Monday, February 24, 2014

WI:Milwaukee Jury Troubled by Gun Muffler Case

Fake gun muffler mounted on barrel

A case has been sent to the jury in Milwaukee, where the BATFE appears to have used a career criminal to entrap a citizen who is both a gun collector and a lawyer.  In many ways it is bizarre, because it is clear that the criminal worked very hard to get the citizen to commit an illegal act of buying what amounts to an ersatz gun muffler.  Under the BATF administrative rules, any device that can be attached to a gun, that decreases the sound by *any* amount, is considered to be a gun muffler, and is illegal unless the $200 tax is paid and the paperwork, which often takes months, if not years, to accomplish, is done.   This level of over regulation of what amounts to a safety device, has never been justified.  The "silencer" in this case only reduced the noise level from 147 to 141 DB.  It is doubtful that an ordinary person would be able to consistently notice the difference.   Given the BATFE's history of lying in court, I am not surprised that a jury would have trouble convicting Mr. Barrett, who was never in trouble with the law before.  There are lots of fake suppressors on the market.  From the
A jury spent more than five hours Thursday deciding whether a lawyer and gun collector committed a crime when he bought a "hit man's gun" with an illegal silencer.

But jurors couldn't reach a verdict and will continue deliberating Friday.
Thomas Michael Barrett, 54, a Wauwatosa lawyer, was arrested in August 2011 during a reverse sting outside Mayfair Mall. 
Michael Barrett took the stand to defend his actions:
Barrett said as soon as he met Bond, he became a bit nervous that he was perhaps being set up to be robbed. He said he kept trying to do some "fast talking" to get out of the situation without upsetting Bond. He said he initially offered to buy the gun without the silencer for more than Bond had been asking.

But Bond kept insisting Barrett should buy both and then offered to sell them for $400, well less than the $600 they had discussed over the phone.

"I didn't want to piss him off," Barrett said. "He wouldn't take no for an answer."
I am interested in seeing how this case turns out.  Barrett is risking his entire career on this on principle.  I am sure he could have cut a deal, but he has refused to do so.  There seems to be some real doubt in the case.   Perhaps the storefront scandal in Milwaukee, that covered extensively, has produced a little well deserved skepticism of the BATFE and their operations.

Here is the only comment on the story so far:
I was cop for 25 years, and I wouldn't have convicted him. For 2 reasons: 1) 147 db reduced to 141 db this is still extremely loud, and still have a painfully loud "Report" If the silencer reduced the report from 147 db was down to 105 db then maybe I would consider it a silencer, and 105 db is still very very loud!!!
2) The test for entrapment is called the "origin of intent rule" Who came up with the request for the silencer first. If the government agent offered it first, then its entrapment. If the Atty ask for the silencer first then he's guilty. Then it should be a real silencer, down to 105 db or less...
This helps explain why police are routinely excluded from juries.  They know too much.

It is possible that there is a little jury nullification going on here. It is one of the strong checks on government overreach that has consistently been eroded for the past hundred years. Then again, perhaps this is simply a weak case.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

Link to Gun Watch

Update:  Michael Barrett Convicted from jsonline:
A jury found a Wauwatosa lawyer guilty Friday of buying what he called "a hit man's gun" with a "highly, highly, highly illegal" silencer during an undercover reverse sting in 2011.


Anonymous said...

So, let me get this right. Finland must therefore a nation of hired assassins since I believe that suppressors (silencers) are readily available there, as long as you pay the tax. VAT that is, of 22% when you buy the suppressor. "You can buy a silencer for .22 for $50 and top quality silencers that sustain unlimited full- automatic fire go for about $150. Factory-made silencers are available actually for any gun and caliber. (even for such rarities as MG-34, MP-40, Maxim, etc. you name it!)" Of course, the Russians in WW2 would probably have agreed that Finland *was* a nation of hit men.

Dean Weingarten said...

The Finnish high court has ruled that it is a constitutional right to be able to make, trade, sell, buy and use silencers, aka suppressors or gun mufflers.

There never was an explanation, when the National Firearms Act of 1934 was passed, as to why gun mufflers were included.

It never made any sense.

Wireless.Phil said...

And on to other good news:

CNN Cancels 'Piers Morgan Live' After Three Years