They’re not being enforced.
These days, I tend to stay away from polarizing issues in the blog, even though I have strong opinions on many such matters, as do many Americans. One of those issues is gun laws and gun control.
I love to shoot and have for years. I don’t have all the answers about the violence in our country, but I do have opinions, and I read something recently that drove me to post about it.
In April 2015, 26-year-old Jalita Johnson bought a Glock pistol for her boyfriend, who was a convicted felon, and ineligible to purchase the gun. Weeks later, he shot and killed Omaha Police Officer Kerrie Orozco with it.
Johnson was charged in US District Court with making a straw purchase for the boyfriend, who gave her the money, and told her what to buy. He was a convicted felon and did not live in Georgia, where the gun was purchased. That’s two federal felonies, and she faced a total of 10 years in federal prison for the charges.
Miscarriages of justice like this like this are why so many of us refuse to support further restrictions on guns: because the government won’t properly enforce the gun laws that are on the books now. 26-year-old Jalita Johnson should be doing life for murder, in my mind. Instead, Kerrie Orozco’s family is serving a life sentence, while Jalita Johnson gets to suffer through sitting in her house for six months. Yeah, that’ll show people.
This was the result of a worthless federal prosecutor and a worthless federal judge. There is simply no excuse for letting something like this go basically unpunished. U.S. Attorney John Horn said in a press release, “The tragic result in this case is a stark reminder of how firearm purchasing laws are designed to protect the public… Illegally bought guns not only pose a risk to our community, but any other community where the gun is ultimately taken.” And yet, Horn decided not to punish someone who broke those gun laws. He could have refused any plea deals and taken the case to court. Instead, he slapped Johnson on the wrist and said “Shame on you,” and moved on.
Too bad Kerrie Orozco’s family and colleagues can’t just move on.
USA John Horn, AUSA Mary Webb, and US District Judge Eleanor L. Ross should all be forced to stand before Kerrie Orozco’s family and explain to them how this slap on the wrist is going to help in “curtailing the illegal trafficking of firearms in order to protect the safety of innocent civilians.”
And this lack of prosecution isn’t something new. State and federal law enforcement officials have been turning a blind eye to local gun cases for several years, according to this National Review article. After all, the little stuff isn’t as sexy as busting a big gun-running ring. Sending one person to prison doesn’t get the headlines that busting a whole ring does.
Einstein is purported to have said, “Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced.” I’d say the same holds true for laws that aren’t enforced.
Enforce the existing gun laws first. Make breaking the law mean something, or all of the other laws you create are worthless.