Most of the time the gun blogs and the gun rights community screams “bloody murder” when the ATF is mentioned. Sometimes I believe such claims are literally true.
While I am of the opinion that the ATF should not exist that is not a political reality. But it may be possible their behavior can be changed such that the very worst behavior is reserved for those that are more deserving. True criminals that use firearms and explosives to harm others or destroy property should be punished and the ATF does have that task in it’s charter. Changing their behavior can come about by “whacking them about the head and shoulders with a stick” via legislative action and criticism in public opinion. I wholehearted support such action on many occasions.
But there are occasions where the ATF and Federal prosecutors treat a situation appropriately. And if you want someone or an organization to change their behavior it is just as important to use the “carrot” as the “stick”. If they know there is nothing they can do to “make us like them” there is no point in trying. And they are our servants so they do have some motivation for pleasing us.
A Belgrade man was sentenced in federal court in Helena Thursday to two years probation for failing to register a silencer on his rifle with federal authorities, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Brandyn Dean Stanbary, 33, had previously pleaded guilty to the charge of willful failure to supply information, the U.S. attorney’s office said in a prepared statement. Senior U.S. District Judge Charles C. Lovell also ordered Stanbary to pay a $25 fine.
Gun owners are required under the National Firearms Act to register silencers with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, providing their name and address, along with the name of the manufacturer and serial number of the silencer, and pay a registration tax.
After they found the gun, Belgrade police contacted ATF, which verified that Stanbary did have a silencer and had not provided ATF with the required information.
Stanbary “later admitted that he willfully failed to supply the required information regarding his shortened rifle and silencer to the ATF,” according to the statement.
While I am of the opinion that firearm should no more be taxed that churches or free speech it is, still, the law as it currently stands. As such the guy did fail to abide by the law but apparently without intent to cause others any harm. He is guilty of a crime where the only victim is the U.S. government which didn’t receive it’s $200 in taxes for the suppressor. The legal costs, the probation and the $25 fine seem appropriate to me under the circumstances.
Thank you ATF and Federal judicial system for doing the right thing.