer by placing these troopers in jail."If it were me, I suspect the signers of that letter would have no problem seeing society being safer with me in jail for the same violation. Sorry, but they're trying to protect their associates. If you don't like it, change the law, but don't ask for special treatment.

sm
February 9, 2006, 12:06 PM
Re: NFA and all the other Gun Restrictive Measures .

Sure is a waste of lots of monies and manhours. I mean just really what has come out of these Restrictions?

I got an idea. Why don't we get rid of all these Restrictions and leave We The People the hell alone.

Elected Officals can do the job the COTUS and BoR outlines for them.

Time spent Gubmint Meddlin' could be use for more productive matters. Free People could be more productive in whatever pursuits they choose.

It is never the tool itself, it is always the intent of user.

Be it a M16, Elected Office, Word Proccessor, Pen & Paper, or sharp pointy stick.

Hell even water may used with the intent of doing harm to something or someone. Drowning, Scalding a Child, Pouring into Internal Combustion engine...




Steve

Graystar
February 9, 2006, 12:07 PM
Public confidence in the judicial system is always fractured when police are treated differently when they commit crimes. They should definitely be charged and prosecuted in federal court.

"In this case there does not appear to be any conduct intended to violate the statute,"
The conduct is possession. Someone should remind Sen. Bill Haine exactly what that means.

Wonder what upset the feds?
Like is says...they hadnít submitted the proper paperwork.

If I had tried to possess my firearms in NYC without submitting the proper paperwork, I would have gone to jail. Right or wrong, the law is the law and it has to be obeyed.

Ohen Cepel
February 9, 2006, 12:08 PM
They commited a crime. I don't see what the debate is.

It's very sad that they didn't go about doing it the legal way. However, if joe citizen did the same thing he would be crushed. I can't see why they should be treated differently in this case.

However, I think that they should be cut some slack due to the fact that they have been good citizens and contributed positively to society. It's not as if they are career bad guys.

Sergeant Bob
February 9, 2006, 12:10 PM
What's good for the goose............

boofus
February 9, 2006, 12:15 PM
If those guns are not in the NFA registry as property of their agencies then they should be prosecuted like any other citizen with an illegal MG.

If those guns are properly papered and owned by the agencies I don't see what the problem is. How each agency issues weapons is their own business.

Chipperman
February 9, 2006, 12:15 PM
Edward McNally-- "The statement added, "Many would say that at the charging level, they (troopers) should be treated the same as any other citizen.""

THE SAME AS ANY OTHER CITIZEN. McNally has it right.


LEOs are not above the law. They allegedly broken the law. They should have a fair trial, and be sentenced (if found guilty) THE SAME AS ANY OTHER CITIZEN.

Michigander
February 9, 2006, 12:32 PM
First of all, I do not agree with NFA and all the other INFRINGEMENTS.

But until they are revoked, we should be equally treated in the eyes of the law.

This does not mean however that these guys should see jail time. I do believe a fine is in order and the felony conviction (assuming it goes that far) placed on their record. The police officers involved should not be allowed to be police officers again.

Another side of me still says that if they can "get away with it," then good for them because after all, they are citizens living under UNconstitutional laws too.

El Tejon
February 9, 2006, 12:35 PM
Wonder if we can now get the Illinois State Police to come out in favor of abolition of the NFA!:cool:

Sam
February 9, 2006, 12:38 PM
All citizens should be equal in the eyes of the law. The same processes and penalties should apply to all.

Sam

Waitone
February 9, 2006, 12:45 PM
Slam 'em then change the law. Make a big publicity push out of the slammed ossifers and doctor but change the freakin' law. Then go back and offer pardons etc to anyone in the joint because of the law.

The law is the problem. Something about shoes pinching keeps running through my mind. :fire:

engineer151515
February 9, 2006, 12:55 PM
.............If you don't like it, change the law, but don't ask for special treatment.


Hear, Hear! +1

Maxwell
February 9, 2006, 01:34 PM
If it were me, I suspect the signers of that letter would have no problem seeing society being safer with me in jail for the same violation. Sorry, but they're trying to protect their associates. If you don't like it, change the law, but don't ask for special treatment.


I must agree with soybomb.
Officer or not, a crime is a crime. If your going to throw "good citizens" in jail for owning illegal weapons then your forced to throw "good officers" in jail as well.

These guys are aimed to spend time in prison because their papers were not in order.

