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Thread: 10-year sentence sought in straw-buyer gun case

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    Regular Member buster81's Avatar
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    http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/80555107.html

    10-year sentence sought in straw-buyer gun case

    In a sentence that would be among the toughest handed down, a federal prosecutor is recommending 10 years in prison for the man who bought the gun allegedly used to shoot two Milwaukee police officers last year.

    The sentencing Thursday of Jacob Collins could be a bellwether for future cases of straw buyers - people without criminal records who buy guns for felons.

    They typically get probation or less than a year in prison because of their clean records and the notion they have not committed a violent crime, according to a review of five years of federal court records.

    Collins' attorney is asking for probation, saying his client had no way of knowing how the gun would be used.

    Assistant U.S. Attorney John Manning is arguing, however, the Collins case cries out for a heavy sentence from U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman to scare others who are tempted to buy a gun for a felon.

    "Unlike the vast majority of sentencings which take place in this courthouse, the people of this city will be paying attention to this," Manning wrote in a sentencing memo. "The court has an opportunity to send a message that will resonate and deter potential offenders long after the defendant is sentenced."

    Collins, 22, admits he purchased a Taurus .40-caliber pistol at Badger Guns and sold it for $40 to Julius Burton, 19, who was not old enough to buy it from the West Milwaukee store.

    Burton is charged with using the weapon to shoot officers Graham Kunisch and Bryan Norberg. Both officers were shot in the head from close range but survived.

    At the heart of the vastly different recommendations is the question of whether Collins holds responsibility for what Burton is accused of doing with the gun.

    The prosecutor argues Collins had reason to believe Burton would shoot someone with the gun based on what he said before the purchase. He called 10 years a fair sentence for having a hand in attempted murder.

    Public defender Daniel Stiller said Collins is developmentally disabled and didn't understand fully what was happening.

    "Jacob Collins told a lie. The telling of a lie was a crime. Jacob Collins should be punished for that illegal lie but only for that illegal lie," Stiller wrote in his memo.

    Police and prosecutors in Milwaukee have hammered for more than a decade on the need to crack down on straw buyers, calling for tougher penalties and more scrutiny by Badger Guns and its predecessor, Badger Outdoors.

    Badger Guns and Badger Outdoors were involved in three-quarters of the straw-gun cases prosecuted in eastern Wisconsin in the past five years, according to federal court records.

    In the past two years, all six of the Milwaukee police officers shot were wounded with guns purchased at Badger Guns or Badger Outdoors.

    According to court records, Collins went to Badger Guns with Burton in May.

    "That's the one I want," Burton told Collins, pointing to the Taurus, records show. Collins told the clerk he wanted the Taurus, but he slipped up on the federal background form, records say.

    The form asked if Collins was buying the gun for himself. He answered "no." Collins said he was confused. He was allowed to change his answer. A month later, prosecutors say, Burton used the gun to shoot and gravely injure the officers.

    Badger Guns' owner, Adam Allan, has said he wasn't in the store when the gun was sold to Collins - despite what the court documents say. He said the sale would not have gone through if someone pointed out a gun and made that comment within earshot of a clerk.

    Straw buying is a federal felony but a misdemeanor in Wisconsin. A bill has been introduced in Madison to make it a felony.

    After the two officers were shot, Milwaukee police launched an undercover mission outside Badger Guns and reported signs of straw buying including felons waiting in the car while others go in the store. They also found some felons went in the store and even used the shooting range, which is against the law.

    Collins told investigators Burton said he needed the gun for self-defense. Collins said Burton suggested he use a fake address when buying the gun and report it stolen, according to documents. Burton also told Collins he was going file off the gun's serial number, they said. Collins told investigators he had a "gut feeling" something bad was going to happen, documents say.

    "All these facts show unequivocally that this defendant knew that Burton was already planning on using the gun in criminal activity," Manning wrote.

    A pretrial hearing for Burton is scheduled for Friday.

    According to federal guidelines, Collins' sentence would be between 10 and 24 months in prison, depending on factors that Adelman must consider. Collins' maximum sentence is 20 years.

    Collins' attorney said the prosecutor's suggestion to go over the guidelines would be a dangerous precedent, fueled by the fact that the shooting victims were police officers.

    Stiller said Collins is facing the consequences but others, including the gun store, also played a role in the shooting.

    "There is, of course, Badger Guns, which, according to the version of events provided by the government, allowed two young men to suspiciously browse its handguns before an employee seemingly turned a blind eye as the young man incapable of even perfecting the necessary paperwork purchased one," Stiller wrote.

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    If a felon may properly be disbarred his rights under color of law then we can all be legally disarmed merely by sufficiently lowering the bar of felony as is being done in this case.

