The snake is eating its tail...


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ebd10
February 10, 2006, 11:13 AM
Machine gun charge in Illinois is challenged
By Michael Shaw
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Wednesday, Feb. 08 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.

Both a machine gun and a submachine gun fire a steady stream of bullets with
the trigger depressed. A machine gun is heavier, sits on a mount or tripod and
is often belt fed. A submachine gun is smaller and often fires pistol
ammunition.

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. Griffiths allegedly lent one of the weapons to a trooper who
said he test-fired it and gave it back.

Yard was arraigned Wednesday in federal court, where he and the others have
pleaded innocent of the charges. Yard is accused of borrowing a weapon, rather
than owning one.

Although they were indicted by a grand jury on the same day last month, the
three cases appear to be unrelated.

The charges carry maximum 10-year prison terms.

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/illinoisstatenews/story/21A115E7CF1C712B862571100019A71D?OpenDocument

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dolanp
February 10, 2006, 11:23 AM
Since police officers should easily
pass background checks, the crime looks like a mere oversight.

I would easily pass one as well, can I skip the registration too please?

Janitor
February 10, 2006, 11:29 AM
^^^ bingo.

I know for a fact that I would have passed my background check long before I bothered to apply for my permit. Does this sort of thing mean that I wouldn't be prosecuted if I carreied w/o a permit?

"But your honer - we all know I'd pass a background check. I simply forgot to do the paperwork."

It keeps on being said, and I agree. I would have no problems whatsoever if the police department were railing against the unconstitutionality of the tax stamp and the registration of NFA weapons. But they're upset because they believe that their officers should not have to remember details when it comes to staying legal.

Yea - cut a "brother" cop some slack when you stop him at 11 mph over the speed limit while he's off duty. Got no problem with that. But to say that simply because he's an LEO, he should be allowed to not comply with the same laws that the rest of the citizens have to comply with is pure #@$@#%. Federal or state - LEOs are answerable to the law just as the rest of us are.

BigRobT
February 10, 2006, 11:31 AM
Wasn't there just another thread about some cops in Fl(?) doing similar?? Seems like they don't want to abide by the law or think they're above it.

svtruth
February 10, 2006, 02:13 PM
put the King of England under the law, has that principle been repealed?

PCGS65
February 10, 2006, 02:29 PM
Wasn't there just another thread about some cops in Fl(?) doing similar?? Seems like they don't want to abide by the law or think they're above it.
+1 They're above it and so are politicians.:mad:

Black Dragon
February 10, 2006, 02:32 PM
"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."

"Charged with illegally possessing a machine gun"


Something about inmates being incharge comes to mind here........

Art Eatman
February 10, 2006, 02:35 PM
The news article is confusing, and the comments don't seem to relate to anything.

Given the thread's downhill rush to nowhere, and the fact that I'm off to run errands, I'm saying enuf is too much.

Art

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