Kim
February 9, 2006, 01:36 PM
They should bretreated no different than someone they would arrest for having an illegally possessed machine gun. As a matter of fact they are worse. No sympathy. Put me on the jury. Maybe they would come to the realization that the law is unjust and needs to be changed. If the police never have to pay the consequences of the laws we all live under then they will continue to stand behind, give support to their buddies the corrupt politicians who appoint them and support their pet UNION. Public employees should not be allowed to unionize period.

Master Blaster
February 9, 2006, 01:59 PM
Vest, 39, is a weapons instructor who purchased his M-16 in 1998 and used it often for police firearms instruction. He allegedly told police that he sometimes took the weapon home.

Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton, a former Madison County state's attorney, said he was "stunned" when he read that the troopers had been charged.

"In this case there does not appear to be any conduct intended to violate the statute," he said.


The law is the law Ignorance of the law is no excuse, that what ossifer Vest would tell you while he was arresting you at the range after hearing you fire a machinegun, or after you failed to produce your FOID for that 10/22 you were shooting.

These are police officers they should, and did know better, they thought they were above the law.

I would throw the book at them.

Goose Meet Gander.

Rockstar
February 9, 2006, 02:06 PM
We had a similar situation here but the feds did not get involved. It was handled in state court. The state court found that the local officers had done nothing wrong and were allowed to keep their machineguns.

Wonder what upset the feds?

What upset the feds is that it's a federal law that was being violated. They still could prosecute your locals.

buzz_knox
February 9, 2006, 02:11 PM
What upset the feds is that it's a federal law that was being violated. They still could prosecute your locals.

I'd say that what upset the feds isn't known yet. There may have been more involved in the acquistion and disposition of these weapons than is known. Either that, or somebody ticked off the feds at some point concerning this situation (i.e. trying to get it dropped before charges were filed) and tried it with the wrong person.

scout26
February 9, 2006, 02:22 PM
According to information from the news conference, the weapons were rifles, an M-16 designed to fire automatically and two AR-15 semiautomatic rifles that had been converted to fire fully automatic, or as long as the trigger is depressed.

That may have been what ticked off the feds. They put in "Da Switch" on two AR-15's. This is not a case "Ooops, I accidently brought an M-16 home with me when I left it in the trunk of my squad car."

Yes, NFA is wrong. I really want to see Director Trent come out in favor of repealing it. Then I'll watch pigs fly out my butt.

When I was an MP we were held to a higher standard then "ordinary" soldiers. I Article 15'd (and maxed out) one of my soldiers who went the wrong way down a one way street. Sorry, no slack for LEO's who break the law. Plus given what other "problems" the ISP has had recently there is definitely something rotten in Denmark.

MechAg94
February 9, 2006, 02:31 PM
I would say that what upset the feds might be that the gun was in the possession of the Doctor. That means the gun was in the possession of a 3rd party who was not an LEO. Not only did they take it home for personal use, but they let someone borrow it or illegally transferred it at worst. I am curious how that doctor entered into the picture.

The other issue I have is these guys are supposed to be enforcing the law. I think they should at least have some idea of what the law and regulations are. Sounds like they didn't.

Sam
February 9, 2006, 02:41 PM
If MechAg94's theory is correct, doesn't that lend more credence to the us vs them theory of law enforcement.

"Nothing is better for thee than me"

Sam

LAR-15
February 9, 2006, 02:41 PM
Somebody upset the Feds

Janitor
February 9, 2006, 02:42 PM
But the bottom line is that with all the thugs out on the street, is society served by putting these officers in jail?"
Man. I hope if I ever get busted for posessing an illegal firearm that somebody highly placed will write something like that for me! Seriously - I do good for our customers. How would it serve them to put me in jail, simply because I may have broke one of those silly little federal laws?

CAS700850
February 9, 2006, 02:47 PM
You know, it's one thing for a cop to let another cop off on a speeding citation. But federal felony offenses? Sorry, I was a pro-LEO prosecutor, but even I prosecuted cops that broke the law. These guys did. Bring 'em into court!

ArmedBear
February 9, 2006, 02:50 PM
They shouldn't be prosecuted because they didn't hurt anyone.

But neither should anyone else who has violated any law prohibiting mere possession, without any intent to harm others.

As it stands, the chiefs should write letters condemning the law, not asking for special treatment for their boys.

billwiese
February 9, 2006, 02:55 PM
Until all other violators of simple possession of NFA guns (i.e., not used in violent crime) have their convictions voided and records expunged, these cops should be treated the same way.

Five years in prison, $10,000 fine. Forfeit retirement. if their wives know about this, they should be charged too.

