According to this story a federal judge has ruled in the case against NYC Mayor Bloomberg that no crime or fraud had occurred in Bloomberg’s sending private investigators into Virginia to make straw purchases of guns. Her reasoning? Even though the Mayor’s team made the purchases, they never actually transferred the guns to anyone, ergo no straw purchase actually occurred.
I’m sorry but this seems all too pat an answer. If I were to walk up to an ATM and attempt to hack into it for the purpose of getting it to spit out all of its cash to me but failed to actually get the job done, is the judge saying that I’ve committed no crime? If I were to attempt to hack into the judicial computer systems the judge uses on a daily basis from my home, would she say the same thing? There are all manner of crimes that one can be guilty of in merely making the attempt. I think it’s clear that the Mayor’s team was intent on making an illegal purchase – that was the entire point of the exercise! – and the only reason they didn’t actually transfer the guns was because they considered the buy a straw purchase the minute they walked out of the door of the gun store with the gun. That’s the whole reason they were able to extort other gun shop owners into submitting to their inspection regimen.
The judge’s ruling was based upon the lack of intent. The investigators bought the guns but never intended to actually transfer them, so no straw purchase was committed. I don’t see it that way. Whether the intent to actually transfer the gun was there or not, the intent to commit a crime – the straw purchase – was absolutely there. Again, that was the whole point of their action. And let me propose yet another question to the judge: if a person bought a gun intending it as a straw purchase, but was apprehended before actually handing it over, would that person be innocent of any wrongdoing?
I don’t think the judge would like letting a gun runner go just because he was less competent than the cops.
The gun shop owners in this case are also claiming it as a victory, however. They say that if, as the judge has ruled, no crime was committed then no straw purchase was made. Ergo, they did nothing wrong. If that’s the case, then one might suppose they have a decent libel case against the Mayor for accusing them of illegal activities when he and his team knew they had done no such thing.
Either way, we in Virginia have already placed the good Mayor on notice that his little stunt won’t fly here again. Our AG Bob McDonnell sent a personal notification to the Mayor of the law we passed here specifically making his kind of operation a felony. Try it again and you’ll do time in our jails, bub. Count yourself lucky with this ruling and stick to mucking up the lives of New Yorkers. We don’t need your “help” down here in Virginia.