    It is a short step of the imagination to making felon of all whose hands the gun passed through, from the registered original purchaser, through all middlemen, to the victim of the theft that puts the gun in the alleged felon's hands.

    Either we are equal or we are not. Good people ought to be armed where they will, with wits and guns and the truth. NRA ******* damn the Obamination and its teeth.

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    Regular Member simmonsjoe's Avatar
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    I agree this is inappropriate. Collins should be charged with accessory to attempted murder or similar.
    illegal ≠ immoral legal ≠ moral
    [SIZE=1]"I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. "Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent." - Thomas Jefferson
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    Regular Member opusd2's Avatar
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    Of COURSE this is inappropriate! As Doug pointed out, the requirements to distinguish one person from a lesser charge to felony is getting lower, and its an easy way to not only disarm society but to relieve it from many rights and rights deemed as "privileges".

    And there really is a taste of a personal grudge against Badger since they want to pin all sorts of wrongdoings on it, or the product it sells. If there were wrongdoings by the store, then it would have been easily and already charged. Smells like they want to dunk it in water, if it floats it is guilty but if it drowns then it is innocent.
    I aim to misbehave

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    Regular Member okboomer's Avatar
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    Slippery slope here ... has anyone asked Collins if he was under any other duress from Burton?

    Sounds like Collins wasn't the sharpest tack in the box, but what would have been the consequences if he had failed to go through with the buy?

    Have you ever had close contact with one of these thugs? They are scary folks and until recently, I didn't feel I had an option when dealing with a thug like this.

    Now, I look them in the eye and confront their anti-social behavior as what it is ... intimidation. I am equal to the 19 y-o thug and have no need to retreat anymore.

    There are some disturbing statistics reportedabout Badger Guns and guns purchased at his store. The problem with statistics is that they sometimes show linkages that are not true representations of the facts. So far, the statistics seem to be rather one sided and not showing demographic skews.
    cheers - okboomer
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    Regular Member opusd2's Avatar
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    Anyone can find statistics that work for them. It's all in the presentation
    I aim to misbehave

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    Regular Member Interceptor_Knight's Avatar
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    Try to keep this in perspective.

    This was no innocent mistake. This was not a WI resident selling a used firearm to another WI resident whom he has a reasonable belief that he is not prohibited from possessing a firearm.

    This was a man deliberately arming a thug. If he were forced to do something under duress, then he should have reported it to the authorities afterward and before the 48 hour waiting period was up. Once he transferred the weapon to the thug, he is to be held accountable for what that thug does with the weapon.

    If Collins was disabled and was not capable of discerning between right and wrong, then he should not have been able to legally purchase a firearm in the first place.

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    Regular Member bigdaddy1's Avatar
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    You know I am torn here. I see Doug's point, but also feel that if you knowingly make a straw purchase you should be liable. I may get flamed here but here is my idea for how to punish such a crime.

    A straw purchaser should receive the same charge as the crime done by the person with the weapon purchased. In other words, I knowingly purchase a firearm for someone that can not legally do so. The person I deliver that weapon to murders someone, I should be charged with party to a murder. There still would be a burden of proof, the authority would need to prove that I knowingly made that purchase for delivery. There would still need to be a way to protect honest private party sales. Granted I am not a lawyer, so who to actually conceive such a law is beyond me. There does need to be a way to punish those that intentionally make these purchases while protecting the honest people.
    What part of "shall not be infringed" don't you understand?

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    Regular Member bigdaddy1's Avatar
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    Interceptor_Knight wrote:
    Try to keep this in perspective.

    This was no innocent mistake. This was not a WI resident selling a used firearm to another WI resident whom he has a reasonable belief that he is not prohibited from possessing a firearm.

    This was a man deliberately arming a thug. If he were forced to do something under duress, then he should have reported it to the authorities afterward and before the 48 hour waiting period was up. Once he transferred the weapon to the thug, he is to be held accountable for what that thug does with the weapon.

    If Collins was disabled and was not capable of discerning between right and wrong, then he should not have been able to legally purchase a firearm in the first place.

    How do you determine who can or can not purchase then? How did the clerk know he was mentally disabled?

    While its easy now to say that a mentally disabled person shouldn't be able to purchase a firearm, but that would require physiological testing on everyone to even attempt to prevent this.

    What part of "shall not be infringed" don't you understand?

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    Remember The Scarlet Letter? How about a big black 'T' tattooed (tattoos are so in) on a convicted thugs forehead?

    Obviously no one remembers The Red Badge of Courage. Hoo Ah!

    Either we are equal or we are not. Good people ought to be armed where they will, with wits and guns and the truth. NRA ******* damn the Obamination and its teeth.