No two tiers for criminal enforcement. Hang 'em high.


Bill Wiese
San Jose, CA

ArmedBear
February 9, 2006, 03:00 PM
Until all other violators of simple possession of NFA guns (i.e., not used in violent crime) have their convictions voided and records expunged, these cops should be treated the same way.

Five years in prison, $10,000 fine. Forfeit retirement. if their wives know about this, they should be charged too.

No two tiers for criminal enforcement. Hang 'em high.


Bill Wiese
San Jose, CA

+1

Creeping Incrementalism
February 9, 2006, 03:02 PM
Ordinary citizens shouldn't be charged with these unconstitutional victimless crimes, and neither should the cops. Although on one hand it makes me angry that police are usually treated as if they are above the law, I would like to see them get off scott free since they could be used as an example for any other honest citizen who gets caught in the same trap. I would also like it if the law itself was critisized, not the fact that these were good guys who broke a just law by accident. Of course that's probably not the way it would work.

roo_ster
February 9, 2006, 03:07 PM
The NFA is a chicken-manure law, but it is a law I can be sent to the pokey for violating.

Until it is repealed, everyone, LEO or not, ought to eat the same bitter pill.

LAR-15
February 9, 2006, 03:19 PM
Wouldn't this set a precident that all LEOs could break NFA laws and get away with it?

Then what good is the NFA?

Wonder what Blago thinks

JohnBT
February 9, 2006, 03:23 PM
I initially thought this was going to be a case of somebody borrowing the department's guns for a little off duty plinking, but now I see that these were privately owned rifles from start to finish. OOPS, boy did these guys screw up.

John

Wllm. Legrand
February 9, 2006, 03:51 PM
The Constitution clearly states that there should be no titles of nobility in this country.

As time goes on, it becomes clear that there are several kinds of justice. The special dispensations regularly handed out to "The King's Men" reeks with the foul odor of a "special class" of people.

Actually, they should not be treated equally, but rather the law should be harsher on them as they have, by virtue of their jobs as guardians of the law, special privileges that they sought to use in their own favor.

NineseveN
February 9, 2006, 04:05 PM
Where are the 100% pro-police folks now? Can't wait to hear from them on this, perhaps this will be a good case for them to articulate how they're not above the law, nor should they be. This is a Second Amendment issue, not an us VS them issue, though the different treatment standard enters that into it.

Jeff White
February 9, 2006, 04:06 PM
Well one of the lawyers for the troopers is saying that the weapons are property of the ISP:
http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/stlouiscitycounty/story/2E6FE9F034F167C48625711000172486?OpenDocument
Machine gun was used in training, sergeant's lawyer says
By Michael Shaw
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
02/09/2006

FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS

The attorney for a decorated Illinois State Police sergeant charged with illegally possessing a machine gun said Wednesday that he is mystified by the charge against his client.

Tom Keefe, the attorney for Sgt. James Vest, 39, of O'Fallon, said the M4 submachine gun in question was registered to the state police and used by Vest to train other officers.

In addition, the regulations state that for an off-duty officer, "any authorized firearms will be stored in the trunk or the glove compartment of the assigned department vehicle or in the officer's residence," according to Keefe.


"These facts are critical," said Keefe, who is representing Vest along with renowned Belleville lawyers Bruce Cook and Clyde Kuehn. "That rifle was owned by state police. (Vest) is a heavily decorated 18-year veteran. He has commendations coming out of his ears."

The debate has gone public, with 10 Metro East police chiefs issuing a letter Tuesday recommending leniency for Vest and two other police officers accused in the case. The chiefs' letter prompted a response from Ed McNally, the U.S. attorney prosecuting them. McNally's statement says he respects their views, but noted that "several of these chiefs have had to personally make the difficult decision to investigate criminal cases in which their own officers were charged."

The fact that the U.S. attorney has spoken out about a pending case is unusual. And it prompted Keefe to speak out Wednesday.

"Ordinarily I wouldn't say anything," said Keefe, adding that the door was opened with the U.S. attorney's comments.

Under federal rules, anyone who can pass a background check, pay $200 and file the proper forms can legally purchase one or convert one to automatic fire. Even a ban on "military style" assault weapons lapsed in 2004.

So it's no surprise that some are puzzled by the charges - and the possibility of prison time - for three Illinois State Police troopers accused in federal court of illegally possessing machine guns. Since police officers should easily pass background checks, the crime looks like a mere oversight.

