Yesterday’s conviction of Raymond Fryberg on six counts of illegal gun possession due to a 2002 protection order evidently delighted some anti-gunners, and also raises some interesting questions that may come up in the already-promised appeal.
While the Everett Herald cut off its public comment section, the Seattle Times was still accepting reactions this morning. One of those, from someone identifying himself/herself as “Tero Karhu,” contained this: “It is about time they prosecute gun owners for crimes that are committed with their guns, whether they were active participants or not. The gun owner should be held as an accomplice whenever a weapon they own is used in a crime.
“It is the gun owners (sic) responsibility to secure their weapons,” the comment continued, “and if they fail to do so, they should be found guilty as a part of the prosecution of the crime committed with the gun.”
One wonders if this reader would apply the same principle to car, truck or motorcycle owners whose vehicles are stolen, and later wind up involved in crimes. How many stolen cars are used in crimes, or are involved in crashes – sometimes fatal – and the owner walks away clean? In those cases the car owner is generally considered a crime victim; after all, he/she didn’t cause the crash. If one’s firearm is taken without permission, is the gun owner not also a victim of theft?
Should gun owners be prosecuted if their firearms are used in crimes, even by family members who may have access to those guns? Share your thoughts in the “Comments” section below.
Of course, in this case, the defendant was convicted of violating a federal gun law, six times over. News coverage says Fryberg claimed he didn’t know about the gun ban part of the 2002 protection order, and there seems to be ample evidence in the form of those six guns he purchased that the order was not entered into the National Instant Check System database. Plus, Fryberg had a concealed pistol license, and you don’t get one of those without a background check.
Still, the government said Fryberg incorrectly noted on the federal Form 4473 that he had not been convicted of domestic violence every time he bought a gun. Such a conviction is hardly something one would likely forget.
Fryberg’s attorney, John Henry Browne, has contended that his client was convicted primarily for the havoc wrought by his late son, Jaylen, at the Marysville-Pilchuck High School shooting last October. It’s hard to argue his contention that even though the shooting was not brought up during the federal court trial, jurors certainly knew about it. The tragedy got national news coverage.
The Herald story noted that Browne’s argument was that “his client was misled by the government into thinking he was allowed to have guns” because he was able to buy so many, and because he obtained a CPL. Whether there is merit to that theory or otherwise, the judge reportedly did not allow that argument to become part of the jury instructions, and that’s a point that could be raised on appeal.
Another Times reader, identifying himself/herself as “Tuor,” had this observation: “Well, I guess that ends the witch hunt to ‘blame someone’ for what happened. You know, other than the killer, who is already dead. Now they’ve got their pound of flesh.” Others may agree, and many more may disagree.
There was something else interesting about this case. While it was initially believed to have helped pass Initiative 594 last fall, it rather dramatically demonstrated the fallacy behind that measure. Fryberg, who should not have been able to buy firearms, bought six of them, passing a background check every time. He got a CPL, passing another check in the process.
As acknowledged by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ye-Ting Woo, according to the Times, “tribal-court domestic-violence protective orders and convictions often are not entered into national databases.” That problem may not be confined to tribal courts.
Anti-gunners who supported I-594 have been curiously quiet. Is that because this case just might demonstrate how flawed their rationale about so-called “universal background checks” as a crime-fighting tool might be?
Fryberg’s sentencing is scheduled for January. He reportedly could face up to ten years on each of the six counts.
MEANWHILE, San Francisco’s last gun shop is closing Oct. 31 because of a new city requirement that the store, “take and preserve video of all transactions and turn customers’ personal data over to police on a weekly basis,” according to Fox News. Even the Daily Caller acknowledged that the new regulation “would only be applied to” High Bridge Arms.
The gun shop has been in business for more than a half-century, located in San Francisco’s Mission District. It is something of a tourist attraction, rather like the John Jovino gun shop in New York City.
According to the Fox story, High Bridge General Manager Steven Alcairo asserted that the shop had been “unfairly targeted with burdensome rules and regulations” for many years. Those requirements included prohibiting the shop from posting advertisements and displays from its windows, and the installation of security cameras and barriers around the outside. Alcairo contended this is a tactic “designed to discourage customers from coming to us.”
Is there an effort to banish gun shops from notably left-leaning, so-called “progressive” cities? Thanks to a federal court ruling in Illinois in a case brought against Chicago by the Second Amendment Foundation, municipal governments can’t just write laws that essentially ban gun shops and gun ranges inside city limits. So, anti-gun liberal governments have gotten creative in what some activists suggest is an effort to push them out.
In San Francisco, it’s new recording regulations. In Seattle, it’s a $25 sales tax on firearms and a nickel tax on each centerfire cartridge or shotgun shell sold. Whatever claims of public safety are given as excuses for what Second Amendment folks consider government demagoguery, the result is that gun dealers and gun owners are ultimately penalized.
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