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    "Perspective"? Perspective requires that one breath fresh air.

    "I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!" (Barry Goldwater, 1964 Republican Presidential candidate acceptance speech)

    Either we are equal or we are not. Good people ought to be armed where they will, with wits and guns and the truth. NRA ******* damn the Obamination and its teeth.

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    Regular Member bom1911's Avatar
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    This seems like a pretty clear straw purchase to me, unless I missed something.10 years seems a bit steep considering sentences other criminals get for serious crimes.

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    What kind of sentence is the DA looking to get for the kid that shot the 2 LEO?

    Sounds like Collins defense council is going to have to argue "deminished mental capicity" as a defense. I don't think he should get off, but 10 years is a bit stiff.

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    Regular Member opusd2's Avatar
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    It all rolls downhill. Manning's desire to make a point will reach us all someday.
    I aim to misbehave

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    Regular Member Interceptor_Knight's Avatar
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    Here is a case more worthy of outrage regarding what constitutes a felony..... Kill a puppy, and loose your guns...

    http://www.fox11online.com/dpp/news/...y-dumping-case



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    Interceptor_Knight wrote:
    Here is a case more worthy of outrage regarding what constitutes a felony..... Kill a puppy, and loose your guns..
    HIJACK OFF!

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    Big Guy wrote:
    Interceptor_Knight wrote:
    Here is a case more worthy of outrage regarding what constitutes a felony..... Kill a puppy, and loose your guns..
    HIJACK OFF!
    +1 Very perspicacious.

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    Regular Member Interceptor_Knight's Avatar
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    Big Guy wrote:
    Interceptor_Knight wrote:
    Here is a case more worthy of outrage regarding what constitutes a felony..... Kill a puppy, and loose your guns..
    HIJACK OFF!
    Large red bold caps font off there big guy.....

    The fact that you showed up in this thread and wasted bandwidth by posting nothing even remotely relevant to the subject(s) at hand already established in this thread is a most obvious hijack on your part...:?

    My post however was relevant to the subject of felonies, how easy it is to be charged with one and the inevitable loss of firearms rights as a result.

    Since tattoos and Bary Goldwater quotes have nothing to do with Straw Purchases, there are a few other posts you would have objected to before mine if you were truly concerned about this thread drifting off topic....

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    Regular Member buster81's Avatar
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    Interceptor_Knight wrote:
    Here is a case more worthy of outrage regarding what constitutes a felony..... Kill a puppy, and loose your guns...

    http://www.fox11online.com/dpp/news/...y-dumping-case

    I don't know about anyone else, but I won't be losing any sleep over this guy and his upcoming jail sentence.

    Why don't we all try to get back to discussing straw purchases.

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    Regular Member Interceptor_Knight's Avatar
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    buster81 wrote:
    Why don't we all try to get back to discussing straw purchases.
    Back to the straw purchase in question, I have no objections to this man being charged with a felony. His mental capacity may be an affirmative defense, but that is in the hands of his defense to prove. He admitted to having prior knowledge that the felon he was purchasing the handgun for was planning to use it for unlawful means and was going to alter the serial number. 2 men were murdered as a direct result of this straw purchase. There needs to be accountability and deterrence.

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    Master Doug Huffman wrote:
    Remember The Scarlet Letter? How about a big black 'T' tattooed (tattoos are so in) on a convicted thugs forehead?

    Obviously no one remembers The Red Badge of Courage. Hoo Ah!

    Either we are equal or we are not. Good people ought to be armed where they will, with wits and guns and the truth. NRA ******* ******* the Obamination and its teeth.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Red_Badge_of_Courage#Plot_summary Hoo Ah!

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    Regular Member buster81's Avatar
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    Master Doug Huffman wrote:
    Master Doug Huffman wrote:
    Remember The Scarlet Letter? How about a big black 'T' tattooed (tattoos are so in) on a convicted thugs forehead?

    Obviously no one remembers The Red Badge of Courage. Hoo Ah!

    Either we are equal or we are not. Good people ought to be armed where they will, with wits and guns and the truth. NRA ******* ******* the Obamination and its teeth.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Red_Badge_of_Courage#Plot_summary Hoo Ah!
    If I was to guess, this state researcher doesn't think the straw purchaser did anything wrong.

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    Regular Member Interceptor_Knight's Avatar
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    buster81 wrote:
    If I was to guess, this state researcher doesn't think the straw purchaser did anything wrong.
    Or he believes that the straw buyer got bumped on the head with a rifle and that is theexcuse for his poor judgement....

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    Regular Member Interceptor_Knight's Avatar
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    ...

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    Or the quixotic puppeteer is addressing a straw-stalking-horse hag-ridden by his sockpuppet.

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