Ok, not really "gives" -- the gun was stolen. Nonetheless, they didn't get it back and there is now one more (very) illegal machine gun on the streets. Not quite what they intended.
A store calling itself Fearless Distributing opened early last year on an out-of-the-way street in Milwaukee's Riverwest neighborhood, offering designer clothes, athletic shoes, jewelry and drug paraphernalia.
Those working behind the counter, however, weren't interested in selling anything.
They were undercover agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives running a storefront sting aimed at busting criminal operations in the city by purchasing drugs and guns from felons.
But the effort to date has not snared any major dealers or taken down a gang. Instead, it resulted in a string of mistakes and failures, including an ATF military-style machine gun landing on the streets of Milwaukee and the agency having $35,000 in merchandise stolen from its store, a Journal Sentinel investigation has found.
Yes, another one of our "fearless" government sting operations. Except this time they managed to lose an M4 (a real assault weapon, incidentally) and also wound up buying guns purchased at Gander Mountain, as they were paying well-above retail prices.
Then they busted the guy who sold them that gun as a "straw purchaser" even though there was no unlawful intent in buying a gun and then selling it to a legal buyer at a premium.
And yes, the BATFE is a legal buyer.
The "straw purchaser" law makes no exception for what would otherwise be a lawful transfer, of course. But this is just one more scam -- if there's nothing illegal about either party in the transaction taking possession and having the firearm where is the actual offense?
It's simply because "The King said so", you see.
Meanwhile local residents claim the BATFE's "sting" operation attracted criminals to the area (duh!) who then did what criminals do while they were there -- that is, commit crimes.
This appears to be just another rogue operation by a government agency that shouldn't exist. The person now facing prison time for selling a gun to a business that he had every reason to believe was a legitimate enterprise, when he apparently was not a prohibited person, is going to go to jail for an invented crime that he had no particular reason to believe was a problem prior to the act.
(And yes, I'm well-aware that under the black-letter definition of the law he committed a crime. The point is whether one should be able to be prosecuted for engaging in a transaction where the person doing so has no reason to believe the recipient is prohibited from transacting -- that is, it's a business like a pawn shop, not someone who the seller has reason to believe might be a felon trying to evade the law.)
I'll give the BATFE credit for getting four hardened career criminals with their sting. But I dock them double that number for losing an M4 -- a real honest-to-god machine gun -- that they have not recovered and which has a lot of value among the criminal underworld for all the obvious reasons.
"Our number one responsibility is denying criminal access to firearms and that is what we are trying to do," Schmidt said. "It is our duty to purchase these firearms to protect the American public and citizens of Milwaukee."
How did you protect the American public by taking a gun purchased by someone who passed a NICS check at Gander Mountain and then paying twice as much money for it? All you did there was give the seller a $500+ gift from the taxpayer, then you charged him with a crime for engaging in a rather-ordinary commercial act of arbitrage that in virtually every other case is perfectly legal -- and entrepreneurial.
Never mind that I'd love to hear about how losing M4s "protects the American public."
There is another problem too in this particular case -- they charged a guy with delivering drugs who was in prison at the time of the alleged offense. Obviously, that wasn't the guy who delivered the drugs.
Your "government" at work, wasting your money and screwing up your neighborhoods.
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