"If that's what happened, it's a lapse in judgment," said John Shanks, director of law enforcement relations for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, of the registration process.

Keefe's statements, however, appear to be at odds with court documents indicating that Vest said he bought his M-4/M-16 in 1998 in California.

The defense lawyers representing the two other officers, Special Agent John Yard, 36, of Collinsville, Senior Master Trooper Greg Mugge, 51, of Jerseyville, as well as Dr. Harold Griffiths, 69, of Spaulding, Ill., did not comment Wednesday.

The charges carry maximum 10-year prison terms.

WT
February 9, 2006, 04:08 PM
Is it too much to hope for 'jury nullification'?

k_dawg
February 9, 2006, 04:13 PM
Where is the ACLU defending their 2nd amendment rights?

Barring having the NFA ruled unconstitutional, these guys should serve a maximum of the 10 years per charge, subsequently [ not concurrently ].

Chipperman
February 9, 2006, 04:13 PM
"said the M4 submachine gun in question was registered to the state police "

"Keefe's statements, however, appear to be at odds with court documents indicating that Vest said he bought his M-4/M-16 in 1998 in California."

One of these things is not like the other....

It is either registered to the Dept or it is not. No great mystery in finding out.

LAR-15
February 9, 2006, 04:17 PM
That is only for one gun out of four

Rumble
February 9, 2006, 04:18 PM
From the Post-Dispatch article:

Since police officers should easily pass background checks, the crime looks like a mere oversight.

"If that's what happened, it's a lapse in judgment," said John Shanks, director of law enforcement relations for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, of the registration process.


I, too, can easily pass a background check. But I don't see a journalist calling it a "mere oversight" were I to possess a full-auto-capable M4 without the necessary paperwork (I am pretty sure I can't just say to the cops and the BATF and whoever that I just "forgot" about the paperwork). And I really don't see the Brady Campaign folks calling it a "lapse in judgement." They'd be positively howling for me to go to jail for the rest of my life.

If the truth outs and the gun was owned by the department and issued lawfully and stored properly and all the necessary dots and crosses were in place, then maybe one of the cops is okay here. Otherwise, it's fines and felonies for the lot of 'em.

c_yeager
February 9, 2006, 04:27 PM
Id the argument being presented here was that the NFA is unconstitutional I would be standing right behind these guys. However, they dont seem to have a problem with the law, they just think that it shouldnt apply to them because they are special.

In an interview, Ruebhausen said, "You're not supposed to own (illegal) weapons... But the bottom line is that with all the thugs out on the street, is society served by putting these officers in jail?"

I wonder what would happen if every person in the world made a statement like this when charged with a victimless crime. Oh wait, they do, and they recieve laughter in response.

sturmruger
February 9, 2006, 04:30 PM
It is an oversight, but a pretty serious one. I wonder how all of this came up?? You have to scew up prety bad to have the US attorney gunning for you.

NineseveN
February 9, 2006, 04:36 PM
They look like criminals to me, they should be arrested and jailed.

Somehow, I think being police officers will make it worse for them once they go to trial, and it will defnitely make it worse for them when they go to jail.

Fly320s
February 9, 2006, 04:42 PM
There is a simple solution, but it will take years to work out:

All accused persons take their cases to court, eventually ending up in the Supreme Court. After the SC rules that the NFA is unconstitutional, the accused can pick up their guns from the evidence locker and go on their merry way.

Simple, right.:scrutiny:

scout26
February 9, 2006, 04:51 PM
and two AR-15 semiautomatic rifles that had been converted to fire fully automatic

I'll once again point this out from the original article.

I don't think even the ISP is allowed to install "Da Switch" without the blessing of the BATFE.

MN_Strelok
February 9, 2006, 05:07 PM
Under federal rules, anyone who can pass a background check, pay $200 and file the proper forms can legally purchase one or convert one to automatic fire. Even a ban on "military style" assault weapons lapsed in 2004.

So it's no surprise that some are puzzled by the charges - and the possibility of prison time - for three Illinois State Police troopers accused in federal court of illegally possessing machine guns. Since police officers should easily pass background checks, the crime looks like a mere oversight.

Yeah, under federal rules. This is Illinois, though, where NFA items are outright banned... Except for peace officers. Something tells me the author of that article doesn't know about our state restrictions.

If I was a cop, I'd jump at the chance to do the paperwork and pay the tax. (How messed up is that?)

Hmm... Maybe I should find a local cop who wants to share a suppressor.

