Utah gun dealer punished for punk’s actions

Ryan Horsley, in posting at his Red’s Trading Post blog about U.S. Senator Robert Bennett’s (R-Utah) apparent refusal to take a stand to block confirmation of “Maximum Mike” Sullivan as director of the BATFE, tells of a disgusting injustice I hadn’t known about. I refer here to the sentencing of Utah gun dealer Westley Wayne Hill to one year of probation for selling a shotgun to the thug who perpetrated the Trolley Square murders last February–despite the fact that Mr. Hill conducted the required background check, which the thug passed.

Mr. Hill supposedly made two mistakes. Since the thug (I have adopted a policy of refusing to repeat the names of the sick punks who commit these atrocities) was a resident alien, rather than a U.S. citizen, a second form of identification is required to complete a gun sale, and a line on the form documenting the sale is supposed to be filled out to note the secondary identification. Mr. Hill neglected to do this.

Earl Xaiz, Hill’s defense attorney, told the judge that Hill had done the required background check on Talovic when selling the gun, including calling the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and providing an alien identification number for Talovic.

“He went through the procedure required to get approval for the sale,” Xaiz said.

What Mr. Hill failed to do was fill in a line that documents a secondary form of identification, which is required for non-citizens who buy guns.

Is anyone going to try to tell me that compliance with this trivial detail of the grotesquely extensive federal firearms requirements would have stopped the sale? That our murderous punk could not have produced a second form of ID, or that documenting that second form would have made a difference?

Secondly, and here we get into an even more arcane and silly aspect of federal firearms laws, the shotgun in question was not really, technically, legally a shotgun, because it was fitted with a pistol grip, rather than a shoulder stock. As stated in this Department of Justice press release (which should have been dated 2007, rather than 2006–you know–the kind of paperwork error that if made by a gun dealer, could get him sent to federal prison), such a weapon is not considered a shotgun, but instead as an “Any Other Weapon” (or AOW), and is not legal to sell to people under the age of 21.

The weapon Talovic bought from Hill was not equipped with a shoulder stock and was not designed to be fired from the shoulder. It was not manufactured as a shotgun as defined by federal law, and therefore could not be sold to someone under 21.

Never mind that the punk didn’t need a pistol grip shotgun to inflict his carnage–he wasn’t trying to conceal the shotgun–he apparently started firing as soon as he got out of his car. Never mind that the shoulder stock-equipped version of the shotgun in question would have been perfectly legal for him to buy, and that a pistol grip can be bought for less than $20 (perfectly legal to buy at any age) and easily retrofitted in minutes, without any gunsmithing skills. And lest that last point provoke hysterical cries of a “pistol grip loophole,” it should be pointed out that just about any shotgun stock can be shortened down to pistol grip form, simply by using a saw.

Mr. Hill is a scapegoat and a victim.

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5 Responses to “Utah gun dealer punished for punk’s actions”

  1. hairy hobbit Says:

    I was going to post a horribly offensive hate filled rant yesterday. I deleted it. Reading it again I get just as pissed off.

    This is just more of the BS cosmetic features crap, and it needs to go. What if it has a thumbhole stock? Was this something congress put in place, the bullshit about a handgrip, or is this a case of the “sporting purpose” garbage that is the result of some unelected pile of garbage’s whim?

    Mental gymnastics needs to get out of government AND society. Mandatory reprogramming for all subjects starts now.

  2. 45superman Says:

    To tell you the truth, HH, I’m still trying to figure out what law is involved here. It could be (I wouldn’t be surprised) that the BATFE is just making stuff up as they go along (again).

    I did find this in Wikipedia (I know–you get what you pay for)–it might have something to do with it:

    In addition, some firearms that would normally fall into the Short Barrel Shotgun (SBS) category are not SBS. A shotgun is legally defined as a shoulder mounted firearm that fires shot. Shotguns and shotgun receivers that have never had a buttstock of any type installed are not shotguns, as they cannot be shoulder mounted. Therefore, cutting one of these below the 18″ barrel and/or 26″ overall length cannot produce a SBS as the firearm was never a shotgun. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives recognizes these firearms as being a smooth bore handgun which is an Any Other Weapon (AOW). Unlike a SBS, an AOW only carries a $5.00 tax and can be moved interstate without Federal approval. However, to maintain its AOW status, one may generally not have a buttstock (making it a SBS) or a rifled slug barrel (making it a Destructive Device (DD); a handgun with a bore over 0.5″). Both SBS and DD require a $200.00 transfer tax and Federal approval to transport interstate.

    I don’t know if that applies, though, when the barrel is not under 18″ and the overall length is 26″ or longer.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Can I just say THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT! Mr. Hill as been through Hell this last year. I just got word that this was out there, so I am sorry it is a month later. It is very sad that the Gov. had to ruin his life like this and also for the victim (Carolyn Tuft) that is now suing him. He has been a victim in all of this also! Thanks again for fighting for him!

  4. 45superman Says:

    Anon, thanks for reading.

    I’m certainly doing very little for Mr. Hill–I wish I could do more.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    It is great to hear that the public is backing Mr. Hill it means a great deal to him. He knows he did nothing wrong and it is unfortunate that the Gov. has vague laws to put people in this position (they know what they are doing), place blame where it is due, even though he is dead. One person did this crime and only one! Hill took the plea deal that was offered only because he didn’t want a chance of being taken away from his family and sent to prison. He hasn’t deserved anything he has gotten and more people like you need to stand up for that…thanks again!

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