CA Gun Owner Not Guilty of Conspiracy for Buying Pistol From Cop
Russ Chastain 10.28.14
California – where “land of the free” apparently applies only to welfare recipients.
The Calguns Foundation has reported that a California man accused of conspiring to make a false statement on ATF form 4473 was declared not guilty after a lengthy legal battle. This is good news, but of course it’s pretty sad that he had to go through it at all.
It all began when Ulysses S. Grant Early IV (I’m not kidding) bought a Ruger LCP pistol from a police officer in 2010. Because the LCP isn’t on California’s restrictive “Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale,” only exempt persons such as police officers can purchase one from a dealer. Law does, however, allow such exempt persons to sell “off-roster” handguns to non-exempt people. And that’s what happened when Early bought the pistol.
(Calguns is currently suing the state alleging that the roster and microstamping requirements are unconstitutional.)
Prosecutors allege that Early was always the intended recipient of the gun, therefore the police officer’s name on the 4473 form was fraudulent. Interestingly, I did not see where the officer was being prosecuted – perhaps cops are also exempt from prosecution in CA.
Defense countered that Early bought the pistol in a separate and legal transaction and followed state law in doing so, which, horribly enough, included “the use of a licensed gun dealer for the transfer and his successful completion of a background check and 10-day wait.”
Such restrictive practice should never apply to any private transaction.
After the trial, Early said, “This verdict has renewed my faith in our system and the value of all of our constitutional rights, especially the right to a trial by jury. I feel like justice was served and I’m grateful for that. My family and I can finally get back to living our lives.”
Twice, a ban on the sale of off-roster handguns to non-exempt citizens was placed before governor Brown, who vetoed it each time. Was it vetoed to protect liberty for all? Not according to a 2012 statement, in which the governor stated concerns that the law “would restrict law enforcement and military personnel” from selling off-roster guns. Never mind the right of all other citizens to purchase firearms, I guess.
At any rate, this verdict is a victory, and those don’t come easily these days.