ElTacoGrande
February 9, 2006, 05:11 PM
We're all equal under the law, or at least we should be. A badge is not a license to scoff at the law; rather, it is a trust with society and should come with even more rigorous standards of conduct. Do the crime, do the time.

That said, the NFA should be thrown out. It saddens me that anyone is prosecuted under it, ever.

Jeff White
February 9, 2006, 05:13 PM
MN_Strelok,

Unfortunatley this is Illinois where not even peace officers can have suppressors....

Jeff

wdlsguy
February 9, 2006, 05:24 PM
Under federal rules, anyone who can pass a background check, pay $200 and file the proper forms can legally ... convert one to automatic fire.

Not since 1986!!! :banghead:

Sistema1927
February 9, 2006, 05:34 PM
Some animals are more equal than others.

TheEgg
February 9, 2006, 05:36 PM
I despise the NFA and believe that it violates not only the letter but the intent of the Bill of Rights.

I would be behind these officers if their lawyers were screaming about the injustice of the laws that they are charged under.

However, since they seem to think the law is just fine, but that they should not be subject to it since they have a gold star on their report card or some other silly reason -- let the trial begin and let the facts and the jury decide their fate.

As for the lawyer claiming that his client does not own the rifle in question -- who knows? I can certainly believe that a US Attorney would be so incompetent as to not check such a little matter.

Derby FALs
February 9, 2006, 05:36 PM
Not since 1986!!! :banghead:

Thank you, Ronnie!
:evil:

MN_Strelok
February 9, 2006, 05:37 PM
Unfortunatley this is Illinois where not even peace officers can have suppressors....


Really? Well, I guess we're equally screwed on that one then.

Plan B: Maybe I should move to Indiana...

TallPine
February 9, 2006, 05:41 PM
Since police officers should easily pass background checks, the crime looks like a mere oversight.
So the same should be true for CCW permits: since I could easily pass the background checks (and have, every time I purchased a gun) I shouldn't need to bother with actually getting the permit, right...? :p

Standing Wolf
February 9, 2006, 09:10 PM
...since they seem to think the law is just fine, but that they should not be subject to it since they have a gold star on their report card or some other silly reason -- let the trial begin and let the facts and the jury decide their fate.

That's only if we're all equal under the law.

beerslurpy
February 9, 2006, 09:46 PM
Wait a damn second here. I cant beleive the double standard I am hearing.

These cops violated a BS law, but a BS law that even the most casual of gun owners knows is a strict liability law with long prison sentences attached to it.

Intent is not the issue. Whether they are cops is not the issue. The law must be applied equally to all. If we must obey the NFA, then police must obey the NFA. If we would be imprisoned, we should expect that the police be subject to the same rules and imprisoned.

If the law is unjust, strike down the law, dont make a bogus exemption for your favorite class of citizens.

k_dawg
February 9, 2006, 10:01 PM
NOW..

this COULD be a golden opportunity for them to defend themselves, on the account that NFA is an unconstitutional infringement of the 2nd amendment rights.

the NRA/GOA/etc should be looking hard at this being a test case. [ provided the troopers are going to fight it ]

Jeff White
February 9, 2006, 10:20 PM
None of the gun rights groups is prepared to mount a court challenge to the National Firearms Act.

In fact, the NFA would probably pass constitutional muster, because back then the legislators had enough respect for the constitution that they realized an outright ban would be unconstitutional. That's why we ended up with the tax stamp scheme.

This could be a case to find the 1986 closure of the National Firearms Registry to new machine guns unconstitutional though. However if we do succeed in that quest, I look for congress to make a tax stamp cost $10,000 or whatever would be the equivalent of $200 1934 dollars is in today's money.

Jeff

Telperion
February 9, 2006, 10:56 PM
No Jeff, they disrespected the Constitution enough to use their taxing powers as an end-run around a clearly worded injunction against action on their part. ;)

The articles suggest they obtained the guns from FFLs (in California, no less)? How did they manage to break the law, given the kind of scrutiny that goes into title II transfers, from both the FFL and the BATF? :confused:

Waitone
February 9, 2006, 11:45 PM
The articles suggest they obtained the guns from FFLs (in California, no less)? How did they manage to break the law, given the kind of scrutiny that goes into title II transfers, from both the FFL and the BATF? Ding, ding, ding, ding. We have a winner. Seems to me there exists another interesting story somewhere.

atblis
February 9, 2006, 11:50 PM
"The law should be applied equally to all citizens. Just my opinion."

They can go to jail for stupid laws too.

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