How We Weasel

14 05 2007

Despite my earlier snark about New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg going to Federal prison for his alleged violation of Federal law in his overenthusiastic “stings” of Virginia gun shops, I knew I was just being glib, and that the chances of his actually being sent to prison (much less charged) were almost nil.

Now it looks like he has found a way to weasel out of scrutiny.

CNS News:

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is under federal investigation regarding “rogue sting” operations against gun dealers in five states outside his jurisdiction, has agreed to abide by Virginia law when undertaking any future operations in that state.

“We will continue to use creative and aggressive strategies and, in Virginia, that would include contacting the Virginia State Police,” said Jason Post, a spokesman for Bloomberg, after a clash with the state’s attorney general, Robert McDonnell, over the mayor’s practice of using undercover agents to root out dealers who sell guns illegally.

In a news release Friday, McDonnell said he was pleased that the mayor’s office “is now fully committed to contacting the Virginia State Police with public safety concerns in Virginia.” That, he said, “is the traditional and appropriate course of action.”

The Virginia attorney general added that such cooperation will also be “the only legal course of action” after the July 1 implementation of HB 2653, a new state law that passed the House of Delegates unanimously and the state Senate by a vote of 30-10. It was later signed into law, without amendment, by Gov. Tim Kaine.

That legislation makes it a felony “for any person, except for a law enforcement officer in the performance of his official duties or other person under the direct supervision of the law enforcement officer, to attempt to solicit or otherwise entice a firearms dealer to transfer or otherwise convey a firearm other than to an actual buyer.”

What worries me about this law is that there are private groups that entrap pedophiles over internet chatrooms, and send the chat logs to authorities for potential prosecution. This kind of e-activism might be prohibited in the future using the spirit of the Virginia law that just passed.

Besides, that wasn’t the proper response to Bloomberg’s “sting.” The only crime was committed by the straw purchasers and by the unqualified buyers. The gun shops did nothing wrong, and they would have no way of knowing the perfidy behind the purchase. The proper response would have been to harp on the crimes committed by the unqualified buyer, the willing straw purchaser, and (more importantly) the never ending stream of New York City criminals.

Don’t expect Bloomberg ever to complain about the latter.

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